Saturday, January 31, 1981


Got up at eleven and did nothing. Dad came home at two, so I waited around for him to come back before going into Easterby at three, with nine pounds in my pocket. I went straight to Smith’s on Queensgate, where I bought two A5 Lever Arch Files for £1.50 each and looked round the record department and downstairs round the books. I saw Ian Amess, an old Lodgehill Middle acquaintance. By this time it was dark. I went round to HMV and looked through the records until the ‘bus came. I bought Andrew Return to Forever’s Musicmagic album for his birthday; it only cost me £2.99.

At home, everything's strange with Mum not around; it's true how much she’s taken for granted. She rang from Robert’s at teatime telling us to bring the cat and also some other things, so we’ll be going there tomorrow. I played records and the evening shot by while I tried to convince myself that I’d start my NEP essay for Monday. But I didn’t, so that’ll be another rush job tomorrow night at about midnight.

Friday, January 30, 1981


First period was English. Giles told us to go away and read up on Philomen and Agamemnon, which I did in the library until about half-nine, when I went back into the common room to play dominoes for an hour or so. After dinner we all packed the library, grumbling about Ingham’s test last period. I tried to dissuade everyone from going, but they were all in two minds. Claire definitely wasn’t going. Everything got frantic, with people saying they weren’t going then changing their minds, until eventually Ingham came up and everyone left. For some reason Ingham didn’t see me, so there I stayed. Claire was in the toilet, so the two of us skived off. We were racked with guilt.

I played records all evening. Mum has gone to Robert’s straight from school to help with his moving; so Dad and I are on our own. I’m starting to feel really guilty about school work: knocking history like that, not handing in my Persuasion essay, etc. I’ve got my NEP essay to do for Monday, which’ll have to be done by tomorrow evening, because on Sunday Dad and I are helping Robert move and also picking up Mum.

When I come home I always feel so reflective, wistful almost, mulling over the day’s most trivial comments in my mind, wondering if I’d said the correct thing or not. I write all this puerile shit, yet it’s not as if any of it matters! When I’m at school, all the sentimental diarrhoea I write here seems so completely out of proportion. Do I figure at all?

Thursday, January 29, 1981


I stayed at home today because I felt the same as yesterday, dizzy whenever I moved my head quickly. So I stayed in bed and didn’t get up until twelve. I didn’t do a thing all day—played records mainly. Lee, Richard and Tommy called round after school and stayed for twenty minutes before going on to Art College. I’m still kicking myself about Tuesday evening. What will Claire think of me? That I’m bad mannered, discourteous and thoughtless, no doubt. I keep thinking about school; I don’t enjoy staying home because I miss the company too much. I will probably go in tomorrow but I’m not relishing that predictable, pervasive melancholy that afflicts everyone and everything. If only we didn’t get so bored!

Last night I read Portraits of Russian Personalities. I completed the chapter on Nikitenko and I’m half-way through the section on the “aristocratic anarchist” Michael Bakunin.

Wednesday, January 28, 1981


I felt ill today. When I closed my eyes, everything seemed to be spinning round, so I took some Hedex tablets and went to school but I didn’t improve; in fact I felt worse. I was dizzy and my head felt light and I half-promised myself I’d go home. The atmosphere was really moody and irritable and Deborah seemed touchy, fed up and short-tempered. Briscoe wanted me to play rugby again tonight but I said I was too ill, plus I don’t want it to become a regular thing, with me as a relied on member of the team. I felt guilty though. Throughout double English I kept feeling dizzy, and after another newspaper meeting I went straight to bed when I got home.

Tuesday, January 27, 1981

Murder in the Cathedral

In History we’re still talking about Stalin’s rise to power and the methods used to boot out Trotsky; “the Party is always right” etc.

In the afternoon, Claire and Evelyn told Lee and I about their big argument with Tony M. and Deborah; apparently I’m being told all this simply because Jeremy and Duncan can’t be trusted to keep their mouths shut. Deborah really fancies Tony; he stays over at her house on the weekends and wants to go into banking so they can get a cheap mortgage. “We all seem to be splitting up,” Claire said. Later, Lee and I hurled cushions at Peter Wood, Evelyn, and Claire and everything got quite chaotic.

Lee and I called at Claire’s after Art and the three of us walked to my house. Mum made us all either coffee and tea and put some biscuits out and then Dad gave us a lift to St. Austin’s for Murder in the Cathedral. We were the first there and all sat together on the second pew. The performance was fairly good if a bit amateurish in parts and Jeremy was OK as the priest. When one bloke came on in long pointed green-felt boots and nearly fell over, Lee started laughing which set me off and then Claire too. Tina Margerison’s Dad gave us a lift back to Moxthorpe roundabout.

I’ve just thought; perhaps I should’ve walked Claire back home? As we were dropped off I remember thinking that she was looking at me as if she expected something. What a thoughtless berk I am!! I could kick myself.  I can’t help mentioning these little things which are so trivial and, when I reread them, quite boring, but I’m trying to capture the mood I was in at that time and the essence of the moment. Like the moment Claire sat next to me on the window sill. . . . God, how corny I seem. I mull over these details all evening. She probably never thinks even once about them afterwards.

Monday, January 26, 1981

Children of Forever

I got to school normally and almost immediately went into Gilthwaite for a pint of milk, with Lee. The mocks meant that a lot of sevenths were out, and everyone was in the library. Claire told me that she had something to tell me and would do so in History; it’s quite funny really how she tells only me these gossip-items, and doesn’t let anyone else in on them. Much to Duncan and Jeremy’s amusement, she asked me if she could “go with” me tomorrow night to Hainsworth to see “Murder in the Cathedral.” I felt good.

History went off as expected, Ingham telling us about Stalin’s rise to power in the secretariat in 1918-22. Claire’s gossip was something about Tony M. and his pathetic rumours about people; why they bother with him I don’t know. After dinner and History once more, I had a free period, but it was depressing really because no one was about; Claire went to her job at two o’clock and Deborah sat there morosely. Lee drove everyone mad with his mouth-organ.

About a dozen people turned up for the debate. I proposed that we postpone it until next Monday but no one would second me. The low attendance made me feel easier and more open, and I reeled off my speech concerning our moral obligation to our colonies. Robin’s was, as usual, blatantly biased and pseudo-revolutionary, Steve’s was OK, and Duncan’s racist. Steve and I got into an altercation over separate cultures; he said that pluralism would cause greater violence, to which I said that Jews had been accepted, but Asians wouldn’t be because of the colour issue alone, rather than simply because of cultural differences. I got quite heated at some points, and although occasionally I was out-argued, I also think I scored a few hits. Amazingly enough, Craig Priestley and Sally Akhtar voted for me, but I lost. I still feel morally I was right. Priestley gave me an anti-cruise missile leaflet which I signed along with half of the sixth years.

Afterwards, I went into Easterby  to Smiths, to take back my scratched Grover Washington LP but I couldn’t get it replaced, so I bought Stan’ Clarke’s ’73 import, Children of Forever instead, but almost immediately regretted not keeping the Washington LP.

