Sunday, January 31, 1982
I woke up lying fully clothed on the mattress in Andrew's room. The flat was in chaos, the kitchen floor covered in broken glass and bottle tops, everything sticky.
We spent the morning listening to records and Andrew cleaned up and when the others showed their faces at eleven-thirty, we grabbed two slices of cheese on toast and piled into Jim’s Renault for the drive into Badon.
We got there in plenty of time and I said goodbye to Andrew. The bus station bright and sunny and I felt sad again, a young couple kissing goodbye under my window. . . . Journeys, the people you see on the way and never know their names, will never ever meet them again. Anonymous beings.
The hot sun and slow bus caused nausea at Nunningley and at one point I almost thought I was going to throw up. Luckily the skies were cloudy and cool by the time I got onto the Reddings-Easterby bus and we all roared out of the ‘bus station at three like before.
We pulled into Holdsworth Square Station at quarter to ten.
Saturday, January 30, 1982
We were up early and went out to look round Hasted which reminded me of a film set: everything seemed staged, false, and unnatural. I noticed how clean the streets were. Toy town. Andrew was looking for his mate Jim but he’d gone into Badon, so after looking at Hasted Hall and tiny Hasted market we followed him.
Bev and her friend Linda were on the bus and while Andrew talked to them I sat, quietly feeling out of it, superb views of distant Badon fronted by rolling green fields and trees glimpsed through the bus windows.
We found Jim playing pool in a pub with friends Danny and Patrick but they came with us as I was lead on an unenthusiastic tour of Badon's highlights, and we ended up in a wide pedestrian precinct, crowded with hordes of people. We stopped at a really good second-hand bookshop and an interesting antiques market that was almost like a museum. At a second hand clothes stall nearby Andrew put down a deposit on a white tuxedo. Sure enough, the posers were there, moths to a flame, browsing serious-faced through the racks of bright vintage fabric and expensive jackets.
We got back to Hasted in time for the soccer results, and watched them at the student lodge on Market Street after dropping in on Ewan for a while. Then it was back to Station Hill and the preparations for Andrew’s birthday party (records, food, lights, etc.) before another friend Dave, from Badon, came round and we went to the pub’ to meet Danny, Patrick and Jim. We ended up on a mini-pub-crawl, the aforementioned acting like absolute head-cases but really funny. At one point I thought we were all going to get thrown out.
Me and Andrew left early to go back for the party. The house was soon packed, people cramming into Andrew’s room and the kitchen, the music going full blast, and I alternated between the two, drinking cider from a paper cup and having stilted conversation with (Three Kings stripper) Steve. But in no time at all it seemed, everyone left en masse except for me, Andrew, Patrick, Danny and Jim . . . vague recollections here. . . .
The police arrived. Someone had complained about the lunacy going on outside and a young policeman, white faced, glasses, was standing in the hall with his WPC companion, his tone soft but firm. “Let’s be reasonable. . . .” Andrew argued with the policewoman: he was fed up about something and kicked the bin across the kitchen, showering everyone with glass.
The police left, Patrick and Danny started booting a football about the kitchen and made cheese on toast. There was much talk of fascists and hippies. After this the only thing I remember is being upstairs in Bev’s room while Andrew argued despondently about someone’s absence.
Friday, January 29, 1982
Dad gave me a lift into Easterby and I got the 8.50 bus. We were soon blasting through the cold grey streets of Alverhouse, Whincliffe, Dearnelow, Ecclesley. . . .
We reached Reddings in the early afternoon and chaos reigned for the half-hour or so while the buses were in. Most seem to be leaving at three, so people milled hopelessly around the station for half-an-hour until all the buses roared out like Le Mans and the station was deserted. We were an hour late getting into Badon and I'd just managed to find Hasted and Andrew's flat at 38 Station Hill, meet his flatmate Bev, and be ushered into his room before he arrived from the Student Union hall, breathless, to drag me back. . . .
The bands were already running through their sound checks. The Steady Highs, a reggae band from Exeworthy (drummer, bassist/vocalist, balding baggy trousered saxophonist, and a guitarist), wandered around with the various members of Market de Sade, both bands occasionally breaking into heaving, thudding rhythms which I could feel in my stomach. A side room was filled with booze.
