Monday, February 22, 1982

Footsteps everywhere

Dream: Peter Wood, who for some reason owns an old record shop, sells me an article about Kerouac for £1.50.

Dad gave me lift into Easterby to the library at nine and I took two Kerouac books back and got out Thomas Wolfe’s The Web & The Rock, Herman Melville’s Typee and Billy Budd, An Introduction to Zen Buddhism by D. T. Suzuki and, finally, The Job, Daniel Odier interviewing William Burroughs.

Then I wandered onto Smith’s and waited for Lee, first inside gazing at magazines then outside in the cold reading An Introduction to Zen Buddhism while the crowds flooded past me, footsteps everywhere, a sea of bobbing heads. . . . When Lee showed up we did a tour of the second-hand clothes shops, discovering two more we'd never seen before catching the bus back to Farnshaw. I collected my overcoat.

Grant Riley was walking on towards Farnshaw with his parents so we three plunged down toward the shops in good spirits, being loud and crude. Lee seems quieter around Grant and gives me little glances which seem to make Grant the outsider.  I put a quid deposit on another jacket (£3) at Farnshaw Oxfam and then we walked on toward Moxthorpe, me feeling guilty, something to do with my all-too rapid disposal of money and the hypocrisy of buying a jacket when I’ve a new ‘un hanging upstairs at home.

A quick stop at Moxthorpe library and then through cold glittery Burgoyne’s Park, the canal glass-still, pausing at Brogden Wood Locks to crash rocks through the thin ice and watch a weasel, and then up through peaceful darkening woods near the river and into the cemetery with its rows of tombstone, Lee regailing us with unbelievable and tragic ghoul-stories that reduced us all to laughter. As we walked the thought occurred to me that what we were saying was unique to us and to no one else. Looked at objectively, how would we appear? Different? The same? I can't capture it! Meanwhile, the crematorium poured brown smoke into the air. “It's a building built for the exclusive purpose of incinerating human beings” said Lee.

A depressing and tired finale of quiet boredom at my house. Mum showed her annoyance at my “wasted” purchase of the overcoat by slamming doors, sighing, her face adopting a tight, pained expression. I was filled with regret and rage and started reading the Burroughs interview: it's really interesting. . . .

Peter and Tim came round mid-evening and cajoled me into going to Harvey's with them. I felt desperate and fearful of Mum and Dad’s rapidly souring tempers and submissively begged Dad not to be “peeved,” promising to be home by 11. I stayed for an hour, drinking two pints of cider.

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