Wednesday, February 25, 1981

Old leather

The ‘phone was supposed to wake me up at five but it didn't and it was Mum who finally did. Everything weird and silent and dead. I enjoyed the walk over to Deakin’s house, and after waiting in a quiet hush for him to get ready, he got his Mum’s car and we drove down into Easterby. I was envious that he can drive. Mark Pittock was the only one waiting in the near deserted Holdsworth Square station, but within half an hour everyone else had turned up and we all trooped up to the train. Changed at Whincliffe and took a 125 straight down to London. Lee, Richard, Mark, and Rich Houlding & I played cards on the way down while Duncan and Tommy sat off at the end of the carriage with Angela.

We got in at about half nine and took a tube from King’s Cross to Westminster where we met Leslie Tyndall MP, who first showed us round the House of Lords, which is especially lavish. The elaborate ornamentation inside surprised me really, and I don’t know what I expected but it came as a real surprise. This strengthened my feeling that this undemocratic institution should be abolished. We did the rounds in two groups, and I was in the group without Duncan. Mr. Ingham seemed fascinated. The House of Commons was next and quite as I’d imagined it – musty and Cromwellian, with lots of wood and old leather. The whole set up had a right-wing, pro-establishment flavour to it, and all the formalities, rules and etiquette made it seem so out of touch. How can MPs really care about two-and-a-half million unemployed when they're cut off inside this museum-like chamber? The plight of the unemployed must seem so distant.

We were done at half-eleven and released into the streets. Lee had brought along his ancient ciné camera and he filmed us sporadically as we wandered around in a big group. Duncan and Angela wanted to see 10 Downing Street and so we all marched off to stand pointlessly around that gloomy house before going to St. James’ Park to eat. Lee filmed the seagulls as they flew in low or hovered in twos and threes, flapping around us as we threw bread into the air. We trekked up the Mall, past Buck House and on to Victoria tube station to Oxford Circus. I wanted to see Foyle’s and we walked up Oxford Street's vast length, jostling through the crowds and starting to flag a bit as not a bookshop was to be seen. But eventually we reached Claude Gill books, where we browsed a while. There was a Virgin record shop opposite which was enormous, and they had every conceivable record in there: all the Santana tour albums, every Weather Report album, all the Return To Forever albums and Grover Washington records galore. After choosing several albums and changing my mind several times I eventually decided on “Mister Magic.” I felt chuffed. We finally found Foyle’s, ate at McDonald’s and got back to Kings Cross for six as scheduled.

Back home by ten after a boring journey. It’s been a good day, and I’ve enjoyed it, but you’ll never guess what . . . “Mister Magic” jumps!! I feel totally depressed.

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