Tuesday, March 31, 1981


I really enjoyed History today; first period we were left to our own devices, so I got to talk to Claire, and in the third period we discussed Lenin’s contribution to the Soviet Union and whether or not he was a great man. I reveled in it, and I had an idea for a possible debate – 'This house believes that many people are not entitled to vote' or something similar. Sometimes I do basically feel it's wrong to allow some morons to make decisions about our future, because surely shouldn't you show you're responsible and enlightened enough to vote? I don’t know how we’d do it though; by exam or something? I don’t know. Rereading what I’ve written I sound like a fascist, and now I’m not at all sure.

A mixture of frustration and guilt all evening. I owe Dad £3 and Easterby Astronomical Society £4 and again I didn't do any homework. Pathetic.

Monday, March 30, 1981


It was so warm today I went to school without a coat. A letter was left for Jeremy in the magazine's problem page box claiming to be from someone who's “madly in love with Jeremy Beaumont, heart throb of the sixth year . . .” He thinks it's a joke, but I don't know. All-in-all it was a pleasant day; I didn’t really talk to anyone in particular and I wrestled with my constant feelings about Claire; wanting to talk to her, sit near her, etc. She would be amazed and no doubt horrified to know this, I’m sure.

After school we debated whether “Vivisection Is Both Necessary And Correct,” which was proposed by Andrew Boyd and Colin Baron and opposed by Lee and Evelyn. The speeches and subsequent arguments were pretty good, Lee and Evelyn making the usual emotive, anti-vivisectionist arguments about animal experimentation and Boyd and Baron, supported by the seemingly ruthless Mr Scotts of this world, saying they didn’t care, that they’d rather animals die than humans. I voted for the motion, but it was defeated 8-11, with 4 abstentions.

I was shocked to hear that Reagan has been shot in the chest. A Western we were watching was suddenly interrupted by a newsflash. I reckon he won’t last.

Sunday, March 29, 1981


Robert and Carol stayed the night and in the afternoon they and Mum and Dad went to Heber and left me to write up my Art notes on the Renaissance and to indulge in (for me) extravagantly long ‘phone conversations with Jeremy and Lee. Jeremy called round later and stayed until six. We talked about school mainly.

In the evening I took my time over a bath and listened to Sounds Of Jazz.

Saturday, March 28, 1981


Dad and I went to Dengates to get frog spawn. We picked up Jenny, my eight year old cousin, and were soon tramping through the sodden grass by the marsh. We hastily collected some spawn, which had nearly changed into tadpoles, and we wandered back to the car along the canal bank. Dad dropped me off at Farnshaw on the way home; I had to buy Mum a Mother’s Day card and I also got her some chocolates. Thoughts of Friday all over again as I walked through Moxthorpe. Got a haircut.

Robert and Carol rolled up at about two and Robert and I went to Cardigan Park to watch Athletic v Keddon. Crummy match, Athletic the better of two poor teams and things looked to be coasting towards a dull draw, but of course (bloody typically), in one of Keddon’s few attacks their No. 8 got a foot to the ball and sent it rolling past Ackroyd. Four minutes later and Athletic’s nonexistent defence let Keddon go two up. The thing was, no one seemed to care. 75p well spent I suppose.

Friday, March 27, 1981

Swings and roundabouts

Dad gave me a lift down into the centre of Farnshaw and I hung around aimlessly until everyone rolled up for the trip to Heber College. The bus took around twenty minutes to get there. We found the College easily enough and seated ourselves in a largish lecture hall that was filling rapidly, and by the time the lecture started about four hundred people had showed up.

The lecture, “The Origins of the Second World War,” was given by a Professor Lockwood, who was introduced by an identical double of Joseph Goebbels; the likeness was amazing. The lecture was boring in parts but quite helpful and it lasted until eleven or thereabouts, after which everyone queued for coffee and we decided to leave early. As we wandered through sunny Heber, Claire seemed especially guilty. We paused at a shop for some sausage rolls and cornish pasties and, later on, some chips, before wandering down toward the river to the swings and roundabout. We all behaved like big kids, rushing to and fro from swings to slide to see-saw and back, giggling and farting around like we were five-year olds. After half-an-hour of this we all felt sick and queasy, and sauntered back up towards the station where we caught the bus.

