Sunday, October 24, 1982

Groovy cellar

I made a spur-of-the-moment decision last night to go into Watermouth with Mike Ritchie, his mate Colin, Stu, Pete, Gareth, Shawn, Shelley, and Penny. On the long road from the train station down past the Woolworths there were police cars everywhere, the pavements littered with broken glass, and gangs of yobs rushing to and fro pursued by helmetless policemen. As we crossed the street, someone was having his head slammed on the bonnet of a police car before being bundled into the back seat.

We ended up at a reggae gig at a small dingy club called The Underground. The band (Nyabingi) could scarcely be seen above the dark and twitching mass of people silhouetted against purple stage lights. The drink were student union-subsidised too! Nyabingi were excellent and did an amusing cover of Musical Youth’s “Pass The Dutchie.”

Stu and I left to look for Therapy, an alternative club, and after searching for ages we found it full of posey punks standing silently around in the usual get-up of spikey hair, leather, studs and all black. I felt trapped and uncomfortable, so after four songs Stu and I left to look for the jazz club I thought I’d found back in February. We failed dismally in this quest, and after traipsing the dim lit hotel back streets we caught a taxi back.

The Wollstonecraft kitchen scene began at about two (one actually, 'cos the clocks went back). By six  there were just four of us left. In excited and vivid terms Pete told us about his Groovy Cellar days, the Thames boat trip, Mood Six gigs, dancing with his go-go friend Prudence, and said the psychedelic revival was all a big but good natured piss take and just people having fun, but got so hyped up by the press overexposure that it got stale and the whole scene lost momentum. If I'd lived in London then my diary and experiences could have expanded a thousand fold! What a way to live! It all sounded so crazy, frenetic, and exciting that we were dazzled by his joyful gush of words. I really like him.

We couldn’t get over the certifiable nature of this place or what’s it doing to us and how we're behaving. It can’t go on like this, surely? I’ve been instructed to write down everything that happens as it must be recorded somehow. . . . As dawn was breaking the next day. . . .

I've done nothing again today. The weak sunlight, blue skies, and still green trees barely rustled by wind were all sufficiently summery to make me feel sad. I went to the library and took out three books for tonight's Huck. Finn essay. I have loads of work to do for tomorrow: an unread book and unwritten essay and last week’s incomplete Philosophy work, and I haven't even attempted this week's. I’m going to have to work all night.

Barry and I have just eaten a vast amount of food (porridge, minestrone soup, curried beans, cabbage, and a “meal in a potato” I made from my cook book). We were both in hysterics at my culinary ineptitude. I’ve now been here three weeks and spent £100. What have I achieved??

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