Saturday, October 23, 1982

Question your spoons

I'd been intending a quiet night in doing work but as ever, I got embroiled in more after dark madness.

I nipped down to the Westway Loop Bar, bought a bottle of cider, and ended up at a party at No. 13 Rousseau, which was crowded but sedate, people standing about talking in groups, etc. I climbed out of the window to look for Alex who'd gone off somewhere with Downstairs Ian and a few others. I ran along dark paths and cut my hand trying to climb back in through another window, looking in on the brightness and people smoking. I eventually managed to get in, but nearly killed myself in the process. Then everyone left for Wollstonecraft's second-floor kitchen for hot-knives. Alex did the honours, shouting “Who’s next? Black? Leb? Rocky?”

I can’t now remember the exact sequence of events and rooms: everything weird and unreal. . . .  Downstairs Ian out of his head (on mushrooms I think), creeping around under the table while we creased up, in Alex’s room helpless with laughter at nothing at all, Pete gibbering insanely and singing "Ooh look, there goes Concorde again!” in a shrill and incessant tone while Alex opened and closed an umbrella he’d found on the train. It all got so out of control that it got slightly frightening.

Some ape in headband and specs from Taylor started dropping bottles out of the window so we told him to fuck off, but minutes later he returned donned up in denim jacket and studs and carrying a huge chain, acting casual as if asking for a cigarette. I threw a spoon at him. Downstairs Ian rushed in and out of Barry’s room, each time more insane than the last . . . I got a brief glimpse of Rowan’s frightened night-clad figure cautious at her doorway. Shelley came in to the kitchen later, stern-faced and silent. We kept the entire corridor awake, I'm sure.

I've spent the (sunny!!!) day recovering, and now it's teatime I'm starting to perk up again. All these pages and pages of script. To what purpose?

Friday, October 22, 1982

Snake boy

My frenetic life-style continues. I didn’t bother going to bed at all last night.

Unreal in the early hours, Rowan, Pete, ‘spiky’ Stu and I fooling around in the kitchen, Pete being his usual irrepressible, ludicrous self, saying he wanted to marry Rowan. Gradually I saw her fascination grow: she never took her eyes off him and kept saying he was “evil” and calling him a “snake boy.” We started to really take the piss but she couldn’t see it and instead tried to hide behind me, saying “Stop him, Paul, he's a tempter.” She was transfixed.

Pete, Rowan and I ended up in her room. I could see a great internal battle going on within her as she took off her jewelry and sat next to him, trembling, running her fingers through his hair and squeezing his arm, one red-stockinged knee visible beneath her bunched-up skirt. It was so obvious and so open. “I want you to go but I don’t want you to” she kept repeating and Pete looked at me in disbelief. He was torn too, I could tell. Eventually, with great willpower, he left and Rowan and I talked for half-an-hour.  “I'm so grateful to you for your moral exemplitude” she said. “Girls romanticise it but underneath they want it just as much as boys.” I’m sure – certain in fact – that in the same situation I’d have been a hypocrite and just gone ahead and—but who knows?

I left and went into the kitchen where Pete was still mind blown by the night’s events. We went to LifeLine and talked to the girlfriend of an ex-Hells Angel who told us about initiation ceremonies and murder by sulphuric acid and showed us her wounds where her boyfriend cuts her. . . . Too much, on top of everything else.

Back at Wollstonecraft we played table footie and talked as dawn broke, alive to the rush of rain. I stayed awake just long enough to see Rowan up once more and to drink a breakfast cup of coffee before crashing out at nine.

I'm really fucking myself over. It's 2.30 p.m. now and I’ve been awake half-an-hour. . . .

A kind of shocked convalescent mood permeates the hard grey days, everyone dying on their feet before reviving by nightfall to spend hours boozing or smoking dope, finally succumbing to fatigue in the small hours. Barry spewed up down the wall in the bog last night. “The road of excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom.” Ha Ha Ha.

Thursday, October 21, 1982

A splash of colour

I spent the early hours of the morning talking to Rowan in her room. She asked me about my love life (I lied through my teeth) and although at first it seemed normal, she told me to "stay awhile" and then began to take off her jewelry, etc. . . . My heart started to thud furiously. Looking back it was silly.

Nothing remotely interesting happened after I got up except being in Pete’s room listening to A Splash of Colour (bland crap) with Fabian from upstairs, he of the psychedelic high-necked shirts, tight black trousers, pointed shoes, braided Sgt. Pepper jacket.

Wednesday, October 20, 1982


I'm ashamed to admit that I didn’t go to bed until 4.30. I woke up at 2.30 p.m. once more. It’s not as if I did anything exciting.

I’ve felt very depressed and down today. At teatime I sat in the kitchen and talked with Rowan (she's Scottish, petite and dark, and seems quaintly domesticated). She stared at me as we talked, her eyes deep and fathoming as if she was analysing me, and she has this habit of talking in a very general way and then, suddenly, swooping in to ask a direct and penetratingly deep question. She said I was “witty.” I ended up feeling quite the manic depressive.

The day has been dark and gloomy both inside and out. I think I will—I must!—leave campus tomorrow. I’ve been incarcerated here since a week on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 19, 1982

I'm a cliché

I’ve just been down and wasted £1.00 on the pinball machine in the Common room.

I didn’t get up until one today, the day virtually gone again already. Just like yesterday, I went to the library but because of weakness and indecisiveness I didn’t do a thing. I'm really overwhelmed by my essay in philosophy: I can’t do it! Instead I went and bought two books, The Portable Mark Twain (we have to read “Huck. Finn” plus short stories for next Monday), and The Portable Thoreau (for “Walden”)

Given my pitiful habit of sitting round in the kitchen ALL the time I can’t help inadequate thoughts. This now sounds horribly familiar, like a recurring nightmare-echo from the past (There's so much I should be doing. I’m letting it slip me by!) I have to go out into Watermouth, out into the countryside, force myself into different situations.

I imagine getting involved in some political group but I’m always haunted by doubts and fears which stops me. I imagine myself this horrible clichéd poser saying No! This is not the way it should be! Then I imagine myself quietly reading, and get bedeviled by feelings of isolation.
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