Saturday, August 22, 1981

Everything is great

I slept on the floor. Robert was the first one up and with Mum and Carol, we were soon off for Haley Hill, in a good mood, ribbing each other in the car. When we got there Mum and Carol went to a pie and peas place while me and Robert looked round record shops. I saw loads of albums I can never remember when I'm in HMV.

We met Mum and Carol in the old Northgate-style market and had pie and peas, which were great and cost less than 50p. We were amused by the place; cracked plates, vinegar in old pop bottles, crowded and noisy, and afterwards, while Mum and Carol went to look around the market Robert and I each bought a record. I got a reggae album, Everything Is Great by Inner Circle.

We then went on to the match, Haley Hill Celtic v Easterby Athletic. A goalless first 45 minutes but it was still really exciting, end-to-end stuff. Haley Hill didn’t look very good. The louts, morons and scum were back, the Haley Hill tribesmen shouting “Sieg Heil!” at the black players. Bastards. Haley Hill hit the post but Athletic emerged looking skillful and well organised. Much the same in the second half  until Athletic scored from a Newlands header. Fourteen minutes later it was two-nil from at least twenty yards out! Wild scenes. Brilliant!

I came home jubilant but the corniness of my album soon grounded me and I got pretty quiet, but not over that. Symptomatic instead of something bigger, the same old thing, last week, my lack of originality, my corny record and book collection, my fashion mongering. I went out for a walk on my own, feeling fed up and when I came back we all went to the pub. A pint of cider brought on the old warmth between-the-ears and, after getting fish and chips, we were in fine spirits. But it all went horribly wrong.

There was the usual post-meal banter and Robert somehow got on about Dad missing out by refusing to experience new things. Initially Mum agreed, but then, at a certain point, she totally misinterpreted Robert and it got nasty. I could feel the tension in my stomach; somehow it felt familiar. "For a teacher, you're a bad judge of character," said Mum; this inflamed things further. Robert exaggeratedly accused Mum of “making it like it was nine years ago” and accused her of deliberately causing friction. Mum went stonily to bed, Robert went for a walk (this at midnight), and me and Carol could only sit there unable to believe what had happened. It was all so pointless, so unwarranted, unexpected, and angry.

Whatever has happened in the past has obviously left a mark on Robert; when he got back he gradually got more and more intense and angry, and eventually he ended up in tears. I felt awful, awkward, and out of place, tight with embarrassment. Carol plead with Robert, trying to calm him down, them both desperate and in tears now. "I hate how some subjects are taboo and how Mum's voice gets all condescending and sugary," he said. Things felt bad, as if they can never be ‘right’ again now. I mean, in the mornings, next week say, all this will always be there, just underneath.

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