I felt queasy and warm on the bus back and by the time we got back to Farnshaw I felt awful and could've thrown up. Claire said I looked white. Made it back without spewing and walked on homewards with Claire, who invited me to her house (“but you can't stay for tea, today”). We had coffee and cake until I had to leave.

My evening was pretty faceless, on the whole.

Thursday, March 26, 1981


I rang Pilkington Sports; the man took my details but said he didn’t know whether they wanted to fill the vacancy or not. It was left at a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” type situation, and I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic. More 'training' (booting a ball around) at the Sports Hall for this five-a-side thing. In Hirst’s English lesson we read out parts from A View From The Bridge. Claire played the part of Catherine and Jeremy played Eddie.

It was a really warm, summery evening with birds singing and clouded skies, and I passed my time ruminating and playing a cassette tape Jeremy gave me earlier of him and Duncan discussing people at school.

Wednesday, March 25, 1981

Half-day closing

I set off for Farnshaw early and arrived at Pilkington Sports Ltd to be greeted by the sign “AS FROM WEDNESDAY MARCH 25TH THIS STORE WILL BE CLOSED ON WEDNESDAYS.” I was really frustrated and annoyed and got back to school and did absolutely nothing until break, and then after break I sat in the common room and did absolutely nothing with Jeremy and Claire.

After school we had a school magazine editorial committee meeting. Our task was to select a name for the mag., subject of course to approval by Barkston. After ruminating for half-an-hour we came up with Fungus, Yelge (get it?), Interface, Egley School Magazine, Take Two 2, EgGs, Beanfest, Gazebo, Image, Scoop, Focus, Ab Extra, EgMag, Ambrosia, and Inside Out. We voted and compiled a short list of four. Fungus was deemed too suspect, so we ended up with Yelge, Interface, EGSM and Take Two. Yelge came out on top.

Tuesday, March 24, 1981


Clear skies and sun, but soon clouded over and the rest of the day was dull but dry. In History we continued Soviet Foreign Policy.

After school we went to see Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge at Bolton Octagon, but only after a long wait for a replacement coach to arrive after our first one broke down. There were several moments on the coach I reveled in, but they are too corny to write down, as I’d only embarrass myself. The actors were wooden and their performances ruined the play. I’m not sure whether I like Arthur Miller as a playwright. Both of the works of his I’ve seen seem typical 1950s American-family-man-has-dreams-smashed-by-contemporary-events/people* (*delete where applicable). On the coach back Deborah told me that Pilkington Sports in Farnshaw might have a possible Saturday job.

Monday, March 23, 1981


Torrential rain and heavy wind all day. I got in late hoping to avoid assembly which didn’t take place anyway and I wore my new garish pale blue-claret striped jumper. I really like it. First period, amazingly enough, I finished my English homework which isn't due until a week on Wednesday and spent the rest of the day lounging around. Angela was being a real bitch and seems quite genuine in her dislike of me; it puzzles me and I’d like to know why. It don't like feeling disliked. After school, Richard Houlding and I ‘trained’ for our six-a-side adventure over at the Sports Centre. We booted a ball about in the gym until we were kicked out into the splashing mud of the all-weather pitch in the driving rain.

Despite the weather I went to the Easterby Astronomical Society to pay my annual subscription and at least make one appearance this year. I had to scrounge the money off Mum. I feel really bad about my financial situation and I'm getting a Saturday job if it kills me. It was strange at the EAS; loads of new faces there and as I joined in 1977 I'm now one of that Society’s “old guard,” but I feel like all my former enthusiasm for astronomy has waned. So I sat there feeling obliged to show an interest. I felt really odd.

Sunday, March 22, 1981


I awoke to snow and when I set off for Grant’s it was clear and sunny and everything felt cold and fresh. I got to his house at about 1.30 and we sat around for a bit listening to various new wave singles before leaving for the inevitable walk up to Woodhead Park. There was not a cloud to mar the perfect sky as we walked through Ashburn woods, deep blue up above but paling to white near the horizon, and all around sweeping views across to Farnshaw, Keddon moor, and Haslam.

We talked as we walked, about people, governments, art, and at Hainsworth Hall we looked around another of their usual modern art exhibitions - I wandered round puzzled - and there was a clichéd feminist exhibition downstairs. We had coffee in the café before returning in a roundabout way through the park and Lodgehill.