At about nineish, the expected posers and spike-haired types started to show up, baggy trousers and long dark-checked overcoats abounding, and with the drink flowing, things soon got lively. Market de Sade was a nine-piece band but were nowhere near as good as their sound checks had promised, although the Steady Highs were good, and everyone danced wildly about while I resorted to 45p pints of bright orange cider. I ended up puking in the toilets.
Suddenly, it all seemed to end, the lights flicking on, the hall empty and strewn with paper and party wreckage. I was quite drunk but helped carry band equipment to the van in between puking outside, unseen, and I ‘acquired’ a Steady Highs poster from behind the stage. We ended up at someone's house drinking coffee with Andrew’s friend Ewan.
I slept on a mattress on Andrew’s floor.
Thursday, January 28, 1982
I rang Kent up to tell them I couldn’t make it for a visit and no, I didn’t want to rearrange it. I sat about reading January’s National Geographic before persuading Dad to run me into Easterby at twelve, ostensibly to go to the library but really to go buy a reggae compilation LP I saw at HMV on Saturday.
I took Mr. Giles’s reading list and got four books out: Kerouac’s Visions of Cody, Nathaniel West (Collected Works), Henry Miller (Tropic of Capricorn) and Tennessee Williams. The album was gone and I felt at a loss so I went home. The weather was sunny and windy.
I got into school just after two. Deborah and Duncan, the Big Two, sat apart. Pride refuses to let me make the first move and she won’t so. . . . It’s so bloody stupid! When she went home I felt cheated: I won’t see her now until next Tuesday . . . time’s slipping by. I went to Mrs. Slicer’s “getting to know you” group communication session which was wooden, everyone embarrassed.
Pop Art ‘till six and then the long weekend. In the early hours I finished the (sad) Desolation Angels.
Wednesday, January 27, 1982
Deborah and Duncan ignored us all day: there were long pointless periods of heavy, sullen silence or boring to and fros. I again felt cheap, inadequate, and false - but when don’t I feel like this?
Angela Watkinson talked about her anti-white racism. Wow.
Tuesday, January 26, 1982
More aggro’ at school, Lee provoking Deborah by being loud and silly, singing, shouting, dancing and slouching over the furniture. She exploded, red-faced.
I got both good and bad news on the Art exam: I was pretty pleased with my 78% (A) for theory, but my painting only scraped an E. Lee got a B and a C respectively. When I got home I found to my delight that Brynmor have offered me two Cs and a D. I felt relief, as if suddenly everything is OK, and the pressure has been removed by the square-inch-full.
In the evening I watched Commitments, a play about typically intense, scruffy, ‘alternative’, “permissive,” clichéd, all-mouth and posture Trotskyist types.
Monday, January 25, 1982
Lee showed up at half-past eight and we set off for Art, feeling overwhelmed.
The foyer of Farnshaw College annexe was already filling up when we got there and we all filed meekly into the hall to the stern commands of an ugly, warty faced woman. Typical exam rituals: desks, total silence, papers given out. Four essays in three hours. I worked quite well, even waffling pretentiously towards the end.
Finally at twelve-thirty glorious release and in a happy mood we took the bus onto Lockley and wandered up through the dereliction to Mum’s school to give her a key. Then we stopped at Lion's Roar Records, inside dimly discernible shape of lone rasta behind the counter. It took us long enough to pluck up the courage to go in but we did. Another rasta guy came in and looked about vaguely. As Lee said, "It's strange we’re so near home but feel so uneasy and out of place. It's like we're intruding almost." All the way down into Easterby we talked about it, wondering why. . . .
Praxis is closing down it seems, and all the second hand books and pamphlets downstairs were free, the new books upstairs reduced in price, a gloomy end-of-the road feeling, subdued student types sighing and wandering about with forlorn handfuls of books or postcards. Outside it was spitting with rain, everything oily wet and depressing.
I bought Andrew a Heaven 17 twelve inch. My Rip Rig + Panic record is really good: weirdly, they were on Riverside at teatime.
Grant rang, from boredom he said, and I couldn’t think of anything to say.
Sunday, January 24, 1982
Saturday, January 23, 1982
I hated today. It was so depressing for some reason, Maybe it's just the thought of the three hour of Art-misery exam I have on Monday. Mum and Dad took me down to school early in the car so I could pick up Lee’s art file, but school was all locked up, kids with violins wandering mysteriously to and fro. They ran me on into Easterby without it.
