Friday, July 31, 1981

Elastic Rock

It was sunny again. A parcel came from Andrew, my birthday present; a book on jazz-rock fusion and a T-shirt.

Grant called unexpectedly at about three, and, about half-an-hour after, Jeremy showed up too, for his bike, but he only stayed until six or so; Grant stayed on and we talked and listened to Elastic Rock. By the time Grant left it'd clouded right in and was cold.

Thursday, July 30, 1981


Woke up at two and so there was hardly any day to go at. Brilliantly sunny but I felt disorganised. The overkill about yesterday is so contrived and pathetic.

I was watching TV at a quarter-to-eleven and through the window I saw a bright green light travel quite quickly across the sky, disappear behind a tree, and then reappear behind Mr. Tillotson’s house opposite, breaking into two as it did so. A meteor!

Wednesday, July 29, 1981


The day was dominated by the Royal Wedding. No matter how much I disagree with it, I couldn’t help switching on and watching occasional snatches.

At one or so Jeremy showed up but the tennis courts were closed so we sat about for a long time and then went out to get a ‘paper. We went round to his house; quite a few street parties going off, with lots of shop decorations. It was swelteringly hot once more. We called at Tommy’s flat and the three of us messed about at Jeremy’s all evening, wandering down to a deserted railway to hit burning tennis balls about and play with petrol.

At midnight feeling decadent, drinking wine and listening to records, before setting off with torch and dog to walk the quarter mile tunnel, plunging through dark woods, crunching along the tunnel and back and getting soaked. It made a change anyway. Rode Jeremy's bike back and got home at three-thirty.

Tuesday, July 28, 1981


I dreamed that Prince Charles was machine-gunned at the Wedding. It’s even getting to me! Four more prospectuses this morning.

Grant came over at one and at three we went into Easterby; it was so incredibly warm. We made the obligatory call at Praxis and I bought a couple of paperbacks. While I was upstairs I overheard a superb conversation in the back room/café about Marxism and anarchism and the First International, etc. I bought a pack of 42 joss-sticks at Jennifer Gentle Boutique.

Grant stayed for my homemade tea and after he'd left, I watched the Royal Fireworks all evening. Jeremy’s coming to play tennis, so I’ll be able to escape the RW after-all!

Monday, July 27, 1981


I am more used to my solitude. I got three more prospectuses, from Kent, Watermouth, and Bristol, so I have nine of the eighteen. I wandered along in hot sun and shade to Moxthorpe for a newspaper and then just lounged about all day. I was even enjoying myself by evening!

Sunday, July 26, 1981


Mum and Dad went on holiday at nine and so, except for George, I'm on my own. I was at a loss as to what to do, so I sat out in the sun reading The Middle Passage all afternoon. I admit I've been lonely; it’s so stupid.

Saturday, July 25, 1981


Absolute boredom; got nothing done. The ‘papers are dominated by next Wednesday's event, now referred to simply as ‘The Day’ and 'The Wedding.’ It’s pathetic. I don’t want to watch.

Six prospectuses arrived, so I ‘read’ them all day.

Friday, July 24, 1981

Red Rumba

Robert and Carol brought George; they’re camping in the Lakes next week, and after dinner we all went out to Farnshaw. The weather still crap, cold and wet. There was the usual jocularity in Farnshaw, and R & C said goodbye to Mum and Dad before driving me on to Easterby. I wandered round the shops with them and at Oxfam I bought Red Rumba, a travel book, and Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men. I also bought myself a baggy lime-green T-shirt and got my train tickets for August: £22.25.

I was lethargic all evening. Last night’s in the air still as far as I’m concerned, and perhaps I feel slight shame?

Thursday, July 23, 1981


I awoke to torrential rain, and went to Grant’s at eleven thirty, taking along a can of meatballs, which he served up along with potatoes. Then the usual thing, listening to alternative records, etc. He showed me his 'poetry'; some of it was incoherent and rambling, but some of it was OK. Eventually everything was stained by boredom, emphasised by the rain, so we wandered down to Lodgehill and bought fruit, then fish and chips, and ended my visit watching TV and being crude and silly.

