Friends. Always there as a constant source of support, love and companionship. What would we do without their warmth and their honesty? A complete stranger might think you're an arsehole but it's only a true friend that definitely knows. It is an honour to be relied upon by friends and relying on them, for me, is a constant feature of life. I'm sure it's great being a millionaire but if I had money yet had no friends to talk about the next Avengers film with then I'd have nothing. I realise some people have both £1,000,000 and friends but some have neither. I think that's a good enough reason to appreciate the friends I've got and I do. I truly love them. Not only do they make me happy they also help me, influence me, back me up, stop me and guide me. My friends fall into two categories: people I listen to and people I should have listened to. And my heart soars no higher than when a friend shares their life and stories and laughs with me. This all probably seems very obvious but, of course, I never say it out loud. If I have anything at all, then it has been given to me by the people I know well and love. And I love them for all those reasons.
Well, not just those reasons. I also really like it when they make twats of themselves.
Comradery is fine and everything but not much beats that explosion of joy you get seeing one of your friends fuck it all up. Dave being sick in his shoe, Clare falling into a hedge, Alan crying. These are all moments we live for. At a young person's discotheque, I persuaded my friend Dan to ask a woman to dance with him. It took some time as Dan was convinced it would be pointless as he couldn't dance. "I'll fall", he whined. "I'll definitely fall". He might be shit at dancing but he's not going to fall. "I will", said Dan but after some friendly, supportive shouting from me, he got the courage to go over to the woman, ask her to dance and then he hit the dancefloor. Literally. He'd barely danced a step when his head was on the ground. Leaving a very confused woman who he'd known for seconds just standing there, Dan hit the deck like a sack of iron spuds in a led balloon made of iron spuds. He fell like Peter Griffin falls. BAM! I realise that there's supposedly some joy in having a child and seeing it for the first time but is it as good as seeing someone you care for look like a hopeless big useless twat in front of everyone? I mean, HE HIT THE GROUND! It was like dancey dance BAM! It was brilliant.
And that's why we have friends. They give us these moments. Moments when they seem to just look at you and say "Don't worry, old chum. I'm not going to let you be the world's biggest dick anymore" and they discard all dignity for you. THAT is a friend. And just last week, I realised what a friend I had in Margaret.
Margaret, the least popular one in Do The Right Thing, is very dear to me. Very few people make me laugh as much as she does so you can imagine the joy I had when I saw her on the tube last week. I was on my way to a gig in God knows where. Bag packed and ready to drag my corpse to a comedy club for two nights in a row of being stared at and cruelly tolerated. I shuffled with the commuters, collapsed myself onto the escalator and went down, down, down passing Hell and furthering on to the underground platform. It's the travel that ruins the job of a stand up comedian. Leaving home, dicks on trains, the solitude of hotel rooms. Every weekend, every year. So the thought was depressing and when the doors of the tube train opened and I saw Margaret sitting there, the world was in colour again. I was so happy. Unexpected Margaret! My friend Margaret. Exactly what I needed when I needed it. A direct adrenaline shot of elation into my heart.
Then I saw that she had her finger right up her nose.
"Ha ha ha ha", I said to Margaret, who still hadn't seen me. "Get that thing OUT of there".
I said it loudly. Of course I did. I said it loudly to surprise her and to let EVERYONE else around her know that she was picking her nose in public. She is my very good friend and therefore it is my duty to howl with laughter and point when she let's herself down slightly. One of my favourite people in the world and therefore I must belittle her at a time when she was only belittling herself slightly. She is picking her nose on public transport and so I must make her as embarrassed about it as I possibly can because she is my friend. "Ha ha ha ha", I said. "Get that thing OUT of there". And, to really make my point clear, I whacked her on the hand and knocked the offending finger out of the innocent nostril. Still laughing, I looked at her face to see how mortified she looked and...
She wasn't Margaret.
The doors closed behind me and now I was on a moving train with dozens of commuters and a woman I had laughed at, shouted at and now slapped.
These are the treasured moments. These times are why we live. Our friends at their worst, making us feel our best. They're not just there to share stories or to remind you you're being thought of. They're there to laugh at because they're fucking idiots. Our idiots. I got off the train and immediately contacted Margaret and told her what happened.
I am a really good friend.