Forgotten 80s National Facetweet – 10 October 2015 – The Diary!
Well, it was called a Facetweet because we’d originally envisaged some of the Facebook crowd coming along, reaching out the hand of friendship etc, but my posts on their thread had met with a more or less stony silence, apart from one or two. So it was anybody’s guess as I set off with my overnight bag, which was really heavy as I’d also hidden my Duran Duran briefcase in it – didn’t feel quite brave enough yet to display that on the Manc-Brum train!
I couldn’t help feeling a bit nervous this time, given that about 15 of us were coming and I’d done most of the organising! But it soon got funny on the train cos we were all en route and tweeting each other updates, and I started getting excited! The train was filthy, with coffee stains all down the seat in front and lots of rubbish on the floor including a half full vodka bottle about which I felt the need to inform everyone (Jamie: “When did you drop that then?”). Sharon was 1 train ahead of me so we met up at New Street, which had COMPLETELY changed since I’d used it loads with RNIB, so I had completely lost my bearings! Still we managed to find each other outside WH Smiths, and found the pub even more easily – it was the one on the corner that I’d walked past so many times en route to and from the RNIB office! WELL!!
So we installed ourselves upstairs in a room with its own dance floor and DJ decks – perfect! – and got ourselves some lime and sodas – I was pacing myself and Sharon was on antibiotics, so not a cracking start to meeting the £200 bar spend we still had to achieve, but I was confident that we’d get there later! I ‘decorated’ the room with memorabilia and then some of the others started rolling up – familiar faces from Leeds – Bryony, Alison, Jamie, Jeff and Stephen – and ‘newbies’ (to me) Sang, Stuart (who later said that he’d thought Jamie was Matthew!), Alan, Sarah (of My Eighties fame), Graham and Fran; we soon slipped into easy chatting and laughing to the accompaniment of Jamie’s faithful iPod onto which he’d loaded lots of our requests. I’d been a bit worried that we’d run out of stuff to do/say in the 7 hours we had the room, but my fears were completely groundless! Jamie was astonished at the lack of alcohol in mine and Sharon’s drinks! But the tab was soon mounting up with pints and gins – not pints of , I might add…. at this point anyway……… 😛 .
After a while, we decided to get going on the various quizzes that people had brought along, starting with Jamie’s, which was a ‘getting to know you’ ice breaker type one, not that any ice remained to be broken! Claire, who’d not been able to make it, had sent us her Skype address, so Bryony, after a few attempts, managed to get connected to her on her phone and she was able to join in, which was ACE! We kept passing her round to whoever was answering the question (we all took turns to answer each one) and people kept pressing the wrong button and losing her, so Bryony was up and down like a yo-yo sorting it out! The questions were fab – the best ones I remember were ‘What is your relationship with #forgotten80s?’ (about which I gushed something about how it had changed my life and got me all these lovely friends, and Alison said that she started looking forward to it on about Wednesday!) and ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how important to you is it to get a request played on #forgotten80s – 1 = couldn’t give a shit, 10 = it’s my world!’ This was so funny cos some people admitted straight away that theirs was a 10, whilst others maintained they’d stopped caring cos Matthew kept not playing theirs – but eventually admitted that ok, they were probably a 10 too, and it was really annoying when Matthew played something they’d requested but then didn’t mention them! (like me with Little Benny!) Claire joined in with gusto!
We didn’t get to do them all, because all of a sudden a surprise guest turned up courtesy of Sarah, it was – TA-DAAAA! – Dennis from Musical Youth! He was en route to a gig and was absolutely lovely! As it happened, I had my ’84 Smash Hits sticker book with me, luckily containing a sticker of Dennis, so he signed it for me (“It’ll probably lose some of its value now!”). Sarah took a photo of us, and of Dennis with everyone, before I dragged him over to the table of 80s photos that some of us had brought and showed him one of me in my pink ra-ra dress! (poor man, no wonder he didn’t stay for food!).
The food then arrived – and just kept arriving until we were stuffed! It was amazing! Pizza, falafel rolls, pulled pork rolls (YUM!), poshwrap things, salad (I had to go and remind them that we needed plates for this!) and nachos. And then a cheesecake!
Luckily they did doggy bags and a load of us took leftovers home on trains or back to our hotel rooms (I found a squashed falafel roll much later on). By this point I had given up on the lime and soda and moved onto the, as had several other people! Then I was completely taken by surprise to be presented with some fab gifts and cards for having organised the thing – I didn’t look at them all till later but the Twitterati had bought me a WHOLE BOTTLE of Hendricks (ACE!) and some chocolates, and Sarah had bought me a ‘Host your own 80s party’ game! I was so touched, how absolutely lovely – thank you Twitterati! XX
THEN it was time for Quizmaster Alan’s ‘fiendishly hard’ quiz, for which he moved up onto the DJ platform and looked extremely imposing! Fran tweeted each question live, so a couple of people like Claire were joining in that too!
