Tuesday, December 30, 1980

Tuesday December 30th

A total nothing day, nothing achieved at all. The day was passed sitting in the dining room listening to records. Andrew’s Charlie Parker album is really good, and the two best atmospheric tracks are “Ornithology” and “Night in Tunisia.” There was that familiar feeling of impending doom because the amount of homework I’ve got is phenomenal (exaggeration really), but I have a lot. – Holidays pass by so predictably – get up late (eleven o’clock), sit about half dressed all afternoon in the dining room with radio on, have tea at five, and finally sit around watching TV all evening until midnight.

Tonight I watched ITN’s review of 1980 and also Ronnie Scott appearing courtesy of the “Jazz Series.” (Today Mum booked hers and Dads coach tour holiday).

Monday, December 29, 1980

Monday December 29th

I had a vivid dream last night – I dreamed that I gave Deborah and Claire their presents and also an incredibly vivid dream where I was being chased by West Indians in cars – it sounds ludicrous written in the cold light of day but at the time it was quite horrible – it ended up around the Main Library with people on fire and the hunted in the car (no longer me) being ambushed and riddled with bullets.

I got up at nine along with everyone else – Robert and Carol wanted to go early – and this they duly did just after ten o’clock. They were going home to drop off presents before thrashing across to Hull for the New Year. They seem to have enjoyed Christmas, which has been mainly a television watching, canned beer affair.

Andrew and I were going to go into Easterby but beforehand Andrew helped Dad ferry rubbish across to Shawridge-Lane dump. The, unbeknown to me, he ran him into Easterby. I had to go on the bus.

The journey took ages, and especially after Howden Road, the volume of traffic was incredible. Eventually however, almost on the stroke of midday the ‘bus pulled into Holdsworth Station.

I went immediately to Smiths, where I looked all round the book department, browsing through travel, astronomy, soccer, history and natural history books – I bought Dad a paperback about Glencoe for his birthday costing £1.25p.

Upstairs in the record department (good reductions on albums) I met Andrew, who bought two jazz albums by Charlie Parker and Dave Brubeck. (I was surprised to see, on the Smiths chart hoarding, that three Lennon singles are in the top ten – “Imagine” at No. 9, “Happy Christmas, War is over” at 4, and “Starting over” at 2).

In HMV, (I hadn’t intended doing) I bought an album – Joni Mitchell’s “Mingus” album, my twenty-third LP, the fourteenth of 1980. Some albums just ooze class, and this is one of them – it’ll take a while to really “get into” but I know I’m going to love it (the second side is the best, especially “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”). It cost me £3.99, and my true purpose for coming into Easterby (to buy school equipment) went out of the window.

We got home at three o’clock and spent the afternoon playing records – I really like Andrew’s Charlie Parker album.

Today, the Shuttle, plus SRBs and ET were rolled out at Cape Canaveral – scheduled launch date March 14th 1981, ‘though it’ll probably be late March-early April. Also, there was film of idiot Reagan calling the Iranians “barbarians” for demanding their rightful £10 000 million still in the USA. I detest the goon, and 1981 should be a real catalogue of classic mistakes, amusing if they aren’t so catastrophic.

Sunday, December 28, 1980

Sunday December 28th

The Times magazine had an interesting photographic review of the year 1980; all the famous names who’ve died is amazing – Tito, Lennon, Hitchcock, Beaton etc……..

I sat about in the dining room reading the ‘paper until after a cooked breakfast when, at about eleven, we all set off for Bolton Abbey. There was me, Robert and Carol in Robert’s Renault and Andrew, Mum, Dad and Nanna Peale in our car – it took us about an hour. The weather was quite drizzly and permanently overcast and soon we all rolled into Cavendish Pavilion car park. Bolton Abbey is permanently popular nowadays, there are always large crowds of “holiday-makers” even in poor weather. The place is so familiar and so popular, we always go there.

Leaving Nanna P. sat reading the newspaper in the car we crossed the bridge and went up the road to the lodge-house where we turned off for the Valley of Desolation. Robert and Carol hung back bird-watching (they saw a Goldcrest) and shortly we approached the Valley. The trees are superb around there, gnarled and like something from a Tolkien novel. Ahead of us rose the two bracken clad hills, topped with dark granite, and I decided that I wanted to climb them.

I soon left everyone else to carry on down into the Valley while I struck off the right, through the soggy bracken and peat and very soon I was climbing straight up the side. I was really tired by the time I reached the summit and after admiring the view I carried on towards the triangulation point 200 yards further over on the moor. The wind was quite strong and the views around were really impressive – black ominous moorland, with the sharp outcrop of Simon’s Seat away on the horizon, partly shrouded in mist. In front of me, the moor directly above the Valley was sporadically illuminated russet brown by the sun.

After wrestling with my cagoul and feeling quite out of sorts, at the trig point I plunged straight down into the Valley where I met up with Mum and Dad and, later, Andrew, Carol and Robert. We wandered back, wondering what the oak trees that were planted in April 1980 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the Yorkshire Rambler’s Association will be like in 50 years – I’ll be 66 then, in 2030, on about volume 100 of my journal!

We all had some tea in the Pavilion before returning at three. I felt rotten when I got home, a heavy pain above my left eye, deep in my head, which was really acute whenever I bent down. I eventually felt so bad that I went to bed, where I feel asleep, Carol waking me up at five thirty for tea.

I spent the evening lethargically either upstairs playing darts with Robert or downstairs listening to Hendrix. Later on, there was a programme on about visions between 1961-65 in some small Spanish village called Garabandal. This led on to a discussion, mainly between Robert and Dad about religion, todays alleged loose morals and the future in general and Robert was in one of his argumentative moods. I feel sorry for Dad – all his beliefs, and his principles are being undermined and flaunted nowadays – he despairs of mankind sometimes.

Neither me, Andrew or Robert believe in God – we’re all confirmed atheists – Andrew thinks like me that God-worship is so pagan and basically primitive and Robert says too that he just cannot come to terms with the entire idea. Dad however, says he does believe.

Tomorrow, Robert and Carol are going back home and Andrew and I are going into Easterby. I intend ringing Lee to ask if I can go down there to do my Art – I’ve thought a bit about that lot – I wonder if we’ll get together?

Saturday, December 27, 1980

Saturday December 27th

Totally boring day; unfulfilled. Continued reading my Asimov book. I got up late and sat around all day reading either my book or the paper – Athletic are still tenth after yesterday. When I got up, Mum, Dad, Carol and Robert had gone out – the former came back with N.P. at one or so. She seems in good fettle and just goes on for ever. She was telling me that her ambition was to see her grandchildren grow up and marry and now that Janet is pregnant, it is to see her kid grow up at least to be three or four. At this rate she’ll be around when it marries too!

That’s the sum total of my day. During late afternoon I listened to Hydebridge v Easterby on the radio – really tense – and they eventually drew 1-1 again after leading. They’re eleventh now. Terry Lewis scored, in the 18th minute.

What can I write about days like this? I felt no emotion particularly strongly, just a mood of indolent lethargy, devouring chocolates for the sake of eating, and waiting for time to pass. Sunday tomorrow already!

Friday, December 26, 1980

Friday December 26th

Got up late – everyone was up. The morning went pleasantly enough talking and reading in the dining room with everyone else. Dad is off for four days so he was in a really jovial mood.

As Mum and Carol prepared the dinner, Robert and Dad went out for a walk by the canal – I didn’t want to go, I don’t really know why. After they had gone the weather, which had been quite sunny, turned and it began first to hail and sleet heavily and then to snow. They came back after about an hour and after dinner we (Robert, Andrew and I) left everyone else watching “Zulu Dawn” and went to Cardigan Park.

We parked the car down Arkley Villas and walked on to the ground. We got quite a surprise when we got there because there were enormous queues into the stand and shed – we got in just as the whistle went. Moorwood Town were playing in blue and yellow and were really sharp; much quicker and seemingly more alert than Easterby. The pitch was muddy in the middle and soon it became a quagmire, catching players out as the ball got stuck in it. Moorwood had the better of the first half and several times Hudson had to save well.

Then, just before half-time, McArdle had a really good run up the middle eventually sliding over with a defender in the penalty area – a penalty! Garside rammed it home to the goalies right.

In the second half Athletic started better but soon things decayed again. The match was really hot-headed, many bookings and fouls and as we were stood amid loads of Town supporters it was almost like an away match. In the 61st minute Broome was sent off for kicking another player (Darren Ward) and that signaled the end of Easterby’s attacks.

From then on it was all Moorwood, virtual siege conditions which evoked memories of the Sheffield match. All around us stood Town fans and it was desperate to watch the huge melees of players falling over each other in Athletic’s half and shots whizzing in. Hudson was Athletic’s hero, and our other best players were Goldman and Redman.

Moorwood eventually (inevitably) equalised after 82 minutes through Miller, and the siege continued until the end. I remember hearing someone saying, in desperation that, “It’s like bloody Mafeking.” They were lucky to get a point.

I spent my evening in the dining room reading “Extraterrestrial Civilisations” by Isaac Asimov and watching a bit of television. I watched a brilliant programme about Falkland Island Rock Hopper penguins at teatime.

Next week I’ll have to make a start on my homework – Deborah and Lee Hoy come home tomorrow.

Thursday, December 25, 1980

Thursday December 25th

CHRISTMAS DAY!!! I awoke at eight – I say awoke, but actually I hardly slept a wink all night – the cushions downstairs felt really uncomfortable and the pillow hard.

I got up almost simultaneously with everyone else and after a cup of tea and bleary greetings we all trooped into the front room for the traditional Martindale Christmas present ceremony. All the presents constituting the pile under the tree were all handed out and when everyone had their piles complete we laid into them. I got three albums – “The Cry of Love,” “Steve Winwood” from Robert and Carol and “Birds of Fire” by the Mahavishnu Orchestra from Andrew. I also got shaving foam, razor and Brut from Robert and Carol, pens and pencils from Mum and Dad, a new bag from Mum and Dad and an ace Parker pen from Mum. From NP I got a shirt and also from Mum and Dad I got an Athletic scarf and a red tie. NB gave me £2.00 and a chocolate orange. The only regret was that I didn’t get one book, the first Christmas for years that this has happened. Robert got eight, Carol, Andrew and Dad got a few, yet I had nothing to read. As I watched Roberts infectious enthusiasm for bird watching, I really did miss not having a big thick Astronomy book to leaf through.