Everything bright and new and I was supposed to meet Lee and maybe Jeremy too at the Library to do art revision but no one was there so I went and bought a 12” by Rip Rig + Panic. I got another Kerouac biography out and it seems so much more intelligent, thorough and scholarly than Dennis McNally's that I even thought of stealing it. Lee arrived at eleven, then Jeremy too, and we worked for a while but (childishly) ended up going off to play on the lifts. Later we wandered round Easterby.
A horribly pessimistic evening. Mum and Dad kept urging me to cheer up, but the Kerouac book was sad and morbid . . . his disillusionment . . . my disillusionment. . . . I felt depressed, negative and thoroughly black, which wasn't helped by Athletic going down 0-3 at Holmeshaw.
Friday, January 22, 1982
I rang Watermouth up at nine and rearranged my interview for Friday February 5th and then wandered in to school.
Deborah came back today and I was glad to see her, even more so when she seemed so willing to be OK again. It was a stupid shitty little dispute anyway. In History only me, Jeremy and Duncan turned up and so we talked all lesson to Mr. Gray. He told us about his University experiences, which sounded to be the kind of haphazard, spontaneous round of hitching, drinking and socialising I imagine I want to do.
My throat was sore and croaking again. All day I felt so sad for some reason. How quickly time flies, and before we know it it's time to say goodbye and go home.
Thursday, January 21, 1982
I decided to go get my ticket tomorrow after I’d found out what was happening with the strike.
After frustrating attempts to work all morning, we all congregated in the car park, piled into the minibus, and were driven by Mr. Gray down to the Film Theatre for Sabotage, an adaptation of Conrad's The Secret Agent, set in the 'fifties. There were only fifteen of us in the entire place and the play was so ham we couldn’t do a thing for laughing.
While everyone else went back to school I went up to the train station. It didn’t take long before I'd resigned myself to not going, the blokes at the counter cheerfully telling me to try arrange alternative transport.
In Art, something Mr. Hine said struck me, expressed half jokingly but in that bumbling, naive sort of way he often talks: "It's a sad thing about life. You're just ready to understand and be wise about things, but then you’re ready to die. It’s depressing so I try not to think about it. . . .” And he is so harmless; he wouldn’t hurt a fly. People like that die all the time.
Wednesday, January 20, 1982
It was a faceless day, the Watermouth trip overshadowing my every move, thought, and plan. The NUR guards are planning unofficial action at King’s Cross on Friday, which is my destination, so things are looking very vague and uncertain. To go or not to go?
At school, everyone is ill, and in the evening my throat (which has been sore) degenerated into a dry crackle. We watched Gregory’s Girl at Film Society, now the third time for me.
I still feel so unsure of myself. Why should I bother about my public image? Why why why?
Tuesday, January 19, 1982
I rang up BR about the trains. I'll leave on the 6.35 on Friday, but I half hope the strike becomes a national indefinite stoppage.
The topic of the debate after school was “Homosexuality should be illegal.” It was proposed by Robin, and there was a massive turnout. He got thrashed 1-23, with 6 abstentions and I got nominated to be President but we all decided to let a sixth former have it instead.
Monday, January 18, 1982
I was hardly in school at all. I went and got a hair cut, the barber telling me about his "screw" friend and his tales of mother-raping, dog-abusing perverts.
Later on I went to Claire's with Lee and listened to some tape or other.
In the evening Lee and I had planned on going together to the Mill Theatre, near Easterby Poly, to see a poetry/music/art performance by Grant and his friends. Lee didn’t turn up (said he had the ‘flu), so I set off by myself and hurried half-expectantly up Crossley Street for my appointment with Grant's band Venus Hunters.
Two blokes were on the door (short hair, fur coats, earrings) and I gave ‘em my 50p, blundered upstairs, walked along a corridor between a wall and a big canvas sheet that surrounded the stage and seats and bumped into Grant. He was wearing faded flared jeans, an old jacket and a college scarf: Nik was there too, in his usual get up of tight black trousers, black shirt, his thick spiky hair stuck out on top.
On stage was a tangle of amps, guitars, cables, pedals, etc. A long rectangular sheet was draped behind the stage smeared with what I took to be one of their action paintings. Three more sheets hung vertically to the side. Everything was informal and chaotic. . . .
By this time there were quite a few people there, and once the lights dimmed Grant read some of his poetry. He sounded a bit like John Cooper Clarke–I suppose all punk poets must sound like this–and as he talked his mouth almost touched the mike, blowing on it, and sometimes stumbling over his words. The poems were all short and only took five minutes and although I couldn’t hear all of them, what I could impressed me. Later on he confessed to being really nervous but I admire him for having the guts to do it.
