Saturday, July 3, 1982

Brainwash agent

When Dad got up he was angry. On his way to work last night a gang of kids on their way to Bojangles disco on Hetherington Rd. surrounded his car and beat their fists on the roof, kneed the doors and kicked at the tires, leaving Dad frightened and with a thudding heart.

We drove to a pet-shop to pick up newts that hadn’t arrived and then Dad dropped me in Easterby. It was one of those typical days where I felt so overwhelmed by my ‘choices’ that I didn’t do a thing. I had £10 that Nanna P. gave me for my birthday and I looked round for a set of oil paints but could only find a £94 box at Bailey’s. So I bought an LP, Coltrane (1962) instead. I was too full of paranoia and anger to enjoy Easterby.

In the evening I rang Grant but he was out. I was bored, and wanted to go out somewhere. He rang back but said he had something arranged already, and that he and Nik were going to Uptown. “We know its boring but there’s nowhere else to go, nothing else to do.” He told me tales of Thursday night drunkenness and I rang off feeling disappointed. So much to do, but what? A general feeling of blackness and pessimism descended over me and I lay there alone on my bed in the sun, feeling like hiding.

I finally finished Doctor Sax.

My earlier attraction to Kerouac was based on a misunderstanding and now I’m writing this in order to try and absolve myself. Although On The Road was filled with passages that convinced me “this man had the ability to put on paper so much of what he thought and of what we all thought and experienced that he put it down in such a way that it made sense,” it was the other sensational side, the whole Beat-lunatic myth, which seized me. . . . And although this element is a part of Kerouac, it’s not the part—I’m sure—he'd want emphasised or even to be remembered for, because it leads only to a realisation that everything is pointless.

Instead it's that déjà vu sense I got on reading On The Road, that sense of the author’s incredible capacity to think and feel in a way that made me constantly say, ‘Yes, That’s Right': the sadness, the everyday tragedy of human dying and the loss of friends and time passing, the amazing experience of seeing my own thoughts and feelings written down by someone else.

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