Dad was on holiday at ten, and as usual, an argument about politics started and escalated into a storming personal row. I was accused of trying to humiliate him, which brought me close to tears, I admit, because I felt hurt by that accusation. It’s so hard to explain ‘rationally’. I tried to apologise but I ended up properly in tears; I was so ashamed. I got preached to about diplomacy, tact and keeping my opinions to myself and he made me shake hands. “I don’t know what’s happened. All your other interests have gone by the board. . . .”

Maybe I’ve been ‘got at', infiltrated, eh Dad? Even Nanna P thinks I’m a communist.

Wednesday, July 22, 1981


I played records most of the day, trying to recapture the mood from last night.

At seven, the ‘phone rang and it was Andrew, all the way from Copenhagen and clearer than when he rings from College. He spent five minutes telling me about the records he’s bought and he sounded fine. He even invited me across this summer, but I couldn’t accept because of my holiday with Grant. Perhaps next year? I put Mum on and he told her he was “in love” (a Danish girl I suppose). “I never thought it’d happen to me.” Mum was really pleased but somehow everything seemed sour and irritable when I came to bed.

Tuesday, July 21, 1981


I watched England's fight back in the Test match all day; they won by 18 runs after setting Australia 130. As wicket after wicket fell even Mum got really excited.

In the late afternoon, Grant rang to ask if I wanted to go across on Thursday and I said OK, and shortly after I rang back and asked him if he fancied seeing Woodstock tonight at the Film Theatre. The crowd mainly consisted of aging hippies and young heavy-metal types. It was a real ‘atmosphere’ film. Hendrix and Santana were brilliant.

Monday, July 20, 1981

Uninvited guest

Total lethargy, doing nothing in particular; playing records or watching the Test match (England pulled back to 350-9 from 135-7 with Botham 145 n.o.). Andrew attempted to ring from Denmark.

At about five I rang Jeremy and we went to the eight-ten showing of Excalibur, which was pretty good; lots of blood, gore and, occasionally, sex. The film began and ended well but sagged in the middle. When I got home Mum said Carol’s Dad had rung, “but I’ve no time for him, because when they came here we treated them like lords and they never even invited us back.” Horror as I realised how my action (or lack of it) regarding a return invite might have been taken by Claire.

I don’t know what to do!

Sunday, July 19, 1981


False alarm last night. It was one of those classic Tony Hancock Sundays when the skies are grey and there is an air of utter staleness over everything, a mediocrity of emotion. . . . .

We all sat about bored out of our skulls and apart from a slight argument at dinnertime with Mum over something or over (“I want Britain to stay British with lords and ladies,"etc. . . .), nothing much happened.

Saturday, July 18, 1981

Middle passage

Got into Easterby late. It seemed quieter than usual, with gangs of a dozen or so youths lounging on the grass outside Northern Building Society or standing in gesticulating groups near Howard’s. All shadowed by the police. Dad says that trouble is expected again; police found a petrol bomb store near the Poly. Maybe I was more aware than usual. I bought a shirt and Mum a present.

England all out for 174 and 6-1. Mum blew up at me once more for my ‘support’ for the Dublin rioters. Nanna P.: “Nay lad, I’m surprised at you.” I'm reading V. S. Naipaul’s The Middle Passage.

Friday, July 17, 1981

Pissed off

I don’t like the end of term, mainly because I feel so sad and enjoy school so much. I was given my report early by Ingham and was pretty disappointed with my Art grade, which is estimated to be a ‘D’. Apart from that, the report was OK, except for the usual warnings about complacency and lethargy. It made me feel down though. Assembly as thrilling as ever; the usual presentations, inept band display and tears from departing staff. Boring.

Afterwards, I stayed at school for several hours of inactivity, mainly characterised by stilted dialogue with Claire. She had her hair done today, and she looks really good; I felt like I talked with her a bit more than normal. I was melancholy again therefore at home, eaten with ‘reflectiveness.’ I’m going to miss school over the holidays.