Venus Hunters were up next; three guitarists, Grant on drums and a couple of different girls or Nik on vocals. Their first few numbers were rhythmic and powerful, Grant scowling sternly, his uncoordinated and intense drumming slightly out of sync with the rest, a bit too hollow and loud – but who am I to say? There were two guitarists, one with his hair cut just over his ears at the side but very long at the back, the other wearing a striped woollen skull cap and dungarees, and they produced strange, Tangerine Dream-style sounds or simple clear, loud notes. Occasionally Nik or Grant drifted to the mike, moaning incoherently, their dirges almost inaudible above the howl of guitars and the harsh, cutting rat-tat-tat of the drums. The guitarist with the short/long hair used a wah-wah pedal or twiddled a knob to make dub style echo which Grant accompanied with a rhythm tapped out on a beer can. When the song ended the delay echoed and died away. It sounded really good.
Part One was over, and Grant was back for more solo stuff, wearing a white lab’ coat. He read something out over a background rhythm of mechanical scrapes, occasionally accompanying himself on the drums. He was jerky and intense, stalking about in front of us with that peculiar pigeon-walk of his, shrieking intermittently and, at one point, jumping up and throwing himself to the ground with his arms outspread, sssssshing into the microphone.
Then back to the music, Nik gliding and pirouetting around the stage while he continued with the dirge or sang. . . . Finally, he announced that they were just going to play and everyone in the audience "should come and join." Grant, who was sitting next to me, rushed up to the drums and banged out an imperfect beat and free associated at the mike, while Dungarees and Nik degenerated into clumsy rhythms that had no real order or coherence. And all the while, someone was taking photos, illuminating the goings on with eyeblink blue flashes. . . Everything fragmented, broke up, people drifting away. . . .
I went home.
Sunday, January 17, 1982
I awoke to the expected mental retributions and questions. Why do I do it? I don’t seem to know when to stop. . . .
The snow's all gone, replaced instead by rain. Everything is damp and fresh and it's a typical winter’s day, the best day we’ve had so far this year.
Saturday, January 16, 1982
I worked on and off all day on my art notes on Neo-Impressionism. Outside it was foggy and dank, but much milder.
At eight I set off for Robin Quinn’s birthday party, but first had to walk on to Moxthorpe to buy three bottles of Strongbow, then trudged hurriedly back in the opposite direction past the cemetery on Easterby Road, my three precious bottles clanking in my arms, my long old coat flapping in the dark. I must’ve looked just like an old wino.
Robin, Carol Lancaster, Nigel Muff and a few others were there when I arrived, and there was a lot of food and drink spread out in the kitchen. My express intention was to get pissed and this I did by downing large amounts of cider and wine. Soon the house full of people like David James, Sean Helpern (all the rowdies from school) and Wendy Truswell and Sharon Horsfield, who both accosted me in the kitchen. Sharon especially was very drunk; she deliberately tried to spill her drink on me, and whenever I stood up, Wendy told me to sit back down. Then Wendy spilled drink on herself, so I helped her wipe it off, both in the kitchen and then, somehow, in the bathroom. Inevitably I suppose, as I was vigorously rubbing her backside with a sponge, she bent low and kissed me. . . .
Afterwards I blundered into Robin’s bedroom, where I found him lying on the bed, gazing up at the ceiling and looking thoroughly pissed off. A few minutes later, when Wendy went to see him, there was a big commotion as drunken people stumbled in on them and he erupted, in tears now, yelling “piss off!” and lashing out, and suddenly flew at me and thumped me in the gut. I felt really bad because he was so upset, and I was sure it was specifically because of what had happened in the bathroom, although I found out later he was just upset because he and Wendy have split up or something.
God, Sharon was so drunk! Although she's going out with David, she kept dragging me on top of her and even tried to put her hand down my trousers!. . . . Lynn Norden and Sean Helpern were holed up in the bathroom . . . Tim Moyles and head girl Elaine Buckley snogging in the corner. . . . All quite mad. Downstairs, Wendy sat glumly with Steve, who was doing his annoying marriage-guidance counsellor bit and kept telling me to leave so he and Wendy could talk. I got quite snappy with him I think. Chaos in the living room, people tangled on the floor watching TV. . . .