Everyone else seemed to like their presents and soon it was dinnertime. Dad was on at two, so today’s dinner will be done properly tomorrow.

My albums are brilliant, especially the Hendrix one, and I enjoyed playing them. George got a present from Carol and amazingly enough he pulled the paper off viciously when she gave it to him first thing – it was a furry ball with bell attached.

The weather kept breaking down into showers but at about two we all (except Mum) went out in the car to Keddon Moors. It was sunny when we reached there, but as soon as we got out the car the cold hit you. The wind was powerful and absolutely freezing cold. My ears were the worst, and the temperature was so low as we tramped up towards the trig’ point on Ainsley Hill that my jaw started aching. Standing at the ‘summit’ and we had a superb view all around; across Ridley Moors and over towards Easterby, with a spectacular stormy sky as backdrop. Keddon Moor is one of my favourite places of all.

We got home refreshed and spent the afternoon before the box, reading, eating, talking and drinking. In no time at all it seemed it was teatime and then into the evening, which I whiled away with Robert at dominoes. We watched “Airport ‘75” and it has been a good day really. Robert’s enthusiasm for birdwatching and things in general is really good to witness and pretty contagious.

Should be another lazy tomorrow (off to soccer again).

Wednesday, December 24, 1980

Wednesday December 24th

I didn’t do anything all morning until Robert and Carol arrived at about one o’clock, bringing with them all their presents and news that they’ll be able to move into their new house at Saxton in January. It is a brick-built, £16500 semi-detached with three bedrooms and a garden shed which is, according to Robert’s current enthusings, to be an aviary. They were both in usual good spirits and seemed to be looking forward to moving.

We passed the rest of the day talking; Andrew, Robert and I playing records and darts in my bedroom. Funnily enough, it didn’t really feel much like Christmas eve today – I suppose when you get older it loses a lot of its appeal. This year especially, I’ve been really cynical over the whole ceremony.

Nanna B. is wallowing in self pity – a person about whom we talked in the evening. This year, she hasn’t bought anyone anything (with the exception of “non-wage earners”) and Dad has been a bit upset. The reason, she claims, is that with her being only a poor old widow on a pension she’s hardly in a position to buy presents. Yet N.P is still able to spend £200+ every year, on exactly the same amount per week.

Tuesday, December 23, 1980

Tuesday December 23rd

Still felt ill this morning but I had to get up at eight because I wanted to go into Easterby with Dad and Mum. In the car I felt shivery and everytime I moved my eyes I got a searing pain in my head.

We got into the town centre at 9.15 and I went immediately down to Queensgate and W. H. Smith’s, where I spent the next forty-five minutes wandering around the book department feeling terrible. Predictably, I left empty handed and went up to Eastgate Centre Smith’s and also to Burtons to look for a jumper. No luck anywhere; on to Jones, William Street Market and SPCK bookshop before ending up at the second hand and antique bookshop opposite the bottom of Howden Road. There are some superb books there, and I eventually bought Dad a Marie Hartley book, “The Yorkshire Dales” for £4.00

Reinspired I went back into Eastgate where I bought Mum some chocolates (£1.20) and the two girls some choc’s (88p each) and then a black jumper from Burton’s for £5.99. Enough of the economics. I bought Hendrix “The Cry of Love” (£4.99) from HMV and made my way home, getting back about 12.15.

For the rest of the day I sat about feeling ill. At teatime I wrapped all my presents. Downstairs could be heard Mario Lanza singing carols – a new record Dad has bought. He really revels in the banalities of Christmas, wallowing in all the clichés. This year more than any other previously I’ve really noticed how totally CORNY Christmas is! The basic thing of presents and food is OK but all the decorations, Santas, television etc., is just so utterly predictable and cheap.

Had a bit of a discussion with Dad and Mum in the evening about how things have changed since they were young and about the “Generation gap.” We got on to promiscuity and VD eventually; I said how we (the ‘younger generation’) are underestimated morally.

Monday, December 22, 1980

Monday December 22nd

I felt absolutely terrible upon waking. My head throbbed, my nose was running and I ached all over – I kept shivering yet was flushed and hot – classic ‘flu’ symptoms.

And that’s all I did, sit around reflecting on Friday and the weekend while feeling really bad physically. Andrew and Dad went out to Easterby. I could only sit infirmly around.

Despite taking Hedex and Lem-Sips I didn’t get any better and felt worse if anything as the evening wore on.

I came to bed after watching “Sweeney” on ITV.

Sunday December 21st

Not so cold last night – awoke at nine. Outside it was cloudless, the sun catching the fells all around and making them really crystal clear. It was superb, and I was looking forward to getting out.

Robin and I arose, leaving Clough and friend in bed (it’s as it sounds!) – we had curried beans for breakfast, before getting ready and leaving by eleven.

The snow was really crisp, having frozen into an icy crust, and minute crystals sparkled in it as you walked. We made good progress, deciding on visiting some caves Robin had found last time he was up here.

We climbed quite steeply, following the track which runs up past the YH, before leaving and striking across country, up towards the foot of a rock face. Here the snow was really hard, frozen enough to support my weight without breaking. We climbed even more steeply, up among rocks and big boulders and the slope became so steep that I was a bit anxious at one point – a 1:1 gradient virtually, with the crust too hard for the boots to get a good grip. Crampons would’ve been advisable.

Wrong place, so we headed up to an old miner’s pumping station or water wheel full of rusting iron equipment before climbing a slag heap, from which there was a superb view across to the mountains beyond Coniston Water – way below we saw two adults and a kid and thought it must be them. We waved and they waved back, so we were certain. The cave here had collapsed, much to Robins annoyance (he must’ve said “shit” a hundred times) so we set off after the three, who we could see heading up towards Levers water. Down the hill we plunged, across the tributary to Church Beck and up the hill. We came within identification distance and it wasn’t them! We decided to follow them up to the reservoir, which is really picturesque, a flat grey sheet of water surrounded on all sides by towering, snow bedecked fells. From here the “Old Man” looked really impressive, towering above us like Everest.

We turned back and arrived at the cottage as a showery mist was descending. They were out and we soon had a roaring fire going. It was really comfortable, sat there supping coffee and playing Robin at Numbers Mastermind. We had another curried beans recipe for tea (well dinner as it was only two) and Clough, Hilary and Jill arrived back shortly after us.

We spent the rest of the afternoon sat by the fire, Robin and Jill playing Mastermind, me reading “Climber and Rambler,” the journal of the British Mountaineering Council. As dark fell, we went out and messed about with the sledge and had our teas (Cumberland Sausage and beans) before packing about six and leaving shortly after. I’ve lost one of my gloves.

We dropped Hilary and Jill off at Windermere (had a coffee) and then once more dropped in on B. Foster, where we were detained for the longest five minutes on record. He really is hospitable, and seems a good bloke. We finally escaped his over-generous clutches and were soon hurtling along the roads again, crossing and recrossing the cat’s eyes, touching seventy in places.

We had a pint at “the Malt Shovel” in Ridley, where they were all singing carols. I felt oddly out of place, conscious of my height more than ever before. I was glad to get out of that close, claustrophobic atmosphere at 10.30.

I was dropped off home at half-eleven.

Saturday, December 20, 1980

Saturday December 20th

Awoke shivering at half-eleven and was up by twelve. Robin made us a good breakfast; beans, sausages and coffee and after sitting around by the fire we went down into Coniston in the car, to buy some food.

Clough was going off to see his girlfriend (he’s married) so he dropped us at the foot of the track and disappeared. We walked briskly up to No 1, where we had some coffee before eventually setting off for a walk. The scenery around there is quite impressive – huge fells, white, speckled with black rock which enclose the valley on three sides. There is a youth hostel down there too.

We walked through the crisp snow to a mine shaft at the far end of the valley which sank into the hillside more or less horizontally. Robin donned his caving helmet and crude, home made lamp and plunged in – I was but [sic] more cautious because not only had I no headgear but the passage was full of water (about an inch or so). I didn’t want a repeat performance with my boots. We went in for 260 yards (Robin paced it out). The passage was about five foot high and had been blasted straight through solid rock. We were eventually stopped by the seam, which ran diagonally across our passage – at the intersection were two deep, water filled shafts.

After this, we walked up the hillside a little to the derelict housing of an old water-wheel, before striking across the hillside behind the cottages to a crag called ‘Long Crag’, from which there was a superb view across Coniston Water to the hills beyond. The whole scene was very misty (a low fret hung over the lake) and the entire village was spread out below us. After eating part of a “Yorkie” bar, we set off back, arriving ‘home’ as it was coming in dark.

After stoking up the fire and switching on some tapes of Pink Floyd “Animals,” Don Maclean and Kate Bush, we both sat down before the fire. There we stayed all evening; me reading various mountaineering magazines, Robin preparing the meal (a weird concoction of sausages, and a curry get-up) which was pretty good.

At around nine, Clough and company returned – ‘company’ being his bird Hilary Calhoun (twice divorced) and her nine year old daughter Jill. Before long, we were all out sledging and messing about in the snow. It wasn’t cold, and the hills were illuminated palely by the moon. The very first sledge ride I had I hurtled downhill and plunged straight over the bank, down six or seven foot and crunched face-first into the snow. I could’ve killed myself, because there were loads of large rocks down there.

We all came in after an hour or so and I went to bed at 11.05 p.m, not so cold this time because I wore a duvet jacket (I actually put more on to go to bed than I wore when up).

Friday December 19th

An air of resignation about today. First lesson was English with Mr Giles, but not unexpectedly he let us go after about a quarter of an hour. Lee, Duncan, Jeremy and myself helped carry microphones etc into the Girls Sports Hall while everyone else went up to the Common Room – when we got up there, the two girls were waiting. They gave us all a card and a present – making me feel awful. I didn’t know what to say. All I could manage was “You shouldn’t have.” From Claire we all got five different pencils, some felt-tips and some liquers and from Deborah one of those orange flavoured chocolate eggs. The next hour-and-a-half was spent really enjoyably, talking etc., with everyone. There was general amusement when, after Lee opened his felt tips, he discovered that two had no insides. They could hardly do a thing for laughing.

At eleven, Lee and Deborah went home to pack for the Bulgaria trip – we all paid our farewells, and it was tentatively talked about that we should all meet up after Christmas. (It was also discussed that we could go Youth Hostelling next summer).