Reluctantly I left and spent the evening feeling trapped and utterly pissed off; no money, no clothes, wanting a camera. . . . N. P. rolled up at teatime. I’ll have to ring Trevor Woodrow up about his bike he’s selling; Deborah told me about it Thursday.

Thursday, July 16, 1981


A weird day. Everyone seemed irritable and short tempered with everyone else; sharp comments abounded. Claire fumed silently at Deborah’s motherly patronising of Duncan. “Why does he stand for it?” Claire now seems to quite dislike Deborah. Earth shattering, eh? That’s it really; I spent a lot of time ‘talking’ with Claire. . . . Boredom. . . .

At eleven I finally did my essay for Hirst. To illustrate a point about social taboos, she asked us all in turn to think of the most outrageous anti-social act we could. Answers ranged from Jeremy's "smear excrement over Barkston’s office," to Evelyn’s “sexual intercourse in assembly," to Claire’s “snogging in front of everybody.” Gang bangs the order of the day. Naveeda was really embarrassed. Hirst confessed to us her political anarchism.

I knocked Art and watched TV all evening. I’ve just watched the Warrington by-election on the box; Labour: 14200+, SDP-Liberals: 12500. Roy Jenkins is calling it the “most sensational result in British politics since the war.”

Wednesday, July 15, 1981


No real trouble riot-wise again last night, and Dad smiled this morning as he told me about the police baton charge in Whincliffe on Saturday night; twenty one rioters injured, no policemen.

At school, nagged by self-doubt all day. Claire talked again about her weird home-life, her hatred for her brother, etc., and somehow I saw a different, deeper side to her than allowed by the usual superficial exchanges. I got a glimpse of what she’s really like. I wandered down to watch Sports Day with Darren Busfield. I was helpless with laughter at some of the participants’ efforts. In English, Slicer talked about her teaching, Saturday job etc., and gave us a moderately interesting lesson; V. S. Naipaul once more.

I stayed behind talking with Jeremy, Deborah, and a few others. We got next year’s timetable down and helped with a remedial English computer course-thing for John Truswell’s aunt, drawing up symbols for sentence-help.

Dad has to work 12 hours until six tomorrow morning. There are rumours of trouble.

Tuesday, July 14, 1981


The rioting seems to have calmed down and all is quiet.

We had our last history lessons with Ingham today, which is sad in a way because I really like him. I kick myself because my politics seem pathetic and lack force and depth. I often think there’s a lot to be said for anarchism, which seems good in that it lacks all the dogma and ideological chains of socialism and communism. Theoretically it is the best way; if only people were capable. I spent the last two periods helping Evelyn print her photos, which are really good.

In Art we had an interesting lecture about the Constructivists and Suprematists (Malevich!); the Constructivists are linked with the Russian Revolution. I continued with my feeble ‘growth’ composition. 

Monday, July 13, 1981


Fresh rioting over the weekend; the looting, window smashing and petrol bombing even hit Whincliffe and thirty were arrested. More mindless imitation? Dad’s in the thick of it now, especially as he’s on nights this week.

I got to school late; no assembly. I helped Evelyn print her Queen’s Club photographs which I quite enjoyed, especially as yesterday Mum and Dad promised to pay halves towards an SLR for Christmas. We got our General Studies marks back from Elson. I got 77% and beat Steve into second place by 4%. I was pretty surprised and was called a “bloody hypocrite” by Deborah, who remembered I’d barracked Steve earlier for 44/50 on multiple choice.

Total boredom.

