Monday, June 30, 1980

Monday June 30th

An extremely active and interesting day. I got up at 7.45 and set off for school about 8.15. There were quite a few ex-fifth years going so I just followed them. We went into the 6th form common room (our ‘home’ from now until 1982) where there was already quite a large crowd of people. I was a bit surprised to see the old sixth formers until I thought about it – they will be stopping on for the seventh year.

We all sat about feeling ill-at-ease until we got separated into three groups, tutored by Mr Gledhill (Geog.), Mrs Newsholme (Biol.) and Mr McIntyre (Phys.). I was placed in Gledhill’s group, along with Darren Busfield, Trevor Woodrow, Richard Deakin etc.

We spent the first half-an-hour or so listening to Gledhill in C6, which is to be our tutor group room. He simply told us what was going to happen, and gave us a confusing time-table for the next three weeks. He also told us not to be lulled into a false sense of security by the easiness of the next three weeks.

At 9.15 we all trekked back up to the Common Room, where Mr. Ingham (Hist.) gave us all a talk about the next three weeks, basically just an expansion on what Gledhill had said. I quite like Ingham – he comes from London and is a really nice bloke.

We had Elson then for a prep. talk on this new “Understanding Industry” course aimed at helping us to fathom out how business works. We are having talks every so often (we’re divided into two groups – I’m in B) by ‘leading’ industrialists on Finance, Marketing, Personnel, Technology, Production management, etc., and we’ve got to write a report on each session giving (I suppose) criticisms etc.

Elson seemed really quite harsh and almost shouted at us in total contrast to every other teacher.

During break I had to go see Big B (he’d given me a letter during Elson’s lecture) about this Oxford trip. When I came back Creek and Busfield wouldn’t leave me alone. They seemed to have got it into their heads that I was to be head boy. They were really taking the piss. I can’t help feeling though that they’re right, and I would hate it!

After break Quinn and I and a few others went down to Maths for a talk on A levels in Maths – really difficult – and after being set some work for over the holidays, to Physics for a similar thing in L3. McIntyre spouted on much longer than I’d expected him to, which meant that I didn’t go to a History talk held after middle lunch.

When we eventually got out of Physics we went back up to the C. R., where I hung about feeling awkward (I got a locker, no. 40) until 2.10 when I went to see Ingham in B16 to make up for missing the History meeting earlier in the day. He told me about the course – which is politically oriented – and gave me a booklet on the Russian Revolution and asked me to answer a question for after the holidays.

By this time I had an idea about which side of the fence I was going to fall. From what I could gather, Physics was going to be mainly a practical, self-initiative type course – which rules me out 100% - so since History appealed to me I have now (tentatively) decided on English, History (Maths?).

After registration in C6 I went home in the pouring rain. Dad was grumbling about the weather and was annoyed that he couldn’t finish erecting his greenhouse.

Mum came home at five (Dad picked her up) and then he took me to Croft Hill for Leg 2 of the EAS-HAS Junior Quiz. I was a bit nervous.

I needn’t have been. I got pretty friendly with Steve and Peter, two lads who are regular EAS attenders. The quiz was to be held during a junior EAS meeting (total chaos – Mike Wild trying to deal with spiteful, un-astronomically interested, little aggro types). HAS brought four or five ‘fans’ but to no avail.

Some of the questions were easy – some hard – but I was pleased that I was able to answer my questions ‘fairly’ easily. We beat them 111-94 so the score after both legs was EAS 224-208 HAS (EAS +16).

Dad had gone to Nanna B’s after dropping me off and it was there I went. Uncle Arnold was there but he went soon after. Nanna gave me £2 for my birthday.

We came home at 1030 and after watching “Parris” I came to bed. I quite enjoyed today.

Sunday, June 29, 1980

Sunday June 29th

An unremarkable day, highlighted only by a blazing row between Mum and Dad about education, Dad calling Mum a bolshevist and communist.

I got up at 1030 and read the ‘Times’ until late morning when Nanna P. and Dad got up. We had dinner about twelve and it was after this that the argument started.

It began innocuously enough, with Mum saying that she didn’t agree with Thatcher’s policy of financing private schools to the detriment of comprehensives. Dad disagreed and soon things escalated. Dad accused Mum (ridiculously) of being a Communist and she, in turn, said that he was a virtual fascist. He eventually stormed out beaten, making remarks from the other room about living in a left wing household and singing the ‘Red Flag.’ The dispute dissolved into comedy, with everyone half-seriously making comments about everyone else.

The nastiness erupted again though when Dad said that Mum spoke rubbish. This upset her a lot because she got really angry and virtually accused him of fascism. I was quite impressed with Mum. She really has got her head screwed on right as far as arguments go and had Dad totally beaten.

Throughout all this me and Nanna P. remained silent except for occasional remarks supporting Mum. It may seem a bit one-sided but it was because Dad was speaking complete crap. His attitude was (and still is) “I’m all right Jack, stuff the worker” and “ . . we pulled ourselves up so why can’t they? . . .” etc.

One comment which really did make me annoyed looking back was when he asked Mum why she wasn’t living on Norfolk estate, “Because you would fit in there”! Some of the things he said I just can’t believe, even now! The general tone of his argument was just incomprehensible and totally one-sided.

Anyway, after that things soon cheered up. At two o’clock Mum, Dad and N. P. went out in the car for a run. I stopped at home, supposedly to tidy my bedroom up and get my things ready for school tomorrow, but I ended up messing about – calculating the world’s population for every year until 2009, by which, according to my figures, the population will be 7.53 billion – and such like.

They came home at five o’clock and we had bacon and eggs for tea (we normally have salad).

I went up and had a bath soon after, pulling the plug at half seven. I then played records upstairs while watching the sun set in a superb golden sky.

Dad and Mum took Nanna back mid evening and I watched Alan Minter’s World Championship Title defence. He absolutely butchered Vito Antufermo – his face was like raw meat – and the ‘fight’ was stopped after Round 8.

Mum and Dad brought fish and chips back and I then came to bed. As I write this I’m still looking forward to tomorrow and I’ve decided to tidy my bedroom etc., now while I still feel active.

Saturday, June 28, 1980

Saturday June 28th

When I got up at about 1030 Mum was already up. Dad was still in bed so that meant we couldn’t make a sound lest we wake him. It’s really bad when Dad’s on nights – it’s just a case of pacing about waiting for him to get up.

I put the telly on quietly at about twelve to watch Wimbledon. The start was delayed about ten minutes due to rain, but eventually it stopped and I watched McEnroe beat Tom Okker in straight sets. Mum brought me my dinner in on a tray and when Dad got up at one they went out shopping and to pick Nanna P. up.

They came back at three – I was still slumped in front of the box – with N. P. and before I knew it the afternoon had gone. Before tea we (Dad and I) watched speedway and wrestling. We had pork chops for tea and after I had finished I watched Virginia Wade beat a woman whose name I cannot remember (it was like B. Danglesh or something similar). I then went upstairs.

In my bedroom I did my catalogue and played records (Jimi Hendrix, Supertramp . . .). Andrew rang about mid-evening. Mum answered the phone while I hovered around listening.

He hadn’t much news except that the proposed closure of B. A. A. has been delayed and he has a new flat on Corsham Highstreet.

I kept wandering up and down and when I went into the garden one time Dad told me that it had been decided, as from my birthday in ten days, to start giving me £4.00 a week (including $1.00 in the bank). I was quite pleased. He said that I had to be more tidy about the house and more thoughtful – he seemed almost apologetic when he told me this. My spending money has really gone up dramatically these last few months. For ages I just had a quid a week and I’m on three a week now. No doubt my spending will increase accordingly.