We all sat around until about half-eleven when Robin Quinn came across and asked us if anyone wanted to go on a trip to the Lakes this weekend with Clough and him (Adrian Westcott having given backword) just to walk and generally mess around. I expressed interest, as did Claire, so at twelve we went down to the Design Block to see Clough. He said that it would be a bit awkward for a girl, as the rooms are mixed, and Claire seemed to go off the idea. He looked at us, one to the other, for ages and then said; “I suppose you two want to go together.” It must’ve been obvious what he meant because we both realised. Claire said that we were only friends and I said that there was no romantic involvement.

She laughed about it on the way back up to the sixth form block, and we all expressed amazement at the way teachers seem to expect promiscuity among youth whereas in reality it’s rare. She must have really stewed it all up in her mind, thinking her ‘reputation’ had been tarnished, for suddenly, after dinner (as we all discussed it once more) she burst into tears! I hate to see anyone cry, moreso her, and I felt really rotten. She went to the toilet and obviously cried in there, because she came out and her eyes were all red and watery. That really put a damper on things as far as I was concerned, for I felt strange all the rest of the day.

I told Claire she ought to go home and at about one, she went, pleading with me not to tell Clough why she didn’t want to go: “Say I haven’t got any boots.”

At half-past one, we all trooped across to the Sports Hall for another epic assembly, totally uneventful.

At two-thirty, I collected Robert’s radio and walked home through the snow (which didn’t settle) and sleet, and packed when I got home. Robin told me that he was taking loads of food so I took along a few tins of beans and things.

They were to call for me at five so I sat around impatiently all evening. Just after I got in at three, Claire rang up, again telling me to say that the reason she wasn’t going was a lack of hiking boots – it must’ve really worried her and upset her. I reassured her and said she had nothing to worry about.

Clough and Robin eventually arrived at nine o’clock after I had rung Robin up several times with classic lines like; “This is getting bloody silly” and “It’s inconsiderate of him.” In fact, I was on the verge of saying don’t bother when they came.

We got to Coniston at about midnight after a hairy car journey along pitch black roads. I spewed up twice, decorating the verges with my tea. We stopped at Staveley, near Windermere, to see a friend of Cloughs, Bren Foster, and his wife Linda. The bloke was a real loony mountaineering type, who I learned later, had been deported from E. Germany for being there without a visa. He had a really loud, extrovert laugh, but seemed a good enough bloke.

The roads and countryside were under snow, and the drive up to the Miners’ Cottages was really bumpy and icy (we had to get out once when the Renault got stuck).

I had a bit of a shock when we got in, for the place was quite spartan, freezing cold and bare stone walls and floor. There were no comfortable chairs anywhere and upstairs, the bunks had foam mattresses which were really damp. Robin and Clough had some baked beans to eat – I declined.

Soon however, we moved through to the members’ end (the cottages are owned by Yorkshire Mountaineering Club). Outside, the valley (“Coppermines Valley”) was quite narrow with huge snow sprinkled mountains towering all around.

We all hit the sack at about one – it’d been a long day. I was cold (I didn’t have a sleeping bag) and so I went out to get one from the car.

Today I was much more involved with everyone at school – sounds corny – although the circumstances left a lot to be desired.

Thursday, December 18, 1980

Thursday December 18th

I was really late getting up yet again – eight o’clock approximately and I was in school just as the bell went. Long period of silence sat in the registration room and then later in the common room with Deborah, Jeremy, Tommy, Richard, Duncan etc.. I don’t know – the superficiality of our exchanges is so inevitable. As soon as Claire or Deborah appear (at break and dinnertimes for instance), they almost close themselves off, indulging in their little intimacies about Tony, Michael and their extra-school activities – How can I put it?! With those two, things seem much more involved and person-to-person. This is jealousy I suppose.

Anyway, I talked a bit about this Bulgaria holiday – they’re going on Saturday morning. One thing Deborah told us about which is so typical – all the girls going on the trip had a little prep’ talk (about “personal” matters presumably) and as Deborah was the only 16 year old, she was kept behind by the teacher who said “I don’t know if you’re on the Pill, but if you are will you remember to take them.” Deborah said she was quite upset about it, and shocked. ‘They’ seem to expect promiscuity of youth nowadays – we really are underestimated.

An air of bored resignation presided over things today, with long periods of silence. We couldn’t find anything to talk about. English with Ms Hirst was cancelled for some unexplained reason but first we had Slicer, who was a real cow: short-tempered, bitchy and irritable. Deborah went to Social Work at half one and we were joined by Lee, Claire and Michelle. Duncan held the attentions of many with his egocentric tales of sadism.

At school generally was an air of depression; of things winding down all around – I don’t like the atmosphere. On my way to registration, Ingham told me that my Marxism test essay was good and showed a “lot of promise” – I was pretty pleased. I also told Newsholme in registration that my decision to drop Biology was confirmed. She made me confident by saying that in her opinion I’d made the right decision.

After unproductive and enjoyable Art I got home at six-thirty, and spent another light-hearted evening in front of the box with Andrew. A note of impending doom – Mum nagged me about the radio again and said that I’d better bring it back tomorrow, “because you know how funny Robert gets, and I don’t want Christmas spoilt.” He’ll kill me.

By the way, yesterday I discovered (through Claire) that Robin Quinn and Elaine Buckley are to be head boy and head girl respectively. Robin Quinn! An original choice, if nothing else.

Wednesday, December 17, 1980

Wednesday December 17th

We had a short film on behalf of “The Tear Fund” as our assembly this morning and although their charity work is good I found that the emphasis was too much on ‘Christianity’ and “doing God’s work” etc – indoctrination in other words.

Usual Wednesday morning in the library with all the usuals. Tutorial English was off for some reason and the time went by really quickly.

During dinnertime, Deborah, Claire and Michelle were talking among themselves at the table – I kept hearing names being mentioned – all of a sudden, there was Deborah, bright red and giggling continually. Claire was about to tell me what it was but Deborah emitted a cry of horror and stopped her, sending half her ice-cream + jelly across the table. I put two and two together – Tony and Deborah, from what I’ve been hearing. It was almost jealousy as realisation began to dawn. I’m sickened off (through jealousy I realise).

In Hirst’s English she called me a “charlatan” and gave me my essay back (B-). Lee and Duncan got D+ each.

Another very boring evening in front of the box with Andrew. I also wrapped two presents for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 1980

Tuesday December 16th

I got up really late and arrived in school by 8.40 a.m. Nobody was around so I went up to the common room where I found half-a-dozen others. Most people were in a film about abortion.

First lesson was History – during which we had two essays to write in an hour-and-half. We had seven to choose from, all easy titles. And I chose “Why did the Provisional Government fail?” and “To what extent did the revolutions of 1917 conform with Marx’s interpretation of revolution?” I managed to squeeze two and a bit sides of A4 from each.

Ingham was given his bottle of whisky and a card from us all – the fake bottle yesterday hadn’t fooled him enough to make him drink it.

After this finished at break, I had the rest of the day free – I sat in the common room with Deborah, Jeremy, Duncan etc.,.

Third period, we had a “debate” on abortion with Mr Kirkwood, the Religious Education teacher – it was quite one sided, with very few people participating although the whole of the A-level sixth and seventh years were present. I agree in principle with abortion, although the 28 week limit should be 15-20 weeks instead. It’s difficult (I mean, what about the husbands view).

Deborah went to college (Social Work) at one and last period went irritably with Duncan, Jeremy, Tommy and Richard. After non descript Art college I did nothing all evening except watch TV.

Lee kept saying after school that in his opinion Deborah fancies me. Mentioning it sounds like wishful thinking (subconsciously it probably is). He says that Deborah keeps sitting near me, laughing etc., and that it’s obvious. I’ll have to just watch.

Monday, December 15, 1980

Monday December 15th

We had an assembly this morning in the school sports hall – I couldn’t stop laughing because Barkston was going on about ‘Monkey’ and “Six Million Dollar Man” on television – he tries to read morals into everything. We had two free periods first – usual talking with Deborah, and Claire and everyone. I had to write up my Marxism essay. It seems Deborah is going out with (or fancies) Tony Megson, for (according to Claire) he goes round there every Friday.

In History Jeremy gave Ingham a bottle of whisky – it was a Christmas present but had a sting in the tail – it was full of cold tea. He really fell for it and we all ended up feeling awful so Claire decided that we should all buy him a genuine bottle.

We continued work on the civil war and after dinner and fourth period he told me that it was really up to me to drop Biology or not – he’s seen Newsholme who again said it was alright. So I didn’t go to the lesson and hung around the common room.

Deborah gave me her Christmas card and what with all the talk of presents I was left feeling in a dilemma once more. At dinnertime, I was sat opposite Claire – to my right was Michael Barnwell – I could see Claire looking at him and laughing shyly.

I got home at 2.35 and Dad and I set off in the car at three for Easterby and the bank. We parked in Lockley and I drew out £13 from my bank account, leaving me with £50 in exactly. After picking Mum up at Marlborough Centre, we parked on William Street car park and I said adieu to Mum and Dad.

I spent nearly all the time in Eastgate Smith’s, perusing the books. I bought a book on Marx, an introduction, for 95p and some cards – I was also looking half-heartedly for presents for people at school. I’ll have to buy them on Thursday.

After calling in at Queensgate Smiths I got home at about half-six. I’ve got a few ideas for pressies for people at school now. I bought NP + NB stationery. I spent the evening writing out Christmas cards and writing up my essay. I should’ve revised really, but I couldn’t be bothered. Christmas is hotting up now!!

Sunday December 14th

I was rudely awoken at eleven by the ‘phone. It was Lee telling me that Jeremy had discovered our little laxative plot. I must’ve been quite uncommunicative, for I was still half-asleep.

I got up at this point and Andrew was still in bed – Mum and Dad were at NB’s. I sat eating and listening to the radio and reading until 1.15 p.m, when Andrew finally got up. Mum and Dad got home at about half-past and the afternoon sped past, talking with Andrew, playing records, reading the paper and pretending to start my “Marxism” essay.

Outside the weather was blustery (gale warnings of 60-70 mph on the radio). An utterly tranquil and uneventful afternoon.

Andrew went to Keith Patchett’s at teatime and I observed five of ten minutes silence for John Lennon (along with a quarter of a million in New York’s Central Park) before having my hair washed and having a bath. I watched “Everyman,” all about Latin America’s revolutionary movements and Nicaragua in particular – I was fascinated by the whole idea. I’d really enjoy a “politics” course at university. There was something about all those people chanting with raised clenched fists. I must read all the ideas involved.