At home Mum and Dad were in a stormy mood and shouted at each other, which is most likely apprehension and worry over the rioting. Late on I watched a programme, Return Call, about Coventry and the interviews with a group of skinhead animals were sickening. Q: “Do you just hit men?” – A: (from subnormal looking bastard) “Yeah, but I gob on Paki women–in the face!” BASTARD. And then the glib Raison bloke, a minister, blithely farting on about the Govt’s ‘concern’ (“… of course we are concerned”). . . . Yes, but not enough to bloody do anything. I hate the Government. Whitelaw is talking about arming the police up to the hilt. They’re all so out of touch, sitting there in their cushioned, bourgeois worlds . . . “of course we’re concerned.” Get stuffed Raison! I feel so bloody angry but I’m so helpless. No one cares. I wish I felt like this all the time; perhaps it would motivate me to do something?

Sunday, July 12, 1981

Thigh strainer

I was woken up early to go hiking but I really didn’t feel like going at all. We reached the near-deserted Oaklass car park after nine. The weather fine but quite cloudy. We were soon striding off up up the thigh strainer alongside the waterfall and onto the clints and grykes up top by ten. It was a superb view. Amid the grass and tumbled limestone at the top of the waterfall we disturbed a mole, which is the first one I’ve ever seen wild. It was small and a silvery black and squirmed desperately for cover as we stood over it.

We reached the reservoir and it got warm and still and we could have been anywhere else except Oaklass fells. As we walked along the road I began to enjoy myself. We stopped to eat and then turned up a path between two hills opposite Isingthorp Hall, the land turning wild and bleak and marshy. The path ahead across the moor was silver in the sun and dotted with stiles, and dozens of trial riders passed us as we walked. Soon we were walking along a walled lane amid superb limestone landscapes near Downs Cave and Low House Edge, brilliant views across to the other side of the valley which was bathed in sunshine.

But as we climbed up past Broadthorn farm and black Hernmoor Heights we were surrounded by dark brooding clouds and wind and had several bull-inhabited fields to manouevre; I’m an incredible coward when it comes to bulls. When we reached the highest point, about 1700 feet, we had an oblique view northwards to the Reservoir which was laid flat like a piece of blue paper.

We dropped rapidly towards Oaklass which lay directly ahead of us in the sun, and walked into the village along a virtually disused green lane and a medieval ginnel. We walked eleven miles. Tea and fish and chips on our return home at eight.

My evening passed in a melancholy mood, afflicted with the history of Oaklass and our walk.

Saturday, July 11, 1981

Cause and effect

It was a lot cooler than yesterday, and the eighth successive night of rioting has seen the trouble spread to twelve cities and ten districts of London. There was even trouble in Purswell.

At one I went into Easterby with Dad with £12 from my birthday plus a fiver of pocket money and proceeded to wander half heartedly around town, looking for things to buy. Clothes? Records? Books? I wandered all over for hours; to Praxis, to Smiths, to HMV, etc. Whether it was my imagination or not I don’t know, but I thought I saw more policemen than usual, and more security men conferring over their walkie talkies at Eastgate and at Holdsworth Sq. Station. Loutish youths hanging about also. I bought a Horace Silver LP and a Gore Vidal novel, Messiah, and got back at five with £11 left feeling dissatisfied.

I played my album all evening, and when Dad came home at ten he was in a stinking mood and really bitter. He says the tension at work is unbearable, and he nearly wasn’t allowed home it’s so bad. They had riot shields and truncheons at the ready and tonight, steel-helmeted police are patrolling parts of Easterby where, according to Dad, gangs of a hundred or more roam the streets. He’s frightened and worried he says, and carped on about “black yobbos” and how it’s "all tied up with ‘do your own thing.’” But the rioting has to have a reason behind it; instead of laying into the products of a sick society we should be striving to remove that society, or cure it, and get rid of the cause, not the effect.

I listened to the police on VHF once more.

Friday, July 10, 1981

My town

The sweltering heat wave continues. Everyone complaining; I laid full length on the common room chairs most of the day. What else was there to do?

Claire seemed a bit peeved with Jeremy when he and Peter refused to play her and Evelyn at tennis: “I know why, we were too rubbish for them.” Everything very short today, everyone irritable because of the weather, overcome by end of term lethargy. Andrew Boyd and Colin Baron came in at one for the audition preparations for Twelfth Night and I stayed behind to look at University prospectuses for courses in American Studies and Politics.

At home I was in one of my indolent, reflective moods, reminiscing already about Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Rioting in Brixton from 4 pm on, and when Mum came home she sounded worried, saying there’s been angry looking groups of W. Indians hanging about around Eastgate. In the evening I did absolutely nothing and ended up arguing with Mum about the riots, which still dominate everything. She agreed with Dad and I quoted the Guardian, perhaps sounding unnecessarily biased against the police, but also maybe trying to look at the other side(?).

Dad came home at ten with news that grills were being put up over the police station windows, and that there are large gangs of mainly white youths wandering up near the Poly, near Buckley Park and around Croft Road. “You can cut the air with a knife; hate's pervading everything.” He angrily muttered about what’d happen if “they smash up my town.” There's an air of expectancy in the house.

I listened to the police on VHF all evening.

Thursday, July 9, 1981

"Well known Trotskyists"

My seventeenth birthday. Mum and Dad gave me £10 and a Parker pen. No lessons at school, and early on much hail-fellow-well-met stuff over last night. Deborah was rolling with laughter at the tale of John Emsley and me falling over. She gave me a card, and Robin and Peter loudly wished me a “happy birthday.” Lee gave me a 1960s porno’ mag’ as a gag. Much jocularity.

I saw Claire at break and she gave me two enormous presents, all wrapped up, and I could only weakly say “you shouldn’t have." She gave me a new mug, a writing pad, and some pens. After this I lounged about indolently until one-thirty; I was pretty pleased, especially as I got £2 from Nanna Beardsley when I got home.

I couldn’t be bothered going to Art and listened instead to Dad’s angry tirade over the rioting which has spread to Moss Side in Manchester. It's really bad (good?); hundreds of whites and blacks are using crossbows and petrol bombs against the beleaguered police. I agree with Dad up to a point but bringing in the Army and shooting people is no answer; he gets despairingly annoyed with me when I talk like this. Supposedly the police have identified “well known Trotskyists” at both Moss Side and Toxteth and there are even reports of hooded motorcyclists directing operations! Weird. Mum said that Nanna P has “ a feeling that something awful is going to happen at the Royal Wedding.” We’ll have to see.

I watched TV all evening.

Wednesday, July 8, 1981

A much better do

It was bright and sunny all day and really warm, and almost immediately I went to play tennis. I got thrashed 0-6 by Jeremy and then we played a doubles match against Claire and Evelyn; I partnered Claire and we lost 6-7, 6-8 on the tie-break. I was in good spirits and we got back just in time for coffee. I felt really good. I got my English Paper I mark back, and got 30/40 and an overall English grade of 71%. I came second, to Vicky Miller (who else?). So, to say I did about zero revision I’ve done pretty well, with a B- in History, a B in English, and a C+ in Art. If I really work now. . . !

I stayed behind after school with Gary Abbott and Tim Moyles and listened to them swapping stories about girlfriends and socialising, etc. I felt like a real sore thumb, because I’m not like them at all and there seems to be an inherent communication barrier whenever I open my mouth. We arranged to go down to Harvey's tonight to “see my birthday in.”

At the tea table (our political forum) I got involved in a debate with Dad, and I again expounded my left wing views on inherited wealth, Trident, etc., and was accused of “talking Bolshie.” I ended up feeling really militant and excited; I suppose the adrenaline was flowing because in a strange sort of way I was looking forward to this party at Harvey's. Just as I’d begun to get worried Tim wouldn’t come he and Peter called round at quarter-to-ten.

When we got to Harvey's I immediately downed two pints of Carlsberg. Everyone was there; I saw Deborah and her boyfriend Tony, and Nigel Duckett too. It turned into a much better do than last week’s and I was talking more and being more friendly with everybody. A lot of the time I sat with John Emsley, Tim, Robin and Steve. My money had vanished within minutes and I was getting that same warm feeling as last week, but I kept on reminding everyone that it would soon be my birthday, and started counting down the minutes; Deborah gave me a pound to buy myself a drink. I felt pretty drunk, and began to lurch around and bang into things. She introduced me to Tony, small and sharp-faced, who seemed OK; they looked happy. I can remember taking a swig of Tim’s drink, spitting it back, and pouring it into an ashtray, and by the time Robin brought me another pint I was done. Five down--here’s to the sixth! I could only manage half of it.

I was reluctant to leave and walked home with Tim, John Emsley, and Michael Barnwell. I felt really silly, light-hearted, and good-natured. Loud comments and much laughter after I walked into a lamp post and fell over in Moxthorpe. Made my woozy way home by one, vainly trying to act sober.

Tuesday, July 7, 1981


We had no lessons today because of the jog, but as I hadn’t been allocated a marshaling post I just stayed in the common room with Claire, Evelyn, Andrew Boyd, Colin Baron and a few others. I was bored out of my skull and the only interest was my conversations with Andrew and Colin. They could become real good friends. Claire had me going down to get dirty cups from a checkpoint down in B-block so I didn’t waste my time completely.

In the afternoon we wandered down to watch cricket and just dossed. I ended up drawing a portrait of McEnroe for the magazine and helping Hirst and Blakeborough paste up the magazine in the staff room. It’s going to be good and I was really pleased to see my bits in there.

It was a superb still, warm, and summery evening.

Monday, July 6, 1981


Dull and overcast. I deliberately missed assembly so I could do my History notes; Claire followed, and Deborah was in the common room too, and for much of the assembly time we all talked. I made a conscious effort to initiate conversation and it seemed to go well. This put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

In History period three we looked over our exam’ papers and I ended up on the tennis courts again, playing Jeremy, then Lee, and completing our doubles match v Evelyn and Claire. We won and then we had a proper mixed doubles; I was with Evelyn. We lost 6-0, 4-6, 3-6.

I did nothing in the evening. The news is dominated by the Toxteth riots which continue tonight with groups of mainly white yobs stoning the police. The scenes looked like the Blitz. At teatime Mum twice almost cried and is quite despairing of the situation because, she says, as a policeman’s wife and someone who teaches Asians, she can see both sides of the rift. The media has a lot to answer for in encouraging it.

Sunday, July 5, 1981


At nine we five set off for Ranelathe, donned boots and rucksacks (I had my new one), crossed Ranelathe bridge and were soon heading along the riverbank. We wandered through unthinking caravan sites and hordes of Sunday trippers, our way winding up through fields and stiles, along a hotchpotch of tracks and stretches of road. Before long we were approaching Grisedaw Gill up a valley of limestone and sheep-clipped grass that reminded me of Calverdale.

Grisedaw Gill is a dark, dank place that is supposedly haunted by a big black dog with flashing eyes whose appearance signals death. It was gloomy and overcast; Robert said it was a perfect place for reading Boswell’s papers on Death, but we were soon brought back to reality when we stumbled on 30 or so hikers picnicking at the top.

From here we climbed up onto brown and grey moorland that stretched away under a flatpan sky. We stopped and had some orange pop and enjoyed the utter bleakness all around, then got lost and blundered about a bit before eventually engineering a route back along a new cart track and an old green walled track to Ranelathe. It began to rain quite heavily, but we enjoyed it. We walked about 8½ miles and after tea at a café and a look around ancient Ranelathe Church (which once frightened me with its oppressive pregnant silence), we drove home. Robert and Carol stayed for tea and we all got involved in a conversation which swayed back and forth between death, ghosts, philosophy and the past.

I’ve got so much to say I don’t know where to begin. The conversation was strange because it frightened me yet was so interesting I couldn’t leave. Robert held centre stage. Death comes to everyone in the end, he said, but the way he did so, so sad . . . an hour later the feeling's faded already. It was really weird. He told us that his friend Phil Wingert began to get manic depressive about death and its inevitability, and even stopped enjoying himself because he couldn’t see the point – why go out having a good time when it leaves you with a sad feeling in the end? Robert talked about all the thoughts and feelings people have ever had, how they all come to naught because death always robs them of it all. Death is the only certainty in life. The thought that one day he’ll not be a part of it, that the sun will rise, the birds will sing, babies will be born and he’ll be gone, never able to come back; the thought fills him with horror, he said. I felt so awful here at the way he spoke. There's a part of him which even Carol can’t reach, and that’s why even she must be left out in the end. He’s on his own.

