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I was 18 years old, I was in love, I knew what I wanted to do with my life, and I was about to leave home and move to London, just 27 miles from Southend, but it felt like the sun: beckoning, bright, exciting and terribly far away. My optimism was nothing to do with the Queen or the Silver Jubilee street parties. I had just taken my A-levels – English, politics, and drama and theatre arts – but had not yet had the results.
I’d taken my exams seriously, spending too much time revising and not enough eating.
The summer of 1977 was a high point in my life, a K2 of denim jumpsuit-clad sessions spent doing the bump with my best friend Karen Williams to the soundtrack of Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life.
I felt I was on the cusp, and that anything could happen. But by the end of this momentous year, my dreams and aspirations had been dashed.
The gang turned up, including Peta’s new friend, a handsome boy called Alan Paveley.
He was the first to arrive, and my poor mum, still baking, had sent him away.
We were always trying to get her to invite us to her home, in case he turned up. As part of my A-level course, I had just played Felicity in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound. ’ It’s a very funny play, but on the first night, in front of a large audience that included ‘the gang’ (I never told my family I was in a play), our leading lady started vomiting, so her place was taken by an understudy – a shy, untalented girl who walked around woodenly, reading from the script.
I got the giggles, which my far more actorly friends called ‘corpsing’. I didn’t know it then, but that was the last time I’d laugh like that for decades.
He looked like a young Roy Kinnear and wore white Marlon Brando T-shirts, bright red Kickers and perilously low-slung Levi’s.
With no motivation other than wanting to be close to him, I’d joined their amateur dramatics group.
She was going to make something of her life, not be a drudge like her mum, who’d had seven children and no career. Chris, who would get cast in a TV sitcom within the year, and find fame in movies and on stage, was older than the rest of us.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating