Tuesday, September 30, 1980

Tuesday September 30th

I enjoyed today, mainly because of the light-hearted nature of things and my good thing with Beaumont etc. It sounds pretty crummy I know but it makes you feel good when you know that your company is wanted and perhaps enjoyed.

We spent much of the time in the library talking, after having two History lessons and a Biology lesson. After school had finished, I sat in the Common Room talking with Jeremy Beaumont until 3.30 p.m when we set off for Farnshaw College.

It was a good laugh at the College today; we were completing the “energy” paintings we started last Thursday. Lee Hoy, Duncan Verity, Jeremy Beaumont and I spent our two hours talking and generally having a good time. I thoroughly enjoyed the Art class.

Monday, September 29, 1980

Monday September 29th

Nothing at all worth writing about happened. First two lessons were free and we had History and then Biology. They passed off in the usual manner – uneventful – the former concerned with the 1905 “Revolution,” the latter about organelles inside cells.

Just recently, I have started spending a lot of my time with Jeremy Beaumont, Lee Hoy and Duncan Verity, talking, joking and listening to them, and really we have become quite friendly. Hoy and Verity have not changed one little bit from the days of Lodgehill, still the same, spiteful, funny and amusing people Grant Riley knew.

That’s it really. Nothing else much to say except that I watched “Panorama” in the evening about the Gulf War (now in its second week), and the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, which began today.

Sunday, September 28, 1980

Sunday September 28th

Sunday as usual except for a lot of bitterness between Mum and Dad. I got up at 9.30 and after reading the “Sunday Times” and just sitting around I went upstairs to do my football leagues.

When I came down around 2 o’clock the sun was shining from a clear sky. It was very quiet downstairs so at first I thought everyone had gone out, but to my surprise I found Mum and Nanna P. sitting in the front room looking at old photographs. Dad was out at N.B’s. This is what all the trouble was about.

Dad got the car back yesterday after a month, only because Horner had fitted the car with some temporary springs, and apparently he had promised to take Mum out for a run earlier on in the week if he got the car back. A few angry words were exchanged at dinnertime over Robert’s house between Mum and Dad, and after ringing Nanna B., Dad went out in the car, leaving Mum and Nanna Peale at home. I could tell Mum was fuming, especially since it was sunny, and to crown it all, when Dad got back it transpired that he’d taken Nanna B out for a run instead! I can see why Mum was upset.

The rest of the evening was conducted in stormy silence, and I stayed out of the way in my bedroom playing ‘Santana.’ At about eight-thirty, Mum and Dad took Nanna P. back, and I reckon that there was a flaming row on the way back because when Mum came in and I said something about her being in a bad mood she nearly bit my head off!

After I came to bed (I watched Alan Jones become World Champion in the Canadian Motor-Racing Grand Prix), I heard Mum blasting on at Dad viciously – “I loathe you tonight” . . . – “You give her a run yet all she does is sit on her arse all week . . .” etc.. – and eventually she stormed into the spare bedroom to sleep on her own. That’s the first time that’s happened ever, I think. I can understand Mum, but I also feel sorry for Dad. All he was was a bit thoughtless, and Mum’s going on so is just a bit selfish, I think. She doesn’t really like Nanna B.

I sound like an over-the-garden-fence gossiper tonight, and the above reads like an episode from “Coronation Street.”

I suppose I should’ve done some reading for school over the weekend, yet somehow I can never seem to buckle down to it.

Saturday, September 27, 1980

Saturday September 27th

I felt ill when I woke up this morning. I had a blocked nose which started running later and also an aching, throbbing headache which twinged every time I stood up.

I felt down, although the weather, which was grey and miserable, probably didn’t help. For most of the morning I hung around feeling generally ill and wishing that football matches and Saturdays didn’t coincide for although I wanted to see the match (Athletic v Hillroyd Victoria), I also wanted to go into Easterby to spend the £10 Mum gave me from an insurance policy which had ‘matured’ or ‘fermented’ or whatever insurance policies do. I was half thinking of buying Santana’s “Welcome” which I’ve wanted since hearing it at Robert’s in Rotherham.

I compromised and went with Dad, who was on 2-10, at one o’clock. We arrived in Easterby at 1.15 p.m., and after looking round Smiths record department on Queensgate, I went to HMV records in Schofield Street. The album wasn’t in either of those two places, so I tried “Aymers” (no success) and then gave up after trying to find "Michael’s."

The football match started at three, so I wandered up at about two-fifteen. There was a smallish crowd there so I had time to buy two Manksteads v Athletic programmes, two Athletic v Brunswick progs and a couple of the current ones (40p).

Athletic started well and looked much the better side, Hillroyd relying on a packed penalty area for defence, desperate, straight-up-in-the-air clearances etc., but despite their superiority they couldn’t score. Typically Hillroyd got a breakaway goal just before half-time, an easy header from the near post, a result of bad defending. The second half was the same, classy play from Easterby and tight defending from Hillroyd, yet despite this, Athletic went two down when Hudson dropped a cross and allowed Hillroyd to score. Goals three and four I can’t really remember. The game really folded up as far as Easterby were concerned, and I was so sickened I left immediately after their fourth was scored. 4-0!! I can’t really believe it. There were even “Gough Out!” shouts.

I shouldn’t have gone out because I felt rotten when I got home, headache, sore throat and runny nose. I’ve smitten Mum too. I spent the evening watching television and feeling poorly.

Friday, September 26, 1980

Friday September 26th

The tedium of triple Biology was broken up by a film on Polytechnics, given by Easterby Careers Office. I have often wondered what the difference between a polytechnic and university is – now I know. To go to the former you need only one ‘A’ level, whereas to the latter three are usually required.

I have been thinking just lately about what to do after the sixth form. Up till now, the accepted course has been that I’ll go into University (providing I get my ‘A’ levels) for 3 years and then into a job, but I could take a year off after ‘A’ levels, go abroad perhaps or do some work in England (“to gain experience in living”). The more I think about this, the more I think that maybe it would be a good thing.