American dream

I might as well put down my dream I had on Friday morning. It was a strange, vivid one, and was weird because we’d only been talking about dreams a couple of days earlier.

It was about a place in America, Fort something or other (the name began with a T and was long), which was on the coast. I remember dreaming I was walking up a cinder track behind a woman in a bikini; the sun was bright and straight in front of us. Also, to our left, was the town; the buildings were large white villa type houses, surrounded by thick green trees – there was a beach, with waves breaking on it. I was looking down on things and the whole scene was misty; as if there was a sea-fog or something. At school, it was so fresh in my memory that I even checked on an atlas to see if there was such a place.

Typical Sunday afternoon, Nanna talking about Kenneth and her memories. I still ache all over. Achieved absolutely nothing. I watched the BBC’s programme about the Easter rising in April 1916 which was sad. I found myself with a dilemma here; Im saying on the one hand that patriotism and nationalism is sick, yet on the other hand I feel sneaking regard for people such as Connolly and Mugabe. Where do I draw the line?

I finally began my debate at ten and finished it at 1.30.

Saturday, January 24, 1981

Saturday January 24th

Dad switched my light on at six when he came back from work, and I gradually came round. I got up at 7.45. I had that same old feeling of nervousness in the pit of my stomach, knotted tightness.

I set off for the rendezvous at quarter-past and was there within fifteen minutes. I had a long wait until anyone else arrived, and I was just beginning to get apprehensive when Matthew Knight (who’s actually left school) and his fifth year brother arrived. Andy Briscoe and Adrian Westcott rode past on their ‘bikes to the latters house to drop them off. Shortly around nine, Farrar rolled up in the minibus with seventh year David McCall; we all piled in and Farrar drove down to Farnshaw centre where six more were waiting, including a fourth year or two. We were still a man short so another detour round to Haslam to knock a fifth year yob up out of bed. I was out of place really; among all those loudmouthed extrovert macho men as they discussed a big party they’d had lastnight and about all the birds they “went with.” I suddenly thought how twee, trivial and utterly contemptible my immature scrawlings in these pages on that score are.

The day had started off cloudy, but shortly the cloud cleared, and we arrived at Burston in bright sunshine. After changing (I was to be second row No 5 once more) we all made our way up to the pitch, which was pretty exposed, on a slight slope.

First half we played uphill and into the wind, and things began just as a year last October: I soon became exhausted and jogged vainly after the ball. I was so slow. The pitch was pretty muddy, and for a long time it was 0-0, pretty evenly matched. I pushed hard in the scrum (painful for the head and ribs) and was inept in the line out where my opponent was a tall blond lad who always grabbed my shirt, never the ball. I hardly got a touch all half. At about three-quarters of the way through the first half, Andy scored from a penalty, giving Egley a 3-0 lead, but a mistake (silly one, apparently) leveled it at 3-3, which is what it became at half-time. Farrar said he was impressed (and said I was “having a great game”; all shallow pat-on-the-back praise to keep me going) and that we had a good chance of winning.

I don’t know what happened second-half; at first I felt terrible, I was nearly sick and felt queasy, but gradually it passed off and I began to feel a little easier. I ran more for the ball and was more involved generally. I remember one time finding the ball free near me – I went for it, picked it and was immediately jumped on by several blues, but (and I was proud of this) I managed to send the ball rolling out to Andy, who nearly scored. Several times there was good Egley pressure, but nothing came of it except another penalty, putting us up 6-3.

We collapsed somehow or other, they scored three tries in quick succession, converting two of them, and we ended up losing 21-6. I was mud-covered and bruised – I ached all over, especially my legs, and eventually got back at 12.45 p.m.

I went to bed for an hour, then had a bath and N.P. had arrived when I got down. She said I looked shattered, Mum said I’d looked grey when I got home.

It remained sunny all day, which I spent hobbling about and feeling absolutely whacked. I’ve bruised my left foot (now bandaged) which is pretty painful.

In the evening I made a pretense of writing up my debate for Monday; I had the books out before me but as usual, my mind was unwilling to work when there was no deadline to meet. Eventually I drifted into the front room, supposedly to watch Shaft, and ended up arguing with Mum, first about immigration, and then about the whole thing of equality, communism and utopias.

I much prefer arguing with Mum to Dad because the former is less personal about their attacks and also more willing to listen, not as temperamental and also quite fair.

N.P. sat there, agreeing sometimes, disagreeing other times, and the more I argued about immigration, the less sure I became – do I really actually believe in uncontrolled immigration. Under the current circumstances, no, but under ideal, utopian socialistic ones of no countries, no nationalism, no racism, yes! As we talked it out I thought of a sneaky way of getting out of of my cul-de-sac; I can argue that if more foreign aid, massive foreign aid, was given to likely immigration countries, and their standards improved to a par with ours, then at that time we could end immigration law as the demand for entry wouldn’t be that great. Yet that seems too much like deviousness on my part. The hardest area to defend will be that of those who come into Britain unemployed and leach off the NHS, DHSS etc.,. and also, the basic question, why immigration? I’ll have to argue that the restriction on people crossing an arbitrary line drawn from A to B such as a border merely because people copme from a certain country is so morally indefensible. Why cant they live where they want? Doesn’t sound good however, does it?

I’ll get thrashed, I’m sure of it.

Friday, January 23, 1981

Friday January 23rd

On the way to school, couldn’t get Santana’s “Transcendence” out of my head; I don’t know why. After English with Mr Giles (poetry: TS Eliot and something called “Stage Directions about the death of a King”) we all trogged up to the common room, for coffee and talk.

Ingham was away, so we had four free periods, from 9.55 onwards, and most of the time we just sat about bored. It was sunny today and really mild; everyone commented on the heat, and it was again pleasant socially. Michael was sat talking to Claire for a long time over with us; subconscious – did I play up to him, trying to impress her indirectly through him.

During the course of the morning we all became involved in heated discussions about immigration; Lee, Duncan, Steve, Addie Williams, Jeremy and others; Claire is conservative in politics; her main opposition to Asians stemming from the fact that one grabbed her backside in Easterby once. The discussions became quite violent, and lasted over dinnertime, Claire telling me about various incidents involving immigrants. It was all quite fun.

The same old Friday-blues descended as we all became completely bored, ending up throwing tennis balls about at each other. After dinner, at about 12.15, Claire asked me if I really believed in uncontrolled immigration; when I replied in the affirmative, the response was one of amazement and disgust almost; “Oh my God” etc . . .,. I do not feel convinced of it myself; on one hand I feel that it is what I should believe in, yet at other times I’m not 100% sure. I’ll probably be whipped on Monday.

