Friday, August 14, 1981

Mental hospital

We woke up early and had no difficulty catching the bus to Hakesdown. The morning was a leaden one, sea mist drifting across the hill tops. Everything went according to plan and we spent several hours in Hakesdown. I read Protest. It was weird, but I was struck by a sort of familiar feeling, a feeling that the holiday was closing down slowly. It must be because we left the coast, an inner attraction and identification with “inland.” Grant commented on it too. We caught the quarter-to-four bus to Hengarrow, which cost 97p!

The weather had picked up by the time we got there. The hostel in Hengarrow is in Pendelliott Hall, an enormous mansion with carved stairways, oak paneling, and vast spartan rooms. There are a dozen of us here and there's a total lack of feeling of ‘belonging’ or camaraderie like there was at St. Delaward. Instead the building seems silent and dead and oozes hostility. It reminds Grant of a Victorian psychiatric hospital. There were just four of us at dinner, me, Grant and two girls, but Grant couldn’t stop giggling and snorting and shaking with laughter and they didn’t know what to do.. Much embarrassed laughter.

We went into Hengarrow in the evening, talking, talking, talking, about art, music, people, society, mental hospitals, etc., and we walked as we talked and then sat for a while on a bridge over a canal while bats flitted around our heads.

We declared a mutual affirmation of a kind of anarchist view of things and we even made a less-than-concrete commitment to try to do a magazine or newsletter or something. "I can't live up to the image some see as ‘normality’" said Grant. "I am as I am and and not many people accept me; I can’t pretend anyway," and I agreed, and the more I listened the more I agreed, yet I was in a sort of turmoil because I know I’m sometimes guilty of the very things we both decry. It’s inevitable I suppose. I'm afraid of 'society’s' judgment of views, speech, dress or interests I think, and I realise it’s a crap confession to make. If I’m in someone’s company, the company of someone I respect, I try in a way to ‘live up’ to what they expect I ‘should’ be like and keep any ‘extreme’ views under wraps for fear of spoiling the friendship. . But integrity towards myself and what I 'really' believe in is more important. Why the hell should I give a shit what others think? Surface impressions are unimportant.

I just don’t know.

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