In Biology I got my essay back – I got A minus – and I got an identical mark for my Witte essay in History. Yesterday, Ingham asked to see me about taking on a language, and when I got into his office he told that if I wanted to apply for Oxford or Cambridge which, in his opinion, would be attainable in my case, I would have to take an ‘O’ level language course and also start preparing for the entrance exam. I told him that since I wasn’t fanatically desperate to go there, I couldn’t see that the extra work involved would be worth it. He told me to go and discuss it with my parents and tell him the result on Monday morning, although I knew my decision before I left his office. I told him that decision today – I wouldn’t bother.

In History, as we sat in P20 waiting for Ingham, Mrs Duncan gave me an invitation card to her daughter’s joint birthday celebration, to be held in Heber in late October (Helen, who went on the caving weekend, is one of her daughters). Whether I shall go or not I don’t know. I enjoyed the lesson because it was all about politics again – I find that side of the course easy.

The weather was good, the second day of continued sunshine in succession but I still have my cough and cold.

Thursday, September 25, 1980

Thursday September 25th

For English today we had an essay to hand in – “Give an analytical account of the characters of the Eliots, Mrs Clay and Lady Russell” – mine wasn’t very good as I spent all morning rushing to complete it.

One thing I’ve noticed of late is that Claire Pearson keeps looking at me – occasionally I glance up to find her staring at me really strangely. I can’t tell whether the stare is derisive, admiring or what. I must present a pretty unusual spectacle – tall with unkempt hair – so perhaps this explains it.

English was nondescript, and Art at College was quite enjoyable. Mr Hine told us to experiment with shape and “energies,” creating feelings on paper, so we set about splashing paint across sheets of nice, white paper, creating lines and shapes. We all found it pretty hilarious – Beaumont’s picture ended up like an Impressionistic view of an African village, while mine consisted of a series of swirling S-like shapes in vivid yellow (see the connection? flame → light → lamp).

I came home feeling light-hearted apart from my cold and cough, which is just as bad.

Wednesday, September 24, 1980

Wednesday September 24th

Today I went to see “The Duchess of Malfi” at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. The play started at 2.30 p.m., so after a pretty normal sort of Wednesday Lee Hoy and I + a few other 6ths and 7ths assembled down by L-block.

We traveled to Manchester in the minibus, about a dozen of us, with some people traveling in Bastow and Hirst’s cars. The journey was terrible, all packed together like sardines, being jolted about, and soon I began to feel queasy. I hung on until just after we’d stopped, about twenty yards beyond the minibus, where I threw up all along the pavement.

My breath must have reeked – I know my hands did, and the next couple of hours I spent carefully gauging my distance from people in case they caught a whiff of my infested breath.

The Theatre was strange. It consisted of a conglomeration of tubular steel pipes, boxes and doors set in the middle of a huge Northgate Market type Hall. Inside, the seats were arranged in seven, five deep sections all round the central stage, with small passages running between each segment to a door. Unlike conventional theatres, you had a good view of the stage (and the seats were set well apart thus allowing my legs in!). I sat next to Julie Crabtree – she kept making remarks, joking and grabbing hold of me when anything happened – it’s just her way.

I really enjoyed the play, exciting and lots of atmosphere, and Bob Hoskins was good.

On the way back, I sat in the front with Giles, and Crabtree (again!?), just in case I felt like spewing up again.

When I got back I was faced with a long English essay about the characters of the first three Chapters of “Persuasion.”

For the first time in months today I felt ill; my throat felt sore and burned everytime I coughed – winter must be near.

The papers are full of news about Gulf war between Iraq and Iran which began, undeclared, on Monday. It is over who owns the Shat-Al-Arab waterway near Abadan, and already there have been air-raids on refineries and towns by ‘planes from both sides.

Tuesday, September 23, 1980

Tuesday September 23rd

At 9.10 a.m. I set off for the bus because I was going to Easterby Polytechnic. It was raining steadily when I set off, so I had to wear my cagoul.

I got to the Polytechnic late, and after wandering around the main exhibition areas I somehow got involved with Laxton, Abbott and co., and after playing around in the lifts for a while we ended up leaving the building at 11.30 a.m.

The lecture – “Applying Through UCCA” – wasn’t one I relished. Anyway, I went through all that at York in July. What with not wanting to feel left out I was roped into leaving – there really was quite a bit I wouldn’t have minded seeing (eg “Political Science,” “Archaeological Sciences” Dept and also the Polytechnic Library), but since I thought we were coming back, it wasn’t too bad.

We stopped at “Jennifer Gentle Boutique” – which specialises in Julie Crabtree style Oriental clothing – where Laxton bought some “joss-sticks” for 50p, and then we (Sean Laxton, Gary Abbott, Richard Deakin, Mark Pittock and myself) got the bus home. All the way back I was plagued by all my usual pangs of conscience.

I went into school, had dinner and then left again and went home. I was the only person in, so I sat about eating and reading for several hours until three-thirty, when I set off for Farnshaw College.

Our homework had been to cut out a picture from a magazine and state why we liked it, in preparation for a talk to the class, and as I sat there awaiting my turn I wished I was somewhere else. My turn came and Christ, what a berk I must appear. I gradually felt my cheeks begin to burn and soon, as I read out my blurb, my lip started to twitch nervously. It was a horrible feeling – hot and flustered and feeling awkward.

For the rest of the afternoon we experimented with shapes derived from the lamps – total crap!

Monday, September 22, 1980

Monday September 22nd

I felt hemmed in today, and ever so slightly down-hearted about the amount of work I’ve taken on with four ‘A’ levels. Will I make a mess of things? Have I committed a tactical blunder in taking four and will I end up failing them all? I suppose it’s up to me.

After a school assembly and two free periods (during which I read half of Albert Camus’ “The Outsider”) we had History. We are starting to get onto the really exciting part of the course now – the political situation behind the Revolutions of both 1905 and 1917. Ingham described to us, in a pretty heated and enthusiastic manner (banging the desk with his fist, etc . . .) how the seeds of Revolution were sown among the Social Democrats. He also advised us to read up on some of the philosophy and arguments behind Lenin and his compatriots, on Chernov and people like that. I suddenly became aware that I have so much reading to do that I simply have no time to be reading books irrelevant to my school-work. There is so much to look at, so much information to digest and analyse, and quite honestly, I’m looking forward to it. It can only be beneficial to study the writings of thinkers who influenced Lenin and people like that – ideas behind history – and it will certainly be interesting.