Well, what can I say? I had always considered myself an 80s geek, but I must have come last with about 5/20, the shame! A bit like being the cleverest at your school, then getting to Uni and finding out everyone else is actually cleverer than you.
Questions included ‘What was the best selling single of 1981?’ (a contentious one!), ‘What was the best selling single NEVER to get to No 1?’ (Last Christmas, not Vienna!) and the tie breaker ‘How many no 1s in total in the 80s?’. Jamie and Alison were a team and won with 14.5 (though Alison claimed that Jamie did most of it!) and got a box of chocolates, result!
By this time it was about 7pm. I couldn’t believe how quickly the time had gone and we hadn’t even done Stephen’s quiz yet, and I hadn’t checked in! So we did Stephen’s quickly before leaving – it was “The number of songs in the 80s with girls’ names in”. We were two teams for this and were very competitive! Apparently there were about 64, and both teams managed to get a fair few, though we were kicking ourselves for some of the ones we’d forgotten!
So then, sadly, it was time for some of the Twitterati to leave. Alan, Alison and Stephen said their goodbyes (Sharon had left earlier as she wasn’t feeling great, but had been really pleased to meet us!) and Fran went home to get ready to go out later, hopefully meeting us again. Oh, we more than made up the bar tab by the way, and now everyone had paid me their contributions to the £100 deposit I was swimming in cash!
The rest of us had plans to go back to hotels (those who needed to) and then onto the Reflex bar, and had sort of arranged to go in two groups, but I somehow got separated from everyone else! “Not to worry” I thought, as I knew where The Reflex was, so I went back to hotel, checked in, reached for my bag to pay, realised had left bag in room of pub, thrust overnight bag and Duran briefcase onto bemused reception man, rushed back to pub (luckily only a couple of mins away), found purse and finally got sorted!
So, onto the Reflex. I had been past it loads of times when going out for lunch with RNIB, so found it straight away…..
Went inside to find Kelly Marie playing (hurrah!) but no Twitterati! So thought “I must be early”, and went outside to sit on a wall and wait for them.
Ten minutes later I was still waiting and hadn’t had a reply to my tweet about where I was, so was starting to wonder what was going on, and it didn’t help to be sitting next to a man who had just moved here from Mexico who kept saying things like, “Your friends not here yet?” and “What is your name?”….
Finally I looked at my tweets again and saw one from Jamie saying they were rocking The Reflex, so went back inside thinking I must’ve missed them, but still nobody there!
There followed an exchange with Jamie that was worthy of an 80s sitcom, along the lines of
“I’ve been inside but I can’t see you all, so I’m sat outside!”
“Where are you? I’ve come outside to find you!”
“I’m sitting on a wall next to a Mexican man!”
“I can’t see a wall or a Mexican restaurant!”
It was slowly beginning to dawn on me – surely there couldn’t be more than one bar with the same name in the same city…..?!
But yes! I asked the doorman and he said, “Yes, there’s one on Broad Street, it’s a 20 minute walk away but you’re best getting a cab!”
By this point, Jamie had DMd me his number in concern, so I rang him and explained! Then considered walking to save money, but thought what the hell, I have about £200 in my pocket! So eventually arrived at the right place, which was much bigger and much noisier, beheld the Twitterati at a table under a very loud speaker, and got bought another for my troubles! So that was okay then. Phew!
So there we were in The Reflex and it was very LOUD, and we couldn’t hear ourselves SPEAK! And the music was only intermittently 80s, so I think a few of us weren’t sure at the start whether it would be very good- but it improved HUGELY once we’d sunk a few more gins/beers and perused the cocktail menu, on which there were GIANT cocktails! Terri, who was keeping up with us online, had also looked at the menu and begged us to buy a Godfather (Editor’s note: yeah right, blame me… 😉 ) so we had our arms twisted and Jamie went to the bar and returned with the hugest thing you’ve ever seen (like one of those desserts for about 4 people in American style restaurants) and lots of straws! It was about then that the evening began to go – downhill? Uphill? Fantastic, anyway!
Lots of photos were taken and tweeted of the cocktail being demolished (can’t remember what was in it but it was very sweet!), and we all started to get very silly! Claire noticed that Jeff looked like he had giant rabbit ears on one photo where he was in front of something that looked like some!; Sang and I were perfecting our Billy Idol sneers (well she didn’t need to, mine was crap!) We got put on Twitter with a “Guess the Pop Star” question, and Terri guessed straight away! We also got the people at the next table to take photos of us, which were of varying quality (one man kept taking ones of himself too!) but we got some good ones on various phones and cameras!
By this time a few of us were dancing around by the table cos the music was getting better, and the DJ was requesting requests (?), so we decided we’d better not confuse him with anything forgotten, and went for Footloose. I went up to ask him, didn’t realise the dancefloor was up a step, and fell flat on my face -much to everyone’s amusement!
The dancefloor, bizarrely, had a revolving plate in the middle of it, a bit like a Lazy Susan, atop which people could dance! I can’t put into words how odd and hilarious it was to see people dancing on this slowly revolving thing, like it was the most normal thing in the world!