I also generously (foolishly!?) offered to play rugby for the school tomorrow at Burston. Andy asked me if I would, and then told me I’d be playing in the centre, the man to whom the ball would be passed and miracles thus expected to be worked. The last time I offered was in October 1979, away against Knowlesbeck. It was a farce, and I was second row prop. I didn’t touch the ball and felt ill (I was sick) I was so exhausted. Thankfully, I was substituted at half-time. Egley lost 54-0!!!!! But now!? You never know, I may even score!!!!!

My evening went reflectively (as usual) and it seems that today our friendship has been endorsed (I seemed easier talking to her – more open).

Thursday, January 22, 1981

Thursday January 22nd

I got into school really late, fifteen minutes after I should. Jeremy was reading my graphology book during registration; much amusement over each others loops and extensions. As we trekked up to the common room, new head girl Elaine Buckley told us that English fourth period was cancelled and since Ingham is also away tomorrow, it meant that I only had English with Ms Hirst and with Giles until the weekend.

At first I went into the library; geographers had private study until break because Blackwood’s having her appendix out; and they were all in there; Claire, Michelle, Evelyn and Christine Clough. At about 9.15 I went, with all the other Art people, down to Blakeborough’s to have a look at our 16+ work. I came back at 9.35 and sat in the library looking through “The Dutch Plural Society” and “Black British, White British” for Monday. The debate is going to be good; I’m really looking forward to it.

After break, Jeremy and Rich’ Houlding had a game of tennis while I talked to Steve Bates and Deborah – I love having friends. This sounds gimmicky I know, but I do. Someone to talk with, laugh with etc . . . . . . . , its good. I really did enjoy today from a social aspect. After dinner, we all sat round talking, and joking and everything (at one point – high excitement!!!! – I was actually sat on the same seat as Claire, half and half). We were once more looking at handwriting samples and trying to work out each others characters from the shape of each others ears or hands. Well, it passed the time at least.

After pretty predictable “Persuasion” in M2, all those involved in the magazine had a meeting in the school library. Fourteen people were present; Ms Hirst; Mr Emsley; me; Lee; Jeremy; Duncan; Richard Houlding; Andrew Boyd; Colin Baron; Theresa Moffitt; Gillian Gough; Bates’s younger sister; Rachel Johnson and the bloke responsible for printing the parish magazine a Mr Long. He looked very young and had a typical Jesus-saves style beard and white-plastic dog-collar; he showed us all the ins and outs of pasting, type setting and printing a newspaper type magazine (A4).

The meeting achieved virtually nothing, and we agreed to meet next Wednesday in the Common room, to rediscuss schedules, allocation of articles etc.,

In Art, I had to finish my tree composition (I was quite pleased with it), and for once, it was one of the better pics there.

As for my evening, it again went by without me achieving anything; I was too wrapped up in thinking about school, the debate and people to even attempt anything. Dad is on nights, and Mum went to bed at ten o’clock, to read “Sons and Lovers” no doubt.

My enthusiasm for Monday’s debate was only added to on hearing John Lennon’s “Imagine” (still at No 1); my idealistic, utopian arguments are going to be easy to refute on a practical basis. It will be interesting to see how everyone votes.

Wednesday, January 21, 1981

Wednesday January 21st

We had an assembly in the common room and Rhodes took it; his theme was anti-violence, and he quoted nursery rhymes etc., but since he’s going to be a father again soon I suppose its understandable.

All morning I pretended to do my English for Mrs Slicer, and talked a lot; it really is impossible to get work done in the library when everyone is in too.

We talked about a lot of things; handwriting, dreams and diaries; this latter thing awakened me to things a bit: she (Claire) said that we weren’t mentioned once in her diary, and it mainly consisted of things about guess who. I was asked if she was mentioned in mine – my answer; “not really.” Now that seems to prove something. I felt a bit hemmed in and uncomfortable here. If only she knew!!! Christ, it consists of nothing but her; it’s like a psychiatrists case-book this diary!! I felt so shallow and corny.

After English for two hours (a C+ from Slicer), I got home at 2.40 and did absolutely nothing.

Oh, one thing – I had an argument with Dad at teatime over bias in political articles and Allende/Pinochet’s Chile. I’ve been thinking a bit on my debate for Monday. My argument is to be based on idealism and will argue for a pluralistic world with no nationalism. I think patriotism is sick.

Andrew’s just rung up (eight o’clock) and told me about a Praktica SLR camera for sale down in Bath for £40. Mum doesn’t think I should draw anything from the bank.

All evening. The US hostage crisis was emblazoned across the TV screen, and what with Reagan’s inauguration yesterday its been a double celebration for America. The fervent patriotism and national chauvinism was amazing; the hostages families crying and exposing their emotions to the whole world. Both Mum and I agreed that it was sickening, transforming them into war hero status –they’re only bloody prisoners. After talking about the debate once more I’m really looking forward to it.

About the camera – I want it, but am loathe to clean out my account (materialistic comment!).

Tuesday, January 20, 1981

Tuesday January 20th

Today the hostage deal was finally brought about and America’s 40th President, Ronald Wilson Reagan was inaugurated. By midnight however, the 52 hostages were still waiting at Teheran airport for freedom.

Today, I wore my new trousers for the first time – everyone in the common room (D. Verity etc.) really took the piss out of me, but I really like them.

History passed off much as expected, and during the free periods after dinner I persuaded Deborah to miss her Social Work course; she said that she didn’t really want to go. Another day spent talking about handwriting, amusing ourselves with speculating about each others loops and curls (I bought a graphology book on Saturday).

Nothing evening once more.

Monday, January 19, 1981

Monday January 19th

The thing my weekend builds up to finally came around again – Monday. I really don’t have any life outside of school – and it’s all my own fault.

We had an assembly as normal in the Sports Hall, Barkston’s reading consisting of one about Gladys Diaz, a revolutionary. He used this illustration to emphasise faith. We all went up to the sixth year library and I sat opposite Claire – it was quite pleasant, noone working, everyone talking. After the Geographers had gone, Duncan and Jeremy and I had an argument about the Government – Duncan’s a right wing, Daily Express poodle, whereas Jeremy is half-hearted socialist. I don’t know about me – I don’t really know my own thoughts about this. I feel that I’m socialist, but as far as the arguments behind that are concerned I’m still not completely informed. I cannot yet argue fluently or convincingly on this score.

In History we plunged headlong into economics and Russian war communism and the N.E.P. This part of the course is pretty complicated and detailed and is therefore quite difficult. After dinner, in the lesson, Claire told me another little snippet of gossip – this Tony Megson sounds a really immature person – apparently, as Claire told Deborah about his libelous remarks saying that he and Deborah slept together and that she was on the Pill, he’s going to get back at Claire by saying that she’s pregnant etc.,. What a moron.

Anyway, last lesson, I got back my essay from Hirst, who was taking a third year class in the library. She seemed a bit disappointed (I got a ‘C’) and asked me why I wasn’t finding it easy. I replied therefore that the book “Persuasion” was (to me anyway) a boring book, complex, petty and old-fashioned. I said that I much preferred modern books. Andy Briscoe was in for much of the second half of the last lesson, blatantly chatting up Claire and annoying me (unintentionally I’m sure).

I went home at 3.25 p.m. after messing around in the common room with Wood.

Another unproductive, reflective evening, watching television or doodling on paper – at this moment I’m half watching a Pamorama programme on the rise of the Labour left; it is eight-forty p.m., and I’m too warm and bored.

Today will go down in history books as the day the US hostages freedom was clinched; they are now waiting at Teheran airport to fly to Weisbaden US hospital via Algeria. I’m glad they’re free, although I’m also glad that Iranian money has been given back.

Today I have become aware of the main reason for the different circles of friends Claire keeps mentioning – it is a difference in maturity. At school, we are so much like the ‘old’ situation; whereas Megson and co; with their employed, nineteen year old mates, who drive and smoke etc., must be much more attractive.

Sunday, January 18, 1981

Sunday January 18th

I woke at about ten thirty, because today I was going to Lees. Duncan Verity was going too. At about twelve thirty I rang him up to confirm that it was still OK for me to go and I was there for one o’clock.

Duncan was there when I got there and we sat about in the living room, bedecked with unoriginal looking pot heads and Toby Jugs; hundreds of them, on every shelf. Duncan and Lee were their usual selves and at about two, the latter had to go to Hainsworth to help out with the sound on “Murder in the Cathedral” by T.S. Eliot, being staged by Knowlesbeck Amateur Dramatics or whatever and starring Mr Giles and Jeremy. Lee and I were left on our own; I showed him how to play Backgammon and successfully beat him; after this (at about three), Lee got out his projector and screen and showed me some old 8mm home movies of himself when he was about five – he showed me the Yashica cine camera he’s been given by his Dad and we agreed that we’ll have to do some animation or something.

We played with a TV game and after Lee’d had his tea (I was kindly given two slices of cheese on toast), we just sat about in his bedroom until 8.30, when I had to go. I went feeling really good about having friends and things.

I walked back and felt pretty anxious when walking over Castlebrigg Playing Fields – it was just the darkness and the trees, and the way the wind wouldn’t allow you to hear anything. I don’t mind admitting that I kept checking behind me, to see whether anyone was following. I got home at 9.35 p.m, and watched TV all evening. I’ve had no homework at all this weekend, and unlike normally, its been quite diverse.

Venus Hunters

I was hardly in school at all. I went and got a hair cut, the barber telling me about his "screw" friend and his tales of mother-raping dog-abusing perverts.

Later on I went to Claire's with Lee and listened to some tape or other.

In the evening Lee and I had planned on going to the Mill Theatre, near Easterby Poly, to see a poetry/music/art performance by Grant and his friends. Lee didn’t turn up (said he had the ‘flu), so I set off by myself and hurried half-expectantly up Crossley Street for my appointment with Grant's band Venus Hunters.

Two blokes were on the door (short hair, fur coats, earrings) and I gave ‘em my 50p, blundered upstairs, walked along a corridor between a wall and a big canvas screen that surrounded the stage and seats and bumped into Grant. He was wearing faded flared jeans, an old jacket and a college scarf: Nik was there too, in his usual get up of tight black trousers, black shirt, his thick spiky hair stuck out on top.

On stage was a tangle of amps, guitars, cables, pedals, etc. A long rectangular sheet was draped behind the stage smeared with what one of their action paintings. Three more sheets hung vertically to the side. Everything was informal and chaotic. . . .

By this time there were quite a few people there, and once the lights dimmed Grant read some of his poetry. He sounded a bit like  John Cooper Clarke–I suppose all punk poets must sound like this–and as he talked his mouth almost touched the mike, blowing on it, and sometimes stumbling over his words. The poems were all short and only took five minutes and although I couldn’t hear all of them, what I could impressed me . Later on he confessed to being really nervous but I admire him for having the guts to do it.

Venus Hunters were up next; three guitarists, Grant on drums and a couple of different girls or Nik on vocals. Their first few numbers were rhythmic and powerful, Grant scowling sternly, his uncoordinated and intense drumming slightly out of sync with the rest, a bit too hollow and loud – but who am I to say? Their were two guitarists, one with his hair cut just over his ears at the side but very long at the back, the other wearing a striped woolen skull cap and dungarees, and they produced strange, Tangerine Dream-style sounds or simple clear, loud notes. Occasionally Nik or Grant drifted to the mike, moaning incoherently, their dirges almost inaudible above the howl  of guitars and the harsh, cutting rat-tat-tat of the drums. The guitarist with the short/long hair used a wah-wah pedal or twiddled a knob to make dub style echo which Grant accompanied with a rhythm tapped out on a beer can. When the song ended the delay echoed and died away. It sounded really good.

Part One was over, and Grant was back for more solo stuff, wearing a white lab’ coat. He read something out over a background rhythm of mechanical scrapes, occasionally accompanying himself on the drums. He was jerky and intense, stalking about in front of us with that peculiar pigeon-walk of his, shrieking intermittently and, at one point, jumping up and throwing himself to the ground with his arms outspread, sssssshing into the microphone.

Then back to the music, Nik gliding and pirouetting around the stage while he continued with the dirge or sang. . . . Finally, he announced that they were just going to play and everyone in the audience "should come and join." Grant, who was sitting next to me, rushed up to the drums and banged out an imperfect beat and free associated at the mike, while Dungarees and Nik degenerated into clumsy rhythms that had no real order or coherence. And all the while, someone was taking photos, illuminating the goings on with eyeblink blue flashes. . . Everything fragmented, broke up, people drifting away. . . .

I went home.

Saturday, January 17, 1981

Saturday January 17th

I woke at six and got up at 8.45. The match was off, no doubt because of the rain, which started at about three yesterday and continued throughout last night – the snow had almost completely gone when we got up.

We all set off in the car, Mum and Dad dropping me at Howden Road, and I went into Northgate Market to look for the “Top Gear” shop to buy myself some trousers. I couldn’t find the shop – I didn’t look properly. I went from there to Eastgate Smiths and looked through their book sale – I felt resentful at first when I saw everyone crowding around the table with all the books on – there were some good books there for a couple of quid.

After looking upstairs at the record sale (crummy) I ventured down to Queensgate Smiths where I bought a Grover Washington L.P. for £1.99 in their sale which was much better. I also bought a book (the title is so embarrassing even) – called “Graphology for Lovers” and immediately I felt so cheap and insincere – I knew the real reason for me buying it and felt so corny.

At the Library I handed back a book for Duncan Verity and got out four books, three on immigration: “The Dutch Plural Society” by Christopher Bagley; “Black British, White British” by Dilip Hiro; “A Question of Colour?” by Peter Griffiths and a book on Russia called “Portraits of Russian Personalities” by Duncan Hare. The debate, which yesterday in the face of Mum and Dad’s criticism had seemed so indefensible began to seem hopeful – I had enough points to base an argument upon – especially in the Bagley book. After speaking with Steve whom I saw on the Third floor I again went into Northgate Market and to the shop, where I bought a pair of lime green canvas trousers for £15.50, which are incredibly tight.