After History, in which I felt that I was doing something wrong, presenting the wrong impression to people (especially C. Pearson), I had Biology with Mrs Wade in L4. We had a test on cell structure in plants and animals (in which I got 60% - 9 out of 15), and I was told to write up notes on the above.

After school had finished, and after attending registration, I went over to the F. E. Lounge, where the first meeting of the EGS Debating Society was to be held. The motion was – “This house believes that 6th formers should be paid” – and it was being proposed by Steven Bates and Robin Quinn and opposed by Nick Gaunt and Jeremy Beaumont.

There was quite a lively debate ensuing from the motions, the main dialogues being conducted by Jeremy Beaumont and Mr Scott, who usually “controls” these meetings. I did not participate one iota, and somehow I felt out of it. I have proposed (well, seconded) a motion – back in spring with R. Q. – “this house believes that Socialism has an Answer.” What a pathetic argument we put forward – weak, ill-based and totally laughable. I daredn’t think what Ingham thought of me. “Trendy,” “Trying to be a leftie” probably. I made myself a real spectacle I bet. We were defeated – 8 for, 16 against, 2 abstentions –and looking back I only wish I’d kept my mouth shut. Somehow, carried along on a wave of enthusiasm, I managed to get myself seconding a motion which proposes that “God is dead.” Yet another pillory. It’s impossible to debate such a subjective issue. Anyway what would darling Claire think!!!? I’m being self-abusive now because I get myself into situations by acting so bloody impulsively.

Anyway, the 6th formers pay issue was defeated by 9 votes to 8 (I voted against), no abstentions, with the casting vote coming from Chairman Claire Pearson. I’m going to have to try get this debate either cancelled or altered otherwise there’ll be nothing to debate.

For homework I had to dig up a picture which I “admired” and explain why. God, what an effort. I eventually chose one by an artist who I’d never heard of (I’ve forgotten his name already) – a picture of “Ernie Marsh - 1954” – an impressionistic type thing. All this only added further to my sense of being overwhelmed.

Easterby Poly. tomorrow.

Sunday, September 21, 1980

Sunday September 21st

The whole day was spent writing up an essay due in for Monday entitled – “’A great power cannot wait’ – Discuss this view in relation to Witte’s policy of industrialisation.” I had all the background and notes to the thing – it was just the actual slotting together of the pieces I had to do – and surprisingly I found this difficult (that last statement sounds immodest!). As I completed what I thought was a comprehensive paragraph I thought up another good bit so I kept constantly altering it. The essay took me from about one until seven or eight in the evening, and was about two-and-half sides of narrow feint foolscap (A4), which in my handwriting means about 1500 words. I was left with a niggling feeling that it was too short. At least now I know that I could answer an essay on Witte pretty fully – writing out an essay ingrains it on the memory.

In the evening, after having my hair washed, I got my books and folders ready for tomorrow and generally felt satisfied.

Saturday, September 20, 1980

Saturday September 20th

Andrew went at 6.45 a.m., just before I got up. It seems strange now that he’s no longer here. The weather was foul, throwing it down, and although it stopped raining later on, it remained murky.

At about one o’clock I went out. I had to go into Easterby to buy myself a usable set of pencils and a pen. I also wanted a folder for my history notes.

W. H. Smith’s on Queensgate was the same as ever, crowded with people and books. I bought a clip-file (85p), a set of six exercise books, several pencils and a couple of cheapo “Bic” pens.

I inevitably spent a long time in the Book department, looking for books about the Russian Revolution. I saw a biography of Marx which I wouldn’t mind – there were also several good books on Biology which I wouldn’t mind having either.

I was just about to go to the Eastgate Mall to look at shops for a scarf when I remembered that “Rock-On” on Radio One featured a special tribute to Hendrix, who died ten years ago last Thursday. I had to hurry to get back in time. The programme was good – as was Athletic’s result (2-2 draw at 2nd in the table Manksteads). They played a 2-5-3 line up.

Tomorrow I have an essay to write for History (“Witte and Industrialisation”).

Friday, September 19, 1980

Friday September 19th

Friday is my worst day of the school week – I haven’t got one free period all day and I have triple Biology.

At break all 6A had to attend a meeting in B18 about a trip on Tuesday to Easterby Polytechnic, which may be fairly interesting. It clashes with the Film Society though, so I’ll have to leave early. I shall only be able to go to two of the seven films programmed because of my Art class.

Biology was a continuation of Biochemistry – molecular structure of mono-, di-, and polysaccharides, etc. – and the final lesson of the day, history, was all about the beginnings of the 1905 Revolution.

At home, Andrew was hanging around restlessly, waiting for tomorrow, when he goes back. He has sent some of his stuff, records, books, etc, down separately, and although he said he was looking forward to going back he still had a hollow, nervous feeling in his stomach.

Thursday, September 18, 1980

Thursday September 18th

Same as yesterday, except I had my first Art ‘A’ level class at Farnshaw college today. The school time went off much as expected, uneventful and undistinguished, and English was as dry as ever. I got home at 2.40 p.m. and hung around restlessly until half-three, when I set off to go to the College.

Farnshaw College is situated behind Beatrice Hall in Moxthorpe, and is much bigger on the inside than you could imagine looking at it. Duncan Verity, Lee Hoy and Jeremy Beaumont were waiting for me by the steps when I arrived. Inside, large crowds of Vietnamese were sat around – whether they were something to do with the new school for refugees being set up near Knowlesbeck I don’t know. Room 3, the Art room, was situated just around the balcony which ran all the way around the Main Hall and looked down on like a gymnasium filled with chairs.

