I had a feeling this week would be a good one, and it definitely did not disappoint. An amazing night at Tap, gorgeous weather, and another strong week of running, later rewarded by a very successful barbecue. After the previous tensions, this has definitely been the best week of the summer so far.
Fuelling the Warren Whip up for another round of lifts, I cannot lie in saying that I wondered if I was up for the second part to the Tap double-header. Recalling the daytime zombie I became last week, I cast a thought ahead of the coming week of fartlek training I had planned. Regardless however, I wasn’t in the mood to miss out; I had heard many people were attending this one.
The drive to the usual pre-drinks location on Jackson’s proceeded as normal: turn up the summer playlist, pick up Ethan, Rob, and Gianni, and then park on New Road. It was then we got out into the mild evening with the sun preparing to sink for the night, and made the trudge up to the very top of the hills where we sat down to meet Blaze, Brandon, Elysia, Lily, Jake, and later James Reader.
The atmosphere was unsurprisingly merry- partly because Blaze had initiated drinking already- and soon our considerably large group began talking away as the sky beamed rays of gold from behind the clouds.
It was another iconic scene. Under the setting sky, surrounded by the scenery of the towns in the company of good friends- it was a warming feeling, one that was particularly needed having left my coat in the car.
Our group ventured off into Weatherspoons where yet more familiar faces appeared. Like taking a glimpse back into M20, we walked into the pub’s outside area to find Rob Jones, KP, Connor Johnson, Robert Nikhwai, and of course, the unforgettable Andrew O’connell. It was completely unexpected, but a quite brilliant surprise to see them all, especially knowing how rare it is to see so many old faces in one place again. They’re a fine group of gentlemen, each with their own anecdotes to tell from their first year at university. We could have chatted the night away, but I had one eye on 10pm and the lower student entry prices. With many of the others upstairs, Rob Jones and I elected to slip in through the green doors before the prices went up- a testament to a whole year living on the cheap.
Once inside, I got the best surprise of the night. Within seconds of entering, it wasn’t long before I was in a spin hugging Brandon and Kiran breathless. It had slipped my mind that they would be attending, and what a surprise it was. The presence of some people can energise you for the entire night, and my mood was lifted beyond the heights of top floor when in their company.
The atmosphere inside and outside was ecstatic. Other than Blaze and Elysia getting turned away at the door, everything was shaping up to be one memorable evening. Absolutely everyone was floating around Tap this time, even these two, who picked me out while I was in the toilet.
I had no clue Frank and Michael would be coming, but it was another brilliant surprise to catch the two just weeks after they finished CGSB. Disappointingly, Joe wasn’t there to bask in the reunion, and then later on they both seemed to completely disappear, but I’ve got the premonition that there’s going to be one great night at some point this summer with all the focal figures of CGSB’s Japan crew.
Andrew was loving his first experience of Medway’s most beloved club, and as the night progressed he began leading us around all the rooms, including the R’n’B room that he christened as the ‘hip-hop room’. He even took us all the way to top floor, which is essentially one massive brawl to the melody of Drake, and we hit the dance-floor hard as one should. Contrary to everyone’s opinions, I still maintain that my favourite room in all of Tap is definitely the drum’n’bass room. There is no fat-burner like it. The music punches you into a seizure; there’s no room that has just quite the same impact. Each floor is unique in its own way, and of course I ended up on bottom floor towards the end for the bangers. Even if I did have to leave early, Brandon, Andrew, and I got up on stage to give it large on Will Griggs and Can’t Hold Us, two songs which never fail to fill the floor. As I took multiple elbows to the head, I thought of what a true marvel it was seeing the three of us up there. Who would have thought six years on from sharing German lessons that we would be jumping uncontrollably on stage at Tap?
These towns never cease to make me smile, and it was that kind of enjoyable night with the endless stream of banter from KP, Ethan, and everyone intoxicated on £1 drinks. Even James Reader managed to climb aboard the sesh train.
While the others danced away to the night’s final bangers, I left early to take Lily home, and dejectedly accepted that after all the shouting, I wouldn’t be hitting T&C Bomber’s high notes in the car for at least a few days.
As per tradition, we headed to McDonald’s once I came back for the others, and from our seats by the window saw the initial stages of sunrise. I was starting to feel the fatigue at this point, it wasn’t until we left Strood that I realised I was driving with the handbrake still on, but nevertheless soldiered on in the valiantly running Warren Whip to complete the rounds. Like last week, James Reader was my last passenger to drop off, and once I was alone, I took a moment to enjoy the beginnings of a brand new day. It had once again been a night that started and finished in daylight; one where I saw every shade of blue the sky had to offer.
Once home, I hit my bed. Hard.
I don’t know what possessed me to go for a run the following day, but I did and was much less of a mobile human by the end of it. Fartlek training is bad enough usually, it’s essentially controlled suffocation. From then on I felt lethargic and cranky, and so complemented the signs of old-age by slumping in an armchair and watching Wimbledon for the rest of the day.
A boost for the blog
Throughout the spine of the entire week there has been one revelation which I am yet to stop smiling about. It seems I wasn’t the only one who felt such a strong reaction after watching the Tokyo Girls documentary, as the attention my article received was quite frankly astonishing. I woke up one morning to receive a notification stating my stats were quite literally booming, and when I did check the figures to see the numbers climbing into triple figures I gasped in amazement. On Monday the popularity peaked at 501 reads from almost 400 readers, but the momentum has continued even now at the end of the week. On Twitter many people have commented and shared, and I’m so grateful to see such a response to something I had never expected to get noticed. As a result, I got to speak with many people regarding the matter, discovered Hello! Project Twitter (and what a discovery it was), and spoke to an actual idol about the documentary.
It’s immensely encouraging, and has motivated me to continue with new content on this blog. I am thus currently experimenting with different types of content at the moment, and hope to cover many different areas and audiences during the next academic year. Blogging is an amazement platform for reaching people, and it’s quickly becoming one of my main targets from September.
Barbecue on a candle-lit night
Once the Tap fatigue had eventually worn off, I was back in Chatham with Gianni, Ethan, and Rob ahead of a night in at the vacant house of Ethan’s nan. We first headed to ASDA ahead of our long-planned barbecue for supplies: burgers, sausages, crisps, salad, all that was needed for a chilled night in.
Having grabbed the last bag of coal, we lit each corner, and revelled as the fire breathed the night into life. With the burgers and sausages sizzling nicely, the boys cracked open a few cold ones while I treated myself to a nostalgic glass of Ashbecks.
As the night descended, all of the fairy lights woke up in their various colours alongside the glowing candles around us, and we sat amongst a truly gorgeous backdrop. It was there I thought, with good mates, food, and music, this was the summer I had long been waiting for.
I feel revitalised by all the positive ongoings around me this week. At last I’ve been able to relax, especially when there’s Wimbledon and the F1 to give us something to watch, alongside beautiful weather outside creating a veil of gold over each sunset. At the weekend I managed a new PB for my 10K route of Hollingbourne, and have kept up my diet well despite the odd barbecue here and there. I still wake up every morning excited at the prospect of breakfast.
So for the time being, while life’s good and stress is at its lowest, all we can do is enjoy it while it lasts. We never know what’s around the corner; but for the time being, next week looks as if it may very generously offer more of the same. Can I manage a hat-trick of Tap nights though? I’m not quite so sure; after two I was sleep deprived, my voice box damaged, and my lungs were blacker than a goth’s wardrobe. There’s more to summer than just the nights out, and so let’s see what adventures await us in the coming days.