Friday, November 26, 1982

Crackle and pop

Our kitchen burned down. We were all in Rowan’s room when we heard a commotion of swishing noises and voices in the corridor. We emerged to find people dragging a hosepipe onto the end of the corridor where thick black oily smoke billowed from the kitchen window; we couldn't see any flames but we could hear the dull crackle and pop of melting plastic. Eventually the fire brigade arrived in yellow helmets and yellow oilskin trousers, put out the fire, and then spent a long time in the kitchen looking for the cause. They told us it was a tea towel left too near a ring on the oven. The kitchen is now absolutely filthy, a blackened shell, and the ceilings and walls are completely black.

We’re all worried because the ashtrays are full of roaches. What if the police find them?

I'd got up to find Barry and his friend Phil pissed out of their heads on cider. Barry eventually spewed up in a cardboard box in the kitchen before crashing out for three hours in his room. When he got up at teatime, he, Phil and I went down to the coffee shop for food and then over to the Town & Gown where Russ joined us. We got drunker and drunker on cider, whisky, and snakebite.

We were going to go see If . . . at the Phoenix with Pete, and we went back to Wollstonecraft Hall to look for him (barging in on Alex and a friend, bellowing at the tops of our voices and banging on the table): we ended up in Westway Loop Bar instead. Afterwards I went to Penny’s room with Lindsey and Shelley and smoked a couple of times before the nausea gripped me and I threw up out of the window. There I stayed all night, dimly hearing the conversations behind me as I retched miserably into the darkness below.

After a couple of hours of dizzy sleep on Penny’s bed I felt better and joined everyone in Rowan’s room. And then the fire. . . .

It was almost seven when I got to bed.

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