I thought about everyone living with eleven ghosts at their shoulders.

When he was done there was a really melancholy feel in the air. I could’ve listened all night. Now I want to read Alan Garner’s Red Shift. It's good that this diary records these fleeting moments and, perhaps (who knows?) it may stand as my epitaph, and something to carry my memory on. I was thrust back into reality by the news of more riots, this time in Liverpool. Yesterday there was rioting in Liverpool, Friday in Southall. Is it spontaneous? Could the National Front be deliberately inciting them?

Saturday, July 4, 1981


Reading The Guardian and seeing the good weather only heightened my strangely contented mood this morning, and talk of my hols made me look forward to the future.

In the afternoon, Mum and Dad went to see Janet’s baby, their great-nephew Michael Carter, now aged 18½ days. I was going to go, but Mum said Janet wouldn’t be bothered (it turned out she was!) so I stayed home to watch tennis. The final went to four sets, and McEnroe won.

I slumped indolently by the box all evening until Robert and Carol rolled up at nine. They are going hiking with us tomorrow. Robert was soon decrying the education system, which he says is grossly corrupt and unfair, and he told us that his Form 4 grades are ‘fixed’ if they are higher than average just to conform to the rest of the group. He got really depressed about his career prospects (“I just feel like jacking it all in and dropping out”). I was interested, because I think education is the most vital part of society, but when I look at the last few entries with this in mind I seem so blatantly self-piteous and hypocritical that I’m ashamed.

Next Tuesday we're having a ‘sponsored jog’ at school to raise money for three new micro-computers. In times of cutbacks this is a travesty, so I’m refusing to run.

Friday, July 3, 1981

All time low

More of the above. A superb day weather wise and incredibly warm in school, so there was a really lazy air around today. No one seemed motivated to do anything at all; even Deborah played cards. After Giles’s lesson, we all went to play tennis (in his exam’ I came second to Vicky with 14/20), and Lee and I ended up playing doubles with Claire and Evelyn. We lost the first set 4-6 but won the second and I enjoyed it (never!). In the afternoon I felt awful; sweaty and uneasy and totally tongue-tied. After a boring history lesson Duncan came back to my house and we watched Chris Lloyd win the Women’s Final at Wimbledon.

This last week has seen my self-respect at an all-time low. I spent the evening ogling camera magazines. Maybe I can get a Ricoh KR-5 in a year or so?

Thursday, July 2, 1981


Lynn told Jeremy I looked bored at last night's party, and Carol made some remark about me sitting in a corner, so Deborah adopted her humouring, motherly tone with me which I can't stand. It made it even worse. The new sixth-formers were around today and huddled nervously near the door.

We had a written test in Art which was OK and I watched the Borg v Connors Semi-Final. Brilliant!

Wednesday, July 1, 1981


As soon as Peter walked in he gave me a ticket for an ex-students thing at Harvey's disco tonight; for some reason I felt embarrassed accepting it. In Hirst’s lesson we got our papers back;  I received 13/20 for the Persuasion question and 14/20 for the Miller question, for a combined total of 67.5%. Only Vicky M. beat me, although Hirst was pretty disappointed.

Everyone played tennis after school and I sat about nervously (?) until Peter called at eight-thirty. I wore my trendy new trousers and my fascist shirt and once more felt intolerably shallow. Harvey’s is one of those darkened, heavy thud-thud places, warm and beery and alright I suppose, but from the word go I felt left out and sat in a corner by myself drinking lagers. I had four and felt quite warm and woozy by the time we left at midnight.

I felt warm and unsteady on the way home.
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