Tuesday, June 30, 1981


It was a hot, clear day and uneasy conversation with Deborah and Evelyn brought it home to me just how useless I am. I’d forgotten completely about my General Studies paper, and at nine we were shepherded into M-3. The questions were difficult; we were given a  Karl Popper extract for comprehension. I didn’t do well.

I played tennis after. The courts were boiling, the heat reflecting back from the tarmac. I played Lee, then we played a doubles match with Wiechec and Jeremy, and Claire and Evelyn came out, dressed in their white tennis stuff, and we played alongside each other until we left at three. I had a ride on Lee’s bike; I surprised myself after six years, for although I was wobbly I stayed on.

Later I went into Easterby and met Lee outside Smith's. I took along £13, including £5 Nanna P gave me for my birthday and bought a sweatshirt thing from Burton’s. We toured a few of the second-hand shops before I went and got some passport photos and said adieu to Lee. I bought him a sarcastic “Who Killed Blair Peach?” birthday card from Praxis, and a couple of books. As I was standing there browsing, one of the women came upstairs saying “We’re going to have to do something about these fucking fascists; one of them hit Chris in the face.” The victim was quite reticent about it, brushing off the woman’s sympathetic attentions. I was quite shocked, yet when I got home Dad said the “fucking fascist” in question was a soldier who had been looking at books there when he was asked to leave. He resisted their bouncer impersonations, hence the punches. Who do you believe?

In the evening Dad and I went to Grant’s to pay him the £44.65 we owe for the YHA holiday. Grant's house smelled strongly of cat and sawdust  and his Dad Barry, who's a probation officer, was soon holding forth about their hosteling trips to Germany and Norway. God, he can talk. What with their pleasant, untidy house, interesting life, enthusiasms, and his Dad’s casual references to “Grant’s Dadaist group” I was quite impressed. I mean, our family is turgid in comparison. Grant is a bit like Eddie Carbone in A View From the Bridge; he doesn’t seem to “settle for half.” I do, to a hypocritical degree, and therefore can never tell what is really me and what is a front.

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