Anyway, the track that finally got us up on the dancefloor was Wham!’s “I’m Your Man” (although I had professed earlier to hating them so much as a teenager due to their competition with Duran that my friends and I had to spell out their name – W-H-A-M-!). And whaddya know, I forgot the step a second time and fell flat on my face again! Jamie and Graham were behind me and scooped me up with much laughter, and everyone else followed. More photos got taken, and then Footloose came on and we went MAD! We did the 80s dance so beloved of school discos, all in a circle kicking our legs up, on the revolving bit, and it was so funny! HA! 😆 Think we stayed on the floor for a few then before retiring to our table for rest (being old and all that).
The place was starting to fill up now, with various types of punter, some of whom were a bit larey…. Jeff had to get back to Sal’s parents’ house on the penultimate train to Wolverhampton, so Sarah left with him too, to get a cab back to her hotel (same as mine near the station). So then we were 6 – me, Bryony, Sang, Stuart, Jamie and Graham, and we had no intention of giving up yet! Sang and Stuart kept extending their babysitter deadline (which was Stuart’s mum, so hopefully she didn’t mind!)
Then one of the funniest things of the whole weekend happened! Something else came on that I wanted to dance to (Gold by Spandau Ballet, apparently!), so again I was dragging Jamie towards the dance floor – and missed the step for a THIRD time! There I was, sprawled over the dance floor, yet again! Dragging myself up, I looked for Jamie, who’d been behind me and saw him bent double, crawling back towards the table and unable to speak for laughing! I’ve haven’t seen anyone so hysterical in ages! Everyone thought he’d banged his nose cos he had his head in his hands for so long! That made me hysterical too, and lots of funny photos and tweets were sent about it! After that every time I made for the dance floor, I was exaggeratedly careful, but Jamie still kept laughing for the rest of the night (and weekend, actually!). I had to go to the loo after that and was queuing for ages and replying to tweets whilst in there, so Jamie accused me of being a toilet tweeter which was also really funny! There were pink loo doors with Madonna logos on and a woman retching into a bin! Which reminds me, back in the Victoria, both Alan and Jamie had spotted that the urinals were called ADAMANT – milking the 80s theme or what?!
And then, just as it couldn’t possibly have got any funnier, a moose arrived. Or a reindeer. Or at any rate, someone wearing a large, furry, antlered costume which they must have been sweating their ass off inside! Graham and I immediately got our photo taken with it and tweeted – with the caption “It gets weirder!”
Terri: “What…the hell…is THAT?!”
Me: “Clearly it’s a Moose”
Terri: “Well of course, why wouldn’t there be a moose there? *calls police*”
The moose continued to circulate and pose for photos for the duration of our stay, so I hope he/she got a few drinks down! Apparently a pigeon was supposed to arrive at 1.15am, but even us hardcore Twitterati didn’t last that long (or get to Zombie Club, sadly).
Bryony decided to go home as her ears were hurting, Sang and Stuart finally took their leave, Jamie returned from the loo with a report that someone had been taking coke (polo ring nose!) and another man, dripping with sick, had informed him, “This fucking bitch has just been sick all down my shirt!”. We then lost Graham cos we’d been busy dancing to “Billie Jean” and “Don’t You Want Me” (and both nearly falling off the revolving thing!) and decided to get out as it was starting to get a bit much!
Outside, I rang Graham, who’d taken refuge in a nearby pub, and after bumping into the moose again on the pavement outside and dodging pissed people, we located and joined him for one last civilised drink. Well…..semi-civilised – there were no seats, so Jamie and I ended up sitting on some steps outside a toilet, and Graham sat on the floor and then knocked his pint all over me and my bag! But then some people went so we were able to squeeze onto a bench! Told each other about our families etc and Graham couldn’t believe I’d had my kids at 36 and 39! (“So, being an older mother, do you think….” Etc!) Meanwhile there was some bloody awful karaoke going on in the other side of the pub – one man starting roaring ‘Enjoy the Silence’, seemingly without any irony whatsoever. We took a ‘last Twitterati standing’ selfie and smugly tweeted it to everyone else!
Finally declared ourselves beat at about 1.30am, when Graham sloped off to his nearby hotel (he was off to Brussels, then Lithuania, in the next few days!) and me and Jamie then realised that we hadn’t the foggiest how to get back to ours! Bryony had tweeted a warning that there had been a 1D gig, so the city centre and taxis were all heaving with hormonal girls and their mothers, so we decided to sod it and walk! It took us ages cos we kept getting lost, but it was actually really nice just to get some fresh air and chat about stuff without having to SHOUT! Finally got in about 2am! And then couldn’t sleep for ages cos I was just so excited about what a fab tweet up it had been, and kept reading back over the tweets and photos and couldn’t stop laughing! It was 1000 times more ACE than I’d ever imagined, and I love my Twitterati friends and just can’t WAIT till the next one!!!
For pics and some of the Twitter “highlights”, see our “Tweetup Special“