I did the pots about eight and then went back upstairs to play “Mike Oldfield – Boxed.” I played “Collaborations” (Sides 1 and 2) and the first side of Ommadawn which is so bloody brilliant it sent shivers down my spine.

I watched the last part of “Living Free” and a theatre awards programme until 1030 when I came up to bed.

I spent today getting keyed up about school – not keyed up in a nervous sense but keyed up with anticipation. I really am looking forward to this.

Friday, June 27, 1980

Friday June 27th

I went to the barber’s (“Simon’s” on by Moxthorpe Roundabout), at about half-ten. Dad was still in bed so I took a key with me. There were three other people besides me waiting to have their hair cut – a 4th year from EGS, a middle-aged Tommy Docherty type and a thin faced man having his hair cut. It took about half an hour for the backlog to clear, and I was interested to listen to the conversation going on between Simon and the Doc-type. They were reminiscing about Alconborough Speedways great days in the ‘40s and ‘50s, talking about old riders like Tom Scarth and Cliff Lobley. I should’ve told them that Dad was “pusher-offer” for a few years in the late forties there.

My turn came for the chair, and I was praying that noone else would come in because I hate feeling peoples’ eyes boring into the back of my smarmy new hair-do in mid creation. Amazingly enough, Simon cut it just right – the best he’s ever done it for me. He took nothing off the length but thinned it out considerably so it’s just right now!!

I got home at about 1210 and Dad hadnt got up. I had to go out at 1.00 so I made him a cup of tea while I hung around restlessly waiting for departure-time.

I went at about 1250, so I ended up getting to school at ten past one. The place was deserted (everybody was in classes), so I paced up and down the stairs in B block. The 6th form common room was empty so I went downstairs and sat on the seats by B18 and the fire exit until 1.20. When I went back up, I asked a solitary 6th year whether he had any idea about the caving trip meeting. He said he hadn’t, but luckily I heard Mr Armitage’s voice from the corridor.

I hung about in a room by the common room indulging in pleasantries with Armitage, until I went to check upon whether any others had arrived.

In the common room I met Mr. Ingham (my History teacher). He, predictably, asked me what I had in mind for the 6th year and beyond. I more or less told him that I hadn’t and he then indicated that he thought my History and English were quite good and worth pursuing. I felt pretty pleased. He suggested that I should look into a ‘PPE’ course (“Politics, Philosophy and Economics”) which sounded interesting. As Ingham said though, it would involve 100% commitment from me and probably a large outlay in newspapers. It’s a pretty prestigious honour if you can get it and I will certainly look into that (perhaps History, English and Maths/Biology ‘A’ levels?). I discussed the above with Mum later and she said I could go for political journalism. That would be good.

Back to matters subterranean and the ‘meeting’ got under way – There were four people there, excluding Armitage. They were: Robin Quinn, Susan Mathers, Wendy Truswell and myself. Again I felt a bit left out – Quinn and the two lasses seemed to be able to indulge easily in conversation with Armitage whereas I – I may be paranoid or just over exaggerating a bit, I don’t know – well I felt uneasy. The trip is a week today to Nidderdale, to do three pots (including “Manchester”) and we were given lists of equipment. The cost is to be £6.00. The only problem now is my boots condition – the soles started coming off on last Sunday’s walk. Mum blames that on my caving trips (I’ve only had my boots a year or so).

When I got home at about two Dad had just got up. I felt funny – doubtful about myself or something – and this didn’t pass off until tea. In the meantime I talked to Dad about Alconborough speedway ( . . . “Those were the days . . . . .”) and then – when he went to do the shopping with Mum at three – watched tennis (Navratilova, Borg etc.) until Mum and Dad came home at five or so.

After tea I watched Wimbledon and did my book catalogue in my bedroom until 7.30 when ‘Citizen Smith’ was on. It wasn’t as good as it usually is and it seems as if the writers are running out of ideas for Wolfie and the TPF. I then had my hair washed.

After the above I watched athletics and then ‘Starsky and Hutch’ after the news. I came to bed at 1030. It is now 1103 and today has been the first on which I’ve thought about school on Monday.

It’ll be a change to have something to do and I’m quite looking forward to it! Three weeks of messing about?

Thursday, June 26, 1980

Thursday June 26th

A weird day. I got up at nine because I had to let a gas man read the meter. I sat in the room reading the ‘Daily Express’ aimlessly till the above came, at about nine-forty-five. I was then racked with indecision over whether or not to go to Easterby or not. Mum had asked me last night to have my hair cropped today, and she left me some money, so I decided to go to Easterby and then to the barber’s on the way back. I wrote Dad a note telling him where I’d gone and got a red bus to William Street. From there I went straight to Praxis (where else?) where I spent a good hour.

I didn’t buy anything amazingly enough. This was because – and this sounds so ridiculous – the usual bloke serving on (with the Fidel type beard) wasn’t there. Instead was a long haired bloke who seemed arrogant almost – and a big Tommy Cooper type who came in shortly after me. I didn’t buy anything because in a way I would’ve felt so corny and so pseudo buying a copy of the “Wage, Labour and Capital” or the “Socialist Party and War” as I intended. I don’t know – it’d’ve just seemed shallow to him – and I would have felt it.

I went to Smith’s in Eastgate and bought a ring bound exercise book to do a book catalogue in (I wanted to start yesterday but I hadn’t any lined paper) which cost 48p.

It was raining when I came out of the Eastgate Centre, and because of the bus fare I decided to walk it back. Through Lodgehill I saw, to my horror, the Woodhead Park queer, stood by Lodgehill P.O. He nodded to me and I, so bloody polite to the last, smiled back. I should’ve given him the two fingers.

The weather deteriorated from then on and got downpour-style by the time I reached Moxthorpe. Because it was half-one, I decided to miss the barber’s because EGS would’ve ended while I was there. I didn’t want to have to walk back through the EGS plebs with a new head-shave!

Dad was playing some of his records when I got home (at quarter-to-two), and I spent the afternoon talking to him, about music, last nights prog. about the Broederbonds and just things in general. There are some days when I feel like discussing topics like that more than others – and today was one of them.

Mum rang at fiveish from her hair-dresser’s and Dad picked her up while I watched Wimbledon (another rain interrupted day).

In the evening I watched “Are you Being Served?” and then went up to play some records. I started my book catalogue and then went back down to watch an ace World About Us documentary about an expedition to an unexplored region of northern Borneo. Its been on before but it was absolutely superb. It was like another world – it made me want to take Biology in the 6th year and then go do something really rewarding and interesting like that.

After that it was back upstairs again until 10.15 and “Uncle Sam’s Backyard,” about Michael Manley’s Jamaica. He’s got a supposedly ‘socialist’ government (contradiction in terms) which, like all the others defies the object by having class and leaders. I admired Manley as a person though, because he refuses to compromise his politics for the sake of good relations with Big Brother America, who are terrified of another Cuba. He also attacked the interviewer for using the term ‘Marxist’ in almost a derogatory sense – he said that he admired what Marx said but he was not a Communist.

I came to bed at about 1150 after watching odious Russell Harty’s “All About Books.” Tomorrow I’ve got to have my head shaved and I also have this caving weekend meeting. Another exciting day!

Wednesday, June 25, 1980

Wednesday June 25th

It was pretty pathetic weatherwise when I got up, and stayed that way most of the day. This June must be the worst ever – it hasn’t stopped thundering and raining for days now.

I took Dad some tea up again, and he got up. There was nothing in the garden he could do since it was stormy outside. For dinner he cooked some chips and beefburger-type things and we watched tele’ intermittently and talked. The rest of the afternoon was conducted in similar fashion – Dad occasionally out in the garden inbetween thundery showers and me inside watching tennis or upstairs in my bedroom.

