Wednesday, December 1, 1982


There was a big ruckus this morning with the cleaners. Vera battered at my door and finally unlocked it and barged in. I was still in bed, and she shouted I needed to “knock up all your friends and get to the kitchen and tidy it up!” I groggily got up feeling really angry. We were actually banned from the new kitchen for a couple of hours before we were reinstated. . . . Pete and Vera had a big row and she eventually retreated back downstairs in tears.

Once all that had subsided, the Accommodation Officer came banging on my door. He was really nasty and said we'd burned the kitchen down because we'd used the rings as heaters (not true), and threatened us with the full cost of the repair bill, which he said will be £1000+ split between twenty four of us

—“We’ll have a rent strike.”

— “We’ve been dealing with rent strikes for fifteen years; you can’t do a thing.”


— “If we want the money we’ll just take it out of your grant, there’s nothing you can do.”

So he expects us to cooperate while he operates under this nasty, shitty code of rules!

Apart from this, it was another apathetic day, and I still did no fucking work. I hate myself. Rowan annoyed me late on by hanging round the end of Barry’s bed like some pining dog, talking to him in a low, dark voice while he, obviously ill and tired, tried to sleep.

Meanwhile we all wallow, feeding off our collective depression like morbid leeches. Really, what do we have to be down about? We 3% have the best deal this country of ours can offer yet still we mooch about, the centre of our own little irrelevant universes.

All the while, Marco is quite cool and cheerful, even though he has more to worry about than any of us (he's worried his girlfriend is pregnant). He’s a bit of a prat on the whole but is OK really. Rowan sat in the kitchen talking about nihilism, and Marco condemned her in that down-to-earth, quiet, and utterly self-assured way he has: “That is pathetic. The human mind has amazing capacities, but some people just waste this by saying what you say and worrying over things that no-one can do anything about.”

And I schizophrenically listened to Rowan, then to Marco, then to Rowan again and saw things differently each time. Marco's so straightforward and practical and has the habit of making me look at problems in a completely different way. And yet. . . . 

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