As the party was winding down Robin apologised and shook my hand, saying “no hard feelings” but as I walked out of the door with Steve, Sharon, Wendy and David, he said “thanks for ruining it,” whether at me or Wendy I couldn’t tell. . . .
Friday, January 15, 1982
There was more open conflict at school, our lot childishly dividing into two opposing camps, Deborah and Duncan in one, everyone else in the other. We ignored each other: it's all so pointless! We'll only be around for another seven-eight months, but my pride refuses to let me make the first move.
After school, I went into Easterby with Lee and bought a pair of gold trousers (yes, gold!). I don’t know why; it was an impulse really and as they were only £2.50 I got ‘em. They are ‘mod’ type pants, with pleats in the waist and a shiny texture.
What am I?
Thursday, January 14, 1982
I wandered into school at eleven. Tensions abounded between Deborah and me and Lee and she went on at us quite angrily for our rumour mongering and jibes about people. I made a few half hearted attempts at a rebuttal but Lee just told her to “piss off” (he was bored): she seemed quite taken aback at this and sat red-faced and quiet.
Robin Quinn invited me to his party on Saturday and during the afternoon, sixth years Dawn Heath and Tina Margerison kept saying that Evelyn fancies me. My inadequacies illumined.
There's been an air crash in America: 77+ dead, on the news scenes of survivors struggling in the icy waters of the Potomac river and rescue workers pulling bodies out of the water.
Wednesday, January 13, 1982
The cold weather continues. In History, we talked with Mr. Gray about University and I told him that I have to get down to Watermouth on Friday the 22nd and how the rail strike is threatening my plans; he suggested the bus, which I hadn’t thought of, and suggested I hitch back from Watermouth to London, saying he used to do it regularly. My mind was alive at this and the thought excites me. Maybe I can stay over in London at a YMCA?
Otherwise, a sullenness in the air, and I’m sure Deborah thinks I hate her. There was unspoken aggravation as we mocked and teased one another.
My Kerouac biography was waiting when I got home. It looks just as good as I’d hoped. I'm fascinated at how it all links up, Elvin Jones and Kerouac hanging round together, etc. . . .
Tuesday, January 12, 1982
In English I told Hirst about my interview at Watermouth. She asked me what I'd read of American Literature: I was embarrassingly unable to answer. Truth is, I’ve read virtually nothing other than some Kerouac, Arthur Miller, John Steinbeck, and a little bit of Thoreau…. She gave me three books by Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Stephen Crane.
The History test went OK.
In English, I asked Mr. Giles for tips for my interview. He was good, seemed interested, and promised to make me up a reading list but suddenly, as he was talking, I realised I'd made a mistake in applying for an American Studies course with a History orientation; I should be focusing on literature! For the rest of the day I was plagued by nagging doubts. . . .
After school, before I went to Art, I messed about with Claire; we were being sarcastic with one another and she insisted on colouring the sole of my shoe, so I laid full-length on the floor with my foot in her lap. . . .
Monday, January 11, 1982
School again, any optimism soon replaced by familiar frustrations and regrets. I felt negative and dull-voiced all day and sometimes really get to hate school. I was glad to get home at one. I have an interview date (January 22) from Watermouth and an offer (BC) from Rummidge. My Kerouac biography still hasn't arrived.
The news is still dominated by images of a snow smothered Britain, which in some places is colder than the south pole: talk of a ‘new ice age,’ etc. In the evening, I revised for a History test.
Sunday, January 10, 1982
It was a very lazy day. I did virtually nothing except read the papers and lay on the floor, and apart from Mum’s incessant condemnations of my idleness, there was nothing to report. Clear and bitterly cold.
In bed (an early night). Read Kerouac.
Saturday, January 9, 1982
It was bitterly cold and snowed on and off all day. I read Kerouac and cursed the weather but set out anyway for the bus to Cardigan Park and Athletic's game v. Brynmor. After I got off the bus, I walked on Three Locks Road to the ground, on the way passing our old house on Wintersett Crescent: seeing all the places where I used to mess about made me feel weird. It looked just the same.
The pitch was covered by a light layer of snow with only the centre circle and penalty area cleared. The crowd was fairly sparse; Robert and Carol showed up just before kick-off. Carol's from Brynmor but is now an Easterby Athletic convert.
