Tuesday, July 20, 1982

Too much of too little for too long

Dad was on the early shift so he dropped me at the top of Glenbank where I sat on a bench and read a book on Zen Buddhism for a while before it got too chilly and I gave it up.

At the weekend, Carol told me about her college days at Brynmor: “I'd go along the cliff tops with a book, more in love with the idea of reading by the sea than with reading itself.” So it was with me this morning, and so it is with a lot of what I do. This diary is filled with passages where I seem to be taken by the descriptive act rather than the places or events or things I describe. Perhaps that is why lately I feel as if my journal lacks inspiration and is heavy and cumbersome.

Hot sun as I walked to Grant’s through the woods. His parents are on holiday and so he’s alone for a fortnight. Grant's total inability to cope with anything practical (he doesn't know how to use a tin-opener or locate basic things) had reduced the house to squalor. We were bored, drank coffee, and listened to The Fall, The Pop Group, The Doors, early Pink Floyd. Of the five LPs I took with me, two were from ’67, one from ’68 and two from ’69, a comment on my musical tastes of late if ever there was one.

We made a brief visit to Hainsworth Hall to see an exhibition of Indian crafts. In the coffee bar downstairs, Grant pulled a lone cigarette from an otherwise empty packet, lit up and sat there smoking self-consciously: I saw him giving tiny surreptitious over-controlled trying-to-be-casual glances at me, while the smoke stung my eyes.

Back at his house we sat in his bedroom and messed about with a tape recorder, recording a confusion of shrieks, hysterical laughter, facetiousness, talking, out of key ‘drunken’ singing and tribal drum accompaniments beat out on his bedroom door. It was momentarily amusing but we ended up bored as always; too much of too little for too long I suppose. But I felt vaguely optimistic by the time I left, despite my inevitable poverty at Uni and all the immediate demands on my finances. I borrowed J.G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition and The Fall's Grotesque.

Carnage today in London, two cavalrymen, six bandsmen and eight horses dead in an IRA nail-bomb explosion while entertaining crowds in a park. All the usual feelings of cold horror at what people can do to one another.

We got a letter from Andrew this morning. He arrived in Denmark safely on July 10th. He says there was a hint of old feelings returning when he saw Amalie again. Nanna P. is in some pain with her leg and was almost in tears when she struggled across the landing. Old age is a pathetic and degrading state.

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