I got home just after two and went and had my hair cut at around three; once again it is in the usual shortened style – so predictable, so boring. Next time I have it cut I’ll have it done round my ears, I’m determined.

Nothing much happened for the rest of the day until evening when I had a big argument cum debate with Mum and Dad about immigration and socialism; it eventually degenerated into friendly criticism of one another. I got called a “commie” by Dad! About the debate again – once more I’m not too sure.

Friday, January 16, 1981

Friday January 16th

Got to school early (8.15), after walking in with Steve – we talked about immigration and this debate.

Had another film in P1 in preparation for the Gen. Studies paper; about the dangers of nuclear fuel. First lesson was Gile’s English (“The Investigator” tape once more) and then I had three free periods until last lesson. My frees went, predictably I suppose, sat in the common room talking with, or being talked to by, everyone else and being bored. Socially I feel it was similar to yesterday; I write this yet when I’m actually at school I suddenly think Christ!, how unreal all this diary blurb is. Totally disproportionate, exaggerated and petty. At about nine-thirty it began to snow – and settle – and continued all day, eventually ending up, by two-thirty, at about one inch in depth – crisp, white, perfect snow-ball snow. That same old Friday-afternoon melancholy around today.

We hedged and grumbled about our History test in fifth period; Ingham was away and we stayed in the library; Jeremy, Duncan, Claire, Tracey, Laura and Michelle, and me all scribbling away viciously.

Depressively it seemed – I said “Bye” to everyone until Monday and the old rut once more.

I had arranged to meet Lee at four outside Smith’s on Queensgate but when I got in, Dad advised me not to, as traffic wise it was chaos. Just after three I rang Lee and told him.

Time goes so quickly; day after day, it whizzes by almost. Friday again; then it’ll be Monday once more; Tuesday, Wednesday . . . . February, . . . . 1982, 1983, 1984 . . . . . . . . . . Before I know where I am I’ll be leaving school!

Bored and unfulfilled evening again, reflecting on todays thoughts and conversations. I just sat in the dining room playing “Steely Dan” and messing about with Biorythms.

Thursday, January 15, 1981

Thursday January 15th

Unsatisfactory day today. Similar feelings to yesterday. Got in late and was immediately accosted by Ingham who directed me into P1 for a film entitled “What Use is a Degree?” Even if I take a degree and discover it wont be advantageous I’d still go, just for the social aspect.

Up to the library next for I had my essay to copy up. Deborah came in at 10.30 (been to the doctors) and I eventually saw Claire at break (“Why did you decide to start so late?”). After break, I finally finished the essay. I became painfully aware of the way I’m unable to indulge in activity and intercourse like Lee, Jeremy and Duncan.

At dinnertime, I got a bit annoyed with Steven Bates, for he was criticising the police over the Strangler case – he doesn’t know the facts, therefore can’t make judgments.

The tape in Slicer’s lesson fourth period; continuing with Hirst and the reading through of “Persuasion.” After school, Jeremy, Andrew Boyd and I went up to the staff room for a meeting about the mag. – it eventually got under way at 2.45.

Along with Mrs Scott (remedial), Mrs St. John (English), Mrs Slicer (English), Mr Giles (English), Mr Emsley (Woodwork), Mrs Barber (Games), Mrs Renshaw (Games), Mr Wilson (Dep. Head master), Mrs Wallis (Dep. Head Mistress), Mr Metcalf (Art), Ms Hirst (English) and Mr Barkston, we all piled into B’s office – really crowded, so I had to sit on the floor.

Firstly, Hirst gave out all the various printing costs available and said that the most promising looked to be a £240 offer for a card-backed, 40-page A5 magazine, with cream cover, printed on both outside and inside. Barkston seemed quite prepared to part with that amount (some could be recouped by advertising). Also we discussed printing date – and it was set for October sometime. Name’s discussed (“Fungus: The Magazine That Grows on You” – it got quite a good reception!).

Everything seems settled now. We went to college amicably, Jeremy and I particularly enthusing over the magazine – Jeremy says he’s “dying for the debate” now.

Art quite enjoyable and productive – my tree composition is coming along quite well now.

Wednesday January 14th

Got to school at about twenty-five past eight after battling my way through high winds and rain – the wind was incredibly strong – I could hardly walk forward at one point. I arrived in school windswept and wet.

We had a year assembly, taken by Ingham who told us of a moralistic Welsh legend, before piling into the library and all immediately getting down to our “Persuasion” essays – only Deborah has finished of all six of us. Not much happened all morning – quiet, studious atmosphere. Very jovial and friendly atmosphere in break; Jeremy’s much better nowadays; easier to get on with; I cant imagine November-December situation again. In English we were told of a “tea-party” which Slicer and Hirst are thinking of for us all – for some reason they both wanted to know our birth-signs.

We listened to an “Antony and Cleopatra” tape in Slicer’s lesson and continued through “Persuasion” with Hirst (up until Chap 21). Somehow today hasn’t been too good. Could be the weather I suppose – heavy rain, high wind all day etc . . . .

When I got home I had typically optimistic ideas of completing my essay before tea, but again typically I sat about playing records and watching the lashing rain and miserable wind outside.

Dad came home with books from Smith’s sale – a “China Today” book (1974) for me which is OK really; nothing highly amazing. He got it at a 75% saving. He also gave me a calendar. China is one of those places I intend visiting (really intend!)

Evening up until eight thirty went fairly predictably; intending to start my essay and never quite getting round to it. Then, horror of horrors! I discovered I hadn’t got my “Persuasion” novel – I’d left it at school. Immediate desperation as to what to do! Then it occurred to me that Claire would have a copy, and if I rang up. . . . . Thudding heart as I couldn’t decide whether to ‘phone up and ask or not. Was it too late? Dad resolved my dilemma by offering to run me over to Beatrice Avenue. I felt almost excited as I dialed – sister Linda answered – I asked for Claire, and then she herself answered. She said it would be alright if I came down for the book and I agreed to be there in half-an-hour.

At nine I rang the bell – Claire appeared with one copy of “Persuasion” – “I’d invite you up for a coffee but . . ." Me, "I haven’t got the time really.” A fleeting instant and it was over, and I was back writing up the essay by ten-past nine until one-thirty.

Tuesday, January 13, 1981

Tuesday January 13th

I woke up when Mum got up at 7.20 a.m. but typically I didn’t get downstairs until five-to-eight – in to school at twenty-past. The first period was History in C9 with Ingham, although it began ten-minutes later because he had an interview or something. We are continuing work on the Bolshevik Economic policy, finishing off War communism. The course is becoming really deep and I haven’t a clue how Ruth Fielding, who’s joined us recently, is going to cope.

