My name is not Bob

This weekend finds me back in Glasgow to visit my parents, and I’ve spent much of the afternoon clearing out a desk that I’d used since 1996. Filled with memories, old tickets and trinkets, my first football match, my first gig, my first trip to London on my own, my trip to Cambridge for interview. Filled with old school work and school reports (Computing – “I am pleased with my grades, and I like computers.” R.E. – “I am pleased with my progress in the short course, and look forward to its completion.”), and the surprising insight that I apparently had a “particular ability at Volleyball.” Filled with greetings cards from old friends, people I barely remember, and people I’d rather forget.

I also found some notes I wrote for a couple of websites that, sadly, never saw the light of day. One was an elaborate satire on my high school, let down somewhat by the sophomoric title “Willywood“. The other was for a pseudonymous blog intended to have been published during my time in Guildford. I had developed “Bob” as somewhat affected and prolix character, who is aghast to find himself living in squalor in the south-east of England’s dullest dormitory town. I feel compelled to quote from the prologue:

Like two-thirds of a well-written American sitcome, two storylines intertwine to explain why I am here, writing this.

I’ll dispense with the Big Band-to-present montage that sat so awkwardly in the otherwise excellent Charlie Kaufman-penned Adaptation, and simply say that I got a job in Guildford.

I figured that I would stay at the University of Surrey. They clearly don’t value ten weeks’ rent, and wouldn’t accommodate me beyond late August.

I figured that I would ask my employer – with its established placement scheme – for some help. They sent an out-of-date brochure for B&Bs.

I figured that I would visit Guildford and look round at rooms for rent. In all, I saw three. I plumped for the least bad.

Unbeknownst to me, Mick and Kylie had let all three rooms in their 1970’s mid-terrace house. To celebrate the deal, they took the new tenants for a night out in Guildford. Words were spoken, things turned source, Kylie got in a fight with one of them, Mick weighed in to defend her honour, and an advert was placed the next day – Three rooms to let.

This I learned on my first night in the house, as they took me for a night out in Guildford.

I’d kind-of like to see where I might have taken this: there were plenty of horrifying anecdotes about that summer. How far away it seems now….

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