Saturday, October 31, 1981

"Memory of the Dead of the 1939-45 War"

I stewarded the Easterby Federation of Film Societies Autumn National Viewing Session at Easterby Film Theatre today. Hirst was in the lobby when I got there, organizing and talking, and she gave me my delegate badge, I bought a programme, and hurried to get a seat. All the people there were delegates of film societies nationwide, not as many there as I expected. I sat on my own at the back and watched four films: Goodbye Uncle, the poorest of the lot, which I gave a ‘C’ on my ‘reaction index’; then Gregory’s Girl, which was really hilarious and easily an ‘A'; Pretend You’ll Survive, a 6-minute anti-nuclear cartoon (‘C’); and, finally, Speleogenesis by Sid Perou (‘B’).

I left at about one after seeing Jeremy and Colin who are helping with catering. Hirst asked me to show two London delegates the city centre, and as we walked over I made stilted conversation. I told the woman that “‘The Victoria’ pub is where all the local gays hang out,” and she thought I meant the typewriter shop next door and was much amused at this.

Afterwards I bought Relics at HMV and got home to find Mum and Dad out and Nanna P in fine fettle. Everything seemed so small, cramped and dark, and even the LP wasn’t as good as I expected.

I was lethargic all the rest of the day; Dad went back to bed and got up at seven with news of a weird dream he’d just had: he’d arranged to meet me in a restaurant, and all our relatives were there, but when I showed up my (blonde) hair was crimped and artificially waved in a 1930s style, and on my forehead was a tattoo of a cenotaph and the words “In Memory of the Dead of the 1939-45 War.” When Mum turned up she was furious, and I tried to hide my shame by brushing wispy blonde curls down over my forehead. Dad said the dream was really vivid, and surely it reveals some deep psychological insight into his opinion of me.

Friday, October 30, 1981


I woke up at ten after having strange dreams about flying whales. I spent the morning reading about Thoreau in National Geographic (a “true anarchist” according to George Woodcock); his life once kindled in me an urge to travel (e.g. last year’s round-the-world bug) but now that I come to think it out and rationalise it, all that remains is a gut feeling. I’m really glad I decided on American Studies and I have to get hold of one of Thoreau's books. At the moment I feel full of enthusiasm and excitement: there's so much to do and read about.

Jeremy rang at teatime about the film stewarding thing tomorrow and Sunday.

In bed I read The Anarchist Reader and really enjoyed beginning that, finding the strands of my recent and not-so-recent interests and ideas coming together.

Thursday, October 29, 1981

"Vain lines dawdling"

It was an unremarkable day, a gloomy afternoon, dark by five, and I read The Dharma Bums and felt sad. I’d love to know more about Kerouac himself. I think he died of alcoholism in 1969.

Finished the book at one.

Wednesday, October 28, 1981

Far away

Dad on nights so for most of the morning and early afternoon, the house totally silent like a tomb, depression hanging heavily around. I did nothing but sit about, my conscience telling me to do something but my body refusing to cooperate. It was horrible. I got so frustrated and claustrophobic I wanted to scream.

At half-five I set off for school and the trip to Bolton Octagon to see Coriolanus. It was cold and wet once more and I found the fifteen who were going huddled in a doorway, Claire there looking very neat and well-dressed but a bit bedraggled. She sat next to me on the coach and all the way to Bolton through the orange and black sprawl of motorway landscape I talked to her, happy. . . .

We got to there at eight and I sat with her in the gallery. The play was OK, a bit corny in parts, just typical Shakespeare. The fight scenes were poor and when Coriolanus himself nearly fell over during a triumphant and dramatic entrance, the whole audience laughed. At the interval we went to the bar. Thankfully, the second half ended pretty quickly.

Claire and I talked again on the way home but I felt sad when I left the coach because I’m just so far away from anything remotely deeper than friendship.

Tuesday, October 27, 1981

Community centre

We were all out of the house before eight, Wilmot and Spike rolling around in miniature, silent combat. Robert and Carol dropped me off at Dearnelow bus station, the day foul, rainy, and grey. I got into Easterby for eleven and met Robin Quinn at the bus stop. He told me about his weekend caving trip through Gill Beck Pot which took him eight hours and sounded really strenuous.

44 Fearnfield Drive: Grant greets me in a paint spattered old jumper and we have the house to ourselves as his family is on holiday in Torquay. We while away an hour talking and playing weird obscure LPs on minute labels a lot of which are really good (different) but I'm left feeling like a real pseud because I achieve nothing and pale in the face of possible ridicule and denunciation.

The weather relented somewhat and so we went into Easterby, talking all the way, going straight to Praxis, where I bought another Kerouac novel (Doctor Sax) and a copy of Freedom, the anarchist fortnightly, just to see how it stands up. In a list of nationwide anarchist/pacifist groups at the back I found an address for an anarchist ‘community centre’ at Royden , and although at first the general appearance of it put me off, as I read the mag' I found it sensible and I agreed with much of it. Grant and I stopped for a coffee at a tiny café on Leckenby Road and ended up in HMV before we caught the bus back to Lodgehill where we behaved stupidly and sang duets because we were bored.

I was in such a good and confident mood when I left but I find it annoying that the feeling evaporates in 'real life.' I watched a good programme on Picasso when I got home. It's sad to think that the Picassos of the world should have to die.

Monday, October 26, 1981


I read The Dharma Bums much of the morning which I'm really enjoying. Kerouac’s style, the way he conjours images into the mind, is just fantastic. Mum and Dad went on a tour of the two Nannas and while they were out Grant rang, talking about Junkie by William Burroughs and a Velvet Underground LP he's just got. I’m going across tomorrow. It felt good to talk to him.

At five Robert rolled up for the football and we set off for Walshey. The weather was miserable, gloomy, and wet and Robert was soon cursing and swearing and getting frighteningly intense as we made a wrong turn and headed fifteen miles into Whincliffe. We hurtled back through orange streets into Walshey itself, stopping, making frantic U-turns, asking passers-by for directions to the ground, which we reached with minutes to spare. The Athletic contingent was already queuing, shepherded by several policemen. Facilities for visiting fans were terrible. The rain streamed down as all the Easterby supporters were herded into the Newton End Stand.

Athletic looked terrible, ragged, and slow, Walshey going ahead easily after twenty two minutes and it felt like another drubbing was in store, but Easterby kept battling and Walshey looked as weak in defence as we did. Still, we were jubilant when Newlands equalised.

The second half was amazing, Easterby on the attack, nail-biting end-to-end soccer until we started to dominate, then attack after attack thrown forward, the Walshey ‘keeper Trevor George having to make several superb saves. Sure enough, five minutes from time McArdle blasted the ball home amid falling players. I couldn’t believe that they'd actually done it!! The last five minutes was unbearable. Robert and I walked to the car in amazement.

On the way back to Easterby we got completely lost again in the vast grunge of urban Walshey/Heathdale/Debdenshaw, vainly searching for the motorway but ending up on the road to Hydebridge instead. Robert seethed with frustration once more, swearing and cursing and I felt terrible he was having to drive all the way back and so I told him to take me to Dearnelow to save time and trouble. We dropped down over the moors on a tiny B-road in thick, patchy fog, getting back just before midnight. Carol made us both a big supper.

Sunday, October 25, 1981


A nightmarish dream: a decaying corpse by the side of a railway line, an old woman crawling across the floor of her darkened room and coming across the half-skeletal head of her husband, going on like that for ages, a succession of weird, jumbled images.

I finished reading On The Road and then, because I was at a loss (what’s new?), I started The Dharma Bums. I watched a repeat of Great Train Journeys Of The World about India, the one I saw last year, and I was once again smitten by the travel bug but see now how futile travel would be as a means to find what it is I'm searching for: the more I'd travel the more it would recede and the sadder and more suicidal I’d get.

There have been enormous CND demonstrations in Paris, Brussels, London and, surprisingly, East Berlin this weekend. What really infuriates me is seeing the jingoistic, destructive and predictable cartoons and comments in the Sunday Express. Cartoonist Cummings even depicted the marchers with hammer-and-sickle badges.

Saturday, October 24, 1981


Robert arrived at twelve for Athletic's game with Cross End Avenue. He brought Carol–it’s their sixth wedding anniversary today–along with her sister Lynne. We were all in high spirits about the match, Lynne and Carol even putting green and white ribbons in their hair.

We got to the ground an hour before kick off because a big crowd was expected, and as the crowd grew so did our tension. There was a bit of trouble, the two opposing sets of fans throwing stones and other missiles and we saw two people led away with blood streaming down their faces. Cross End  came out first, in all red with black stripes. Their support was phenomenal and packed one half of the Easterby End and part of the Three Locks Road side: they outshouted us really. The sight of the thronged multitude on all sides was heart-warming.

As expected, Cross End started superbly, looking quick and decisive, easily the better side. They were nearly always in our half and we soon realised it was going to be one of those sickening games where nothing went right for Athletic. Littlewood was utter crap and was booked early on and totally bloody annoyingly predictably, Cross End scored shortly after.

In the second-half we played better, piling on the pressure, but the usual form was missing and the players seemed to lack the skill to get the ball through the Cross End midfield. That was it for us. Easterby seemed overawed by the size of the crowd and all the build-up, and I was pretty depressed. As Robert said, it’s hard to admit your team isn’t the best.

One of Rob’s teaching friends had come across for the game with four venture scouts, and we all decided to go for a curry afterwards. We met up with them outside the Athletic shop but just as reached Howden Rd, Rob's car started to steam. No curry. The others went home while me and Robert trudged about in the torrential rain looking for a garage. He rang the AA, then Dad, and after Dad had come to pick up Lynne and Carol, we had to wait an hour for the AA man to show up, and when he did we followed him to a garage up Debdenshaw Rd where he topped up the coolant and told us to follow him on to Knowlesbeck. Within a couple of minutes he’d vanished into the night leaving us to drive home.

We endured an hour of Robert being pig-headed and stubborn and everyone else getting worked up and ratchety before finally everyone left.

A weird day.

Friday, October 23, 1981

One of the lads

A relaxed and good-natured atmosphere at school as we broke up today. I spent some of the time reading Kerouac (still!) and I didn’t see Claire until third period History, which I enjoyed. Jeremy gave a seminar on the Balkans crisis.

Third lunch  I saw Claire again: we got on well. Duncan once again insinuated that she's “head over heels” about me and they were really vicious with each other. It’s been like that all week. The remaining hours passed talking with Sean Laxton and acting as “one of the lads,” while off to my left I could see Jeremy, with Andrew and Laura.

After school I played chess and draughts with Evelyn. Sad.

Did nowt in the evening.

Thursday, October 22, 1981

I waste my life

I talked to Claire most of the morning. We talked about all sorts; she has her life really planned out, wanting to be married at 23, have six kids, a rich husband, and expects to be engaged in two years. Throughout, I hated myself for the stupid things I kept doing or saying. She said I’d been “strange” all morning.

God, afterwards, I got so irritable and so utterly paranoid about everyone and everything. I waste my life. It’s hopeless.

Wednesday, October 21, 1981

Head case

Into school late yet again, just as everyone was going to lessons. I felt nothing. Jeremy had his hair tinted green, but otherwise a nondescript day. Claire seemed more friendly, and I enjoyed her company very much, and she again blasted Duncan (to "impress" me, according to Lee). In General Studies, we watched an hour-and-a-quarter of a play about a nuclear power station and its effects on a logger and his girlfriend, his sister and her husband. It was really quite good.

Straight after this I was whisked away by Sean Laxton to the waiting coach and Haley Hill for the rugby match against Cliff School. They walked over us, eventually openly mocking our half hearted efforts. FT: 4-48. The intellectual levels on that coach, especially on the way back, were utterly low; there were some real head-cases. I felt listless, achey and sleepy when I got home.

Today it became apparent how utterly CONVENTIONAL I am.

