Yesterday afternoon I was at my desk at work contemplating what I might do with myself for the evening when I checked my phone and saw I had a missed call and a message. Checked the message- a number I didn't know. Opened the message and it said; "Guess who? I'll be at the Dickens between 5 and 8 if you want to catch up for a drink' I let out an audible WOO HOO! My dear old friend, Michael has finally moved back to Melbourne after many years living in Prague. Evening sorted! I caught the tram down as far as Elizabeth & Collins and walked the short distance to ye olde Charles Dickens Tavern and went downstairs. Nothing ever changes in that place and it's like sliding backwards in time whenever I go there. Incidently, I only ever go there when I'm catching up with Michael- he and the boys would always go there to watch the soccer. I used to go with them to perv on the English backpackers until I realised they had an IQ the same as their shoe size. Anyhoo, I wandered around the crowded room looking for my Mikey boy and couldn't see him or any of the group I assumed he had also contacted for a catch up when I felt a hand on my shoulder and there he was! We hugged for ages as we couldn't believe we were finally seeing one another again. Mikey is one of the most good hearted people I have ever met. There is no edge or meanness to him whatsoever. I've never seen him lose his temper or shout at anyone. I've seen him brooding and ruminating over things that have upset him, but have never witnessed him losing the plot.Mikey smokes a lot-perhaps he's found his peace and centre of the universe in nicotine. His version of 'in with love, out with anger'. Mikey is smart. He can speak on most subjects and is never boring. He has an amazing knowledge of history and can discuss most areas regarding this topic. His university asked him to do honors in history but he declined because 'he couldn't be arsed'. Hardworking,generous,kind and relaxed. I think deep down he's always been a great hero of mine. We met in 1988 at a club called the Beehive which was held at the Carron Tavern in West Melbourne and initially bonded over our love of independant music, mainly the Smiths and eventually a plethora of other bands which generally all hailed from the UK. Mikey's true musical love is Northern Soul and I lost him for about six months whilst he was trying to infiltrate the mod scene in Melbourne After purchasing an old Vespa, a tailor made Italian mohair suit,expensive shirts,shoes and pants, he gave up trying because "most of them were fucking tossers". He does look rather fetching in his mohair suit although I'm pretty sure his Vespa is probably still rusting away in his parents' backyard. He's now back here in Melbourne after a long time and I for one, am extremely happy. Knowing full well he's a man with wheels on his feet, it won't be long before he's thinking of where he wants to be next. He's talking about Africa and the work he's been involved with in the last year working with non government groups. He wants to go there and help start a school and teach english there. I can't help feeling a bit selfish and secretly wishing he'd find something here but you can't fault or deny his ambition and desire to go elsewhere. It's a good way to think and I hope his self belief and enthusiasm for higher places rubs off on me. A good night was had, drinking beers and catching up on what's been happening although it feels as if no time has passed and it had only been a couple of weeks rather than a couple of years. A few weeks ago, I caught up with another old friend, Jim and had the same experience. I guess that is one of the meanings of true friendship; time can pass and things happen but you can come together and pick up where you left off. I'm finding a great comfort in that.