During the second period I got on with my Art (contrasting Jacobean-Florentine paintings using Edmund Burke Feldman Technique). Deborah and Claire went out to Gilthwaite to buy some milk and undoubtedly all yesterdays hoo-ha was discussed – undoubtedly; because when they came back they were discussing it until third period. From what I gathered from the odd snatch of conversation I overheard (honestly!) it seems that they’re still not OK – from the way Deborah was talking I started wondering if the whole thing has been misconstrued by Claire – anyway, nothing to do with me really! It has been interesting though; I looked at Deborah through coloured specs after what Claire’d said to me yesterday; the way they acted was so uneasy (Claire said yesterday that on the coach she’d told Deborah to “Go away” snappily).

History in C7 third period was a continuation of the first and we wound up War communism ready for a start on the NEP.

At dinnertime I said that a controversial debate for a week on Monday would be “This House Believes that Immigration Controls Should be Scrapped” – I agreed to propose it. Steve Bates and Duncan are opposing us. Deborah said she’d come with an open mind.

During the next three-quarters of an hour or so I became really heated as Richard Houlding, Tommy Whelan and Nigel Creek farted on so unfairly and in a racist way – “Wogs are so unhygienic” etc. – it really made me fume. Robin Quinn agreed to second the motion and gave me two leaflets – an SWP and a Communist Party one. I must’ve got annoyed, because even Deborah commented on how “worked up” I was getting. At least the debate will raise temperatures.

In Art I continued with me tree painting after we’d had an hour or so talk from Hine on the High Renaissance and Leonardo da Vinci in particular.

I got home at six-thirty and in no time at all it was eight-thirty and here I am writing out my diary entry. No harm in doing it so early because nothing good will happen in the rest of the evening.

Monday, January 12, 1981

Monday January 12th

Woke up at 7.30 and got up shortly afterwards. First in the registration room again and thankfully we had no assembly, so I had plenty of time to get my essay finished. For the first two periods I slaved away copying up (Claire even did some of it for me) in the library and after break I went down to History with everyone else.

After everyone arrived Claire said, “did you notice anything this morning,” to which I truthfully replied “No.” She then went on to tell me at great length (“Dallas” eat your heart out) all about an incident which had come to light on Saturday about Tony Megson and Deborah during Claire and M. Barnwell’s visit to London. Apparently, last week Deborah had said that she and Tony had fallen out over something or other; they’d conveyed the general impression to everyone that this was true for at a party at Claire’s they had sat miserably at opposite ends of the room. Now apparently Tony M. had rung Claire up later and said that he fancied Deborah – so Claire had counseled him etc., yet Claire found out he was ringing from Deborah’s house with Deborah there. Claire was really upset by it and wasn’t talking to Deborah. Claire had walked around London moaning all the time, spoiling M.B.’s day out.

Anyway, the lesson went by OK, and dinner came. Lots of insinuation from Jeremy about me and guess who, which subconsciously I probably enjoyed and then another lesson. Final period was free and I sat in the common room with Claire, her telling me about things that had happened (Deborah was at a driving lesson). Everything was divulged, about how the weekend was a disaster and about how she’s never going to see Tony again. Everyone is now against Deborah I was told – even Christine Clough (who Tony had insinuated was pregnant and now is to be beaten up by Andrew Hudson). I said that it just didn’t seem like Deborah, which it doesn’t, because the lie must have been pretty convincing to carry on for so long – as Claire said, not just for two hours but for four days. My God! This is getting like Katie Boyle’s problem page.

I said that Claire obviously thought that Deborah knew her better than she does and that it probably wasn’t intentional. Still, it doesn’t seem right. The thing that is bothering Claire is the way they both let her give advice over the phone, probably really amused by all the comments she made

I walked home with Claire – debate continued – and got home at 2.40. She just gets so worked up about things. I’m so corny – I write all this about others lives – you’d think I hadn’t one of my own!!

My evening, predictably enough, went listening to records and just doodling on pieces of paper or watching television. Tomorrow, I may go to Art or I may go into Easterby to buy some trousers.

Sunday January 11th

We all got up at 8.30 and after a cooked breakfast Robert, Andrew and I set off for Rotherham train station, arriving there at about nine-thirty. Andrew’s train went at eight minutes to. I bought a ticket to Easterby (£2.44) and waited with Andrew on the platform. Robert went after the train left and I said goodbye until January 30th or whenever.

For the next hour or so I stomped about in the bitter cold waiting for the 10.48 train to Whincliffe. It was so boring and cold it was unbelievable. The train was about 15 minutes late and we got into Whincliffe at about 12.05. Another long wait until 12.55 for the Easterby train, which also departed late and I eventually got home at about 2.30.

Nanna P. was in when I got home. Dad seemed quite pleased with his Bonsai tree (Japanese Yew) which Robert and Carol bought him for his birthday.

The rest of the day passed idly – my History essay loomed over proceedings but inevitably I didn’t start until eleven when I was in bed, eventually reeling off a couple of sides in as many hours.

Sunday, January 11, 1981

Saturday January 10th

We all got up pretty early. I’d had a comfortable night on the floor, and after some tea, we were all ready to set off for Purswell (except Carol that is who was still ill). We made good time, and made Purswell about mid-morning after driving through thick snow and high wind part of the way. It was bitterly cold in the town and I was glad of the extra jumper I had on, but sickened that I’d lost one of my gloves. For an hour or two, we wandered about the pedestrian precincts down in the City centre, but several aggressive thuggo types kept crossing our paths; one bloke actually followed us about awhile and we could feel the aggressiveness in the air. It wasn’t nice, and it seemed to affect Andrew most of all, who kept mentioning it all day.

After this we went up towards the Cathedral and Castle, looking round them both before having a meal in a pub down in the town.

The Cathedral was pretty impressive, especially since all the pews had been taken out and its cavernous interior was filled with organ music.

We made our way slowly down through Purswell city centre and towards the ground, which could be seen on the skyline. Just before we got to the ground, enormous hailstones came bouncing down and we were scared in case it was called off.

Standing on the windswept terracing we were surrounded eventually by about 40 Athletic fans; mainly noisy louts dressed up in boots and Harrington jackets. Purswell’s ground is quite good; square-shaped and with stands around two sides, which, by the way they jut out everywhere, have been added to and built on to. Stood there it was really cold, icy wind cutting through me really viciously.

Athletic came out and played from right to left; their strip was; green socks, black shorts with white trimming and white shirts with green trimming, and Scarborough was back after being out since November. He didn’t have a good game, looking tired and slow on the old reflexes. Hopefully he’s just rusty.

Purswell started well, and Muir had to clear off the line. They had loads of corners. Desperate stuff, and at that point we thought they were going to trounce us, but soon Athletic began to string moves together and look good. In almost their first attack of the game they got a free kick 30 yd out; Muir took it and blasted left-foot into the goalies top-right corner. We were amazed and everyone leaped up and down clapping and shouting madly – I love to see the home fans silenced.

After that, Athletic walked all over Purswell at times and Goldman and Redman were again really good. Towards the end of the first-half, it began to snow and hail heavily combined with really freezing cold wind – also, there was a bit of scuffling among Athletic fans.

