These people are amazing.
I've been to Blackpool before - amazingly, by choice. Not so surprisingly, with this group.
I wish I could tell you who this group are. But this is meant to be anonymous. What I can tell you is that we have been through over ten years of mutations, deviations, revolutions, dissolutions and reconstitutions. And through it all, we have remained a group, with a very solid core - the same four people who keep coming back. These four people have held it together when they can, and have often made it their solemn duty to be there, to paper over the cracks when they can. I am one of those four.
And we have had annual socials every year since 2002. Wales, Nottingham, York, Loughborough, Manchester, even Florida... you name it, we've done it.
This was our fourth social in Blackpool. As I stepped out of Farm Boy's car, a wave of nostalgia hit me and my memory lurched back eight years. Our second social. Blackpool 2002. This was a social fraught with sexual tension - although I was somewhat immune. One of our number, who happened to be in a relationship with another of our number (he does that, flicks through partnerships), was umming and aahing about yet another of our number (which all comes back to me - and I'll tell you about that some other time). Throughout the immediate successor, Manchester 2002, I spent a large majority of my time trying to keep his current relationship going. It worked, sort of.
Our third Blackpool social I can easily remember parts of. Blackpool 2006. We held it in two caravans. The "cool" caravan had me in it. The "loser" caravan had Farm Boy in it, along with Syren and a few other miscreants. I shared a bed with a boy with a huge penis (apocryphal, I've never seen it myself) and one of the girls in our caravan was clearly attempting to bed him. It was a fun, and interesting, trip.
But it's our second Blackpool social that really sticks out in my mind. I'll never tell anyone in the group this, not even the other three of the four that form our solid core. It was memorable for me for one reason, and one reason only.
I was only there for three days, and I masturbated twice every day.
I'm not sure on the reason why. I was on some sort of "sexual release is good for you" kick. It also helps that there wasn't anything else to do... Harry Potter 5 had been released the day it started, but I read that all in one go on the coach trip there (6 hours from London; I finished it in 5). There were some Evita CDs that the guy with the massive penis had brought, and James from me, but we'd listened to all of those. Barring the first-night trip to Pizza Hut - which is a tradition - and the sojourn to the Pleasure Beach that we'd planned (although I'd gone by that time), there really wasn't much to do, except chatting.
Not that I'm averse to chatting. I just took a little "me time" every day. Twice. It wasn't really obvious that I'd missed anything (apart from picking up clues that a gay relationship was occurring in our group; it was), and nobody really thought to ask that I'd gone, or where I'd gone, more to the point. I had people to contact on my mobile at the time, so that was the assumed intention of my trips out of the room.
And so that one sticks out in my mind. Friends, chatting, Harry Potter, Evita, James, pizza and daily orgasms. Well, it doesn't get much better than that.
Except this one was better. Without any orgasms. But shush!