When we got back to his house we talked about our projected Youth Hostelling project in Cornwall this summer, formalising a route from Newquay to Exeter via Boscastle, and planning what we'll need for cooking equipment and camping gear. I left Grant’s feeling optimistic. I walked home. It was freezing cold but clear, Jupiter bright in the sky.

Saturday, March 21, 1981


Torrential rain all day. I went into Easterby with Dad at one. While he went to work, I went to the library and took back Ronald Hingley’s Joseph Stalin: Man and Legend which I'd partly read and paused on the first floor to look at an exhibition by Easterby Photographic Society and to get a book on filming documentaries (by W. Hugh Badderley). I made my usual stop at the fifth floor politics section and took out Twentieth Century Philosophy by Donald Atwell Zoll, The Logic of International Relations by Steven J. Rosen and Walter S. Jones, and the Socialist Register – 1977, edited by Ralph Miliband and John Saville.

I then wandered around loads of clothes shops looking for a jumper. I really enjoyed it for some reason. I tried loads of the trendy places; Untouchable, Young Dude etc., and eventually saw a pale blue jumper with claret stripes in a shop down in Schofield Street, which I bought for £6.95. I browsed in HMV and bought a Hendrix poster and bumped into Nigel Duckett. We got the bus on to Moxthorpe and walked back up through Egley in the rain.

Friday, March 20, 1981


After English we watched The War Game, the 1963 shock-film banned by the BBC. Despite it’s age it’s effective and as I watched I felt a knot of anticipation in my stomach. Some of the scenes were upsetting and a few of the girls cried in the toilets afterwards. In the afternoon, a group of us met with Hirst to talk about entering the Nationwide Baird Trophy competition to film a 5-minute TV documentary. We tentatively decided on a film about Vietnamese refugees.

Otherwise the day passed swiftly, History notes and fusillades of mindless criticism from Angela Reid, delivered without conviction. Amazingly childish. Claire invited me to a jumble sale at Beatrice Hall and tea at her house afterwards. We got to the jumble sale at six. I bought a dilapidated tennis racket for 5p, and after tea we did the washing up, but she so obviously had her mind on other things--Michael was taking her to the Adelphi later. She washed her hair while I finished the pots, and at half-seven Michael arrived, looking suave in jacket and tie, and they left shortly after. I stayed behind and played snooker with her little sister.

I felt so ‘second-best.’

Thursday, March 19, 1981


Hotel breakfast. Everything predictably hotelish.

We walked to to the V & A which was closed when we got there, so we wandered around the shops nearby. Julie discovered Mitsukiku, a rip-off shop specialising in Japanese stuff; she was really enthusiastic, which I enjoyed, and we wandered about the shop for ages. She bought a weird massage thing, a rubber ball on a flexible piece of wood with which you beat yourself gently on the shoulders. On the way the the museum, Julie gave a homeless woman an orange.

We went to the downstairs galleries first and looked at/talked about the Constables, before seeing the Michaelangelo casts, the Raphael copy and discovering – much to Julie’s joy – a whole room specialising in Chinese and Japanese art. She ran around like a little kid, emitting little cries of excitement at the pottery and carved Buddhas. We paused at the museum shop and she bought loads of postcards.

We ate and took the tube to the Tate Gallery. The modern art was really interesting but hard to understand. Are Naub’s two boxes really art? We had a long discussion with Hine about their merits and afterwards had some tea before the coach arrived outside at four. Filthy jokes on the way back and we rolled up in rainy Easterby at nine thirty.

Within an hour of getting in I was embroiled in a savage argument with Dad, who bemoaned the “Europeanisation” of the true-Blue British passport which I said was a pretty trivial thing to get upset about and didn’t bother me. I was met with the familiar suicidal, annoyed and angry sighs – “No wonder we’re in such a mess if the youth of today is like you. What’s the point; no wonder Jesus wept,"  etc., etc. Of course I responded and then Mum blew up because, she says, she’s sick and tired of me and Dad arguing.

I came to bed angry.

Wednesday, March 18, 1981


I was up at six thirty and at Farnshaw College by eight for our Art coach trip down to London to the National Gallery. The journey down was pretty boring and we got to our hotel, the Dorset Gardens, at about one. Lee and I were in room 15, a poky two-bed box down in the basement with a TV, a clock radio, a shower, telephone, and an incredibly stuffy atmosphere. We dumped our stuff and got the tube to the National.