In the second half, things were much like the first, with Easterby attacking occasionally and looking pretty classy at times and Purswell applying all the pressure. After 76 minutes they eventually fumbled the ball into the net – I got another of my sickening premonitions just before-hand. We held until the end, with Lewis just hitting the crossbar in the final couple of minutes.

We went home satisfied, getting back at 6.30.

Cheryl had made us our tea and afterwards we sat around all evening watching television, playing records or playing “Othello.” We eventually got to bed at midnight.

Friday, January 9, 1981

Friday January 9th

First thing I gave Deborah her birthday card and wished her happy birthday. I also took the presents and told her that I had them for her and Claire. English first of all, and we listened to a tape of “The Investigator,” a 50s radio play paralleling the McCarthy communist witch-hunts with the ‘Investigators’ anti-satanic purges in Heaven after he has been killed in a ‘plane crash. All the while, my heart was thudding with anticipation of the coming event. I could almost imagine them thinking, wondering over why I’d bought them.

I got to the Common Room just after them and I gave them their boxes of “Roses”; they guessed immediately from the shape of the boxes. They were pleased with them I think. The next three periods were free and we all sat about bored really, tolerating Duncan bleating on obscenely and just feeling fed up. From the little snippets I gathered about their trip to London tomorrow it seems that nine of them are going. Also, whenever M. Barnwell came near Claire, there was much insinuating and rib-digging, causing her to blush and giggle really shyly.

The air of boredom and finality; a kind of winding down; continued all through History as we continued notes on War communism. A new addition to our group is Ruth Fielding – I don’t know how she’ll catch up or even understand it with joining so late on.

The weather was once more unsettled, and half-way through the lesson it began to pour down, this only adding to the weird atmosphere of morose depression about proceedings – a real end-of-term atmosphere.

I got home at 2.40 and rushed around frantically packing and gazing at the clock – I really don’t know why, because the train didn’t leave until 4.54 p.m. I set off by 3.05 and was in Easterby at 3.45. After buying my ticket (£2.85) I had to hang around, shivering in the freezing temperatures, for around an hour.

Train got to Whincliffe fairly quickly and I had no difficulty getting the right connection for Rotherham. The train finally pulled into Rotherham station at 6.50 p.m, and I found Robert waiting in the car outside to pick me up. We got back to Swinton at about seven thirty; Andrew was there. Carol's got a really bad cold or something because she was pale, croaky-voiced, with a red, streaming nose. She looked really bad all evening, which went by listening to records and playing “Othello.” We also went to the ‘pub. Couldn’t help thinking about certain people.

Thursday, January 8, 1981

Thursday January 8th

Lee and Claire went on a Geography field trip to Ingleborough from eight-thirty until twelve-forty, so for most of the morning there were only four of us. I did notes for my History essay until 10.30 in the library; one of the seventh year girls blew up at Duncan busy-bodying about – I sympathized, for he never stopped getting up, sorting through his files and passing messages to Deborah – he must just revel in the friendship etc. . . .

After 10.30, when I took a “coffee break,” I just sat about until twelve o’clock and dinner, talking. At break, everyone interested in a London visit in Feb. to see the Houses of Parliament congregated in B18 – everyone will be going it seems. The trip cost £7.00 and will take place between 6.30 a.m and 11 p.m.

After break we had only a half-an-hour of English because Mrs. Slicer had to prepare a kind of obituary consisting of comments from school-friends of a fifth year girl who’se recently died from cystic-fibrosis. I was even reduced to wondering how everyone would react if I died like that – this is so morbid and shows a blatant desperation for attention. I sometimes wonder if I’d do it if I was able to see reaction – I occasionally feel I would.

The Geographers had arrived back and we all went to Hirst’s lesson as normal. We’ve now nearly finished “Persuasion” (we’re at p190) and todays lesson went quite enjoyably.

I didn’t stop behind after school, but rushed home because I had to buy Deborah a birthday card – I went with Dad to Farnshaw and went with him to pick Mum up from work before being dropped off again in Farnshaw at 3.45 p.m.

In Art I began my tree composition – yet another cliché’d chemical red-and-yellow sky painting – so predictable.

Just watched the box all evening.

Wednesday, January 7, 1981

Wednesday January 7th

I got in late, and sat about in the common room until nine when I went into the library and got out my “Antony and Cleopatra” books and sat down – sure enough, in everyone came and the morning went pleasantly enough. Tutorial was cancelled, so we talked in the common room, much amusement being aroused by C.P’s constant clangers which are so suggestive – about making coffee; . . . “it took us three minutes at break” – and Claire was in fits.

In English with Mrs Slicer, I got my timed essay back from last term – I was chuffed with my B- (Lee got C+, Jeremy got C+, Deborah C, Michelle C-. Duncan B-).

In “Persuasion” with Hirst I suffered her usual satirical and shrill voice and accusations. Another thing – I suddenly looked up half way through the lesson to find Claire looking at me, smiling broadly – I later found out from Deborah that she had been looking at me and sighing when I’d looked up and she’d collapsed giggling. Now she could be just carrying on for the sake of it, using me as a guinea-pig to see what effect her actions have or she could be serious. I doubt the latter somehow, and have a sneaking feeling that the former’s true.

I’m probably taking the entire circumstance too seriously – this is all just friendly messing about and since I’ve had nothing to compare with, don’t know how to react and everything. I’m just going over the top completely.

I had nothing to do so Lee, Deborah and me went to see “The Picture-Show Man,” a 1977 Australian film about early film theatres. It was OK as entertainment.

An evening before the box – Robert rang (Andrew is there now) with news of a completion date for his house which is Jan. 30th. So they’ll be moving in that weekend and I’m going over this Friday on the 4.54 train to Rotherham.

I still haven’t given Deborah and Claire their presents yet. Maybe give them them on Friday.

Tuesday, January 6, 1981

Tuesday January 6th

As expected. At 10.40, it began snowing really heavily, huge white flakes drifting slowly and thickly down from a white sky – it left the ground only slightly covered. I had come to school leaving the door unlocked and the cat out – I couldn’t find a key.

At break, me, Lee, Duncan, Jeremy, Michelle Cliff, Deborah, Lynn Norden, Mandy Jenkinson and Christine Wade went down into the English area to ask Hirst for an extension of a week for our “Persuasion” essays. It was all very friendly – I really love having friends, because they make you feel good.

At about 11.30 I went home (I’d found the key), to be greeted by a bedraggled and sodden George waiting at the gate – he ran in gratefully.

It took me twenty minutes to get there and back and the above caused much amusement. The day went cornily; in Art we had a one-and-a-half hour talk on early Renaissance artists, and my evening went watching television and, later on, doing my essay for Slicer on Antony’s personal responsibility for his own downfall.

Apparently (this is according to Dad), Baxter has confessed to 5 murders, excepting that of Jean Raistrick in Bishophill in 1978. The Strangler case is still headline stuff, both in the ‘papers and on TV.