I was quite seized with enthusiasm for astronomy today – I’ve no idea why so suddenly. I felt a real urge to write an article for “Arcturus,” the EAS journal – I’ve already had two published (“Space Exploration in the Future: Part 1 – Moon Mines and Mass Catchers” and Part 2 “Unmanned Exploration of the Solar System”) but they appeared over a year ago. I don’t particularly want to continue them.

Mum went to Nanna P’s and came home at around six. Robert had rung us from London earlier today to tell us that he’d finally sold his house so I told Mum the good news. He sounded cheerful when he rang, which is unusual for him.

I played records during the evening and in no time at all it was nine o’clock and Dad had to go.

I came down at ten or so for some supper and watched the last part of “White Tribe of Africa” about the Afrikaans while Mum did some work for school. It was amazing – all about an Afrikaans nationalist organisation called the Broederbond (Afrikaans Brotherhood). It is a secret society and its members include most of S. Africa’s white elite (judges, teachers etc.). It has spread a web of contacts throughout S. African society and basically works on the principal that the Afrikaans are the master race – nationalism at its worst. Apparently during the war, many ‘eminent’ S. Africans also belonged to another organisation (I can’t remember its name) which didn’t support the rest of S. Africa’s war effort and was pro-Nazi. Many of its members were known to be saboteurs and anti-Jewish etc. – it’s all a bit too much like Hitler’s lot for my liking. I only wish Dad had been home to see it! Afterwards was a programme about Britain’s prisons and Mum and I got discussing the reasons why people break the ‘law’ by vandalism etc.; we both agreed that to solve the problem the offenders have to be cured not punished.

I enjoy these discussions with Mum about current events – unlike Dad she is rational and tries to see things from both points of view. I tried that with the S. Africa programme and decided that the Broederbond people cannot be criticised for their actions because they truly believe what they do and say to be ‘right.’

The only really notable result of today was that Dad found an Easterby Albion programme from April 10th 1926 (versus Methley Perseverance). That was when Albion played in the Yorkshire League – it was sad to read because all the players and spectators mentioned – even the club – are now dead.

Tuesday, June 24, 1980

Tuesday June 24th

I got up late again and watched television (2nd Test). Unfortunately the cricket was rained off, England getting a draw (undeservedly). I made Dad some tea at noon (he’s on nights this week) and he came down shortly after.

I wasted my time from then until three, when Dad went to pick Mum up from her school. It was thundering and hailing a lot of the afternoon and with Wimbledon and the Test match rained off I did nothing. I know that some time in the future I’ll regret this sheer wasted time – you only live once, and I suppose I should be doing something constructive (like what?).

We had tea at five and I then went upstairs and played records most of the evening. David Kilpatrick rang at around seven to ask me if I could go to the EAS meeting room next Monday because we are having the second leg of the inter-society quiz. The HAS are coming from Harrogate. We went there a few months back and were (narrowly) beaten 113-114.

I had a bath at ten and came down to have supper. I ended up staying down longer than I’d meant because I got interested in a play on Beeb two – “On Giant’s Shoulders” – about Terry Wiles, a thalydamide victim. At the end it made me realise how lucky I am – I’m here glibly waffling on about my time wasting – I should use my capabilities more.

Monday, June 23, 1980

Monday June 23rd

Generally, today was a dissatisfying day. After waking up at 1130, I loafed about feeling restless and at a loose end all day.. I couldn’t watch cricket or Wimbledon (which started today) because both were rained off – the former after just 36 minutes of play. To pass time on therefore I wandered from room to room and from the house to the garden and back – engaging in pretty mundane conversation with Dad, who was working in the garden, and reading July and August’s “Spaceflight,” which came today.

To add to my dissatisfaction, Robin Quinn called for his two Che Guevara books. He was with John Emsley, a 6th former who sometimes goes caving. This in a way made me jealous. I knew that I could not engage easily in conversation with him (without feeling awkward) and I made a berk of myself really. I know how Quinn and Wood etc., must view me behind my back – gawky and numb.

Anyway, enough of my self-pity. Mum came home at about half-five, an hour after Dad had gone to bed, and we had tea in the dining room. I was quite surprised to hear that Sanjay Gandhi, Mrs Indirha Gandhis son had been killed in a plane crash. I had read an article about him only a few days ago.

At six fifteen I set off to go to the Easterby Astronomical Society, which meets every other Monday above Kerforth Library. I was quite looking forward to going again, because I haven’t been for months due to ‘revision’ pressures (!?). I got a 509 bus at the bottom (a new route?) and then a 502 from Buckingham Road to Croft Hill. Mum had lent me £1 so it didn’t cost me much.

I got to the Society at about a quarter past seven. All the old regulars were there – David Kilpatrick, Mike Wild, Gary Burdon, Rob Yates . . . . . . . . . It was as if I’d never missed a meeting. I got May 1980’s “Astronomy’ magazine (I order it from the US) and then to the little room at the back which houses the Society’s miniscule library.

It was while I was there that Brian Hudson asked me if I wanted to borrow a camera which belonged to the Society. I was quite surprised because this was a recent innovation. I was half-persuaded and half-cajoled into borrowing it – I don’t really know why because know I’ve got to buy a film and pay for its developing, six quid touch easily. I took the Zenit-B and two back issues of ‘Sky and Telescope’ to borrow and then bought Volume 5 No 3 of ‘Arcturus,’ the EAS’s bimonthly magazine.

The talk was one of the quarterly ones held by Mike Wild and Gary Burdon on Beginner’s Astronomy – tonight was the Spring stars. We were also ‘treated’ to Jack Greaves pouring forth on Salyut 6 and Soyuz 35.

All through the meeting I was plagued by self-doubt and uncertainty. Am I really still interested in astronomy or just shamming (I could be ‘alienated’). I also kept feeling left out somewhat of proceedings – Peter Garth has been a member only twelve months and is already deeply involved in Society affairs. He’s also really friendly with D. Kilpatrick & Co., yet I’ve been there three years and I’m still really an outsider. I must lack drive. I just find it so hard to find things to talk about to people, and I’m awkward when dealing with them – it isn’t a nice feeling this restlessness.

I came home by bus, after loads of chaos in Lockley about which bus to take. With the new route changes, all the old regular numbered services go on alternative routes to their previous courses. Since neither City nor Yorkshire Metro have told their passengers about where the new routes go, noone has a bloody clue what to do! It took me 45 minutes to get the 4½ miles to Egley, mainly because of the wait for the right bus.

I watched the end of a film starring Ronald Reagan – What a cock-up if he got to be President.

Sunday, June 22, 1980

Sunday June 22nd

We set off to go hiking quite early – about eight o’clock. We were quite optimistic when we set out, because although there was a lot of cloud around the sun kept breaking through. The weather soon did a dirty on us though, because by the time we got to Lowbrough it was absolutely throwing it down.

We decided therefore to abandon the walk and go back. Not surprisingly, it took up again by the time we passed through Royden.

Mum was really disappointed and angry and we all three sat around the dining room table gazing at the fine weather. I wasn’t as cheesed off as Mum and Dad were – I didn’t really care what happened. I felt sorry for Mum though, so I suggested that we find a walk described in the Echo on Friday 13th (“Walking with Conklin”) round about Heber moors. Within an hour of getting home we set off again, this time to Heber.

The weather, in total contrast to the morning, was pretty sunny, even though there was loads of Cumulus about. When we set off for Bishop and Daughter rocks up the hillside I, for some reason, felt really irritable and short tempered. Perhaps it was because deep-down inside I had wanted to stay at home and was frustrated at coming out.