Tuesday, October 20, 1981


I got into school for nine. I looked forward to getting in, but I don’t know why. I always find it much the same. I’m getting paranoid, I really am, ‘cos I started seeing it all as a contest, trying to ‘beat’ other people. I hate school, I never do any work or anything, never harness myself constructively toward any leisure time activity.

Laxton got me to agree to play rugby on Wednesday.

Monday, October 19, 1981

Fed up really

Average day at school, Claire and Evelyn going on and on about Deborah and Tony and how they think she's probably slept with him. Rumours of engagement, etc., all later proved untrue. . . . Fed up really.

Sunday, October 18, 1981


Got up to glorious sun and blue sky, Sawthwaite Valley looking much bigger and more impressive than it really is.

I was appointed to the road-crew and three of us, an elderly bloke called Ned and a younger man whose name I didn't know, set out with a wheelbarrow full of slate and spent the morning filling in holes along the track. My two companions were OK and I enjoyed the morning. After dinner, I was part of a larger team collecting rubble and small stones and filling in large depressions on the road to make it level. We finished this at two-thirty and then Robin, Wendy, Sharon, Tim and Peter and I wandered off towards Low Tarn, which was just as bleak and utterly remote as I remembered it.

When we got back we had an hour of hanging about before setting back at six or so.

Saturday, October 17, 1981


Mum and Dad picked up Nanna P. this morning and she was in tears over some argument with Uncle Kenneth and Shirley.  At quarter-to-two I set off for school and Chapelside, and a Yorkshire Mountaineering Club 'work-meet.' Everyone was already there and we set off at three, getting to Chapelside at half-six.

I ended up down at the pub along with the others, pretending to enjoy myself. Athletic drew 0-0 with Brunswick.

Friday, October 16, 1981

"Private, rambling, cynical . . ."

I was up early, the walk to school sunny and clear except for the odd smudges of cirrus, and where the trees cast long shadows there was white, glittery frost. I met Evelyn and walked in with her, deliberately missed assembly, and sat and talked to Claire.

Another typical day. After History period 3 we were all given pieces of card and told we had to make paper hats for a ‘tea-party’ that Hirst had organised period 5, and as we all sat there amid paper, tissue and scissors I realised suddenly how childish and how pointless all of it was. But I still indulged in it. At the tea-party itself, the English group played games and the girls acted silly and I felt so stupid.

After school I was goalkeeper for ‘Woodrow’s Wanderers,' a 5-a-side soccer team. We played 'Spuds,' a fourth/fifth yr side and got whipped 6-0. Two of the shots went right through my legs.

I’ve just heard that Moshe Dayan is dead.

The other day I read what Marcus Cunliffe said about Kerouac in The Literature Of the U.S.: “The collective narcissism of the Kerouac circle is ultimately boring and trivial . . . as with cookery, the product is consumed daily, leaving behind only a faint aroma . . .” He also argues that, “spontaneity . . . militates against serious literary achievement . . . garrulous and inarticulate – private, rambling, cynical – sentimental.” His condemnation is really sweeping and he concludes that, “To go on scolding Beat writing for more than a few lines is to exaggerate its importance.”

This annoyed me but to a certain extent I agree, because On The Road is nothing more than a crowded stream of impressions about Sal Paradise’s trips across the USA, which does leave an “aroma” rather than a definite image or idea. But if Kerouac is expressing an attitude which was just becoming widespread among American youth in the late ‘forties-early ‘fifties then it is important, if only for sociologists. That is the best way I can think to say it, but I don’t really know enough about anything!

Thursday, October 15, 1981


Bitterly cold but sunny. Frost on the roof. I woke up late and went into Easterby with £2.50 from Claire for a copy of Modern European History Made Simple.

I looked in Smith’s and found nothing and ended up at Praxis in the hope of finding a second-hand copy. I love that bookshop, it’s great, and I spent an hour or so wallowing in the atmosphere, looking around slowly, listening to the comings, goings, conversations, wishing I was ‘in.’ I bought The Anarchist Reader by George Woodcock and saw dozens of other books I want to get but never have the money. I also got Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums; he's becoming one of my favourite authors. I left reluctantly and had another look for Claire's book before going home.