The room was quite small – smaller than I’d imagined – and most of the other 6th formers were already in, sat round a small table on which were positioned several lamps – oil lamps, Davy lamps, modern spot lamps and various other objects such as candlesticks. I took a seat and some paper and told the tutor that I was to be included on his list from now on. He gave me two books – a hardback, alternate lined-plain ‘note book’ and a superb sketch book which new would cost £3.00. I was a bit surprised to see everybody getting these, especially because of the cut-backs.

There were about 15-16 people there (plus five other Egley Grammar Schoolites excluding me), and the whole thing seemed so organized and everyone seemed so efficient and knowledgeable that for the first few minutes I sat there wondering what I’d let myself in for. I started a pencil drawing of the oil lamp, and although it wasn’t that brilliant it certainly wasn’t the worst there (and definitely not the best!). We were given some pretty sickening homework – cut out a painting from a magazine which you particularly like and prepare notes on why you like it for a short 5-minute talk on it, plus, do sketches of chimneys – I am dreading the talk already.

I played records for a bit but mostly watched television. Andrew went out to Geoff Marchbank’s (who has just come back from Jamaica with his girlfriend, Rosette) and at 10.20 I watched “The Greeks.”

Today was the tenth anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death (in the Samarkand Hotel, Notting Hill Gate).

Wednesday, September 17, 1980

Wednesday September 17th

Today I researched into the possible courses available to me at University from “The Compendium of University Entrance Requirements 1980-81.” I wrote them down and got through the ‘A’s. I intend to continue tomorrow. There are a few (i.e. 13) Archaeology courses open to me, combining Archaeology with subjects like Ancient History (Lancaster) or Anthropology (Cambridge). Although I fancy a course such as this, I’m not quite sure whether this would be too restrictive and narrow an area to work in (as far as jobs are concerned), although I’m not really bothered about job prospects. All I want is an opportunity to travel.

One course which caught my eye was one called “American Studies” at East Anglia. The thing which really hooked me was the line: “. . . including one year in USA . . .” That would be an easy opportunity and also an ace experience. There are also courses at Birmingham in “African Studies” (imagine living in Mozambique or Kenya!!). What I would do afterwards, I haven’t a clue!

After spending most of my morning in the 6th year library doing the above and talking to Claire Pearson, I went to see Wilson to confirm my Art ‘A’ level course place. I’ve to go along at 4 p.m. on Thursday to Farnshaw college.

English Literature consisted of the usual fairly dry reading – “Persuasion” and “Anthony & Cleopatra” – and most of the class seemed bored and listless, especially in Hirst’s lesson.

The evening was spent, as usual, playing records and sitting about. Andrew has packed most of his stuff up and is sending it all down by train tomorrow, and I’ve got to help him transport it down to Schofield Street.

Athletic beat Brunswick Town 2-0 but I didn’t go because of financial reasons (I’ve got £5.50 to cough up for Friday for EGS Film Society and a theatre visit to Manchester), and at the moment I’m in a pretty depressing situation as far as money (or lack of it) is concerned.

An Ecology Party leaflet came through the door this evening, and Andrew was thinking of joining them. He voted Ecology at the last election and although he said he supports their views he prefers to remain one of the anonymous, silent majority. He said he’d be against joining because it would mean becoming involved and probably very political and even tiresome. I know what he means though, and in a funny way it is a matter of pride to me that I’m totally uninvolved with any representational groups like that, an objective bystander in effect. It’s a corny kind of independence thing I think.

Tuesday, September 16, 1980

Tuesday September 16th

History again, and the first lesson that I actually felt I was getting to grips with the course. We discussed the influence of Tzar Nicholas II’s character on his downfall, and also the strong pressures exerted on him by his immediate family. The subject is becoming much more interesting now (we are coming on to the 1905 upheaval) although I still have a load of reading to do.

Biology consisted of answering questions from the book – pretty simple – and then I had the rest of the day (from 12.00 to 2.30) free. Much of this time I sat in the library either reading (or going through the motions) or listening and talking to people like Duncan Verity, Jeremy Beaumont, Lee Hoy etc.

At two o’clock I decided to go see Wilson about this Art as a 4th ‘A’ level. It had been on my mind since yesterday, and I’d discussed it briefly with Mum last night and she said that if I thought I was capable and I was willing to work then I should try get on the course.

I had quite an in-depth conversation with Mr. Wilson, who is our deputy head-master. He’s quite approachable and out talk made my mind a lot easier. He more or less endorsed my view, and said (a bit guardedly I admit) that in his opinion it could be a good thing. He told me to go see Mrs Blakeborough (my Art teacher in the 3rd, 4th and 5th years) and if she agreed then I had to see him in the morning.

This I did and she said that if I’m prepared to work hard then I’ve got the ability to do it (but if you’re a slob like you were last year etc . . . . .). It all seems settled then, if there’s a space vacant on the course.

In the evening I played records and read my “Transcendental Med.” book. I can’t be sure at this point whether the book is just a load of guff or is really truthful – certainly the message it offers is a superb, idealistic one. According to the author, the mind wanders because “nothing in the external world offers a lasting satisfaction.” He goes on to say that it is not the mind’s true state to wander, and that we should find it easier to “open the awareness to the source of satisfaction lying within and then allow the mind to settle down of its own accord . . .” Meditation could be the answer to all my “problems.”

Monday, September 15, 1980

Monday September 15th

History today was quite good. We finished off Witte’s policy of industrialisation and I got down to filling in my notes in a readable, logical manner. Biology was uneventful (we looked in vain for small, unicellular animals in water taken from the Biology Pond) and I suppose the only event worthy of comment today was Art Club, after school.

I made my first visit to the Art Club for months only because I’d forgotten my key and it was raining, but I enjoyed it more than I expected. I drew a mannequin’s head, one of those giraffe-necked gold-painted ones, and I was so pleased with the results that I started regretting not taking Art ‘A’ level. Not being big-headed, but I have got a talent which I never ever use, and it is a bit of a waste.

Then though, as I was reflecting, it suddenly struck me that I could after all do Art. The course is held at Farnshaw college from 4-6 p.m every Tuesday and Thursday and if inept people like Tommy Whelan have the gall to try, I’m sure I could do it. The only drawback is the amount of extra work involved – do I really realise how much is involved? Four ‘A’ levels?