I began my essay at nine-thirty or so downstairs and after coming to bed at eleven I finished it finally at two o’clock. It is now 02.17 on Monday.

Saturday, December 13, 1980

Saturday December 13th

I awoke at midday with neck ache, head throbbing and a blocked nose. God! I hate getting up so late. I had half-contemplated going into Easterby today to buy Christmas presents and cards (the latter more so than the former) but as I lay there in bed, the wind blasting my windows with rain and my neck aching I knew I just couldn’t.

I felt so overwhelmed and desperate – desperate’s too strong a word but I didn’t know what to do for the best (I still don’t). Should I buy presents for people at school, and if so, what?, and to who? (how many?).

Dad said he’d run me into Easterby because he was going to N.B’s but somehow I decided that I’ll go on Monday. I’ll have to go to the bank and draw some money out; probably about £15. Mum and Dad went to NB’s, leaving me at home.

Andrew is coming ‘home’ again today, although he didn’t get back until six fifteen or so. He’s growing a beard – just a whispy one but it suits him.

Everything was rather uneasy at first, starched and wooden conversation, but it’s good to see him. I could sense though that coming back here is really quite predictable because everything is always just the same – Dad still moaning about the wind; as if he’d never been away. The evening went by quickly. I played records upstairs while Andrew unpacked in his ‘cell’, and conducted artificial conversation with him. An air of boredom, somehow. I was interested and surprised to hear what he said about Lennon. In his opinion, he was merely a good singer/songwriter, and all this is going over the top. It was quite true really – it’s just because he symbolised the whole sixties thing.

Late on an altercation with Dad. I, when I heard that Enoch Powell was on “Parkinson,” said that “I’m not stopping up to listen to him,” to which Dad replied that we (the ‘young’) are narrow-minded. He was right, so I stayed down and listened. He’s quite a strange bloke – an individualist and arrogant. That made me think. The way I am is so predictably ‘now’ – I’m terrified of not running with the tide and of being seen as completely unconventional. Yet history sees that the only people who ever make a mark on the world are those who go against things like that – who are unfashionable and controversial – like Enoch Powell. Also, before I’ve got any authority at all to comment on things I’ve got to read – just read anything and everything – new ideas; differing opinions. I don’t like the way I appear – trashy, trendy and narrow-mindedly opinioned.

Friday, December 12, 1980

Friday December 12th

I went after all. English first lesson was with Giles, and I got my Wilfred Owen appreciation back (“Very Good”). We talked about poetry and about Shakespeare’s sonnets – “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” one in particular (no. 15 I think it is).

I went to try find Ingham again about Biology, but the bell went so I dutifully trudged off to L4 and installment no. 1 of my triple Biology. I got last weeks essay back (or lack of it) – I got 3/10. We had all theory today – finishing discussing enzyme control by varying temperature, pH and concentration and also about enzyme inhibitors.

At break I saw Ingham – no, he hadn’t seen her yet, but he’d seen Wilson who seemed to think it was all OK. Lewis told me to raise the matter with Mrs. Newsholme during the lesson. This I did (well, in break actually) and she said that although she’d be “more than happy” for me to continue, the decision was up to me. She also said that in her opinion I’d be capable of gaining a grade B. This only made things worse! I’m a bit indecisive now.

We had a test second lesson which I found ‘quite’ easy – ironically enough, I found today’s lessons easy to understand and interesting – so that by dinnertime I was in two minds again.

We got off the lesson at 1.00 p.m (private study) and I sat in the common room with all the gang – I talked to Deborah mainly. What Lee said kept coming into my head as she told me about Bulgaria. There was a bit of embarrassment over this Christmas thingy – I said, casually, that I wasn’t going (“I’m not going on my own”) to which Deborah replied “Claire is going.” Me: “No doubt she’s going with somebody already”; Claire: “I’m not” – Deborah: “I’m not going so you can have my ticket.” Me: Blush, blush. I was annoyed with myself again – so corny. History was uneventful.

I spent the evening playing records downstairs and doing my leagues. Because it’s all in the ‘papers still, I felt a bit sad about Lennon – especially since they showed a clip on tele’ of a 1975 concert (the clip was on TOTP last night) and there, in the front row, was a man who, it is thought now, was Mark Chapman, listening to Lennon singing “Imagine.”

I’ve felt really rotten over the prospect of Christmas – I’m skint and I’ve got to buy loads of pressys still – also, what to do about school? If I buy them something too personal or too ‘expensive’ they’ll (and others) will take me wrong yet if I don’t give them anything I’ll appear mean. My lack of money is acute. Also, Athletic lost 0-2 at Skirrow.

Thursday, December 11, 1980

Thursday December 11th

Nothing done first three periods at all except the usual talking with Deborah. At about 10.45 I went to Moxthorpe to try buy some laxatives. Lee and I had planned to lace Jeremy’s drink with laxative, thus getting him in English. The reason was none other than for a laugh, and because Deborah couldn’t get any from home, Lee cajoled me into going to Moxthorpe to buy some (he was in Geography). It didn’t take me long – about a quarter of an hour – and at the Chemist’s shop in Moxthorpe I asked, a bit uncomfortably, for a laxative. I wanted one to dissolve in liquid, but the only non solid form available was a syrup. The number of types available was amazing. I returned dispirited at 11.20 to find everyone revising “Antony and Cleopatra” quotations for the test third period with Mrs. Slicer.

I could only answer seven out of the fifteen quotes requested, which Williams said was sketchy. In Hirst's lesson, Deborah, Mandy Jenkinson, Halyna and Michelle gave their page preparations.

Art was uneventful (I began drawing twigs for the tree composition). I got home at 6.30 and spent the evening glued to the box – I did play Joni Mitchell’s “Hejira.”

Today I learned that I was to get presents from Claire and Deborah for Christmas – I must buy them something. I’ve still got to get N.B’s, N.P’s, Dad’s and everyones Christmas cards. It’s been a nondescript day really, no real conversations with anyone – everything so superficial. I’ve got a streaming nose, and everytime I stand up I get a horrible throbbing aching in my head (between my ears). If I deteriorate I’ll stay off school tomorrow but I don’t really want to – Ingham is going to tell me about dropping Biology tomorrow and anyway I’ll miss out on all the company. I’d be sciving really because I’m not all that bad.

Wednesday December 10th

After the usual assembly (Wallis preaching on about charity contribution) I went up to the library and sat on a table with Deborah (who’s recovered), Michelle Cliff, Duncan, Lee, Evelyn Aylott. I supposedly did my English for Hirst – I got a paragraph done by 12.30 p.m. I was scribing away when suddenly Claire, who was sat near, said; “Paul, do you want to hear another episode?” I know to what she was referring and she proceeded to tell me about how he’d called at their home on Monday night, just to talk. I don’t know why she tells me this – I suppose it’s because I ask and show an interest. Things are still so superficial – they keep going off to one side, talking conspiratorially about M.B., T.M. no doubt. I’ve cheaply started – why beat about the bush – I’ve begun to fancy notice Michelle a bit more. Embarrassingly childish now. Its as if I change my options as each door shuts in my face. It’s not exactly fancying more an “interest.”

We got a written essay given in Slicer’s lesson. I wrote 503 words on Cleopatra’s “infinite variety” of character and in Hirst’s lesson we got last weeks essay handed back. The average sort of grade was ‘E,’ so I was quite pleased with my ‘C-/D+’. We also got another essay given for over the Christmas holidays. She was OK about the essay I didn’t hand in because I went to see her (along with Jeremy and Lee) earlier in the day.

Oh, while I’m at it, I went to see Ingham about dropping Biology. I finally went during second period – he seemed quite understanding about it and said he would see Mrs Newsholme and Mr Wilson. He said that if I did drop it, it could result in my required uni. entrance requirements being upped into the A-B range because Art is not considered as academic as Biology. I came out feeling hopeful.

In the evening I played “The Kick Inside” by Kate Bush which I’ve borrowed off Claire and after watching television all evening I finally started my “Persuasion” essay at 11.30 p.m, finishing at 12.40 a.m.

Suddenly I’m having doubts about the whole idea of this journal – where am I going to store all the volumes? And what for? I’ll go through about two books per year, that’s forty volumes by 2000.

Wednesday, December 10, 1980

Tuesday December 9th

John Lennon was killed today (well, last night). Mum heard it on the news at eight o’clock, although I didn’t know how he’d died until I got to school – he was shot five times by a local “screwball”, an Hawaiian named Chapman. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it at first – it was not so much the fact that he was dead but the way in which his life ended – so violently. Him, of all people, why?? Rereading what I’ve just written and I still can’t grasp what has actually happened – shot down, murdered. I feel sorry most for Yoko Ono.

Everyone at school was talking about this when I got there. In registration we had a film in P1 about babies, etc., and in History we were continuing with our work on Marxism. In Biology we dissected a sheeps heart – I took it for the cat to eat but I’ve left it in my locker – tomorrow it’ll most likely stink. Arguments and debates in History about Lenins motives for seizing power in 1917. I said that he was in for personal gains – Ingham disagreed.

Things at dinnertime and after were as I’ve said before – I had a feeling of being left out of things. I can’t face the facts that Claire, Deborah and co., probably don’t want to get any more ‘involved’ with me at all – anyway C.P. likes Michael. Face the truth!! Anyhow, things were lonely generally – detached and superficial.

After uneventful Art at Farnshaw college I sat watching televison. I watched three obituary programmes – every channel had things on about Lennon. It was said that in New York the effects were similar to when Kennedy was assassinated – shock, disbelief. John Lennon is just not the sort of person you associate with dying like that – he always talked peace, love etc., all the ‘hippy’ talk and ironically ends up getting pumped with bullets. It’s sad.

I also spent the evening looking at “Rothman’s Football Year Book” for 1970-71, when I should have been doing my “Persuasion” essay for Hirst tomorrow (Jeremy, Lee and Duncan got ‘E’’s).

It’s now 01.00 and every record on the radio has been a John Lennon or Beatles track. I saved the Easterby Echo.

Monday, December 8, 1980

Monday December 8th

I just couldn’t get to sleep last night. For two hours I lay awake – my bed felt hard and uncomfortable for some reason. I finally drifted off at about three I suppose.

