In 1991 I was living over an Indian takeaway in the Holloway Road with two fellow Yorkies; on the whole they were desperate times, sharing a maggot-infested room with a plank for a toilet door, but getting free popadom when we paid our rent on time (which was rare). One night, hearing The Prodigy were playing at the Rocket in UNL (as it was then), after a few drinks and possibly illicit substances we decided to attend. Somehow my friends convinced me that the tiny shorts I had on would be perfect for a rave, so off we went. Naturally the bouncers, seeing the state of us (and in particular me in my shorts), wouldn’t let us in. Not to be deterred, we sneaked round the back, climbed a few walls, and at one point- confronted by a wide gap between two roofs – ran as fast as we could and… jumped.
Let’s freeze there, midway between two north London roofs, above a drop to concrete that would certainly have killed us. 24 years old, single, barely a penny to our names, working as computer cleaners, desperate, angry but still young. Sometimes I wonder: if I’d misjudged the gap and fallen to my death, would anyone have noticed?
A pointless question: we made it. We flew.
Once on the other roof we sneaked through a window and a minute or so later having charged through a series of corridors fell out on stage, where The Prodigy were performing their set: me in shorts like a Yorkshire version of Bez, skint, buzzing, and 24. We made it.