I got home feeling in a good mood over my prospects.

Sunday, September 14, 1980

Sunday September 14th

I slept in the front room and was awoken at about nine by Robert. After looking at his bird-stamp collection (he’s got about two albums full), we decided to set off for a walk, Robert and Carol being eager to show me how rural their area is.

The weather was quite good as we set off, and we ended up walking through fields and along narrow country lanes, doing about 6 or 7 miles in all. The countryside around Swinscoe is nearly all agricultural, so we did quite a lot of walking along roads, ending up at Austen (where we had a drink at the pub' there). For much of the walk, Robert and I talked about his football league, which has just finished its 30th season. He includes only Northern clubs (Gateshead have been League Champions for the last two seasons). To an outsider, this playing around with imaginary leagues may seem childish. I suppose in a way it is, but I get real enjoyment out of playing out make-believe league cups, FA Cups and promotion and relegation sagas, and I know Robert must too. Carol said that over a period of time you get quite involved with all the various teams and divisions.

We got back at about quarter to four and I then faced the weary journey back. I really wasn’t looking forward to this. What a trudge! I got back at around half-eight, after completing yet another Marathon journey on my own. I’m getting quite used to fumbling my way through life as an individual using my own initiative.

I watched “The Battle of Britain” film (it’s 40th anniversary week this week) when I got home.

Saturday, September 13, 1980

Saturday September 13th

I decided to catch the 11.06 bus after much discussion, and I went down into Easterby with Andrew. The bus departed from aisle D and I had a longish wait, stood in a fair queue.

I had checked up on a timetable by the departure area and had found that the 11.06 Easterby-Sheffield bus arrived in Dearnelow at 1.31. The fare was 84p which isn’t bad considering it cost just under half that to travel the 5 miles from Easterby city centre to Egley, and for most of the journey (mainly because it was warm) I felt really queasy.

After a ten minute wait in the bus station Robert & Carol arrived and we wandered around Dearnelow market while Carol bought meat for the tea. We then caught a 206 to Swinscoe. The area in which Robert lives is quite rural, typical suburban semis surrounded by large bushes and trees, and my immediate thoughts were that the area was very similar to Plumstead and Shooter’s Hill down in London.

Their flat was quite small (about as big as Nanna B’s) and was situated above a shop which was being completely refurbished so everything was done to the constant accompaniment of hammer blows and sound of falling masonry. It consists of a bathroom and toilet, a bedroom, kitchen and dining room combined and a living room, which is separated from the kitchen and dining area by a big, glass, sliding door.

Robert and Carol seemed to be in a good mood and quite cheerful. They’re just happy to be back in Yorkshire.

In the evening, at about nine-thirty, we went across the road to a pub’ where I had a pint of beer (half of which I left). We talked a lot – mostly about Mum and Dad. Robert said that when Mum had told him about George’s misdemeanours on the ‘phone it had left him feeling completely depressed. We agreed that Mum and Dad have nothing to worry about – the cat is after all such a trivial problem when compared to Robert and Carol’s. They are constantly depressed over everything and nothing, Dad especially, and I daren’t think what they’ll be like in 10-15 years; typical bitter old people I expect.

Friday, September 12, 1980

Friday September 12th

Not one free period and triple Biology too! First lesson was English with Giles – more discussions of the poems – and then the first of my three Biology lessons, all with Newsholme, during which we stained starch grains in potato tuber cells, looked for glucose in apple cells and generally messed around. Our course in ‘A’ level hasn’t really taken off yet, and at the moment we’re doing quite simple, straightforward things. I suppose really it would still be possible to change!

We were on second lunch and instead of having a dinner I went up into the Common Room where, predictably, sat Jeremy Beaumont, tall blond and affected and Duncan Verity, with attendant toads (eg Angela Reid). I was just settling down to wait for last lesson when Mark Pittock reminded me that we still had thirty minutes of Biology left. Three hours of Biology all at one go is a bit much.

History was in P20 instead of C7, and will be from now on. Ingham was quite forceful and critical of our note taking (or lack of it) and as a result, today’s was the least enjoyable of my five History lessons to date.

Walking home, the wind was gale force – (force 7-8 westerly) and had broken several branches of trees around school (it also knocked over Mandy Jenkinson’s bike). I didn’t enjoy today at school, in contrast to yesterday. I felt that I was being mocked and taken the mickey of but whether or not it is just my habitual paranoia I don’t know.

I got home at 2.40 p.m. and slumped in the dining room for an hour, waiting and deciding when and where to go. Both my library books were due back yesterday, and I had to check bustimes because I’m going to Dearnelow tomorrow to see Robert & Carol. I had ages to wait for a bus in Moxthorpe, so it was late – fivish – when I finally got to Easterby.

I got my bus problem sorted out first; there is one bus to Sheffield via Dearnelow at six minutes past every hour as from seven o’clock tomorrow so if I catch the 11.06 bus I should get there for about one thirty. Once this was over and done with I felt easier and in a good mood so I took my “Collins Field Guide to Archaeology in Britain” and “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” back. I renewed the latter and got out two more books: “The TM Technique: An Introduction to Transcendental Meditation and the Teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,” by Peter Russell and “Unended Quest” by Karl Popper, a philosopher.

I’m into a ‘philosophy/what-is-the-true-meaning-of-life/find-eternal-happiness” fad just now, especially after that “The Greeks” programme and no doubt soon it will wear off, just like all the others have.

Robert rang at about nine-thirty to confirm that I was still going. He told me that he’d just finished playing in a teachers v kids soccer match at his school. He played in a forward role (!) and the Teachers XI lost 2-3. He seems to be settling in well. I’m looking forward to tomorrow now.

Thursday, September 11, 1980

Thursday September 11th

Today virtually identical to yesterday. I got in late – 8.50 a.m – and realized that I’d missed the 6th and 7th year’s school photograph. I had no lesson until English at 12.30 so I spent the time sat in the library with Jeremy Beaumont, Deborah Blakey, Dawn Jagger, Julie Crabtree, Duncan Verity; listening to the latter annoying 7th formers trying to work. He really does create enemies with his pompous and loud-mouthed ways.