I got up at 7.40 a.m. and went by five past eight. Its much better to get in early.

Jeremy was OK right from the outset – last week seemed miles away for he was perfectly alright, friendly etc.,. First period was free so I spent it in the library sat next to Claire (talking to her). Deborah was away so I asked why (“It’s a bit embarrassing really – she’s got sickness and things” – so I told her that I understood (!)). She told me about the meal last night; about how she had cried beforehand and about her conversations with M. Barnwell – “He talked to me last night” – and also, strangely, about the fact that she’d talked about me a lot – “I wonder what he thought.” She seemed lonely – perhaps it’s just the fact that Deborah wasn’t there – I’m so used to seeing them together a lot.

Second period was spent similarly talking with Claire and then after break Jeremy and I stayed behind in the library because we hadn’t done our essays. Several people were away and of those present, only Duncan had done his essay – that is me, Claire, Neil, Jeremy who hadn’t done it. Ten minutes into the lesson and Neil brought us down.

At dinnertime, I could see Claire looking at someone behind me and smiling – putting two and two together gave M.B. – she saw me, laughed embarrassedly and blushed. Sat in the common room later we sat facing across at him and she knew what I was thinking because she did the same. Quite sweet, isn’t it!?

I was a bit peeved with myself though – after all that, it probably seems that that is all I find to talk about, because rarely a day passes without I’m questioning somebody about him.

In History after dinner we started on Marxism – Ingham was OK about the essays – and it is amazing how clear it became – oral learning is much more efficient than plain reading. It rubs off more. We encountered Anarcho-Syndicalism and Dialectical Materialism – I at last understood the latter term (Marx’s revision of Hegel’s dialectical theory). It really is quite fascinating once you’re into it.

I hate Biology, and sat resentfully and dull mindedly through the lesson. I really am going to have to drop it (as Claire said – “If I’d have got a pound for every time you’ve said that I’d be rich”).

The debate after school was chaired by Claire – the motion was; “This house believes that prisoners have it too easy.” Proposing the motion was Nick Gaunt and Andy Briscoe, whilst opposing was Steve Bates and Lee Hoy. It was incredible; Briscoe’s views on the subject were confused and so narrow minded, archaic and plain silly. Noone in their right mind could’ve voted for him but six did. He was defeated 8-6, no abstentions (Needless to say, I voted against).

The evening passed uneventfully; I did my Art and played records downstairs before coming to bed at about 11.30 p.m.

Today, if anything else could’ve been presumed, it really was brought home to me about Claire and Michael Barnwell. She really does like him I think – properly.

Sunday, December 7, 1980

Sunday December 7th

I didn’t get up until midday; after Nanna P. even. I was just a bit annoyed as I had wanted to get on with my History essay but as it was, what with talking and reading the paper, I never actually got started properly.

Instead, I just sat in the dining room with my file open. Dad went to bed when he came home at two, so I couldn’t play records until six, when he got up.

The essay was so difficult; knowing where to start and exactly what to write. It wasn’t made easy by the fact that I hadn’t my book in which Marxism is strictly identified.

By about teatime I had more or less resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to finish it so I will have to crawl to Ingham tomorrow. I feel a bit uncertain about this. I hate this feeling of impending disaster almost – I’ve so much to do and to buy. Of my four subjects I still only have ‘proper’ notes for History; English, Biology and Art are only being done by halves at the moment. I really will have to buy files and things.

I had a bath and things in the evening and watched television while my hair dried; I kept thinking about those four having their meal at Harrogate and wondering what was happening. An ace programme on at half-eleven was “Seven Ages” Part 2, about growing up. Tonight’s programme concerned teenage and adolescence, and it really put me and my obsessions in perspective – I’m so bloody predictably adolescent. Everything I think and do; it all conforms with the old cliché of what my age is supposed to be like.

Saturday December 6th

I got up at eleven o’clock. Nanna P.had already been brought so I was once again treated to Kenneth, Shirley, “our Nicky,” “Tracy” etc., until one when I went into Easterby with Dad.

We parked in Thomas street car park and I went down to Smith’s on Queensgate primarily to buy a box of chocolates or something for Claire. I ended up looking around the books again – I bought a copy of “Popular Archaeology” (December 1980) for 75 pence – it’s quite a good magazine and maybe I’ll start getting it regularly (I liked the article on Teotihuacan).

I wandered up to Cardigan Park after buying a 79 pence box of “After Eights,” and I was in the Shed by 2.25 p.m.

It was bitterly cold standing there and the game didn’t warm me up at all – pretty dull uninspiring stuff. Athletic once more had reverted to their crummy play. The first half ended after only a few shots at goal. Then, suddenly, I was surprised to see Robert and Carol approaching me; apparently they’d arrived just after kick-off after setting off at two o’clock. Carol was wearing her Hull Athletic scarf so there were the usual jibes at each other. The second half began horribly – suddenly I saw the ball bouncing past Hudson and into the net – I raised my arms because for an instant I forgot that Athletic had changed ends. An own goal! Three minutes later though, after intense pressure, Garside slammed in an ace shot from ten yards.

The scoreline stayed that way; 1-1, although the game was much more open after those goals. A draw was a fair result I think.

We got back to Egley at a few minutes past five. I started getting ready at six-fifteen or so and immediately couldn’t decide what to wear. Christ, I must have looked so vain!! There I was, taking shirts off, putting T-shirts on, and trying everything with everything else – I hated it. Eventually though I settled with my big, baggy, heavy woolen jumper.

I set off at about 6.50 p.m. with my box of “After Eights” in the pocket of my anorak. I regretted the decision on the way there and half-thought of chucking them over a garden wall. I decided to keep the pocket fastened and not say a thing about them.

I reached Claire’s at 7.20 or so; she answered the door and I was ushered into their living room where Deborah, Duncan, Linda Pearson, and the brother + parents sat. I sat, somewhat uneasily until eightish or thereabouts when Lee came. Claire looked very fetching – she had her hair all done up, braided and things (rather like Kate Bush’s) and it looked really nice.

We had a game of snooker (I’m abysmal) on their miniature snooker table for a while just as Lee came. It all started off a bit strained and Claire and Duncan played snooker (59-2) while Lee, Deborah and myself played Scrabble (Lee won). I was told about last night’s party at Michael Barnwell’s house (twelve people went) – Claire; “You know I like Michael” etc.,. They had prepared loads of food and had Babychams, Martini Rosé and Cinzano Bianco; everything. Her brother and sister went upstairs and stayed there all evening; drinking, apparently, and listening to music. Their brother was much as I had imagined him. Mr and Mrs Pearson went out to the pictures nearly straight away.

Things went like that really until eleven when their parents came back – long silence while father sat in arm chair grimly – but conversation once again when he went to bed.

I got a lift home at 11.30 by Mrs Pearson in their old Transit van. It was a case again of leaving just as I was getting into things and feeling more relaxed although I thought at one time about how our company differs from M. Barnwells + Tony Megsons. Deborah was saying how Claire was enjoying last night and how she didn’t want to go home and at one particularly dull point in the proceedings I suddenly thought; I bet she won’t be like that about tonight.

I enjoyed the evening – I ate a lot, talked quite a bit – although this bloody dual thing still rankles me (childishly).

Tomorrow I’ve got my Marxism essay to write up (well, read up as well).

Friday, December 5, 1980

Friday December 5th

Mum woke me up at about half past seven. I was off school because today is one of the extra days that’s allocated every so often. Annoyingly I drifted back to sleep again and eventually got up at eleven to the accompaniment of Offenbach at full volume.

I lounged around talking to Dad until twelve when we set off into Easterby (Dad was on at two). I left Dad on Thomas Street car park and went immediately to Queensgate Smith’s. The weather was foul once more – I really hate walking in wind and spattering rain – so I spent ages in Smith’s where I saw Angela Reid and her boyfriend before going to Jones, the second hand book place opposite Woolworth. It was indecision time again – I just couldn’t make my mind up as to what to buy everyone or whether I should buy Robert, Carol and Andrew anything else to go with what I’ve already bought.

As soon as I came out of Jones I saw Mrs Wade, then, a few minutes later Richard Houlding and finally Angela Reid + boyfriend again outside HMV.

I got home at about four without having bought a thing. Three hours in Easterby and all I spent was 44 pence on busfare. There’s only a couple of weeks left now until Christmas.

Mum came home at about half-past four and something she said just after tea set me off worrying again. She asked if I was going to buy anything for Pearson so I told her that I’d bought her a card. She then said that it wouldn’t “be nice” if I didn’t buy her something on the night. If I do it’ll have to be a box of chocolates – I’ve just thought though; if I did now I’d only be buying something to appease other people, not out of thoughtfulness – if Mum hadn’t said anything I would never have given it a second thought.

I passed the evening away listening to records upstairs or watching the box – “Steptoe and Son,” “Starsky and Hutch” etc.,. Days really go quickly nowadays, especially non school days.

Athletic v Bishophill tomorrow.

Thursday, December 4, 1980

Thursday December 4th

All morning was free as expected so I (again, as expected) sat in the library with Duncan and Lee. All the usual conversations indulged in (about Jeremy’s weirdness once more) until break when we all had coffee. Duncan and Lee gave Claire her birthday presents (they both spent £2 on her), making me feel rather guilty almost. Jeremy was his aloof self and acted in his expected, ill-mannered, egotistical way. I’ve really gone off him, what with the recent discoveries as to his true thoughts.

In English with Slicer we got our note books back and completed the notes on realism in “Antony and Cleopatra” before Hirst and the Persuasion page preparations. Jeremy, Duncan, Lee and finally Carol Lancaster all did their pages (from p 139-147).

After saying goodbye to C.P. until Saturday I went up to the common room with Jeremy, Richard Houlding and Duncan + Lee. The atmosphere was very tense and strained and there was open conflict between me and Jeremy. He really riles me, especially just recently, because he is so distant and reserved, so uncommunicative and just bloody unfriendly! So I fought fire with fire and couldn’t help making comments to him, about how I threaten him etcetera.

Art was uneventful (I finished my skull picture treated in three different materials) and next Tuesday is tree composition day.

I spent all evening watching TV or in the other room listening to Santana’s “Welcome” while reading Duncan’s “Book of Lists.”

