Saturday, October 16, 1982

Red dust world

Last night we held a big party we’ve been organising for a week. Everyone from our two corridors contributed £2 for the booze.

So while Mike drove into Watermouth to get it I went to a Buddhist meditation meeting in Watermouth Hall Annexe. I was surprised to see about forty people there The teacher, from Watermouth Buddhist Centre had us try a technique called mettabhahavata. He seated himself cross-legged on a cushion in front of us and told us what we were going to be doing.

We had to sit and concentrate and give out “loving kindness” to ourselves, to a friend, to a ‘neutral’ person, to an enemy, and finally to all four together, extending the loving kindness to everyone in the world. He told us we could do this in a number of ways, the gist of them all being the need for a feeling of friendship and affinity with the object of our concentration; we could bring this about by dwelling on good times we’ve had, times when we have felt at peace with ourselves or friends, or by concentrating on another person’s virtues. Lately I've been feeling in a very “unbuddhist” frame of mind and too wrapped in my material worries to care much about my mental state, so I didn't have any great feeling for the process as I went through it: it was hard to stay focused for any length of time. I left feeling doubtful and disappointed. Is this all there is?

My mind was in a tizz of conflicting thoughts when I got back to Wollstonecraft. I felt torn. Before the party started, Alex and I went over to Biko’s to meet a couple of friends of his. Francesca and Richard both seemed well doped, and Richard threw himself around to the music, waving his arms and grinning his large white teeth at us. Francesca smirked knowingly. “She's a 'wow-man' type,” Alex said later.

We got back to Wollstonecraft to find the first revelers already in Barry’s room, a handful of hippies in headbands slumped silently against the wardrobe. More people showed up and soon my room and Barry's were crammed full, the corridor too packed with bodies. A few of us took off to Alex’s room or the kitchen to do the obvious, although I can’t really remember.

Eventually the party settled down into a pattern, couples in Barry’s room, a few people in mine, and a bigger group in the kitchen. I felt thoroughly tired and got to bed about five.

I didn’t get up until a quarter-to-two today. A non-day someone called it, and everywhere was empty, everything quiet, outside grey rain and wind. Daylight was over before we knew it. My bedroom was in chaos, the corridor even more so, like the aftermath of some battle, fag-ends, bottles, beer-stains on the carpet, toilets spattered with vomit, (one blocked), a mirror broken. . . .

Later, Pete, Barry, Alex and I plus Rupert and Miles from downstairs crammed into someone’s room in dim red light smoking before rushing off to unsuccessfully try find a party in Taylor Hall. We ended up in another kitchen conclave, banging rhythms on pots and pans, playing tricks, telling pointless stories, screaming. Day after day it's an endless round of the same; it's getting boring. I have work to do, letters to write, have to get organised, wash clothes, do so much. . . !

I’m pissed off with this diary at the moment and I don’t get the same satisfaction writing it any more. Perhaps it's because I’m not recording events or describing them in detail (and can't). I want to describe everything that happens to me in a day, capture all the changing thoughts and moods and reflections as they pass me by.

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