While I sat in there I was quite interested to hear a conversation between Angela Reid and a 7th former, the latter saying how the current 7ths regard the new 6ths with a bit of animosity – according to her we are much more forward than they were, and this is causing a bit of bad feeling. Also D. Verity & Co. have something to do with it somewhere.

I’m getting on quite well with Deborah Blakey. It’s like I explained yesterday – she doesn’t kind of expect me to live up to any kind of image.

In English we had the second half of “Heil Caesar in P1, and then we had Hirst again, this time in M1.

At teatime Andrew brought me Devadip’s new album – “The Swing of Delight” – which is the most jazzy yet (I’d given him £5.00 yesterday), and I spent most of the evening playing records upstairs with John. Tomorrow is his last day at Cole’s. He goes back in 12 days time.

I watched Part 1 of a four part documentary series about the ancient Greeks, about their customs and ideas and how they affect us today. They were really amazing to say they lived 2000+ years ago – some of the ideas and concepts they harbored didn’t appear in Europe until this Century and still haven’t in some areas (USSR, etc.).

Wednesday, September 10, 1980

Wednesday September 10th

God, I’m getting so monotonous these days. I might as well start putting ‘ditto’ under each date.

I had no lessons until half-twelve, when we all trooped down to English Literature with Mrs Slicer in P1. We were shown a modern adaptation of Julius Caesar called “Heil Caesar,” set in 1986 – I’ve seen it before but it is quite good.

It’s amazing how your relationships with people alter when you're in the sixth form – somehow things, especially with the girls, become more involved and friendly. Dawn Jagger seems pretty aloof and haughty, but then I don’t suppose I’m lively enough for her. Julie C. – who knows? People like Deborah Blakey, Michelle Cliff, Claire Pearson and Mandy Jenkinson just seem willing to accept me at face value. They don’t expect anything.

Hirst’s lesson in P18 was another pretty dry lecture about types of novels – realism and the like – and I bet I’ll come to hate her lessons.

Tuesday, September 9, 1980

Tuesday September 9th

In History we were given an essay on Witte’s industrialisation drive in Russia in the 1890s to be completed by a fortnight on Monday. We spent the whole lesson gazing blankly at our text books, brimming with information, and putting little down. Our class consists of ten people – five boys, five girls (Duncan Verity, Jeremy Beaumont, Sean Laxton, me, and a 7th year lad, Michelle Cliff, Claire Pearson, Tracey Booth, Carol Lancaster and Laura McCully). It became really clear what a lot of hard graft this year will involve, with very little free time for leisure reading or anything other than work.

In Biology we looked at the old favourite of onion cells (“Ooh, it looks like a brick wall” etc . . . . ), and then I had the rest of the day free.

For some of the time I went into the library and read “A History of Russia 1812-1945” by Stephenson and “The Twilight of Imperial Russia” by Charques, before becoming pissed off and going out to mess around on the PET with Sean Laxton, and talk to Sharon Ashton.

Arthur C. Clarke’s “Mysterious World” was about “Monsters of the Deep,” in which I was amazed to hear that at 10.30 p.m. on April 25th 1977, a Japanese fishing boat had actually captured in its nets the decomposing carcase of what looked like a plesiosaur. Although the captain took drawings of its skeleton and film crews were flown out to the ship, the carcase was thrown back, without even so much as toe nail being kept as evidence!

Monday, September 8, 1980

Monday September 8th

School again, and my first history lessons of the course with Ingham in C7. We discussed the background of pre-Revolutionary Russia, the peasants as serfs, land emancipation in 1861, and “Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Nationality.” Compared to the ‘O’ level, this is going to be heavy (with a capital H), with vast amounts of reading to do.

Our Biology lesson today was our first with Wade, with who we will be doing practical (and probably more enjoyable) work. We scraped cells from our cheek lining onto a microscope slide – that was about all.

Robert rang at about teatime to ask me if I want to go across to his flat in Swinton on the bus on Saturday. Mum told him about George’s recent misdemeanours and more or less indicated that she would be happier without him.

As is probably apparent, today is best forgotten, which shouldn’t be too difficult!

Sunday, September 7, 1980

Sunday September 7th

Another full day of racing. We had intended getting up at five to watch sunrise over the sea but inevitably we awoke at about eight. Breakfast was at 8.45 a.m. and we ate hurriedly because already practice could be heard up on Oliver’s Mount. Since Sunday is always the “big” day, to is usually packed so we wanted to get a good place.

As we rushed up the mile or so to the circuit we were kicking ourselves for not getting up early. I cast wistful glances at the sea.

Surprisingly enough, not many people were there although the weather was superb, so we were able to move around a fair bit.

The highlights of the racing were the two MCN Superbike races, Sheene won one, and Potter the other and their aggregate times over the two legs were identical to the .1s of a second. All the while, Andrew clicked away with his camera and ended up using four 36-exposure films.

We came away feeling really satisfied. Although at first I wasn’t 100% into this weekend, I ended up really glad I’d made the effort to come.

We had a fair walk to the station, and I said goodbye to the sea for another year at least, still as remote and magical as ever. We had an hours wait till the train was due out, so we looked at a HMV record shop nearby where I saw, and wanted, Santana’s latest album, a “Oneness” type double.

Chaos reigned as we tried to find out which part of the train went to York only and tried not to be on it. We reached Easterby at nine-thirty.

Saturday, September 6, 1980

Saturday September 6th

Andrew got me up early, about half-eightish, and we set off about nine. Surprisingly enough, we managed to get a through train from Easterby to Scarborough and the journey took about two hours.

Train journeys are always the same – you see the same people, the same landscapes and the stations you pass through always look alike. I got quite a shock when Andrew told me the price of this meeting – I was going to have to pay £5.00 for a two day ticket, which meant I’d have about £2.00 left. After this gem of information I was in a bad mood over my lack of money. Amazing – I get a 100% rise and yet I seem to be spending it as fast as I get it.