Everyone split up, and Julie Crabtree stayed with Lee, Jeremy, and I, slightly over-reactive and neurotic Julie of the baggy jumpers and flowing skirts who has a thing for anything Chinese or Japanese. We wandered around the echoing galleries. Van Eyck’s Arnolfini’s Wedding was a highlight, and it was pretty good seeing original paintings by Van Gogh, Seurat, Cezanne, Gaugin, Holbein, Vermeer, and Van Der Weiden. I love the pinks and violets in Seurat’s famous bathing painting.

After three we were left to our own devices. We went and had a Big Mac and some milk and wandered up towards Leicester Square looking for a film to see, eventually settling on Private Benjamin starring Goldie Hawn. Julie seemed especially keen on seeing it, so we paid out £2.50 and went in. The film was schmaltzy and soppy at the end but I quite enjoyed it; something to do anyway. Afterwards we wandered about Leicester Square looking at shops until tennish, when we went back to the hotel bar to play cards, drink half-lagers and talk until the early hours.

Tuesday, March 17, 1981


Relief – the rugby match was off, and I felt as if a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. But now I've got roped into a six-a-side youth soccer competition that will be played in Brady Park during the spring and summer. I don't know why I was asked and I don't know why I said yes. I can’t play at all!

Parents' evening: Mum, Dad and I set off for school at about half-seven. A superb annulus around the full moon. We talked with Ingham. He extolled my virtues and said I can have my pick of History/Politics courses, but accused me of a “lack of ambition” and said I'm not working at all hard enough, just cruising along, "heading for a C or a D"! "If you really tried and did all the reading around the subject you should be doing, you could easily get an ‘A’, and you are capable of a first class honours at university. This is your last chance to correct the slide and really buckle down." He advised me to start reading the New Statesman. His comments were helpful and for a moment jolted me out of my easy-going, smug, and complacent rut.

Hine’s unhelpful ramblings about Art were next, and he was less critical than Ingham and ended by saying I was doing OK. Before my meeting to talk about English, I ran into Claire in the common room. She was upset because Hirst had written “Probable ‘A’ level failure” in large black letters at the top of her report, accused her of handing work in late, and consistently misspelling the names of characters in Persuasion. She looked so upset I felt really sorry for her.

My turn. As we strolled into B8, Hirst and Slicer were both seated behind the same desk and immediately erupted into sniggers and laughter, much to Mum and Dad’s bemusement. After we'd sat down they told us that I had real potential but that my flair for waffle and flannel – Hirst talked of the “empty elegance” of my work – was a dangerous tendency. "You don't know the texts well enough" said Slicer. Mum said I wasn’t working because "he has other things on his mind. I have an idea she floats whimsically around Egley somewhere." More hoots of laughter from Slicer. It must be really obvious!

My report was OK, but the comments about all three subjects mentioned my lack of application and poor use of free time at school. Mixed feelings as we walked home. Mum said if I don't start working harder "you've had it." Hirst and Slicer’s comments make me wonder about how obvious this Claire thing must be, and Mum clearly knows, or at least suspects, but on a different level I feel really anxious that it's not too late to start over and also that I am on the threshold of big things. Pathetically pleased that Claire talked to me.

Monday, March 16, 1981


Mr. Farrar pleaded with me to play rugby tomorrow at Belleslet in a cup game; he really did grovel, blatantly flattering me, using a “one of the lads” approach which I resisted fairly well at first but gradually, pathetically, I gave way and crumbled completely and said yes. It's humiliating that I'm so weak and jelly-kneed. It's an obvious reflection on my character.

The debate about South African sport after school went really well. Jeremy and I argued against “international hypocrisy” and “dual morality” over the selective pressure applied to South Africa and other repressive regimes, and we won the debate 8-6. Ingham opposed us, and gave a long and earnest tirade about the nature deeply ingrained nature of South African racism and repression.

It was pelting it down when we were done; I had wanted to go into Easterby to buy a jumper with £10 Mum gave me, but because it was raining, and as Claire wanted to go down into Farnshaw anyway, I walked back with her, dropping our bags off at her house. We wandered around Farnshaw market looking for jumpers, Claire bought her younger sister something for her birthday, and we ended up in Topshop, talking with Sean Barker who works there.