I got into school at two o’clock and was feeling rebellious and in a good mood, but Jeremy, Andrew Boyd and Laura McCully soon plunged me into blackness and there was Duncan criticising me and calling me that infuriating, childish name “Marty." I got really intense over it all but could only sit silently fuming and curling up inside. This is all a symptom of something I’ve often thought about. All my ‘anarchist’ and libertarian ideas are just pie-in-the-sky because I have to back them up on a personal level and in dealings with other people.

As a result of all this I didn’t really enjoy Art. It was really cold on the way back and when I got home all I could do was flick through my books and wish myself someone different. I’m just dying to get involved in ‘it’ all now, and my immature but deliberate attempts to get pissed, American Studies at Uni., last year’s round-the-world motorbike expedition fantasies, my fixation with revolutionaries, TM, all point to the same thing, all ties in somehow, as if I’m striving to get to the root of life, ‘it,’ whatever you want to call it.

Wednesday, October 14, 1981

No foreseeable change

It was quite an OK day in one way, but not in another. I was only free for one lesson and for much of that a giggly, silly mood prevailed, everyone loudly amused. Claire viciously attacked Duncan again and I quite enjoyed it all.

After school we had the first film for this season's Film Society. We watched the ’78 version of The Thirty Nine Steps which was better than I’d expected. There were over fifty people there.

I find it so hard to be interesting, and I've got to get involved in more things in order to force myself into situations and new circumstances. When I look to the future and see eight more months of this with no foreseeable change, I feel overwhelmed and totally depressed. Sometimes I wonder just how much of all the shit I write is actually true and how much is just a ridiculous concoction of my mind. No doubt in a few years hence I’ll look back at these words and be ashamed.

Tuesday, October 13, 1981


Sometimes I hate school so much I feel twisted and frustrated and angry at myself. I didn’t do any work again. Failure. Another day of internal criticism.

At least I handed in my UCCA form this morning, My final decision was American Studies at Brynmor or Watermouth (both joint first), then Kent, Rummidge, and Swansea.

Monday, October 12, 1981


It was a foul day with blustery winds and heavy rain and I found Claire knocking assembly as usual in the Common Room. I spent the morning feeling ashamed at Peter’s crudities and my own amusement at them, which elicited her specialty, the Pearson eye-roll. I talked to her about university, about anything I could think of, and felt happy but frustrated. More self-recrimination; I could (and should) be doing so much more, but I was glad to talk with her again in History.

I should have gone home after that because I didn’t have any lessons but I stayed and ended up feeling utterly bored and achieved nothing. Then once at home, I just COULD NOT motivate myself to work. I had a mental block or something. I felt like a failure.

In the evening I watched a great film, A Man Called Horse, which was sad.

Sunday, October 11, 1981


I got up just before noon and didn't do anything all day, other than try make up my mind about a course for University. Boredom, frustration. . . . American Studies at Brynmor is still the clear favourite but I keep wondering whether Politics might not be a better choice. I keep having pangs of doubt and uncertainty and I really hate having to make an important decision like this in just a few weeks.

The IRA exploded a nail-bomb outside Chelsea Barracks yesterday, killing one woman and injuring fifty people. They said it was “an act of war."

Saturday, October 10, 1981

When Saturday comes

It was clear and cold with occasional showers and a fresh wind. Robert rang to say he’s lost his car keys so he’d be going to the match by bus.

Dad brought Nanna Beardsall across and then offered me a lift to Cardigan Park, and I got to the ground to find Rob already there. A win would keep us second and Ingleborough, in all yellow, looked pretty pathetic but as usual it seemed to be one of those games where the goals just wouldn't come. It was intensely frustrating to watch Athletic’s toothless attack keep giving the ball away or passing into touch.

The second half began the same way,  every move forward by Athletic broken up by Ingleborough's packed defence. They had ten men in the box at one point, but twenty minutes into the half, McArdle was awarded a penalty for hand ball. Unbearable tension as Pattison hit the ball right at the goalie, but it went under him and into the net. Goal number two came from a Newlands header in off the post, and soon players were lining up to take shots. Athletic played some superb football, especially Pattison and McArdle, and although Ingleborough kept threatening it was a brilliant second-half performance.