We got into Scarborough just before dinner time and soon we could hear the familiar wail of the bikes blasting round Oliver’s Mount and see it’s tree clad mass with the Memorial silhouetted against the sky before us. We had quite a long walk up to the circuit, which didn’t seem as crowded as usual and there were plenty of boringly unoriginal bikists in their leather/denim jackets (delete where applicable) with Triumph or Led Zeppelin written on the back wandering around being obnoxious.

The racing started at 2.30 p.m. with Heat 1 of the International 1000 and continued on until about half-five. There were a few big names there – Sheene, Grant, Marshall, Potter, Tonkin (on the new Cottons) etc . . . . – and I quite enjoyed myself.

After the racing had finished we had to find our digs, at 42 Esplanade Road. A young woman – about 18 – answered the door in her dressing gown and we were shown our room, which was quite big with a sink, wardrobe, two beds and a view overlooking a backyard.

At about seven, and because it was a fine evening, we decided to go out. We wandered down to the cliff tops overlooking Scarborough and the Castle. It was good to see the sea again after 15 months. What with the sea that mottled, liquid blue of reflected sky and superb altocumulus lenticularis clouds tinged with pink with the setting sun I could understand what drives people to sail round the world. We bought a copy of the local paper to find out Athletic’s result – another draw (0-0 against Cross End), their fifth in succession, and then wended our way down the cliffside paths to the prom where we bought fish and chips. Scarborough seafront was packed with bikers riding about, or standing in big groups shouting loudly and laughing and generally making the atmosphere quite hostile. After wandering to the harbour where Andrew took some photos of the lights reflected in the sea, we got back to the hotel at about nine-thirty.

It was while I was reading some “National Geographical” magazines in bed that I suddenly became overcome by regret at not taking Geography at ‘A’-level instead of Biology. I kicked myself to sleep.

Friday, September 5, 1980

Friday September 5th

It was throwing it down when I set off a bit late again. Mrs Newsholme read out timetable changes – it seems that Wilson has been able to alter it after all, and I am doing Biology now. The first lesson was English in P18 with Mr Giles, my fifth form English teacher in which we began to analyse a poem from an old ‘A’ level Paper 3. The poem was called “Bathing Off Roseland” and concerned, superficially at least, a bather floating trance-like through the water. When we got down to the bare bones though, we found that the poem was really about faith, comparing his dream-like drifting to religion etc. Once everything was explained and sorted out, it all became quite clear, and by the time the lesson ended I was really getting into the poem.

The second lesson started confusingly. The notices this morning only dealt with changes, and since my choice wasn’t clear, I hadn’t got all the Biology lessons sorted out on my timetable. I had also forgotten to put in a lesson, with the result that that I didn’t know what I was doing. At first I thought I was in history and nearly ended up in the ‘O’ level class and eventually had to be told by Mr Ingham where to go.

Because of the alterations, we have triple Biology on Friday’s from Period 2 to 4, and we swapped from L4 to L3 and then to P10.

The work was pretty dull – something about sugar molecules – and left me wondering what I’d done in choosing Biology.

I didn’t have a dinner and spent my time talking to Lee Hoy until 2.20 and registration and then home.

Dad was still in bed when I got home and when he got up he seemed his usual depressive self (slamming doors because of the wind). At five approximately, he rang Horner’s Garage to see if the car was ready (it failed the MoT) and it wasn’t. More curses, despair and general sighing, “I’m stalled” attitude. I can understand though, because he has taken some of his annual to get the weekend off for Scarborough Road Races and now he can’t go (or won’t – he refuses to go on the train “on principle”).

Andrew and I spent the evening playing records (it was clear) and watching the sunset. We were fairly light hearted about everything, especially since we’re going to the races tomorrow. It’ll be a relief to escape Mum and Dad’s manic depression over the car, the weather, prices, the world, the police, the cat . . . . . . . . . . . . . !

Thursday, September 4, 1980

Thursday September 4th

Similar to yesterday. I got to school a bit late again and found that everyone had been split into registration groups. Along with Trevor Woodrow and Darren Busfield, who also had arrived late, I went to Mr Ingham who told me that I was in P19 with Mrs Newsholme – good. I quite like her.

For most of the morning I sat in the common room talking but mostly listening to Duncan Verity commanding the attention of Angela Reid, Sharon Ashton and Dawn Jagger. Do I detect jealousy here? When it comes down to it, I’m full of pretty childish and trivial attitudes such as jealousy (mainly jealousy) and love of image-making. When I’m home and I think about these things I see Richard Pryor types on television and I think, I’ll be just like that at school tomorrow, cool, witty and generally appealing. But when the crunch comes I’m reduced to my inevitable lack of ability to make conversation, my pathetic monosyllabic dialogues, forced and sheepish smiles and flustered feelings. I often think what a boring, constrained, dead person I must seem.

At 12.29 I had dinner (fish fingers, roast potatoes and sponge stuff) and then English Literature. At the moment, I’m having only two lessons (History and Literature) instead of three. This is because I want to do Biology but this clashes with History, so the wheels of authority mess is being sorted out. I was pretty pleased when, during dinner, Newsholme came across and asked me whether or not I’d got my timetable resolved. I said I hadn’t and that Mr Wilson was probably going to be able to sort Biology out (at least that’s the impression I got this morning). Newsholme said “Great,” leaving me feeling pretty good. At least I seem to be wanted somewhere!!

My first Lit. lesson was with Slicer again (Julius Caesar – read by next Wednesday) and then Hirst in M1 to discuss the role and definition of a novel. All highbrow stuff!!

Most of my evening was spent doing homework again. I read most of “The Russian Revolution” for History, and I know that that is one subject I really am going to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 3, 1980

Wednesday September 3rd

My first full day of school and my first in the sixth form. I arrived in school slightly late – everybody was crowded into the Common Room answering Ingham’s roll call. There must’ve been over fifty people there.

