This is a true story. We’re in East London, early Eighties, I’m 15. I really like Laura. She’s arty, graceful, smart, cool. Out of my league. We go to drama club. She dances to a song, I’m mesmerised. So I go off to the record shop to buy it. Derek’s Records, Walthamstow Arcade. “It goes dooo- do-dooo … I think it might be Dire Straits.” Derek laughs. “No mate, that’s Lou Reed. Walk On the Wild Side.” He sells me the single. I love it. A few days later I go back for the album, with money from my paper round. So I take Transformer along to drama club and leave it on the side. Devious, eh? Laura sees it. “Whose is this?”
Cue nervous cough. “Yeah, mine actually.”
“Do you like Lou Reed?”
“Yeah, have done for ages.”
We walk to the bus stop together. We catch the bus. We talk about music. We live near each other. The next Saturday morning, Laura asks me round to listen to music. We listen to Aladdin Sane. The next Saturday, Joy Division. On it goes, Saturday after Saturday in her front room. I love being with Laura, talking music.
So finally, as summer comes, I pluck up courage. Just as I’m going, outside her front door, I say: “Will you go out with me?” (Actually, in my nerves, it all sort of runs into one. “Willyougooutwivus?”)
The sun shines. Birds sing. Buses go past. Laura smiles. Laura laughs.
“Why would I do that?”
I feel sick. I never see her again.