We sauntered back up to Claire's house and she asked me if I wanted to stay for tea. This I did, and after I'd helped her with the washing up, she talked about Michael and his 14-page love letter, and said she wants to be married at 24 and have two children. Now we were in the living room, sitting in the same spot on the settee where she'd been sitting with Michael the other night, and she told me how in the fifth year she used to fancy Jeremy, had fancied Steve the year before, and even once fancied Robin Quinn! When Mrs Pearson got back from night school (she's taking her ‘O’ level English) I got a lift home.

I had a last vision of Claire waving goodbye through the window of their Transit van as it pulled away.

Sunday, March 15, 1981


I wrote up my History essay, “An Analysis of Tsarist Foreign Policy 1904-14,” and then worked on my debate about South African sport. Other than this, a bit of a bland, faceless day.

Saturday, March 14, 1981


Dad and I went to Dengates to collect frog spawn. It rained steadily, but we enjoyed ourselves; the marsh was deserted, everything reassuringly timeless. We splashed through the wet grass, mud and rushes and found familiar clumps of spawn floating in the crowsfoot- and duckweed-clogged water.

Dad picked up Nanna P mid-morning and Robert and Carol arrived at lunchtime for the match. An Athletic win would put us in sixth place, just two points out from a promotion spot, and the match began well, with Athletic attacking relentlessly, players sliding in the thick, sticky mud in the centre circle. It was exciting stuff! Most of Athletic's attacks came from the wings and we were much the better side but just couldn't find the finishing touches. 0-0 at half-time. The second half was more of the same, but in the 75th minute out came Ackroyd to punch the ball away, he missed, the Tabotworth No. 9 rocketed a shot towards goal, and an Athletic defender made a brilliant save on the line. The penalty made it 0-1. Within two minutes we were two down as Tabotworth burst upfield to ram the ball into the roof of the net. There’s no justice!

We came home feeling sickened and Carol was amused. They went at five and I wrote an article for the school mag about sixth form life, a lame attempt at Woody Allen-style humour. Later I went down to the Viceroy and the Polish Club to play darts and Space Invaders with Andy and Jonas Weichec and Lee.

Friday, March 13, 1981


A pretty boring day at school and most of my day passed in the common room, talking with Jeremy, Lee, Deborah, and Claire. Jeremy is much easier to get on with these days in fact he and I are becoming great friends. We stayed behind after History, supposedly to sort through magazine contributions but we inevitably ended up gossiping about people.

Thursday, March 12, 1981

Question time

We had a slide show by a doctor about hospices and the terminally ill, and after this we went into the library until the snotty cows in the seventh year came in, majestically firing off criticisms before they’d even sat down. Gradually all the sixth years left and we all agreed that we disliked them intensely. Deborah, Duncan, Jeremy and I got involved in a long argument about what we are going to do post ‘A’ levels and Duncan called Jeremy and I “berserk and bizarre” when we said we wanted to cycle across the USA or India.

As we went down to lunch I suddenly thought about how boring and pointless everything is. Here I am fretting over what I say and do and worrying about other peoples’ views of me but really, for what reason? What do I hope to gain? Whatever happens I’ll still go on worrying. I just feel utterly pissed off with things.

Tommy came home with me and had a look at my cassette recorder. The drive-belt came off, so it now works but the quality of the recordings isn’t too good. I still don’t know whether to fork out £10.00. I had another of my frustrating do-nothing evenings again. I should be reading or writing - anything except farting around with a tape recorder recording Santana, Weather Report and Question Time, which is what I did.

Claire sounded subdued today. I can't stop thinking about her and Michael.

Wednesday, March 11, 1981

Impressions of M. Pseud

I got in late, missing assembly, and paced around the deserted common room until everyone came back up. Claire had brought in her camera and took a few photographs of everyone, including a big group of all the 6th years outside on the steps, but the general atmosphere was one of extreme boredom. Lee and I went to play darts, but Ingham caught us (“What on earth do you think you’re doing?”) and told me I had to go see the head. Thoughts rushed through my head. Was it about missing Art last night?

