The Night That We Lost Helen

I mentioned this in Friday’s post and so many people have asked about it that I feel I ought to explain.

It was Spring 1991 and the band Pixies were touring their third (or fourth, depending upon how you count them) album, ‘Bossaova’. Curiously, they were one of the bands that my brother-in-law Pat hadn’t introduced me to that I was still enamoured with. Even so, it was Pat who had accompanied me when I first went to see them live, and Pat who I invited to come with me to see them this time.

Having invited Pat to come over from York to Manchester for the evening – and indeed weekend – it was only polite to invite my sister Karen to come with him, too. And that was where the fun began.

It must have been before Pat learned to drive, because they arrived by train. Which meant that I had to go and meet them somewhere, I think after they got off of the bus from the station. Helen had not come home from work at this time and I wasn’t expecting her for an hour or two. The plan was that she and Karen would wait at home, maybe rent a video and get a takeaway, until we males returned.

With this in mind I took Karen and Pat back to the flat, put their coats into our bedroom and showed Karen where things were. Then we left her to wait for Helen to come home whilst we went to see Pixies.

I don’t remember much about this show. We had to sell a spare ticket – bought for a French friend of Karen’s who then couldn’t come – to a tout. Pixies began by playing ‘Rock Music‘, and I remember the very end when the band returned to the stage after the house lights had gone up and everyone had begun to walk out. Black Francis simply said “Don’t you want to hear more, then?” and the band launched into their cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Head On‘.

The one other thing I remember was the bus journey home, with some students boasting to one another about how long they had managed to stand at the front of the stage for before being crushed and having to move back into the crowd. As someone who has usually managed to get close enough to the stage without getting crushed I found this highly amusing.

None of which prepared us for arriving home at around 11pm, to be met by a concerned Karen. Helen had not returned home.

I tried everything I could think of to find her. This was the time before mobile phones, so the options were limited. I called the branch of Sainsbury’s that she was working in at the time, but she was not there. I called those friends whose telephone numbers I knew, but no-one had heard from her. There was nothing for it but to go out and look for her along the route that she would have taken home.

But then I had an idea. I went into our bedroom and, sure enough, lying in the bed was Helen. Fast asleep, as she had been all evening. She had come home whilst I was out meeting the others, jumped into bed for a quick snooze – no-one ever liked a nap as much as Helen did – and simply hadn’t woken up when we came in. Which was understandable, as the bedrooms were in the basement and I hadn’t turned the light on when I threw the coats in there some five hours earlier.

Needless to say, she was very embarrassed. And another tale about her entered family folklore.


About Richard

Just your less-than-average married father of one
This entry was posted in Family, Happy Things, Music and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Night That We Lost Helen

  1. Ah – Helen and her naps!

    Karen says she remembers watching Hitman & Her, getting more stressed as the evening wore on!

  2. Pingback: Soppy Sarah | The Memory Blog

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