I was in a good mood all evening, feeling optimistic and content. I don’t know why, because I still have my UCCA form to fill out.

Friday, October 9, 1981

Gale force

There was officially no school today as all the staff were out assessing or something. I’d intended wandering in around ten but as it was I just couldn’t be bothered so I stayed home doing absolutely nothing except read Jaws or Shark Attack.

At three Lee called round and stayed a couple of hours. Dad and Mum arrived home at sixish.

The evening was marked by one of those futile, negative flare-ups over wealth and privilege. It’s like banging my head against a wall; it achieves nothing and I merely end up feeling bitter, deceitful and false somehow. I don’t know what to believe and I suppose believing in “socialism" or “anarchism” or any political view is naive crap, because I haven’t even lived yet. Mum started going on about me going to Uni. to move up in the hierarchy and to get more money. I told her all I wanted was an education (“twaddle”: Dad) and then I ended up feeling as though I was betraying them. “Sometimes we feel as if we’re throwing our money away when you talk like that,” said Mum. I just end up so confused!

Gale-force winds after dark.

Thursday, October 8, 1981


I didn’t get in to school until eleven, the weather foul, torrential rain. It was a strange day with an end of term atmosphere. I paid my £5 for Film Society. Jeremy very much involved in Drama things after school.

I keep having pangs of doubt and the inevitable inward recriminations about my choice for next year at Uni. I watched Jaws in the evening but I was a coward and had to leave the room a few times but I did see the final bloody scene when Quint gets eaten feet-first.

Wednesday, October 7, 1981


I came in late and met Claire cycling in, also late. First lesson History, second English, but nothing is sinking in. We are all free third period and it was one of those typical days with Claire, obviously bored, going on again about how she wants five kids, talking about cars, driving instructors. . . . I felt desperate. In General Studies we watched a film about Buddhism. Peter was annoyingly racist.

The weather cleared in the afternoon and evening and turned bitterly cold. Robert and Carol showed up at six-thirty for the football.

Athletic started OK although Tabotworth Works were good in defence. But Tabotworth went ahead in the twenty-fifth minute and then went two up on the hour, a twenty yarder after a clearance off the line. We were all sickened. Luckily, Easterby got a penalty after 72 minutes. 1-2! Two minutes from the end, a Tabotworth player was sent through with only Hudson to beat, and he looked to have it covered but Scarborough thundered in, attempted to clear, and the ball rebounded into the goal! Robert was really pissed off. Where has their old form gone?

Tuesday, October 6, 1981


A historic day. I got home from Art to hear that President Sadat of Egypt was assassinated earlier today. I was shocked: you don’t expect things like this to happen. It seems it was purely political, a section of his own troops shooting him during his review of the army in Cairo commemorating the 8th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. On Newsnight they were calling it “one of those crucial events which will alter the course of history.” I saw film of the shooting. Things look unstable and uncertain in the Middle East as a result and I just thought how stupid it is to tie the political/military fortunes of an entire nation on one man.

At school, pretty mundane on the whole.

Monday, October 5, 1981

Big yawn

I enjoyed school today and for once things seemed OK. I wore my great coat for the first time this winter and deliberately missed assembly. Glad Claire was in the Common Room when I got in; we talked a lot. Otherwise, the day was a big yawn, a History test period 3, and the rest of the afternoon spent talking with Carol Lancaster and Jeremy and feeling awkward.

Sunday, October 4, 1981


Up at eleven-thirty and the sun and chill reminded me of a typical winter's day. I prefer winter to summer; there's something about the feeling in the air.

Mum, Dad and Nanna P. went to Withenkirk leaving me at home to enjoy my freedom. When they got back, Dad gave me a superbly bound copy of Sir Robert Ball's In The High Heavens (1910) as a present. It's in excellent condition and as I looked through it I really regretted neglecting my astronomy hobby.