I got into Barkston’s office and he told me to pull up a chair and sit down. He asked me what I had in mind post ‘A’ levels and said, "Myself and the staff think you have talent, especially Mr. Ingham, who was very pleased with your last piece of work.” His general drift was that I should try for Oxford or Cambridge next year. He thumbed through The Compendium 1981-82 looking unsuccessfully for PPE courses. I told him that maybe I wanted to go into journalism, or maybe even actively participate in politics(!?). As I sat there awkwardly, I could see Jeremy and Lee out of the corner of my eye waving to me from across in the common room.

I got back feeling chuffed, but the atmosphere in the common room was still morose. Claire was quiet and everyone else just seemed fed up. They all seemed to know about me going to Claire's house yesterday, and I had to endure smirks and nudge-nudge comments. Slicer never turned up and Hirst was away too, so I didn’t have one lesson all day, and after school, a few of us stayed behind, supposedly for a vetting session for the school mag which quickly degenerated into gossip session. I really enjoyed it.

My evening was pathetic and pointless. I’ve felt so bloody insecure and unsure of myself today. Do I create the right impression? How do I appear to others? I hate it.

Tuesday, March 10, 1981


At school I took notes on Soviet foreign policy and Jeremy and I made a poster for the Debating Society, then afterwards I watched The Goodbye Girl at Film Society, mainly because youknowwho was there. It was an amusing enough film if a bit schmaltzy at the end.

Afterwards, I walked back in the rain with Claire, Michael and Evelyn. It was late and Claire said it was pointless going to Art, which was true. "Do you want to come to my house instead?" I could hardly believe what I was hearing! Christ, thought I, setting off for Art only to end up at her house! She lives on Beatrice Avenue up above a shop in a cramped, cluttered flat with her Mum, Dad and brother. I talked uneasily with Evelyn while she and Michael sat together on the settee, exchanging little smiles and laughter. Despite what she'd told me a few days ago they looked intimate enough. For dinner we had cornish pasties, chips, and beans and had chocolate ice cream and peaches for dessert, and then we all played snooker, listened to records and played cards until Mrs. Pearson gave me a lift home at nine.

Things are buzzing round in my head and I don't know how I feel!

Monday, March 9, 1981


Michael has written Claire a fourteen-page letter (!).

After school I met Lee and Andy Weichec in Easterby. It was filthy weather and we stopped at Praxis where I bought Richard Nove’s An Economic History of the USSR before we trekked up towards Easterby Poly looking for the second-hand shop where Lee had seen a wide brimmed hat he wanted to buy. We found it eventually, but the hat was too small. We ended up at the Viceroy playing Space Invaders.

Sunday, March 8, 1981


Mum and Dad came over at ten after Robert and Carol had rushed around tidying up the house like madmen while I sat reading the paper on the settee. I did at least do the washing up! While Carol made lunch Mum, Dad, Robert and I went to the Packhorse Inn on the moors above Saxton for a pint. We talked about George III and got back for a superb spread of pork, roast potatoes, carrots & corn.

Dad was a bit drunk and in a really good mood whereas I felt really bitchy and horrible for some reason and resentfully took it out on Mum and Dad. We got back at five. I listened to Sounds Of Jazz and watched The Sky at Night about William Herschel before coming to bed.

Saturday, March 7, 1981


Robert brought me some tea up before he and Carol set off for his school football match. It was freezing and I sat by the fire reading about the medieval monarchs of England until they came back. Bacon sarnies for lunch and then Robert and I set off for the match.

We got to Wettenston Road half way through the first half. The Athletic supporters were caged up at one end of the ground, and for the most part showed little enthusiasm for the match, which was a typical mid-table slog of hoof balls and plenty of whistle. We were locked behind a big iron gate supervised by two loutish officials in bright green waistcoats. During the second half, these craggy faced morons and their loudmouth pig friends started shouting and swearing at us, spitting and gesturing at one Pakistani lad in particular. The police stood benignly at the back, smiling and talking. I felt angry. Ten minutes from time, Elmfield scored with a jammy header that sneaked between Ackroyd and the post. After the game, a few of the Athletic thugs stole a flag and we were locked in our cage (“No flag, no home”) until it was handed back.

Records and telly all evening.

Friday, March 6, 1981


Lee brought in his projector and showed the films he took last week. It was all uneasy somehow, even a bit embarrassing.