Tomorrow I’m going into Easterby to buy more Christmas presents and probably I’ll see people from school. It seems that half the sixth year is going into Easterby tomorrow for one reason or another. I’ll look forward to Saturday and the get-together at Claire’s.

Wednesday, December 3, 1980

Wednesday December 3rd

I gave Claire her birthday card first period – after assembly everyone immediately went up to the library – she came in and I gave her her card. She seemed quite pleased with it and I passed the first period talking with everyone. Claire told us about her brother again, telling about the time he watched her in the shower. From what she says he sounds a real moron. I’m looking forward to seeing him.

At break Big M. gave Claire a card and present, the message in the former going on about the “wonderful person.” Her present was a scarf. She does, I suspect, like him, although whether they go out or not I don’t know.

Bastow’s tutorial was all about Chaucer again; quite interesting. Then, after dinner; all those going to “Waiting for Godot” at Manchester went up to the bus turning circle – I wished I was going. I had put my name down but only twenty were allowed to go so as a late comer I had to step down. I, along with Duncan, Lee and Jeremy, trekked down to B18 and English with Mrs Slicer. Because of low attendance, it was private study and just as I was leaving Deborah came flying back to say that there were two spare seats on the coach and would Lee and I like to go. Eagerly, we accepted.

After a usual boring coach journey we reached Manchester at about 1.45 p.m. Deborah, Claire, Lee and I had half-an-hour to waste so we wandered around Manchester; “Marks and Spencers,” Arndale Shopping Centre etc., before arriving at the Royal Exchange at 2.15.

The play was quite good but went on a bit too long. It starred five people in total; Go-Go, Dee-Dee (tramps); Lucky and Ponco, Pongo or something and a small boy. It was quite strange and pretty funny in parts, and was sickening, especially where one tramp spits masticated carrot as he speaks at his companion and also the large fat man’s sweat drenched cranium.

Usual boring journey on the return leg and after saying goodbye to everyone I was dropped off at Egley Lane. I got off at the first Egley Lane exit because Lynn Norden, who walks home that way, intimated that she wanted me to walk home with her because of the Strangler. This I did, and on the way we talked about Claire – (just lately it seems my whole life centres around her) and I told her about her thing with Michael. One thing which Lynn Norden said was interesting – she asked me if I was going to the Christmas thing – I said no and said she thought I’d “be taking Claire.” I wonder why?

I got home at seven. Mum was beginning to get worried because she didnt know where I was – I tried to ring her twice from the theatre but nobody was in.

I came to bed early because it was so boring and Indian eggish downstairs when compared to all the thrilling events of today I just couldn’t bear it. The only notable programme on was “Chronicle” about New Mexican civilisation between 800 and 1200 AD (Pueblo Benito).

For this Saturday do Claire was talking about Babycham and how hypocritical her parents were in forbidding her to have it in for the ‘party’ – “funny things can happen after you’ve had a few drinks.” She really does seem to hate her parents.

Tuesday, December 2, 1980

Tuesday December 2nd

Rain overnight meant that the snow had completely disappeared and that it was no longer as cold as over the weekend. In registration I read Jeremy’s “Manwatching” book by Desmond Morris which was quite interesting and also amusing. Ingham was away again, so I only had one period (second) which was Biology.

It was another day of sitting around in the common room talking trivia and feeling annoyingly insensitive, inbetween drinking coffee and pretending to do my “Persuasion” essay.

Biology was dissection time again – I was annoyed because there didn’t seem to be time and also there wasn’t much point. The rats had been thawed out and had bled so mine was smeared redly all over and smelled. Wade is such a pathetic teacher. She’s always late and often disappears for ten minutes at a time and seems unable to work without reading from the textbook. I’m dead against Biology now, especially Wade’s lessons, and we keep talking half heartedly about going to see Wilson about her ineptitude. I really am going to have to drop Biology soon.

Nothing except boredom and frustration until 2.30 when we went to Film Society. The film was “Soylent Green” with Charlton Heston and although we went in intending to go to Art at 3.30, me and Lee ended up staying until the end at 4.20 p.m. It’s a really good film, quite horrific. I hope that prophesy of the world isn’t likely because I’ll only be 58 then – I think I’d kill myself first. (Another puerile sideline; C.P. wanted to go to the film but since it would mean walking home in the dark she didn’t want to; she asked if anyone would walk her home. I said I couldn’t because I didn’t know I was going at that stage so she didn’t go).

We got to Art at five or so and continued with our bone work – quite enjoyable arguments with Duncan and Jeremy. The latter said he did see me as a threat, “at first,” whatever that means.

At home I should’ve got on with my homework essay for Hirst but as usual I sat watching television; “Cutter’s Trail” (a Western); “Ireland” (“A Television History”) and the soccer on ITV before coming to bed at about half-eleven.

I’ve just done some notes for my “Persuasion” essay but I can only get a side and a bit out of it. Tomorrow is Claire Pearson’s birthday.

Monday December 1st

It was bitterly cold again today although the sky was superb this morning. I awoke and saw it through a gap in my curtains – purpley blue. Over in the east it was orange and fiery red – really good colours.

Good news in registration was that Ingham was away, 3rd and 4th periods free therefore; so I trogged up to the library where I feigned work for two periods while talking to C.P. and Deborah.

Break, periods three and four and dinner were the same; I was angry with myself for saying things I regretted. Jeremy is not coming on Saturday. For most of the time I talked with Duncan, Lee, Claire and Deborah about anything and nothing in particular. (By the way, Kay Williams divulged that she has one of Jimi Hendrix’s old tour amps; a Marshall; I asked if I could go round to her house to touch it). The Coffee Club began today.

That’s it really, apart from last period (Biology) with Wade. I loathe her lessons now and today I started seriously thinking about dropping the subject – of my four subjects it’s the odd ‘man’ out and, I can argue, it interferes with my career prospects. I’ll approach Ingham tomorrow.

I stayed behind for quarter of an hour after school for no particular reason and eventually got home at three.

A totally unproductive evening again, starting off with my leagues again for the first time in ages.

I watched “Kelly’s Heroes” late on and came to bed at 12.30.

It’s been funny at school – I’ve talked to them a lot but because I said things I really regretted I didn’t end up feeling as if they had a good impression of me – that sounds a corny comment I know. Perhaps it is though that subconsciously I know that they only consider me as a friend and not a really close one at that. I still enjoy school a lot however.

Monday, December 1, 1980

Sunday November 30th

I was woken up rudely at nine by angry voices. The cat once more broke into the fridge last night and left pork and bacon strewn around the kitchen. Dad discovered it and his anger brought Mum downstairs; all the usual whining; near to tears. “He’ll break my new fridge”; “Why do we bother?” etc.,.

I got up at ten-thirty and read the paper until dinner. Another superb morning – clear and bitterly cold, but not a cloud to be seen. There is still Friday’s snow on the ground and it’s frozen over now, making the roads and paths treacherous.

I passed away the rest of the day playing records in my bedroom or downstairs either listening to the radio or watching a Deanna Durbin film in the other room with Mum, who is completing my striped jumper (on the last sleeve now). Dad was at work – his first workday for a week at least – and he came home at ten.

I had a bath and had my hair washed in the evening and watched “The House with Green Shutters,” “Tales of the Unexpected” and “Seven Ages” before coming to bed at 12.13 a.m.

I was in a good mood today – optimistic (over what I don’t know) and just generally feeling really good. Perhaps the sunny weather is responsible.

Saturday, November 29, 1980

Saturday November 29th

Amazingly enough, I woke up with my alarm at seven although I didn’t get up for another three hours. There was still snow on the ground and it was sunny though really cold outside – a superb morning.

Dad volunteered to take me into Easterby in the car and we parked on the library car park at 11.50 a.m. Dad wandered down through town with me to Smith’s on Queensgate where he bought Robert and Carols’ Christmas presents – a book each; one on birds for Robert and a wildflower one for Carol.

After a time there I went back up into town and spent the next two hours in restless indecision – wandering from shop to shop unable to see a thing I thought would be suitable. I was also looking for birthday cards for Pearson’s birthday next Wednesday – all the ones I could see were either too vague or too personal. I hate that feeling of pointlessness which overcomes you – I hadn’t achieved a thing in two hours of looking round – so frustrating.

In desperation almost I went on Lockley Lane to the second hand book shop there and started looking for a present for Robert or Carol. The books there are really good – there were loads of books I wouldn’t have minded – a good one by Bernard Shaw on socialism. I bought an 1878 Entomology book for Robert and Carol; a joint present; for £4.00.

So I set off again; hope renewed, and went to Eastgate Smith’s where I bought two birthday cards (amusing ones) and came home satisfied.

It really is bitterly cold – it snowed again briefly today – and winter must be on us for certain now.

I passed my evening away playing records upstairs or downstairs talking to Mum and Dad or watching television. They were in good moods tonight – friendly and light hearted. Today has gone quickly – I’ve felt restless in a way.

Friday, November 28, 1980

Friday November 28th

I went to school at 8.20 as normal and it was clear and sunny yet bitterly cold. First lesson was private study so everyone packed the library. Inevitably, I ended up talking once more with Deborah Blakey and Claire Pearson. Deborah said that last night, at about ten, Jeremy had rung her up to ask her why she was snubbing him – he was on the ‘phone for over an hour. He blamed it all on her and, she said, she ended up crying at the end. She told him that it was being done to show him that he cant do things to people and get away with it (hypocrisy, in other words). Claire came over and started telling Deborah about something – I was sat so close I couldn’t help but be drawn in.

She told me a bit more about this Michael, whom she wants to go out with I suspect (“What would you think if a girl asked you out?”- “I’d probably think she was a bit forward”) and I went to Biology at 9.55 a.m. feeling that same old feeling of jealousy and confusion.

During Biology it began to snow, the first snow of 1980/81 winter, and it became so heavy that it settled and was about a quarter of an inch deep. Everyone was out throwing snowballs. For the lesson we dissected rats; one each for all six of us. I found dissection much easier than I’d expected although the smell was a bit much. We had to string out the alimentary canal and remove the ribs to expose the heart and lungs. Mark Pittock’s rat was pregnant, and he had to remove all the bean-sized embryos.

At break, everyone seemed to be conversing with Jeremy again. I found we’re having bacon ribs on December 6th.

Triple Biology really is too much – I’ve been thinking lately more seriously about quitting it because the work load is immense; yet when I think I realise I’m not working to my full capacity at all and perhaps what’s motivating me to think like this are thoughts of unconnected things. I didn’t have a lunch and sat in the common room with the usuals.

