I spoke to my best friend last night….

…out of the blue. It doesn’t happen so much these days, but it used to, all the time.

In fact there was a time when we hardly went a day without nattering, especially during long summers in our early teenage, watching videos of The Young Ones and Bottom, laughing hysterically for hours and hours and hours on end.

Oh yes, that’s why we spoke. Rik Mayall died yesterday. That mad lunatic with the flaring nostrils, peeping-Tom eyes, and the sweaty, sinister, perverted grin.

Those demented features are among the reasons we became friends in the first place. The first time I ever went round to his parents’ house was to watch Bottom. That discovery opened up a very surreal box of comedies: The Young Ones, Red Dwarf, Blackadder, The Fast Show, Reeves & Mortimer, and on and on…

It was the sick, disgraceful foundation on which our friendship was built. Our humour back then was pretty much a squeaky-voiced imitation of that assorted bunch of loons. But it was bloody funny.

That was 20 years ago. A lot’s changed, although I suspect our humour hasn’t developed a great deal since then. It was set, like jelly poured into a mould of a large pair of breasts, at  a very crude level.

I had to cut short the conversation with my best friend, because I had work to do. I’ve got two deadlines looming in the next couple of days; pretty dull bread-and-butter stuff.

Rik Mayall dying so before his time has made me think, sadly, of a time when I had no deadlines, no tax returns, no bills, no endless journeys to chase down scraps of work. No debt, no ties, no complicated plans, no politics, no juggling, no worrying about the future or anxt over the past.

I’m not saying it was perfect back then. I had my troubles: spots, homework, nobody fancies me, nobody like me etc. etc. (just ask my best friend).

But at least we had The Young Ones. And Bottom. And the time to watch them, and the time for each other: hours and hours, and hours on end.

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