Dirty old river, must you keep rolling

“As long as I gaze on, Waterloo Sunset, I am in paradise.” – The Kinks, Waterloo Sunset

After talking about Streets of London just two days ago, I began remembering a trip I took to London in 2007. The trip cost me a friendship, but clearly not one that was worth having. So in retrospect, I gained the memory of a broken friendship to the tune of The Kink’s Waterloo Sunset, in exchange for a poor friendship… let’s call it a win. Although a close one, he was a good friend for a while.

“People so busy, make me feel dizzy, taxi light shines so bright”

He was my age, but his girlfriend was 2 years younger. She came to study at the same university as us when she turned 18, a nice girl. They made for a horrible couple, but they were nice people. For a year all three of us were at the same university at the same time, so I became friends with her as well. He even called me up during a semester he was abroad because she was going through a stage of depression and wanted to see if I knew of anybody who could help. Like I said, we were good friends.

But I am so lazy, don’t want to wander, I stay at home at night”

2007 came along. I was finishing university, he was already working and she had just left to study in London her third year of college. I didn’t have too many classes and had flexibility to travel every now and then, so one day we were talking and agreed that I’d go visit her. All fine and dandy. I book the flight, get ready for the trip and get a call from her the day before saying that perhaps it’s better if I don’t stay with her because my buddy, the “he”, thinks it’s not a good idea. Lovely…

But Terry and Julie, cross over the river, where they feel safe and sound”

So having been fucked over by not one, but two of my friends (because let’s face it, when your partner’s being a dick, sometimes it’s best to tell them “stop being a dick, he’s just sleeping on the couch”), I called up a good friend I had in Bournemouth. I asked him if I could catch a bus and stay with him for a few days instead. On a day’s notice he said “sure, no problem” and I spent a few days visiting Bournemouth and getting plastered with his friends. That actually was lovely.

“Millions of people, swarming like flies ’round, Waterloo underground”

– 7 years later: I don’t know what’s become of him. I get the occasional email from her. They’re not together… and I just spoke to my buddy from Bournemouth last week even though we’re an ocean apart.

– My thoughts today: I was happy with the girlfriend I had at the time. They both knew that. All I wanted was a couch to crash. To visit a friend. And to visit London. After that, salvaging that friendship would have been a waste of time. I think.

“But Terry and Julie, cross over the river, where they feel safe and sound”

The funny thing is my friend, the “she” this time, felt so bad she insisted on getting together in London before I left for Bournemouth. I agreed, so I went to pick her up at her apartment. Which was conveniently located, at Waterloo Station.

“Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station, every Friday night “

12 thoughts on “Dirty old river, must you keep rolling

  1. First:
    Love The Kinks.
    Second: I loved visiting London.
    Third: My GF is English
    Fourth: “After that salvaging that friendship would have been a waste of time. I think.”
    I love this quote, because I have been there.

    Fifth: I love British Bands from the Sixties.
    Zombies: “She’s Not There”

    Shameless Promotion follows.
    But I think it apropos:
    “She’s Not There.”


    Cheers Mate!

    • I’ll follow suit for the sake of clarity…

      1- I agree The Kinks are great. I’m surprised by the number of people that don’t know them by name, but then say “oh, yeah…” when you mention or mumble a few of their songs. Love the kinks.
      2- London is incredible, I’m glad my trip in 2007 (which ended up being my trip to Bournemouth…) was only one in four.
      3- If you’ve got a British gal then I know you’re having a blast, congrats!
      4- Glad you liked the line. I once mentioned this story to a British friend and he said “if a bloke’s a mate, then he’s a mate, if he’s not acting like one then he’s just another fucking bloke”. I couldn’t agree more…
      5. Great song! I don’t recall having heard it before and it’s very catchy. I love the video from your post with the the girl laying on the sofa in the background.

      No shame in shameless promotion, I liked the post! I had to look up a few of the terms (starting with “about face”!) but your post reads really well and you tell the story like it were yesterday. Great post!


  2. Definition of a (true) Friend: someone you call when you’ve got a problem and the first thing they say is ‘How Can I Help?’
    Definition of a (fair weather) friend when asked the same question: ‘That’s a shame.’
    You were only asking for a couch to crash, no major issue, and if it had been us, a friend would not have needed to ask, it would have been a given.

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