Claire was in one of her whisper sessions with Deborah. She lamented to me the fact that she got an E for her Persuasion essay while Jeremy got a B with an essay she didn't think was much better. I read them both and thought Claire's deserved at least a D+/C- or thereabouts. I consoled her, a bit blatantly perhaps.

Read National Geographic about Mount St. Helens when I got home and then Dad ran me down into Easterby so I could get the five o'clock Dearnelow bus. I got there at six-thirty dead up and then took another bus to Saxton Church. Robert had just got back from a school soccer match when I arrived and he and Carol said they were knackered. After a superb tea we spent the evening listening to records around the fire.

Thursday, March 5, 1981


Mild outside, all the Geographers gone into the Dales for a field trip. I spent most of the time with Jeremy’s headphones on listening to Madness. I owe Gledhill £1.60 for a New Scientist, Duncan 80p for busfare and Richard Houlding 20p from London.

In the afternoon I went to Lee’s to see the film he took last Friday and in London and I stayed there most of the evening. The film was disappointing and I was struck by how awful I look.

Wednesday, March 4, 1981


First lesson spent waiting for Ingham to stop hovering around so I could go to the shop, which I did at about ten, and then the whole of the second period I sat in the stiflingly hot library talking to Claire. She told me that just before Christmas Michael told her he loved her, which, by the way she rolled her eyes when she told me, she obviously thought quite corny. She said she sneaked a look through his diary and was surprised that it was packed with every little detail that happened between them. "He seems obsessed." She says she really just wants to be friends with him and nothing more. Christ . . . if she saw this!

In English we were given parts from one of the Alverhouse Mystery Plays to read out, and in Slicer’s lesson we again discussed Enobarbus’ friendship with Antony, dismissing the idea that they were gay in any way. Then at one thirty everyone went to the poetry seminar at Easterby Poly’ and I went down to the Sports Hall to get ready for the rugby.

Our opponents Wheatshaw were already changed and out practising. They’re an excellent side, and the pace was much faster than the previous games I've played. I managed to get the ball and pass it on down the line a couple of times, but more often than not it was snatched away from me. At half-time it was 0-0, but soon after the break Wheatshaw scored two tries and got a penalty and then we really soaked up the pressure, battling away in scrums and rucks within inches of our line before we fought back and scored a couple of tries. A good atmosphere at this point, Ingham, Flatters and McIntyre shouting encouragement from the sidelines. We lost 10-11.

Tommy brought in his cassette recorder today and it looked really good and worked well at first, but then the recording facility went, then rewind and fast forward, and finally it quit altogether! I'm annoyed; it's pretty rotten of him.

Tuesday, March 3, 1981

No way noble

Farrar asked me if I would play rugby again tomorrow and I said yes but quickly realised that I'm supposed to be going to Easterby Polytechnic for a poetry seminar. I'd much sooner play rugby and Farrar seemed a bit annoyed when I told him about the conflict, but within minutes he’d managed to sort it out. Tommy told me he's selling his £40 Phillips cassette recorder for £10! He’s bringing it in tomorrow and I hope it's good.

After Art I kept thinking about redecorating my bedroom, maybe painting it unconventionally with black and white striped walls or something.

Monday, March 2, 1981

Delusions, all wet

Raining again and arrived late so as to avoid the assembly, finding Jeremy, Claire and Deborah in the common room having done the same. We talked about our weekends while the girls brushed their wet hair. Julie Crabtree was very flirty today.

The debate after school was about abolishing school uniforms, which I voted for. For the next one, Jeremy and I are proposing that sporting links with South Africa should be resumed and I’ll argue that politics should be divorced utterly from sport, which is a little naïve I know. Walked home with Claire and Michael B. She talked to him the entire way and it's pointless deluding myself any longer.

Sunday, March 1, 1981


All the snow gone and throwing it down all day. Prospects for the match looked pretty poor, and as Robert and Carol were coming across from Hull, I tried to get in touch but they'd left already so it was pointless. Sure enough, they rolled up at about one but seemed happy enough to stay anyway. We all sat about talking, playing records and things went quite pleasantly until four, when they left.

I didn't get a word of my collectivisation essay written until seven, but was quite pleased with my progress. I wrote four and a half sides and finished at eleven thirty.
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