First thing we had an assembly downstairs in the dining hall, and I got a big shock when Barkston, amid all his usual “welcome back” crap suddenly announced that I had received a “commendation” from W. H. Smith’s for an essay I had entered through school in a “Children’s Literary Competition.” The essay I entered was a short-story – “Day Tripper,” about a drug addict – and I had completely forgotten about it. All I got was a corny, cheap looking certificate and the privilege (!) of going out to the front to shake Big B’s hand. I suppose Arthur C. Clarke had to start somewhere.

After this I had no lessons until second lunch and English Lit. I passed my time on by reading V. S. Naipaul’s “A House for Mr. Biswas” and talking to Laxton, Chris Steedman and Abbott etc., or just sitting there while Robin Quinn and people drifted in and out to Maths, Chemistry or Physics. Depending upon which I do (Maths or Biology) I’m missing out on lessons until my timetable is sorted out.

At the appointed hour all the ‘A’ level English Literature people trooped down to B10 for our first lesson of the year with Mrs Slicer. Hoy and Beaumont seem to have it in with her, they kept on cracking cynical witticisms and making sarcastic, nasty comments about, or with, her.

We had to begin reading “Julius Caesar” which I don’t suppose I shall enjoy. When this lesson ended at about 1.30 p.m., we went to P18 for more English with Ms Hirst (as she likes to be known), who set us some reading for tonight (Chapters 1 and 2 of “Persuasion” by Jane Austen – the book seems to consist of nothing at all and she takes all of Chapter 1 and 2 just setting the scene).

In the evening I did a lot of the work set, which gave me a good sense of achievement for once. I know that once I complete homework I feel really fulfilled and proud almost; it is just finding the initial drive. I also watched “Morecambe and Wise” and a League Cup special on Beeb One. My tips to go down to Division Two this season are Sunderland, Manchester City and Stoke City.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to get something done over my timetable.

Tuesday, September 2, 1980

Tuesday September 2nd

Today I got up at 7.30, because I was going to school to resolve my time-table problems. I was surprised on the way there because I didn’t see any 3rd, 4th or 5th years trooping in to school.

I arrived at about 8.40 a.m., to find about 15 other people already in (Tracey Booth, Lynn Norden, Wendy Heath, Abbott, Stephen Dodds, Julie Crabtree etc . . . .) and I passed the time on by discovering other peoples’ results – Mark Hardy got 7 (1 A; 2 B’s and 4 C’s) while Stephen only got 3.

Mr Ingham came in after about an hour and called out my name and I followed him into the 6th form Library. I still hadn’t really decided on my final subject choice and, after discussing it, we decided on History, English and Biology or Maths. Retaking CSE French wasn’t mentioned.

I was quite relieved to get it all off my chest and I walked home with Gary Abbott. Dad was still in bed when I got back, so I took the cat out for a walk and just generally farted around wasting my time.

Dad got up at about two and watched the Centenary Test on TV, England needing 385 to win but Botham cornily deciding to play out for a draw (Boycott got 100+), eventually ending at 243-3. During the afternoon, Dad had to go take his car in for its MoT which it failed because of poor front suspension and suspect steering. He was a bit annoyed, especially since he’s only just got it back from its 12000 mile service.

In the evening I listened to Radio North Sports Special which featured regular match reports from Sheffield. I was praying for the impossible but, predictably, Sheffield won 5-1 with three from McCulloch. I bet if he’d played in the first leg we wouldn’t have won. It was estimated that Athletic fans numbered 500 out of a total gate of 7000. Now that that’s over, we can concentrate on getting out of the Northern Alliance.

Today was a pretty nondescript day. I was really just filling in time until tomorrow I suppose. I should’ve got my pens, books etc. ready. Why am I so lethargic?

Monday, September 1, 1980

Monday September 1st

I did nothing at all day until six o’clock and the Easterby Astronomical Society, except mess around with my football leagues and just sit about.

Dad, who is on nights all this week, got up at about six after going to bed during the afternoon, and at quarter past I set off to go to the EAS.

I got there at 7.05 p.m., the only other people there being Nigel Rook and his mate and Brian Hudson. All the regulars soon began to arrive and by half-past I would say 30-40 people were present.

The planned lecture had been cancelled so Vincent Halliday brought in his video equipment. While he set this up I bought July’s copy of “Astronomy” magazine, the latest ed. of “Arcturus” and spoke to D. Kilpatrick about Wednesday night.

Vincent Halliday showed recordings of three programmes – “The Sky at Night” about the Zodiac which lasted twenty minutes, a short five minute extract from a programme called “Don’t just sit there” where Magnus Pyke visited the two old blokes who’ve built their own telescope and observatory, (John and Vernon I think they’re called). We also had “Worlds Apart,” a fifty minute spiel by Garry Hunt about the exploration of our Solar System. I suffered from all my usual, corny inadequacies, uncommunicative, self-conscious, and utterly abysmal. Today’s EAS cost me £1.99p.

Just before I went D.K. asked me if I was going to the Sheffield match. No, I said, I couldn’t and I left feeling pretty cheesed off.

I walked down Buckingham Road into Lockley to get the bus and ended up helping an epileptic. As I was walking slowly up Buckingham Road I could see a figure slumped against a wall near the entrance to Hamblin’s Hospital. As I approached, a Pakistani bloke crossed the road and spoke to the person slumped down there. He looked in a bad way as I drew level so I asked him if he was alright. He said, fairly coherently, that he’d just had an epileptic fit, that he was from the Hospital and that his name was Roy. I was just motioning to the Pakistani to help me carry the bloke in when, between them, they said it would be better if I went in to get help. This I did, going to an office on the first floor where two women were, one reading a newspaper, the other speaking on the telephone. I told them my story and that the bloke claimed to come from there, and went outside and waited. As I stood there I thought what a pathetic figure the bloke made, crouched there head between his knees amid his own blood. Shortly, one of the two women (the one on the ‘phone) and a long-haired social worker type came out (“Andy”) and helped the bloke into the hospital.

I didn’t feel quite so down-in-the-dumps after this. I had actually helped constructively, bailed out a fellow human in distress etc. I couldn’t have passed by without stopping – I suppose really it is the sign of a good upbringing.

When I got home I told Mum all about this, and, later, John, and watched “Marathon Man.”
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