We stopped several times (as we always do) to admire the view and recover. Consequently, it took us quite a time to reach Bishop and Daughter. There were thousands of people up there – kids, dogs and mountaineering types predominantly – and it was good to get away across the moors. We had to follow the moor-edge along to ‘Crumpet Stone’ where we cut sharp right to a group of rocks on the horizon.

I no longer felt irritable – I now felt incredibly weary! My legs ached and I wanted to rest every few minutes. I must be really out of condition (I’m never in!) for walking.

After reaching the aforementioned stones we followed the path of a recently laid pipeline to the Three Wise Men Stones and then, eventually on past Dubbin Stones and to two EW radar masts. I was thinking as we passed the radar masts how easy it would be to sabotage them – they were only minimally protected and seemed to be unmanned.

We continued along the moor to another group of rocks where we then cut down and across rough moorland to a wall and then, eventually, back down into Heber. It was a pretty enjoyable walk after all and one of the sunniest days we’ve had for weeks.

We took fish and chips home and ate them while watching cricket on the box. In the evening I watched quite a good film, “Breakout,” with Charles Bronson, and then played one of Robert’s Hendrix LP’s and read “A Guide to Marxism.”

Late on I watched a strange, sub-titled Jap film called “Onibaba” – it was really weird (and pretty blue !!!).

Saturday, June 21, 1980

Saturday June 21st

I got up at about ten-thirty. Mum and Dad were already up and Dad had been to Knowlesbeck to get a newspaper. Cricket was on television and it was this I watched until dinner. It was the third day of the second Test at Lord’s. England were out for 269 in their 1st innings, while West Indies were 260+ for 2 at close of play yesterday. Today they took their score onto 518 all out, with Desmond Haynes hitting 184 (Viv Richards yesterday reaching 145). This left England 249 behind to begin with. At close of play, England were 33-0.

After dinner, we watched World of Sport on the box until about two o’clock, when Dad said he was going to Farnshaw to “look round.” I decided to go along.

Farnshaw was as crowded as usual, with all the expected morons from school hanging around. I don’t really like going to Farnshaw for that reason – I feel self-conscious (especially when I’m with Dad or Mum) – as if they’re laughing at me. I know it’s probably stupid.

We went to the market in the main square and on to a pet shop to buy some Daphnia and Bloodworm (for my newts). We then wandered back to the car and got home about three. I felt as if we should’ve been going somewhere because although it was windy the sun kept shining.

When we got back home we watched a World of Sport Superbike race starring Barry Sheene, Roger Marshall, Mick Grant, and Dave Potter – Dave Potter won – and then I watched cricket and wandered in and out of the garden until tea.

After tea, I played a few records in my bedroom and spent most of my time looking at two photo’ albums. It’s an old cliché I know, but it makes you feel sad in a way looking at old photographs of past events. I also looked at an Easterby Centenary book (1845-1945) which Mum got given by Lodgehill School in 1947. I was amazed to see how much Easterby has changed in the thirty-odd years since the book was published. I just didn’t recognise the centre at all; most of the buildings have now been pulled down.

I went downstairs eventually, and inbetween ‘watching’ television and eating supper, Dad and Mum started telling me about their early married life when they were flat broke all of the time – it really was a tale of woe. Apparently they were overdrawn most of the time and were really envious of Uncle Arnold’s and Uncle Kenneth’s flash cars, holidays abroad and general wealth. Mum told me how she feel really victorious if we ever get a new car because she has been the underdog most of the time as far as relatives are concerned.

Mum and I got talking about things generally. I said how Phil Wingert’s letter had really made me yearn to do something like that. There was an appeal from the East Africa Emergency Appeal for money and volunteers to help the 8 million starving to death over there. It would be superb to go to E. Africa to help there – I bet it is an extremely satisfying feeling helping with work like that. I’m determined to do some really interesting things and see the world before I settle down (if I ever do).

Tomorrow we are going on an eleven mile hike over Horsehead Pass (around Buckden and Kettlewell) – I am quite looking forward to it.

Friday, June 20, 1980

Friday June 20th

Today I went into Easterby (again!), mainly because I was bored at the prospects of another aimless day. I went with Dad at nine and I intended to visit all my usual ports of call.

We arrived in Easterby at nine forty—the weather was terrible; constant blustery wind which was interspersed with spattering rain. I went to Smith’s (Queensgate) first where I spent a good deal of time just wandering around the ground floor looking at books. After an hour or so of that I went to Praxis but—horror of horrors!—it was closed.

I felt at a loss then, so I went to Pip Henson’s and then to Eastgate Centre Smith’s, where I bought a book called “Know Your Own Personality” by H. J. Eysenck. I don’t know why I bought it; it was an impulse decision really (I couldn’t afford it to be truthful, because Monday is E.A.S. day).

Anyway I bought the book, which promised to enable you to “. . . assess your extraversion, emotional stability, sense of humour, and your sexual, social and political attitudes . . . .”

This was done by answering sets of questions, such as “Do you like to solve ‘brain teasers’?,” and “Do you worry a lot about catching diseases?” The author claimed it to be a scientific theory so I eagerly set about revealing my inner-self. According to that, I’m an introverted Socialist-type who regards himself with low-esteem, is unsociable, self-conscious yet permissive (!) and masculine (!?) . . .

I was doing this most of the evening, inbetween listening to Dad ranting about the weather – it is pretty crummy but has just got to be accepted. I’d like to see Dad do the above!

Thursday, June 19, 1980

Thursday June 19th

Today was spent aimlessly – reading and listening to records – I did virtually nothing of note, except read my book and watch cricket (2nd test). England closed at 239-7 after being 160-odd for 1 at tea.

Mum came home at four and in the evening, I watched a programme called “Uncle Sam’s Backyard” about US interference in the economic affairs of the Caribbean. Tonight’s programme was concerned with the Dominican Republic and its virtual take over by a huge US firm, Gulf + Western, run by a McCarthy type billionaire.

The film showed how the company had built for its workers a whole village, a hospital and other facilities. Dominican Republic workers are either employed by G+W or unemployed. The film also told of the succession of fascist dictators placed in power there by the US Government; - so much for the US being the saviour of the ‘free’ world and protector of democracy. It is as bad as the Soviet Union.

I also watched ‘Newsnight’ which featured an interview with Master-Sergeant Samuel Doe, now leader of Liberia. Horrible film was shown of the public executions of thirteen ex-Government officials, on a beach – they were not blindfolded and were tied to stakes before being machine-gunned ruthlessly down.

I’m fired with enthusiasm over this ‘Guide to Marxism’ book. A lot of what Marx said was pure commonsense – every man is equal, total egalitarianism, a classless society etc. Today I’ve been reading about his ideas on the class struggle in society and his theory that it is only groups, not Great Men, who have affected, or can affect the course of history – Much of what I’ve read I agree with. I was amused to discover that under Marx’s class classification idea – that class is determined by the differences in relationship to the ‘factors of production’ (in other words there are only three classes; bourgeois; artisans or peasants; and proletarians; including in the bourgeois, the bourgeois lackeys) – Dad is a bourgeois lackey. (A proletarian who betrays the interests of his class by implementing the law which benefit the bourgeois). I wonder how he’d react to that!

A superb record I kept playing today was Nick Drake’s “Five Leaves Left” album. It’s all slow, acoustic stuff but it’s really good. This sounds totally corny but in a way it is sad and haunting. The track on side one, “River Man” is so good I kept playing it over and over again. Perhaps the fact that Nick Drake killed himself in 1972 explains a lot of the album’s melancholy atmosphere.

Wednesday, June 18, 1980

Wednesday June 18th

My History exam turned out to be quite easy. It started at nine and consisted of three sections. Section A was about Medicine through time, Section B consisted of questions on Modern World Studies (I chose Communist China) and section C was about the American West. It turned out easier than expected, and I’m confident of a good grade.

