Thursday, March 11, 1982

The strangeness of memory

I awoke to the sun streaming through closed curtains, and after a shower and breakfast we lounged indolently on the balcony in the sun.

We packed and left our luggage on the bus and walked to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. Always the National Gallery. I get so bored of the same places. Why can’t galleries be less stuffy and more stimulating? The energy sapping atmosphere seems to jade the senses. We looked at the frescoes, Dutch paintings from the 17th C. (De Hooch, etc.), Impressionists, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Degas, Rousseau. . . .

We left at noon with instructions to meet Mr. Hine at the Tate at 2. We walked past the Houses of Parliament, along the Thames and through towering financial City blocks towards the Tate; I felt like a pseud, feeling thoroughly shabby (Lee: “Your scraggly hair looks trampish”). We found the same small cafĂ© we’d visited last year and remarked on the strangeness of memory. We were even served by the same waiter.

Kindly, benevolent Mr. Hine was waiting for us at the Tate. I like him: he's totally amiable, absent-minded, and even a bit eccentric.

The Tate was easily the best gallery we've visited. The Dalis were brilliant and the brushwork (so fine!) was amazing to see. Superb curved shapes, vivid colours. . . . I enjoyed the works by Hockney, Ernst, Lichtenstein, Magritte, Pollock, etc.: they're all so interesting, thought-provoking, and exciting to look at! I bought two booklets on modern American art and Op. Art and was ultimately left wondering whether I should do Art History at Uni. I’m sure I'd find it fascinating.

I start to hate my politicised image. It's not helped by my irresistible tendency to sloganise, to come out with ludicrous accusations of “fascism.” Really I'm just doing it for the sheer pointless destructive hell of it. Maybe I enjoy seeing my public persona turned into a ridiculous caricature? My basic communication problem divides me into two people; one's private and isolated and into music and books and intellectual 'bohemianised’ crap, the other one public and awkward but frustrated on one level.

Why do I try so hard?

We left London at three thirty and four hours later I was walking through the dark streets of Farnshaw, the journey up forgettable apart from fun on the bus with a decaying chicken leg which stank awful.

I've done no revision at all for tomorrow’s two three-hour exams. How will I cope?

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