Last period was History – it really is getting deep now (Blanquism etc.,) – and I went home in the bright sun, crunching through crisp snow.

My evening, so stereotyped again, went restlessly. Athletic’s match was cancelled because of the weather and I did absolutely nothing. There was a lot on the tele’ about the Strangler again; there hasn’t been a day go by lately without my thinking about him (it) and it seems to be reaching a climax – loads of activity, phone calls (hoaxes usually) and an air of expectant fear about generally. He threatened to do another tonight. I’ll find out whether he has or not tomorrow.

I’m going into Easterby again in the morning to go to the library. I intend buying Pearson a birthday card.

Thursday November 27th

I spent my morning in the library with Deborah and Duncan. We talked about Jeremy – Deborah saying that he’ll get a big shock when he starts work. Apparently last night at the meeting of the editorial committee she asked him to make some coffee – he refused and called her a “bitch” – Just lately with him it has become a succession of similar incidents – he’s called Angela Reid and Claire Pearson a “fucking bitch” and Deborah a “lying bitch” so we decided, to teach him a lesson, to ignore him. He’s so bloody unsociable.

I talked a lot to Deborah – about their friends, Jeremy, and I also asked her about Pearson’s birthday present (“she won’t be expecting one”). First lesson was English with Slicer – I handed in the wrong book deliberately so I could complete my scene notes tonight.

We didn’t have Hirst today – instead we had a talk by a police Inspector from Farnshaw (Butcher) answering our questions. He was a typical police man – authoritarian, “I was proceeding down the high street” type voice – and, as expected, a right wing reactionary.

We all sat there until 2.30, at which everyone went except about six of us so the thing was much more personal. We had a big thing about the ‘sus’ law, in which this bloke was saying that it operates on a suspicion basis – once someone’s been picked on suspicion he’s got to prove his innocence – so I piped up, (I remember the words exactly) – “Surely that contravenes the old adage that a person is innocent until proved guilty” – to which he answered yes.

It was throwing it down again come college time – sour face went off on his own and Lee, Duncan and Richard came to see my bedroom (I called home to get my cagoul) before we all went to college. Not a word spoken to Jeremy.

I spent all evening completing my scene notes. I got a shock – it really shit me up – for when I was sat downstairs at one a.m. just underlining all my quotations when suddenly someone, something rapped against the window. The cat leaped up – I did, heart pounding – and his hackles rising, he poked his head between the curtains to see what it was. I daredn’t look. He hissed viciously and growled. It could’ve been a cat, or that masked rapist, or even the WHINCLIFFE STRANGLER!!!

Thursday, November 27, 1980

Wednesday November 26th

I didn’t like today in a way because suddenly I’ve started to feel really inadequate. We were talking, as usual, in the library. Second period, Pearson, Hoy, Verity and me were alone in the library and we talked about Wendy Truswell and the new Maths teacher who go out together. Pearson also told us about an end of term party Gledhill held for his Biology group and how Truswell and Mr Armitage were found together in a darkened bedroom.

Suddenly, Duncan invented this thing, saying that I fancied Evelyn Aylott. I denied it strenuously, Claire saying to me “you’ve no need to be embarrassed,” making me fear that she believed him. She had also heard about this Susan Mathers thing in the third year (who hasn’t). Then Claire asked me, at point blank range, if I had ever been out with a girl. I lied of course and it must’ve showed for she said, I didn’t seem the type.

This left me feeling inadequate and a bit down. She told us about these lads they go around with, “you wouldn’t get on.” This didn’t help – we must be irreconcilable – we school lot and their socialites. I just generally hate me; my inability when confronted with girls. I just can’t help it – it’s so frustrating. Tongue-tied, swollen lipped and dry mouthed.

Fourth period was private study and in Hirst’s lesson I had my page preparations to do. I read out the necessarys right at the end of the lesson – it was hellish at first but halfway through it was OK.

After school I went up to the common room for the second meeting of the editorial committee – there were six of us, excluding Hirst; me, Lee, Jeremy, Richard, Rachel Johnson (5th), Andrew Boyd (5th), another fifth year lad (with glasses) and two other fifth year girls. It was another light-hearted meeting; we discussed all the printing problems (£400 for 500 copies) and drew up rough draughts of the daily notices, advertising both name and cover competitions, and giving publicity to the meetings.

Disquiet as I could see Blakey and Pearson drifting in and out of room in the distance.

I had to begin my “Antony and Cleopatra” scene summaries when I got home. Mum was in a stinking mood, because she was tired I think. Dad wasn’t too hot because he had neck ache. Thrilling evening!! I came to bed at ten and did my scene summaries up to Act 3 Scene 4 by midnight.

About all of the above – it is most likely being trivial and immature. I can’t help but feel jealous though. They don’t consider me or take me seriously – I’m so superficial with them – and out of school I’d be boring (in it I’m not much good). I’m being like Anne Elliot now, in her petty passions over Wentworth. I can’t help me!!

Tuesday, November 25, 1980

Tuesday November 25th

The usual History and Biology – the former was interesting because we’re getting on to dialectics and thesis, antithesis and synthesis. I was also interested to hear about how Lenin altered Marxism to fit the circumstances. This fits in with the theory of ‘proto-truths’ which I’m reading about in Edward de Bono’s “The Happiness Purpose,” which I bought in July. In otherwords, no such thing as an absolute truth but something which holds true under a particular set of circumstances and which is open to revision.

I had the last two periods free and at dinnertime I talked with Claire about bedrooms – I asked her all about hers (I don’t really know why). She also told Lee about this do on Dec 6th – we’ll have to buy her presents so I’ll have to ask Deborah what she likes.

Today also, I gave my 30p in to our kitty for coffee, sugar, milk and biccies for break and dinnertimes. Ten of us are involved – Claire, Michelle, Julie, Richard, Duncan, Lee, Tommy, Jeremy, me, and Deborah. This is all organised off our own bats because it’ll be better than relying on school's.

I made a feeble effort to begin my page preparation for Hirst tomorrow in the last hour before registration and I didn’t get a thing done.

As usual, we stayed behind after school for Art, amusing ourselves by pinning all the notices on both boards back up the wrong way – that is upside down, and rearranging all the chairs. When 3.30 p.m came, it was absolutely bucketing it down; constant, torrential rain. By the time I got to Egley Lane I was drenched – I just couldn’t face going to Art in that state. I came home.

After an evening of lethargy and “Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World” (the last one) I came to bed at nine-thirty. I was faced with huge amounts of English and I just couldn’t get down to it – I had a sort of resigned desperation almost as I thought about my task. I did manage to do (after a fashion) my page preparations for tomorrow and my ten minute blush parade before the group.

Today, Athletic signed Tom Wicks from Darlington. They had him on loan for four months halfway through last season and he scored five goals. When I read it in the Echo I was really jubilant! Nothing can stop us now.

Monday, November 24, 1980

Monday November 24th

I got to school at the normal time, a bit earlier than usual and after assembly I sat in the common room with Deborah, Claire, Julie, Michelle, Lee, Jeremy, Duncan, Richard and Tommy. I put up a pretence of doing my English – the absolute volume is overwhelming and just to think of it is making me feel ill – and as usual, I did little.

Second period Lee and Pearson went to Geography and I did my Biology. In History, I forgot my file of notes so I had to start on paper.

I generally enjoy school; at dinnertime we all talked and the usual group socialised. After another hour of History we had Biology. Since one of the group had a Geography lecture and two others were ill, Mark Pittock, Tracey Booth and me went down to try and persuade Mrs Wade to allow us to have the lesson for private study – she collared us and went over our test papers with us (I got 5/10). Christ, I was so annoyed. She seemed to be doing it deliberately, keeping us there as time ticked preciously away. I really did try to escape her clutches but she wouldn’t let us go until ten minutes before the end when I gratefully went up to the common room.

I didn’t go to afternoon registration because I was setting out the chairs in the common room, for this debate. The motion was, “This house believes that Euthanasia should be legalised.” Proposing the motion were Mandy Jenkinson and Duncan Verity whilst opposing were Claire Pearson and Deborah Blakey. Although things started off lively enough, we soon became bogged down in the wording of the motion. People disagreed about the wording; either “voluntary euthanasia,” “suicide” or just plain “euthanasia” so we had a quarter of an hour squabble, amending things, and reamending the amendments.

Claire’s speech was the poorest quality wise (she said she forgot her point half way through) and she was really nervous - I could see her trembling from where I was sat. I walked on to the barber’s with Pearson (including her younger sister) and Deborah B. after the debate. I love the way I’m becoming much more involved in ‘conversations’ with them – they seem willing to talk to me. I also got invited to another party – Claire asked me if I had enjoyed Saturday evening and then said that on Saturday Dec 6th I was invited to the Pearson celebration of her birthday (not a birthday party as such she said). The only thing about this was I was a bit annoyed with myself for being perhaps a bit terse with Deborah – not really terse but I gave her the wrong answers and I’m feeling now that perhaps she feels I’m ratty. I’m most likely totally silly.

I hardly had anything cut off my hair – mostly thinned out and I wish my hair was like this all the time.

Another noting evening – no bloody homework attempted again. I played records in my bedroom mainly.

I must be in a good mood just lately because tonight I was whistling and singing quite happily along with the music. I really do enjoy their company. It is hard to define precisely. But the way they seem to really want to talk to me and know me and be friendly. Whether it’s näieve or not I don’t know but I certainly feel good and almost excited.

Sunday, November 23, 1980

Sunday November 23rd

A total nothing day, a stop gap between Sunday and Monday. I thought a lot about last-night today; inflating the event out of all proportion I know but its good to have friends.

I got up at midday and sat about. God! Nanna P goes on and on and on – always about Kenneth and Shirley. No matter what the subject, it’s always steered back to that subject. About two o’clock, Mum, Dad and N. P. went out to Withenkirk for a quick walk on the moors. I stayed behind (“I’ve some homework”). I started my Antony and Cleopatra scene notes mid-afternoon – I completed Act 1 Scene II and got halfway through Scene III.

At teatime, I went up and had a bath while N. P. was conveyed back home. After this I watched the first half of “Young Winston” before coming to bed quite early.