Shortly after the exam finished at 11, Wendy Truswell came up to me and told me that there was to be a meeting on June 27th at 1.30 p.m. in the 6th Form Common room about a caving trip (a weekend). I was pleased somebody had made the effort to tell me because before the trip held previously, noone had asked me if I wanted to be included. If I go it will be my fifth trip – I’ve been down Gaping Gill twice, Providence Pot and Dow Cave.

When I came home I loafed about wasting my time until 4.35 when the England v Spain match was shown live on ITV. England started well and Trevor Brooking scored in the first half to put it at 1-0 to England at half-time. After the interval, things really livened up. Spain equalised through a penalty. Several minutes later, another was given and was converted easily. The referee however, demanded a retake which Ray Clemence saved. Spain also had a goal disallowed for offside, Woodcock eventually scoring to make the final score 2-1. In the second match, Belgium held Italy to a 0-0 draw so Belgium go through to the final and Italy play in the 3rd and 4th place final. England came away empty handed therefore. The final Group 2 table was:

While these games were in progress, Dad was out gardening and Mum was doing some work for school.

At about ten o’clock, Dad switched on a programme about the Afrikaaners called the ‘White Tribe of Africa.’ The people interviewed there seemed very wary and constantly hostile to any inquiries about white handling of affairs. “You don’t understand the problems involved” was their incessant appeal. I understand it simply – they are racists (Today they shot dead 36 blacks).

Earlier on today, before the football, I was reading the “Guide to Marxism.” It really is an interesting book, because it gives all Marx’s ideas in plain, ‘easy-to-understand’ phrases which enables the reader to get down to the nitty-gritty of what he actually believed. I was interested to read about Marx’s attitudes towards Socialism. According to the book, he saw Socialism merely as an intermediate stage on the road to Communism – it’s main faults being: 1) “It continues to use money”; 2)”People will contribute to society according to their ability, and will be rewarded according to their work” (as opposed to “need” under Communism); 3) “It is a one-class society” (whereas a Communist society would be classless); 4) “The State and State Apparatus are still in existence” (therefore still able to oppress).

According to the SPGB however, their envisaged society would not possess any of the above defects and would, if this is true, be communist. I certainly agree with the injustice of 2) above. What about those unable to work for some reason? I’d like to ask the SPGB about this: - Socialism or Communism?

Tuesday, June 17, 1980

Tuesday June 17th

I had to go into Easterby again today, primarily to get two passport photos for a student railcard which I will take to school tomorrow to have stamped and signed by Mr. Barkston.

I went with Dad again at nine, and we got into Easterby just as the Town Hall clock struck 9.45 a.m.

Firstly, I went to a flea-market Dad had told me about, mainly just to have a look but also to look at a stall which specialises in old football programmes. The market had just opened when I got there – some stall owners were still setting up shop – and I wandered around looking for the stall in question. When eventually I did find it I found that most of the programmes worthy of collection were going for £1 and £2 a time!

I then went to the Library again, and got out three books; “Reptiles and Amphibians” by Malcolm Smith for Dad; and two books for me; “Understanding Marxism” by P. H. Vigor (an attempt “to set forth Marx’s, Lenin’s, Stalin’s, and Kruschev’s ideas both impartially and intelligibly”); and “Socialism in Britain” by T. L. Jarmon. I got them primarily because I really do want to understand what Marx said and whether, deep down inside, I really do believe in his ideas. If the SPGB is anything to go by then I do.

After the Library I was heading towards Smith’s when when I suddenly remembered the photos. I had to go to the Passport Photo’ machine in Holdsworth Sq. Station, and had a long wait because the machine broke down and had to be repaired before I could use it. Two pictures were for my railcard; the fourth picture was a cock-up. I forgot that you got 4 photos for 30p and I was getting up to leave when I was caught by the camera. I had a really gormless expression on my face – if I look like that all the time in public I must look pretty thick!

I got the bus back home, a 511. It was probably my last journey on a City 511 or 513, for they are being phased out on June 22nd and Yorkshire Metro are running extra buses to cover. When I got home I did nothing worthwhile, apart from eat, read and eat. Mum came home at her usual time and I settled down to watch the E. F. C. Group One match, Holland v Czechoslovakia live on BBC at 4.35. The result was a 1-1 draw and when the match finished I had only another 20 minutes to wait till ITV showed the other match live, Greece v West Germany. That was a 0-0 draw too and so W. Germany are definitely in the final (Dad + Mum were doing the privets so they didn’t mind me watching 3 hours of football).

When that game finished the table for Group 1 looked like this; and I came to bed.

I am writing this after having read through one of my “Socialist Standards.” The more SPGB literature I read, the better it gets. I do believe in what they say because it is the only just and democratic way for a society to exist. By its very definition “socialism” is a system of society tailored by the people for the people, and as such is the only ‘proper’ way of living.

Tomorrow I have my last exam – History Paper 1. Quite frankly, I haven’t given it a thought!

Monday, June 16, 1980

Monday, June 16th

I went into Easterby today with Dad at nine o’clock. He parked at the back of the Main Library and while he went to get a ticket I went to the library.

I took four books back – “The Lost Pharaohs” by Leonard Cotterel, “Stellar Evolution,” “Socialism” and a book by Tariq Ali called “The Coming British Revolution.” The were all overdue and I hadn’t read any of them so I got only one book out this time – “Revolutionary Guerrilla Warfare.”

I then went to Smiths on Queensgate and spent ages reading a book there about the assassination of President Kennedy. It left me with a funny feeling inside.

After Smith’s I decided to go to the Praxis Bookshop – one of my favourite haunts – and I bought an SWP book “Why you should be a Socialist” (35p), and two SPGB “Socialist Standards” at 15p each. I also bought another SPGB book – “Questions of the Day” (50p).

The SPGB material, when compared to the SWP literature, really makes sense to me. Before I heard about the SPGB I was, in effect, just purporting to be socialist without really understanding what principles were involved. But after buying the SPGB’s “Declaration of Principles” all that changed. I found real allegiance for the SPGB upholds the things in which I really believe – abolition of wages and money and therefore trade unions and “class-consciousness” leading to a unified world community. The SWP lot are just image-men in comparison; “romantic militants.”

When I came out of Praxis it was raining and since I was now penniless I set off to walk. I went back through Lockley, on Musgrove Road, and then on to West Lane and into the Park. Because the rain was now getting heavy I kept stopping beneath trees and under roofs in an attempt to stay dry.

It was while I was sheltering under the roof of a stone shed at the Lodgehill end of Woodhead Park that a Pakistani bloke, aged about 45-50, came and stood with me. I smiled and in a naïve friendliness tried to start a conversation. He could hardly speak a word of English and after asking me whether I was coming home from work, he offered me a cigarette. I refused and then he offered me two pound notes. Naively I couldn’t understand why. I refused these, telling him to keep his cash. He then asked me if “I no liked money.” Yes, I replied, I did, but I didn’t want his. He kept pressing me and it was then that I noticed how he was gazing at me constantly, and when I looked up he kept winking at me. It was about this time I twigged – he was a queer! I noticed that he kept fiddling with his flies. Shortly after I made my exit, still being friendly (he probably thought I was encouraging him). He called me back and pointed to a little doorway in the shed which was open and inside was strewn straw, newspaper and an old pillow. He indicated for me to go inside – it makes me sick just to think –and I, still half-doubting, wondered why. I refused and he asked me if “I no like” the room. No, I said, and I was off. He followed me onto Lodgehill, where he caught up with me and I said goodbye. I was so bloody naïve – innocently being cordial while he had other intentions obviously.

When he left I thought he was just trying to be friendly, but the more I thought about it the more I realized what a pervert he was. I told Mum about it when she came home and she later told me that she knew what he had wanted.

