“The Claremont Clan – that’s what we students who lived at the Claremont Hotel on St Michael’s Road in 1986 called ourselves. There was no student accommodation and so we media students based there (Mike Kirkup, Tracy Audrain, Dominic Ormson, Julian Williamson, Rob Wickings, Richard Drew) hung out with folk from other courses – see photo from our day trip to Poole Harbour.
“Everywhere I went, I took my precious ME Super Pentax, bought second hand in 1986 for £120. I wanted to have a decent camera because our course included photography taught by deep-voiced Frank Matthews-Finn – one of the best lecturers. On the bus to Salisbury one Saturday morning, I sat next to Julian, my precious camera wrapped in a carrier bag as I was terrified of getting it wet. As the bus rattled on, Julian asked if I needed the bag. Before I could answer, he grabbed it and promptly threw up into it – he’d had a heavy night ‘Upstairs at Wally’s – the student bar.
“Saturday trips out were rare. The day usually involved a journey closer to home – Carrefour supermarket in town where traditional hangovers could be nursed with pie, chips and beans for 69p. That meant you could get away with toast for tea back at the hotel and not have to endure the horrid evening meals that were part of your student accommodation deal.
“Friday nights were spent going to college gigs. One of my favourite evenings was a John Otway gig where, using that precious camera, I took some great photos. Living by Winton Banks, we’d stop off at the Barclays cashpoint on our way into college for a gig. You took out a fiver and it lasted all weekend. Once I nudged Julian Holmes’ hand and he pressed the £200 button by mistake. What to do with all that cash on a night out? Luckily, I had a locker by the squash courts so we stashed it there, praying it wouldn’t be nicked. It wasn’t. Julian still goes on about that. Apart from a degree, Bournemouth was the cornerstone for lifelong friendships, enjoyed for over three decades and, hopefully, many more years to come.”