As is evident from today, nothing happened at all. I was eager for the evening to pass because I’m looking forward to Monday. I’ve got loads of homework but for some reason, it doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve been thinking about Saturday evening and how nice Deborah Blakey and Claire Pearson are as people. I know I don’t really know them at all but the novelty of having friends of the opposite sex is ace good.

Saturday, November 22, 1980

Saturday November 22nd

I once more got up late and after an uneasy hour in Mum and Dad's miserable, sighing company I was glad to get away.

I went first to Smiths where I looked at the books downstairs before going to look for that half-price bookshop – I just couldn’t find it. I went up and down all the various streets but just hadn’t the foggiest idea of where it was. Frustrated I went down to Praxis, came away without buying and had another crack.

Eureka! I bought Andrew that Tadanori Yokoo poster book for £2 so that’s him off my mental list. From there I went to the library and took the four books back (“Battle Royal – unread – “Lenin and the Russian Revolution” unread; “First Blood”; unread; and “Rupert of the Rhine”; unread). The total fine was 40p but they were only a couple of days overdue.

I got home at 3.15 – it’d cost me £1.28p to go into Easterby. I listened to the radio (N. P had arrived) and to Athletic drawing 1-1 at Ryburn (Reg Goldman scored) before having my hair washed and setting off to Lee’s at 5.45. Duncan rang me while I was out too so I rang him back.

I got to Lee’s at 6.30 (or thereabouts) and we walked up to Blakey’s arriving at 7.15. Her home is quite nice – a bungalow – and is in a nicer part of Crimshaw and we were ushered in by Deborah looking very chic in a pale blue-green evening dress. Claire Pearson and Duncan Verity were there, as were Mr and Mrs Blakey who were getting ready to go out to a Beer festival.

They soon went and we were all left on our own. Initially we all settled down to a game of “Monopoly” (how jolly) but that soon faded as we started talking.

We watched a bit of television and talked. Jeremy, it was revealed, had declined to come because I’d insulted him (?). It was very warm in the room and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The low point of the evening, inevitable as low points are, came half-way through when Lee knocked over a pot of coffee, and things generally took on an air of boredom.

After “Hammer House of Horror” finished at 10.15 we switched off the television and just talked – not about anything really, just things – but the atmosphere was such that it was enjoyable. Better than my normal Saturday night entertainments anyway.

Deborah’s Mum and Dad came back at 10:40 and her Mum gave me a lift back. Deborah and Claire came along for the ride and I got back at 11.15.

I really have enjoyed the evening – nothing spectacular but it makes a change. The whole atmosphere and the air of friendliness was so novel to me, socially backward as I am, that I could’ve stopped for a lot longer easily. I’m now wanting to go to this Christmas do on December 15th or 16th. Roll on Monday!!

Friday, November 21, 1980

Friday November 21st

I got up at about twenty past seven and went almost immediately, without any breakfast or even tea. It was still half-light; I like that time in a morning; and when I reached school at about 7.35 a.m. it was empty except for the cleaners.

I set the chairs out and was helped by Duncan and Richard Houlding when they arrived ten minutes after me. Pearson arrived at eight and Tommy Whelan, Michelle Cliff and Jeremy ten minutes after. Julie C. was the last to arrive, apart from Lee who rolled in at 8.20.

We were a bit pushed for time so we get ready quickly. The play went off well and got the best response of any of the years; all the laughs in the right places. Barkston was watching this performance, as was Mr. Ingham, and unfortunately Lee swore (“bloody”) towards the end of the play. Technically everything went well and it was generally agreed that today’s was the best performance.

After getting all cleaned up and changed, I got into English late. We were still discussing the use of studying Literature and we ended up by comparing the value and entertainment of Ian Fleming and Wm Shakespeare. From then on, I had the usual hated Biology, in which we did an experiment involving yeast and the sugars fructose, galactose and glucose. It didn’t work and anyway, even if it had, it wouldn’t have told me a great deal.

We went on first lunch at twelve and at dinnertime something occurred which really flustered me. Deborah Blakey asked me, Jeremy, Duncan and Lee if we wanted to go up to her house (122 Croft Manor Avenue) tomorrow (“suppertime, between seven and half-past” just to have a “coffee and a chat” as she put it). I must’ve blushed immediately because Lee mentioned it. Jeremy, pompous sod that he is, thought it beneath his dignity and declined but I accepted. Blush, blush.

I spent my hour of theory for Biology only half-listening; I was too busy thinking. I’ve gone on about wanting an opportunity like this for weeks and now its come I can hardly wait. Pearson is going up too. Sounds shallow I know but so what!?

In a way though I’m scared of making a berk of myself by taking it too seriously – no mention of it was made in afternoon registration and I was left feeling doubtful. Will it seem to others (ie Lee, Duncan) that I’m being over eager? I’ll have to ring Deborah or Duncan up. Also, I felt such a fool for blushing like that, making it obvious what, subconsciously or otherwise, I thought. It must’ve been so bloody obvious!

I got home at three and Dad was in. He’d gone off sick because he feels ill (obviously) and thinks his cold has something to do with him shaving his beard off, which he did earlier this week.

Another mundane, utterly boring evening sat watching the television. I came to bed at nine thirty out of sheer boredom more than anything else.

Tomorrow, what should I do? I’ll go probably but I feel that Lee will see it as me fancying Blakey.

I go on about others being morons, but rereading the above I am just as obsessed with trivia and irrelevancies as people I criticise.

Thursday, November 20, 1980

Thursday November 20th

I enjoyed today. The weather was as crummy as usual on the way to school.

I whiled away the morning doing my Art and some of my English for Slicer in the common room with Duncan and Deborah Blakey while Jeremy and Richard Houlding played tennis. Lee and Pearson were in Geography although we did see them at break.

Slicer wasn’t in school so we had the fourth period for private study – we all sat in a big group near the door of the common room and I ended up sat with Claire (again). Looked at like that it really does seem as if there’s something there. She sat on my left and just before the bell went, at about 1.25 p.m., she somehow asked me – got me doing this thing where I read out the part of Anthony and she was Cleopatra. We read out – to ourselves really – from Act 1 Scene III from where Antony enters to line 65 or thereabouts. Romantic eh?, as Deborah said. Claire Pearson must be a flirt (sounds like something from the ‘twenties).

I enjoyed English with Hirst as a result of the above. I have to prepare for the first couple of pages of Chapter 13 for a public discussion for next Wednesday.

After school, a few of us stayed behind in the common room until 3.30 p.m. and Art. Jeremy and I found a good title for the school mag’: “AB EXTRA” (it doesn’t sound or look as good now!).

After the usual routine Art work (ink and wash images of bones) I had to hurry home because Dad bought us some tickets for a Guards’ band concert and it was tonight. Barely had I taken my coat off than I had to start getting ‘ready’. We set off at 6.45 p.m., and we were walking through the Holy Well subway as St. Cuthbert’s struck seven.

Victoria Hall was soon packed, with the majority of the audience being typical blue-blood, ex-servicemen types with their proper wives who are always as ugly as sin. It was all a bit sickening. At the very beginning, before the concert proper had begun, we all had to stand for the National Anthem – as I looked around at the serried ranks of bald, white whiskered or blue-tinted heads I suddenly thought that they all looked identical – they were all like clones almost – all in suits and ties with shiny sensible shoes, the women all with glasses and many in fur coats. Repulsive!!

The concert, staged by the Band of the Scots Guards was quite good, the Sutherland Highlanders being the best. All blood-and-thunder stuff. For the finalé, the bands did a piece called “The Battle of Waterloo,” which involved various firings of mortars and different contingents marching to and fro. It was intended as a reconstruction of the battle, and as such was pretty good (except; with all the mortar smoke drifting about the smoke detectors were suddenly triggered and the bands had to compete with the persistent beep-beep of the alarm).

We got back to the car in Thomas St. car park at exactly ten. I came to bed after watching “Sky at Night” (all about Saturn) and tomorrow I’ve to be up at school for 7.30 a.m., because we’re presenting this play for the fifth years.

Wednesday November 19th

For the first two periods I sat in the common room with Duncan, Lee, Deborah B., C. Pearson and J. Crabtree. Jeremy had gone to see Big B. about this school magazine and he came back with a copy of Broxbourne private school’s mag., called “Badger.” We amused ourselves by reading out the names – Cutts-Watson and Somerville-Large being examples.

Somehow, I don’t know how, C. P. got talking to us about her older brother – how she, her parents and her sisters, never talk to him because he is such a bastard. She started off sat over by Jeremy but ended up sat next to me (trivial again!).

She told us of how, a few years ago, her brother once bust her nose for her and also how he had punched her sister in the stomach several times. “He carried on hitting her because she wouldn’t cry” she said. It really quite shocked me – I said that I would’ve reported him. It was nothing to do with us really, but she seemed almost eager to divulge all!

This week was English tutorial with Mrs Bastow – it was quite interesting because she went on about Chaucer and his involvement with the Plantagenets.

More installments of the Pearson social story at dinnertime, with her telling us about how he dragged his sister all the way to school by her feet.

We next had two solid hours of English, first with Slicer, and then with Hirst, and we were given loads to do in both lessons. For “Anthony and Cleopatra” we were told to write up all our scene summaries, notes etc., for next week, and in Hirst’s lesson we were given a bollocking. She criticised us for not reading Persuasion – apparently only half the group has actually bothered to read through the whole book – and told us to write up all our notes for next week. I just thought; what a hell of a lot of work I have to do – I have only got one file of work and that’s for History – I have nothing for English, Biology or Art. I must really start to work.

We arranged a meeting of the school magazine “editorial committee” in the common room with Hirst after school.

There were six of us; me, Lee, Jeremy, Duncan, Richard Houlding and Tommy Whelan and we discussed all the ideas, drawing up a rough list of contents, and at the end of the meeting I was quite fired with enthusiasm. Because Anderson controls money and prestige etc., it’s got to toe the line to a certain extent – one thing I thought of; we could have a satirical cartoon strip; “The Caped Crusader”’ based on Barkston, righting moral wrongs etc. We arranged a next meeting day for next Monday and I’m quite looking forward to the whole idea!

Yet another deadly boring evening, slumped in front of the box. The Whincliffe Strangler strangled no 6 yesterday – a 35 year old teacher – and the whole thing is frightening. All the girls who walk home on their own at night from school – all potential victims. Everybody forgets after 10 months, which is the length of time between this and murder no 5.

I watched England beat Switzerland 2-1 at Wembley in the evening before coming to bed at midnight.
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