Anyway, the rest of the day passed uneventfully (I read my leaflets and did my leagues) and when Dad came home I told him about the above. When he told me that he was a queer and that there are more in Woodhead Park like him, it only made me feel more the fool. How could I be so bloody childishly innocent!

Sunday, June 15, 1980

Sunday, June 15th

Today was a pretty non-descript day, pretty bad in some respects. I got up at a quarter to nine – Robert and Dad were already up, and it was quite refreshing to see the sun was shining. Mum got up shortly after me and I lounged about waiting for the Sunday Times to arrive. In the meantime, I gave Dad his Father’s Day present – he seemed quite pleased with it, but he bemoaned the fact that he is now quickly running out of space for books.

Robert went at about half ten. He is coming up again in mid-July with Andrew, so it won’t be too long before I see him again. He has been coming up to Easterby fairly regularly now since about March, sorting out various hassles about moving house.

The newspaper came at about eleven, and I played some of Robert’s records while reading it. Dad went out to get some petrol and then rang Nanna B. up to see if she wanted a run out. She at first declined but then rang back a few minutes later saying she had changed her mind.

I decided to stay home and Mum and Dad went to get Nanna B. and then on for a run.

I spent most of the afternoon playing records (Hatfield and the North’s “Rotter’s Club,” UK, and The Enid), and messing around with my leagues. I’m currently working through Division Two, and the second division promotion places are between Derby County, Spurs, Bristol City, Stoke City and Sunderland.

Mum, Dad and Nanna B. came home at about fourish (Robert rang at half-three to say he’d arrived safely), and we had tea. I persuaded Mum to let us have it in the front room, because at seven fifteen on ITV was England v Italy live from Rome.

The match was really important from both England’s and Italy’s point of view. A win for either would virtually ensure a place in the final, and England were desperate to show the World that we are a force once more in international soccer. Because of Thursday’s riots in Turin, the 80, 000+ crowd was really anti-British and England got a pretty hostile reception.

I haven’t been as tense since last football season, because Italy really turned on the pressure and had loads of missed chances. They were playing dirtily, felling every England player possible, but they still looked the better side in attack. England had a few good chances but the first half remained goalless. Nanna B. was really into the game (she’s quite a soccer fanatic) although Mum was bored out of her mind and Dad was criticising England’s slow play. Compared to Nanna P., Nanna B. is really much more in touch somehow with me – she can crack jokes and is much more entertaining than Nanna P.

The second half started with intense Italian pressure and it continued right through the half. I was really tense; sweat was pouring off me like water from a tap. England finally cracked about 12 minutes from time and Italy won 1-0.

I was really bloody sickened off, and that familiar old feeling of defeat from last season returned. We’re definitely out of the final now, and with Spain losing 2-1 to Belgium in the other group two match, England are joint bottom of the group. Our only hope is for Italy to beat Belgium and for England to thrash Spain about 4-0.

I came to bed at twenty to ten so fed up was I and I’m writing this while lying on my bed listening to Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile.” I don’t feel so down now – there’s always the 1982 World Cup to look forward to!

Saturday, June 14, 1980

Saturday, June 14th

Robert woke me up at about nine for today we were going to Dearnelow. When we set off it was pouring down with rain, and it stayed like that all day.

We firstly had to turn back at Moxthorpe because Robert had forgotten his Barclay-card, but we eventually got off in fairly good time. We were going to go to Gawbrook first, because Robert wanted to renew his order for the “Dearnelow Chronicle” to be sent to London, but before we got out of Easterby, Robert took me to see Albion’s ground. It was dismal in the torrential rain, and even though sixteen years have passed since Albion finished, there are still the old signs up outside. “Easterby Albion A. F. C. Social Club” the sign proclaimed, although all the windows were boarded up. There are no longer any floodlights up and trees grow out of the terraces. It made me feel quite sad to see it all.

In Gawbrook, we got soaked just walking from the van to the newsagents, and Robert renewed his order. I felt uncomfortable in the newsagents because while Rob was talking to the bloke about the order, the two girl shop assistants kept laughing. I was sure they were laughing at me because they kept glancing in my direction, and when I looked up at them one of the girls (they were about 18, I would say) smiled at me. Whether she fancied me I don’t know (its doubtful).

Anyway, we then set off for Dearnelow. The rain became really torrential, and just about a mile beyond Gawbrook we nearly got struck by lightning. We were blasting along and suddenly there was a blue flash in front of us. I turned to Robert and asked him if he had seen it. He said he had and then there was a loud, explosion-type noise. I guessed the strike was about a quarter of a mile away at most.

We parked in Dearnelow and walked down into the town centre. It wasn’t very busy, and since I have never been to Dearnelow before in my life I was quite impressed with their town hall. As a place, it seems just like any other town – nothing distinctive at all, but then Easterby’s like that.

Since we were both wet and hungry, we went into a cafe and had a cup of tea and some sandwiches. We then went into ‘Charter Arcade’ to buy Dad a Fathers Day present. In ‘Smiths,’ there was a book sale on and some very good books were available. Robert bought Dad a book about “Clive of India” costing only £1.50, whereas I bought him a book called “the Sporting Life,” an anthology of short stories about sport from authors such as Wodehouse, Dickens, Sassoon, Wells and others. I hope he will like it. I also bought myself a good book about “The Chinese Red Army” which I shall enjoy reading.

After this we left Dearnelow and travelled through Rowber and on to a small town called Hemingfield, where Robert had arranged to visit a bloke who had offered his house to rent while him and Carol looked for a house of their own.

When we got to Hemingfield, we had a bit of trouble finding the house, which was at 21, Church Street. The bloke who lived there, Norman Le Hayes or Lahay or something, was a cockney who moved to Yorkshire four years ago. He was a good bloke, a typical Uncle Jim type, and he seemed really keen on Robert and Carol staying there. The house was nothing spectacular, just a two-up, two-down terraced house, with two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and living room.

We spent about an hour there, and when we left we decided to come straight home. We were going to see Fairburn Ings bird sanctuary, but because of the rain and fog we vetoed the idea.

After getting home at about three thirty, we watched the European Soccer Championships on the box. The games were Holland v West Germany (Group One), on BBC at 4.35, and Greece v Czechoslovakia (Group One), on ITV at 7.15. In between we watched the film “Planet of the Apes.”

The first game was easily the best, W. Germany winning 3-2. They scored the first three, and Holland pulled back two in the last 10 minutes.

The other game Czechoslovakia won 3-1. It now looks like Germany are through to the final easily.

After that I went to bed, (Dad came home at ten), leaving Mum and Dad submerged in a Pearl Harbour/love story, called “From Here to Eternity.”

I’ve waffled on at some length today, so I’ll close down now. I’ll read another chapter of “Reminisces . . . .” tonight. It’s all the more appropriate because today is Che Guevara’s birthday (1928). My memory was jogged by, paradoxically enough, the “Express”’s “Today’s the Day” feature!

Friday, June 13, 1980

Friday June 13th

My Maths exam went pretty much as expected, with about two ‘easy’ questions and the rest really difficult. We had to choose five from eight; of these five I was pretty sure about one, not sure about another two and definitely cocked up one – The other I only managed to start before my 2½ hours was up. I think I’ve probably passed Maths – its just Physics I’m worried about. I only know that now I’m just relieved to get my exams over and done with. I’ve just one more on Wednesday and then that’s it till June 30th, when my 6th year induction course begins.

My exam started at nine so I got home at about twelve. Robert has brought most of his 200+ records up so I whiled away the day playing Syd Barrett (“The Madcap Laughs”), The Crusaders ("Street Life”), and a quite good record called Afro Rock featuring five groups, Osibisa, Assagai, Chaka, Simba and Grutz. It was all African jungle rhythms utilizing bongos, timbales etc.

