One song that sends me whizzing back to my student days is ‘And it Stoned Me’ by Van Morrison.
(I was born in the wrong era.)
Any time I hear it, I’m suddenly sat in The Smoking Room of the flat I briefly shared with my drama school friends, playing cards late into the night while Van Morrison, Bob Dylan or my band Big Day Out rang out from the stereo.
(I'd never put the last one on, by the way. I'm not that egotistical.)
We spend a lot of time in that room. It can’t have been good for our lungs. We only knew one card game - the prettily titled Shit Head (presumably named after Piers Morgan) - which we’d eek out for hours, over endless rounds of tea and biscuits. It’s amazing I didn’t become an overweight, oxygen mask-wearing mess.
The flat stretched across the entire length of the floor above a car showroom. A large open rooftop space led up to its front door, which led to a big open-plan living room / kitchen. It was a centre point for parties. With this and our near-constant pot smoking, I’m surprised we were ever in a fit state for college. You should have seen me in some of the dance classes. Actually, it’s probably better that you didn’t.
We had a lot of fun back then. It was a time before stress or commitment. We were in a bubble, not yet facing the realities of life. We still had three years of training before we had to really think about it.
Sadly, I seldom see the friends who frequented the Suzuki Garage Smoking Room these days. Even the building has gone; it was demolished a few years later. All that remains is the flat’s comfiest chair, which sits in my living room like a testament. My cat bloody loves it.