Memories of Gav

Created by Gus one year ago
Dear Gav, I can’t remember exactly when we first met, but it must have been sometime in September 1994, shortly after we arrived at uni. My earliest memories of life there are ones of culture shock and feeling like a fish out of water. The world of bedders, boaties, formal halls, and tea with the Master was a far cry from anything I’d experienced before. But soon after we got there, we met, and you were the first person I really clicked with.

The first thing we had in common, and the basis of our subsequent friendship, was, of course, our love of similar music. We’d both come up (you in your tight-fitting shirt and retro trainers, me in my baggy jeans and hoodie – both presumably sticking out like a sore thumb) carting crates of old records to our shabby rooms in neighbouring stairways in South Court. Someone must have tipped us off about this shared passion, or it came up some other way when we first met, because I can vividly remember nights soon after then spent staying up late, going through each other’s collection, exchanging stories and putting each other on to obscure records the other one hadn’t heard of. It was tremendously comforting to meet someone there with a similar niche interest to me. (I remember discovering early on that we both knew Gary Dennis from Crazy Beat Records and had spent many a weekend of our childhood hanging around his shop in Upminster.) It was the first thing that made me think ‘don’t worry about it; this is going to be OK. There are people here I can relate to.’

After that I have fond memories, from that year and the second one we spent living together in Barnwell, of rummaging through the charity shops of Cambridge with you (which rarely yielded anything that justified the effort); of getting up at 5 o’clock on Sunday mornings to go the Addenbrooke’s or Trumpington car boot sale in search of that elusive nugget of funk hidden away among all the dross (and almost always leaving empty-handed); of going to ‘bops’ and ‘sweaties’ at other colleges in search of like-minded ‘headz’ (only to come away banging our own heads at how crap it all had been); and of trying to organise alternative events of our own in the hope of ‘educating’ others (but it never really coming off).

Then I went away on my 3rd year to Germany, and by the time I got back, you’d already graduated and moved on. I probably only saw you half a dozen times after that, and now I’m truly sorry that I didn’t make more of an effort to stay in touch. But I’ll never forget you, and you’ll always be a big part of my memories of the 2 years we spent together in Cambridge. Rest in peace, my friend.