Talking about bongos reminds me that Robert gave me a poster and a badge which he got when he went to the Santana concert in London on June 5th. According to him and to Andrew who has since rung up, it was ace. They played all the old favourites from “Caravanserai” and “Moonflower” – tracks such as “Europa” – and were every bit as good as they always were. The badge and the poster are pretty corny – the poster is a big picture of Carlos; obviously one for the hero-worshippers.

Anyway, Dad came home shortly after Robert, at about 3.45 p.m. Robert had been to visit his new school, Copley Comprehensive, near Swaithebrough, Dearnelow and Dardray. He seemed quite impressed with the organisation, which his school in Woolwich lacks.

Mum came shortly and we had tea in the front room by the television about 5.00 p.m., Robert, Mum and I went to watch television then because at 7.50 was the final series of Citizen Smith, followed by Michael Palin in Ripping Yarns. Dad went to visit Nanna B.

The two programmes were superb, Ripping Yarns being a repeat of the “Barnestoneworth United” episode. The scene where Michael Palin trudges home after his team have lost "8 bloody 1" is really funny. I can well recall the feeling of desolation almost after Athletic lose. You feel sickened, and just want to forget about football, but you soon return.

While Dad was gone we all talked about him. It may have been a bit cruel discussing him like that, almost as if he was a mental patient, but it is interesting getting other peoples’ views on him. We all agreed that he was stubborn and quite pig-headed. He’s still my Dad though, whatever his faults.

After tea, Robert went up for a bath and I watched the news. There was a bit about S. Africa, about the black school boycott. It was calmly divulged that whites there have ten times as much money spent on their education as do blacks. I felt sickened that that fascist dictatorship dares to blatantly charade as a fair and equal country. The sooner the white pigs there are out the better! I was glad Dad was out. A “gradual process” eh!!?

Dad came home about 10 and I then went to bed after watching a brass band programme.

It is now 12.00 pm almost and I’m going to read a book by Che Guevara – “Reminisces of the Cuban Revolutionary War” – which Robin Quinn lent me this morning. It seems quite a good book and not at all as biased as one might think.

Thursday June 12th

I got up at around 11 because today was my free day. I had some of that powdered packet soup for dinner – it really is amazing how lumps of meat can be produced just by adding water to a dry, grey powder. It was pretty sickening so I chucked half of it away.

I mucked about again till 4.35 when BBC 1 showed the England v Belgium game live. The result was a 1-1 draw – pretty crummy as far as England were concerned because everyone was confident of an England victory. England scored through Ray Wilkins after 26 minutes and the Belgians equalised three minutes later. When the game finished I felt a bit disappointed – our sensational reentry into World soccer had been dampened somewhat. There was a huge riot among the English fans and tear gas was used to disperse crowds – the game was stopped for 8 minutes near half time because players’ eyes were watering from the gas. It was all a bit pathetic.

At 7.00 p.m. ITV featured the second Group 2 match, Italy v Spain, and the result couldn’t have been better – it was a 0-0 draw. It was by far the best game of the tournament to date, with lots of end-to-end stuff.

I did nothing much in the evening and at around midnight Robert came. He looked really tired and said his friend couldn’t come with him because he was broke. He told us of how recently someone had tried to nick his van from outside a pub by crossing the wires to the ignition. They failed and when Robert switched on the lights his entire wiring burned out. Apparently the garage mechanic said the car would have blown up if he’d kept them on.

He got a letter from a mate of his, Phil Wingert, who is travelling around the world on a bicycle. He read it to us and I felt a real yearning to do something really exciting like that. Currently he is in Perth, W. Australia, working in a bakery. He has decided to save up enough cash to go East and see New Zealand and then, possibly on to America. To just be like that, wandering without a care in the world, must be fantastic. He set off with only £500 and can’t speak any foreign languages, so no special requirements are needed.

Tomorrow I have Maths 3 which will probably be the hardest exam of the lot. After that I only have History and then I’ve done my O levels.

Wednesday, June 11, 1980

Wednesday June 11th

At nine o’clock I had my next exam which was Maths. Although it was Paper 1 and 2 – the easy ones – I still felt nervous when I woke up. As it was, I needn’t have worried because I found the papers really easy. Paper 1 was a computerised multiple choice and of the 25 questions there I reckon I answered 20+ correct at least.

Paper 2 consisted of 20 questions which were also easy – In total contrast to yesterday I finished the exam in almost jubilant mood, and everyone said the exam had been the easiest maths ever.

I got soaked walking home for it was throwing it down. It has never stopped all day and everything is dripping wet. It was another slumping about on the floor day until 4.25 when ITV showed the opening game of the 1980 European Soccer Championship between Czechoslovakia – the holders – and West Germany. The game was pathetic and dreary – both sides played really cageily and the only goal came 10 minutes after half time ended, when W Germany’s Rumenigge headed in a cross. The crowd was only about 15 000 and the teams were booed and whistled off at half time because of their dreary play. The second half was better but still a pretty corny game.

Mum and Dad came home at quarter to six, Dad had picked Mum up from Nanna P’s where she goes every Wednesday. We had tea in the front room and later on we watched a film with Sean Connery playing the part of a Moroccan Moslem Arab chief who kidnaps three Americans. The Americans in typical Good Samaritan manner invade etc. . . . I went up and played a few records mid-evening and then finally went down at about 9.30.

There was a Labour Party Political Broadcast on at 10 which was quite interesting. Instead of plugging away at normal points of attack such as unemployment, and uneconomic policies it concentrated on frightening the masses by telling them how Thatcher’s policies are going to lead to an escalation of the arms race and eventual destruction in nuclear war. Mum and Dad rushed out to hide their heads in the sand.

Me and Dad got talking about the Olympics – he’s all in favour of boycotting it. I can see his point but I still believe that sport and politics shouldn’t be mixed.

I watched highlights of the other football match (Holland 1-0 Greece) and then came to bed.

Tomorrow I have no exams and Robert and a mate who's a teacher at his school are coming up from London. I’m looking forward to seeing Robert again.

Tuesday, June 10, 1980

Tuesday June 10th

I had two exams today Physics and English Literature and the former was an absolute disaster. It was bloody impossible – some of the questions on there I hadn’t a clue about. We had to answer six of eight questions provided. I managed four – just; and I’m not too confident about passing Physics.

First though I had English Literature. It started at nine and went on two-and-a-half-hours to 1130. We had three sections, one each on drama, poetry and short stories, and we had to answer one from each. We were then able to choose one other question from one of the sections. At the time I thought it was fairly hard – the sections on drama (Romeo and Juliet) and poetry especially – but on reflection, compared to that Physics, it was simple.

When the English finished I had a 1½ hour wait till Physics 16+ Paper 2, which began at 1.00. It felt strange back at school again. A large group of us hung around until dinner at 1200 (beans, chips, liquid turnip and revolting sausage-meat fritters), and then went to Physics.

I don’t know whether I thought it was going to be easy or hard, but I soon found out. Jesus! It took me half-an-hour to do two questions (we had 1½ hours), the easiest question being one on conservation of momentum and acceleration. The rest were nigh on impossible – I really started sweating when I saw the questions. I had a horrible helpless feeling come over me as I sat there – I just couldn’t remember the various facts and rules. After that horror I felt really sickened off.

I came home at the normal time, walking back with Craig Bateson – half-mast jeans, shaved head type, he’s alright really – and Dad was in the garden talking to Mr Tillotson. Mr Tillotson has just come home from hospital after having an operation on his bladder; he’s over seventy and has a weak heart and he looked pretty weak although nowadays he always does.