Monday, January 5, 1981

Monday January 5th

Got to school as normal – only Julie Crabtree in the registration room when I got in, but shortly everyone was there – Deborah, Jeremy, Claire etc . . . . . .

First two lessons were free, and I passed them in the library with all the gang. Deborah said that she enjoyed Bulgaria, more than she expected. History went well again – for my timed essays at the end of last term I got two C’s, quite good considering!

The last lesson, normally Biology, was spent enjoyably in the common room talking to Claire, Julie, Lee, Deborah, Duncan and Jeremy – Claire started talking to me about a book she’d been reading about signs of affection people show; crossed legs, flicking hair from the forehead, speech alteration, sitting side by side etc., all quite amusing – it was noticed, that in the course of her explanation, she came and sat next to me, crossed her right leg toward me and was hesitant in speech – I’m not suggesting that these are serious indications at all, but they were obvious because Julie said “Notice how Claire has gone and sat next to you” – all quite thought-provoking and amusing.

The newspapers and television were full of the Strangler – an Ian Gordon Baxter of Durley Park Crescent, Holmeshaw – scenes were shown from the Whincliffe court house where he was taken at 4.30 for a five minute appearance – a crowd of 500-1000 gathered to shout abuse, demand death and throw pebbles. According to things Dad has gleaned from work, a knife and some women’s tights were found discarded in Whincliffe after a search. The trial will be interesting. Andrew went back at 10.15 a.m.

Sunday, January 4, 1981

Sunday January 4th

It seems as if they’ve finally caught the Strangler!!! I heard at about nine from Dad that it’d be announced that a man has been arrested. From what I heard later on the news, two Whincliffe policemen stopped him in a stolen Rover car to question him about stolen number plates on Friday January 2nd. He’s a married man from Holmeshaw.

The police were saying things like “absolutely delighted” and from all the commotion its looking pretty certain. I was jubilant, not so much because of the end of the deaths, more a kind of morbid fascination and curiosity about him personally. It’s amazing; everyone expected him to go on for ages. He’ll be charged tomorrow. I’m really glad it’s over.

The first part of my day went reading the Times (Athletic are 10th) and soon it was dinnertime. As outside it was perfectly clear and sunny, Mum and Dad decided to go for a walk down by the river – outside it was icy and very cold, but the recent wind has gone – leaving Andrew and I to play records or listen to the radio. Andrew packed, because tomorrow he’s off to Robert and Carol’s and then down to Corsham. My homework cast a shadow over the day, but I didn’t do anything about it and came to bed still with four essays to do. No prizes for guessing what everyone will be discussing tomorrow.

Saturday, January 3, 1981

Saturday January 3rd

I was woken at nine and got up at eleven – just like any other Saturday. Everyone was around, and I just sat in the dining room listening to records or the radio and reading my book.

Andrew and I had intended going to see Athletic play Haley Hill Celtic, but as the weather was blustery and raining we decided not to bother – the match was later postponed anyway.

After dinner, everyone retired into the front room and watched TV while I played records downstairs and messed about, reading “The Yorkshire Post,” and working out things like the number of habitable planets in an average sized galaxy, our own Galaxy and the Universe.

Dad + Mum went into Farnshaw during the afternoon and soon it was teatime.

Afterwards, while everyone watched television, I started listing all my books (I have over a hundred) and just generally tossing about.

School work still a cloud on my horizon – I have four essays to complete by next Wednesday; History” (Reasons for White’s defeat in the civil war”); two English essays and a comparison to do for Art. I just seem physically and mentally incapable of doing work before the last deadline. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again (why not admit it?, looking forward to seeing Claire and Deborah).

This morning I sent off my £14.00 remittance for the B.I.S for 1981, three days after the deadline date (I borrowed the cash off Dad, and as a result, he’s giving me a pound a week only for 14 weeks).

Friday, January 2, 1981

Friday January 2nd

All day I sat around again, thinking about how I should’ve been doing my homework while listening to records. The weather was foul today, cloudy, heavy rain occasionally and high winds once more.

By teatime, I felt dissatisfied with the holiday. As we watched the News about the imminent BL strike, it sparked Dad off who said that “left wingers” and “communists” are behind most major strikes and involved in most unions. He then went on about a book he’s read from the library called “The Dark Gods” by Anthony Roberts and Geoff Gilbertson which alleges an international conspiracy between Nazis, Communists and extremists, who will eventually destroy each other allowing some alien power to take over the world. The book apparently makes a connection between UFOs and communists/Nazis etc….. ??!! I sneered at it, thus provoking him into anger.

My evening went by, playing Mingus, Joni Mitchell, Santana, and Charlie Parker with Andrew while amusing ourselves with '‘Old Moore’s Almanac 1981.” I came to bed at the (for me) early hour of eleven.

Thursday, January 1, 1981

Thursday January 1st

An inauspicious start to 1981 – the usual boredom. Nanna B. arrived at about two for dinner and stayed until seven – I was in the room watching television quite a lot of the time. Nanna B. seemed in good health, ‘though apparently she’s still wallowing in self-pity over her widowhood, alleged poverty and boredom – the latter is totally self-inflicted. Mum and Dad exchanged bad words after he’d taken her back, Mum saying that she still thinks it’s mean not giving presents, in response to dad’s defence (“I’m sick of hearing her being pilloried,” “blood’s thicker than water” etc…..).

There was a good film on TV late on – “Papillon,” supposedly Steve McQueen’s best film – he was a really good actor actually. I came to bed after once more failing to achieve a start on my homework (I discovered an English essay I’d forgotten about).

I was ridden with guilt when I got to bed – I haven’t fed my newts for months; they should be hibernating now.

I carelessly left my chocolate liquers around in the dining room at teatime and inevitably Dad asked where they’d come from. After I’d told him (along with blushed aplenty) there was the predictable nudge-nudge, wink wink suggestions – ‘from a girl eh?” – if I told Claire it’s no doubt make her feel even worse!

Wednesday December 31st

Identical to yesterday. In the evening, I completed my third season for divisions one and two and Uncle Kenneth came. It is Dad’s birthday today, his fifty-first. Uncle Kenneth became his usual alcoholic self, and didn’t stay long. On his way back, he gave Andrew a lift to a party at Geoff Marchbank’s.

As midnight approached, we were all given the perfunctory glass of sherry and we held a toast to 1981 and to “peace” as Big-Ben chimed away 1980. Shortly after, Mum and Dad went to bed leaving me watching the “Old Grey Whistle Test” pick of ’80. Andrew returned at 0110 – I could tell immediately that he was drunk, for his eyes were glassy and bloodshot and he came in with a stupid grin all over his face – there he sat for half an hour, jovial in an uncoordinated, drugged sort of way – before eventually coming up at 01.40.

Today the weather has been windy – gale force all day. Nineteen eighty one – only nine years and it’ll be the futuristic 1990!
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