A Small Compendium Of Ironic Moments
(or, Why I don't miss the 1980's)

A lovely sunny morning in Oxford, late 1980's, on the raffish/dangerous (delete as required) Cowley Rd. As I walk to work, I see in front of me this vista : three student finalists in sub fusc (black gowns, white shirts etc) striding confidently townwards to the exams that will probably precede a lifetime of captain of industry-stylee activity and fulfilment. Twenty yards from them, shambling in the opposite direction (to the other towns, Cowley, with its soon to be closed car plants, Blackbird Leys and its soon to notorious stolen car races) are three derelicts, the kind of folk Tory grandees talk about stepping over on their way to the opera (was that Lord Young? Who remembers, now).

I don't recall insults being thrown, in fact I don't think either group really registered the other at all (each by itself being a common enough sight). But it really was a Guardian Magazine cover come to life, just for a passing second.

There once, in the same era, were a couple of good stickers that tosspots could put on their cars to annoy bien-pensants like me. 'KGB [heart] CND' was one. Another was the eagle motif with the gnomic utterance 'Free enterprise works'. I once saw this on a spectacularly beaten-up looking shit-brown saloon. Not for you it didn't, little matey.

The final part of my trilogy: the story of the unspeakably gorgeous chick (I'm sorry, ladies, she was a chick and she knew how to use it) I met at an artsy event of the sort I used to hang around at, instead of working for a living (ah, I was an artist then, not a mere wage slave. It sucked, too). For reasons that were a complete mystery to me this vision and I got on fabulously, and agreed to meet the next week.

My fevered preparations were mocked in a not entirely kind way by my housemate. Undeterred I envisaged another evening of getting on fabulously followed inevitably by events I probably can't describe without Tangents' ISP closing it down.

I should have guessed the fairytale was a-withering when she turned up late. Not, in itself, a big problem, except my particular bugbear was and is tardiness of any kind. She sounded a bit peeved when I chivvied her up on the phone too.

First really disillusioning thing-everyone in the pub knew her, 'cause she part-time barmaided there. At the time this made her trade rather than gentry in my eyes (how innocent I was of the cruel ways of capitalism). Second disillusioning ditto-she had a big shaggy dog (the kind I don't like) in tow. And her boyfriend. To be fair her BF did go off and play pool, leaving us arty types to talk nonsense. But, y'know, somehow it just wasn't what I'd planned.

That's my story of true-life heartbreak (reworked, philosophically, as comedy). What's yours?

© Mike Morris