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Friends and flatmates

Friends and flatmates

Yesterday I spent two hours Zoom chatting with girlfriends I lived with in Canada some 30 years ago. A proper old friend chat where it felt like no time has passed and no topics were off limit.

It made me think of the fantastic flats and flatmates I’ve enjoyed over the years, and the TV share houses that paralleled my own experiences.

The hovels …

The Young Ones was a cult hit in the early 80s. Although the series was ahead of my time at uni, the hilarious similarities struck home. As an impoverished student living on next to no money, our share house was a sweet but sadly neglected cottage. Unfortunately for our neighbours, it was also the worst house on a great street, in an affluent suburb.

I loved my flatmates and this little house. Loved it! Despite the mushrooms that grew wild from the carpet when it rained, the wind that howled through in Winter and the angry front yard magpies who swooped us relentlessly. We had a flamboyant flatmate who often blew pooled grocery money on fresh blooms instead of fresh food and a haughty cat, who barely tolerated any of us. We laughed hard and often and were genuinely happy in our hovel haven.

This wild life…

My favourite TV share house was a rambling and slightly derelict South London terrace; home to the cast of  BBC show This Life. The show mirrored my own life at the time. Unreliable flatmates, dramatic work colleagues, poorly thought out boyfriends, fledgling careers, too much booze and way too many hangovers. The commonplace misadventures of new graduates finding their place in the world.

A Brit pop soundtrack and shambolic terrace fuelled the adventures and reminds me of my own London life, way back in the day! I am overdue to rewatch this series — if you haven’t already seen it, make it a project for this down time.

No discussion about killer share houses can be complete without mentioning Friends Rachael and Monica’s New York digs — a quirky but classic West Village apartment. The apartment, almost another character as the setting for important life events while it played home to almost all at some stage.

I had a share house like this. An old terrace where friends moved in, moved out, paired up, broke up (or broke down) and where we all ‘grew up’, before eventually moving out.

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This 100 year old house hosted parties, birthdays, frequent unplanned sleepovers, Easter and a divorce party amongst other things. Our place provided a home for many and temporary refuge for others, with the door always open.

I’ll always think fondly of my years as a flatmate. Lifelong friendships forged within those old walls, unbreakable and unshakeable bonds we still share decades later.

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