Saturday, October 3, 1981

Other side

Carol made me a cup of tea at quarter-past eight and we set off in the car, Carol and Lynne getting out in Dearnelow while Robert and I headed to Swinscoe for Robert’s 3rd year rugby team's match against Girton.

Copley Comprehensive is a real dump and makes Egley look plush in comparison. The school has a typical modern design that looks dated already and seems to sprawl everywhere, with battered, vandalised, and peeling paintwork. It's an eyesore. There were a lot of Robert's kids around and it seemed strange to hear them calling him ‘sir.’ For once I was on the other side, in the staff room, watching events I’ve experienced so often before from a different angle.

We went to see Athletic's match straight afterwards, down the motorway to Hydebeck, getting there at twelve and wandering down to a pub’ where we were told to take off our scarves. After a revolting pint of John Smith’s beer we went back to the car for our sandwiches. Danum Lane is a superb ground, covered on two sides and with a huge pitch. All the Athletic fans were at one end and although they were mostly real thugs, I must admit I felt a bit of pride standing there amid the reverberating chants of “Athletic!”

When the team came out the roar from our end was deafening. Both sides started fairly equally balanced, and Hudson had to pull off a fine save after just a few minutes. Hydebeck were fast and sharp in attack but Athletic had a few good chances too, hitting the side netting, but things seemed at a dead end until right on halftime, a loose ball in the Hydebeck penalty area was poked in by Wild. Pandemonium up our end, everyone jumping up and down, in each other's arms, clapping and screaming.

A pathetic, aimless second half. Whenever Littlewood or Goldman got the ball groans ran through the crowd and there were shouts of “you useless cunts” and the like, but mainly just a frustrated silence. But on the hour, under no pressure whatsoever, the Hydebeck keeper jumped to meet a harmless Athletic cross, tried to punch it clear, but looped it instead straight back into his own net. Amazed silence and then we all cheered again.

This revitalized the game, and now it was all Hydebeck, total pressure and horrible moments, crosses flashing across the Athletic goalmouth, missing onrushing Hydebeck boots by inches. It was hard to watch. We were whistling for full time when, up the far end, the ball was crossed from the left and McArdle shot it home. I just couldn’t believe it. Hydebeck was the better side yet we were winning 3-0! At the whistle, the players ran over and clapped us and waved and as we flooded for the exit, I overheard an aggrieved Hydebeck fan muttering, “I don’t mind losing to a football team but I do to a set of useless bastards!” It was true and I couldn’t deny it. The surge of chanting, jeering Athletic fans broke through the police cordon and we poured out. Our third successive win and we're still second, behind Cross End.

It didn’t take us long to get home. Robert dropped me at the ‘bus station in Dearnelow. It was another cold night. I got home at nine.

Friday, October 2, 1981

Larger than life

I wasn't as nervous as I expected about my Marxism ‘seminar’ and when I kept mentioning my fears to Claire she said, “You’ve no need to be frightened: you know us all.” I felt stupid then. It went OK, but predictably I suffered from twitching and trembling, my lips feeling larger than life all of a sudden.

I stayed behind after school, Deborah, Steve, Tim and Peter talking about cars, etc. . . . I rued me as I am. Afterwards, I set off for Dearnelow and when I got there, Carol’s sister Lynne was across for the weekend on a blind date with one of Robert’s teacher friends. She seems nice, giggly. . . . The kittens are really amusing to watch, running after each other, scrapping, and hopping straight up into the air.

We all went to the pub’ later on. It was bitterly cold.

Thursday, October 1, 1981


A gloomy, rainy day which reflected my mood, the light hardly rising above a twilight murk. I was pissed off with myself for having to rush off my dummy UCCA form in the morning. As I filled it in I wasn’t at all convinced of my choices, but I put American Studies at Brynmor, Watermouth and Kent joint first and Rummidge and Swansea joint fourth. Brynmor seems to be emerging as number one.

In the evening, after Art, I wrote up my seminar on Marxism for tomorrow's pillory in front of the History class. I make it seem so confusing and turgid and it reads as though I've just copied it off-pat.
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