I lounged about most of the afternoon, reading the papers Dad brought and the Echo when it came. Mum came home at about quarter to four – she was upset because she couldn’t take the kids from Marlborough Immigrant Centre where she is a nursery nurse out for a picnic in Castlebrigg Woods. They were going to release some small frogs which have developed from spawn which me and Dad got back in February some time, but it was raining all morning so they couldn’t go.

Mum rang a driving school up at five to book a few trial lessons at £5.00 a time. She’s already got a provisional licence valid from July 1st and I can’t really believe that she is actually taking the plunge. She admits to being terrified and it’ll be interesting to see how she goes on.

About the same time as Mum rang the driving school, a big blue police van drew up opposite Mr. Jackman’s over the road. A policeman got out and started noting things down. Eventually he went to Jackman’s door and then went inside. I think he came about complaints about Jackman’s son, Colin, who works on his motorbike sometimes at two in the morning – I’ve heard him several nights (mornings) this week, revving it up and blasting around on it.

The rest of the evening went like that. I played a Jimi Hendrix L. P. (“Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe” etc) and it was really good as usual, and I messed about with dice and my football league.

At 1030 I watched “International Match of the Day,” a preview into the 1980 European Championships – England’s chances were rated as pretty good although the real danger men are going to be Holland, Italy and W. Germany. It would be good if we could win.

Not a good day today for me. I’m not relishing the thoughts of August and exam results time at all.

Monday, June 9, 1980

Monday, June 9th

Today was exam day – 16+ Physics Papers 1A and 1B. The exam started at 9 o’clock, so I had to go to school ‘normally’ at 8.25 – its really weird to think that I will never have that same routine ever again.

I got to school at about twenty to nine, and Mark Powell was already there. It’s funny that I’ll probably never ever meet him again in my li-- he’s going for an apprenticeship at an engineering firm somewhere in Easterby – and he really is a good mate although he’s annoying sometimes.

Robin Quinn arrived a bit later, and then we all trooped into the Sport’s Hall. As I said yesterday, I’ve done hardly any revision, so I was a bit nervous.

Paper 1A was the 50 multiple choice questions – some were easy but some were really hard, and Paper 1B were “write-on-the-dotted-line” questions. I made some amazing cock-ups (2.4 x 50 = 100 (!?)), and a lot of the questions on electricity I could hardly do. When I got home at quarter to eleven I felt really frustrated and angry with myself.

The rest of the day I spent watching cricket – the fourth day of the 1st test against the West Indies. In their 1st innings England got 263 and W. Indies 308 and England were 145-2 at the start of today’s play. About half-twelve a collapse started and England went from 174-2 to 183-6 in about 10 overs. Boycott got 75, Gower 1, Botham 4, and Willey 38 and things seem to be going the tourist’s way. At the close of play, the W. Indies stood at 109-2 with Richards 48 (but out). England got 252.

I spent the rest of the afternoon lounging about, scavenging food tins and watching cricket. Mum came home at about 3.45 and Dad at 6 pm. He was in a stinking mood and fed up because he had been told to work his days off. He blasted on about “yobbo’s” again, saying he didn’t agree with “handouts,” a free NHS and more or less intimating that a bit of hardship was a good thing – “When I was a lad . . .” type stuff.

Anyway, Mum stormed out after saying that she wouldn’t have wished her childhood on anyone and the rest of the evening finished in stormy atmosphere. I watched an ace Paul Newman film, “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean” and came to bed at about 1130 pm. Tomorrow I have English Literature ‘O’ Level and Physics Paper 2 – and I’m not looking forward to either.

One thing I am looking forward to are the European Soccer Championships in Spain – England have a good chance of getting through to the Final. Again Dad moans about footballs dominance but I couldn’t care less – I could watch football any time – and I’m waiting expectantly for August and the new season.

I didn’t go to the Easterby Astronomical Society meeting tonight because of revision – that’s a joke. I stop off to do revision and inevitably it seems I fail to do a thing.

Sunday, June 8, 1980

First day

Today I got up at around ten o’clock. I had been going to get up for some time, but I kept drifting in and out of sleep. When I eventually got downstairs our Sunday paper, ‘The Times,’ had already been delivered. Outside it was fairly sunny, with lots of scattered cloud about, and Dad was messing around in the garden, so I read a good article in the Colour Magazine about a recent major archaeological expedition to carefully investigate the tomb of Rameses XI in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. Mum was ironing and I felt particularly argumentative and good-natured so we soon started discussing various things that were in the paper. One thing led to another and soon Dad was involved.

We talked about lots of things – the starving millions in the Horn of Africa; South Africa; and black people in Britain. Dad was, as usual, pretty heated about some things, such as West Indian “yobbos” in the Eastgate Centre in Easterby, and, again as usual, came out with some pretty
fasciststupid comments like: “If I was in power I’d deny social security payments to anybody who had stolen a car or burgalled a house”; thereby casting them into poverty. We also talked a bit about S. Africa, and Dad said that by blowing up government facilities, Black nationalist organisations were doing themselves no good, especially since the apartheid system was “gradually” being altered. Surely such a blatantly racialist system should be changed quickly, not gradually. I quite enjoy these discussions we often have, although eventually Dad takes them too much to heart and starts becoming red in the face and vicious.

Nanna P. came down about twelve, and we had roast beef,
chips and fish fingers for dinner. Over dinner, Nanna P. started talking about Ken & Shirley (famous comedy duo). She told us how the latter, my step-aunt, was withholding details about Tracy’s (my cousin) birthplace, (Tracy and her younger sister Lisa are Shirley’s children by a Scottish bloke who disappeared – Shirley then marrying Uncle Kenneth after my real Aunt, Aunty Dorothy, had divorced him - ). I can’t stand Shirley, she is so false. She assumes these pseudo-upper class accents and is always barging in on other peoples lives. She also dies her hair blonde and brushes it so that she looks like some middle-aged punk.

After Dad went to work at two o’clock, I went upstairs and had my hair washed. I then went into my bedroom and read through parts of “Alive” and “Survive,” the two books on the 1972 aircrash in the Andes, until it dried. Those books made a deep impression on me when I read them.

Anyway, I revised a bit for tomorrow’s Physics 16+ Paper 1 exam. It’s my fourth exam, I’ve already had French CSE, Biology and History Paper 2. Funnily enough, I’m not really worried about my ‘O’ levels, even though I’ve done bugger all revision. I’ll muddle through – I usually do.

I did about an hours revision and then played records all afternoon; Stan’ Clarke; Al DiMeola; Mike Oldfield and Jimi Hendrix. I also played Todd Rundgren’s “A Wizard/A True Star,” the first side of which is ace. I felt really good laying on my bed in the sun listening to such ace music, all exam troubles seemed so distant. It reminded me of Andrew and about a year ago when we used to sit in my (then his) bedroom and play such ace pieces as Santana’s “Moonflower” and “Caravanserai,” while the sun set.

During the evenings, the sun shines continuously through my bedroom window and it gets really warm and still.

And that’s how I spent most of my evening, playing darts, and listening to some fine music. I went down at about eight and got embroiled in a “Likely Lads” TV film, which was really good. Dad came home at ten and took Nanna P. home immediately. I made some tea and then, after having beans on toast for supper and watching Jim Watt successfully defend his World Lightweight title for the third time, I went to have a bath and then to bed.

I’m writing this in bed and it is a quarter to one tomorrow morning and I have a Physics exam in eight and a quarter hours.

Today was the first day of the rest of my life, and this diary is going to be a record, for me when I’m old, of my thoughts and actions every day. It may be boring for an outside reader, but then it’s not intended to be read by anyone else but me. It will be really fascinating if only I can keep it up.
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