In what sometimes seems like another lifetime, I lived for about 18 months in Edinburgh, staying at a youth hostel. While the population at a youth hostel is mostly transient, there’s more often than not a group of people who are using it as a base to live, while they save some money to fund the next portion of the trip. And through some weird timing mechanism, this population seems to move on in groups, so as one set of people leave, another group arrives.
I turned up right in the middle of one of the transitions, and built a group of friends aka drinking buddies. I scored a series of crap jobs that funded trips to the pub and food, which was basically what life consisted of. Naturally, if you put a group of under 25 year olds in the same building for any length of time (eg more than one hour) relationships start to form fairly quickly, and with a level of fluidity.
After I had been at the hostel for a few months, I noticed a girl who had returned to the hostel after travelling around Europe (who it turns out, left the hostel the day after I arrived, and who’s going away party I had been invited to, but declined). I was going on a quick trip to Paris, as you do, so I didn’t pay a massive amount of attention, but my interest was definitely piqued. In any case, I returned from Paris, and over the next few months we got to know each other fairly well, but only in a good friends sort of way.
One day I, against all previous history, entered a radio competition to see Crowded House in a special show being put on by Radio Forth. I scored two tickets, so I asked this girl if she wanted to go along. She’d never really heard of the band, but a free ticket is a free ticket, so she came along. We went to the show, which turned out to be in a tiny little pub, and there was only about 50 people in the room. The band had played a show in Glasgow earlier that night, and were driving to Edinburgh to play this special show.
Side Note: while we didn’t know it at the time, but as far as I can work out the Glasgow show was the last show that Tim Finn played with the band as a regular member, leaving the band that night, so they travelled to Edinburgh as a three piece again!
In any case, they put on a typically wonderous show that night for more reasons than one. With the magic ingredient of music, it turned out to be my first date with Caren, who I have since married and had two wonderful children with.
And on Friday night, 16 years, 2 weeks and 1 day after that first date, we saw Crowded House for the second time.