Easterby started poorly, slipping and misjudging the ball on the snowy pitch, and Brynmor adapted better and seemed firmer-footed, so it was no real surprise when they went ahead. Although Athletic attacked quite fiercely at times, hit the post and missed two other good chances, they played badly; after half-time the game went much the same, but the superb Brynmor goalie kept them in the lead.
Robert got quite worked up at times, shouting at the ref and the team and yelling (at Brynmor’s No. 2): “Dennis, you’re a bastard!” But just when we were all resigned to a dismal and frustrating defeat, there was a scramble in the goalmouth– an equaliser! We could scarcely believe it, and jumped up and down bellowing accordingly. We went home satisfied.
I set off for the Sports Centre at seven. On the walk down I noticed the lunar eclipse, the rising moon just a bright narrow crescent, the rest a dull reddish brown. Once, this would’ve been cause for much excitement. . . .
Paul Wallace, Adam, Tony Megson, Claire, Claire’s sister Linda, Evelyn and Deborah had already changed when I turned up and we only had one court so we played alternate doubles. Later, after we’d gone to Evelyn’s house and eaten a lavish three course meal, we talked and drank Adam’s home brew, three glasses of which made things less awkward. Tony seems confident, witty and thoroughly in control, and Adam is smooth and well-spoken but seems old before his time. Claire, Linda, Adam and Paul left at eleven thirty and I stayed and had a cup of tea with Deborah, Tony and Evelyn. I found it easier to talk.
As I walked home the moon was whole again, high and white, and searingly bright to look at.
Friday, January 8, 1982
A return to the snowy and the blowy: sleet and snow most of the morning. It was -28°C last night in Scotland. I slept in, got to school for half-nine, and the day passed in pleasant inactivity, talking with Laura, Claire, Deborah. . . .
Evelyn rang in the evening and told me that plans for tomorrow have changed and that now we are all going to play badminton. When she told me this I refused to believe her, thus humiliating myself even more.
Later I watched the Old Grey Whistle Test's tribute to Jim Morrison. I don’t know, there's something about him. What was it about the ‘60s? So many people burned out. I also started reading Desolation Angels. Seymour Krim's introduction seems fair.
Thursday, January 7, 1982
I was up working into the early hours and got seven rough sides done of an essay for Hirst, so I didn't get to school until break. There was a thick frost everywhere.
Most of the rest of the day I worked in the library. Claire asked if Evelyn had invited me to the dinner on Saturday: she had, but my mumbling, grimacing, hot-faced response made me regret my incompetent appearance. I finished copying up my essay dead on four. . . . Art was OK, but it was incredibly cold on the way home.
Wednesday, January 6, 1982
I felt subdued and out of it all day, as if making the effort to talk was just too much. I actually did some work third period, my first concerted effort for weeks. I handed Slicer a 4½-side essay.
Watched If. . . . after school, which was quite good. I worked all evening, until well-past midnight.
Tuesday, January 5, 1982
Late to school. A fine start to ’82. Things were pretty mundane, except for English with Mr. Giles. We discussed theatre and two passages, one by Bacon, the other by Nietzsche (Giles asked if anyone had heard of him) and he asked us whether it's possible to “enjoy” tragedy and if so, why? I said that tragedy gratifies our inner sadist: the animal in us is released, which is why there are crowds at fires and murder scenes, and why horror, disaster and crime films are popular. This seemed to amuse people. . . .
In the afternoon Claire invited me to a dinner on Saturday to make up an eight-some. It's at Evelyn’s. I enjoyed Art and afterwards watched a brilliant film, Picnic at Hanging Rock which is really weird and goes down as one of my favourites.
Monday, January 4, 1982
The big day, back at school, the usual high hopes and optimism but within minutes the same stifling ordinariness. . . . Just the same. I don't care about Claire anymore and I’ll just let things go, for she's getting on with Adam and what’s the point? She’s too materialistic anyway. . . . Everyone seems pretty well convinced I’m after Evelyn.
I wrote half an essay and after school, when some of the old feelings returned, I finalised studies for my next art composition. I sent off for a Kerouac biography. . . .
There's massive flooding throughout Yorkshire; the big thaw on Saturday and the heavy rain is to blame. York is being evacuated because the floodwater is fifteen feet higher than normal and rising.
Sunday, January 3, 1982
I woke up at five for some reason and I stayed awake until I got up at ten. The snow has now nearly all gone. . . .
Robert arrived late morning for the match, and at two, me and Andrew and him set off for Cardigan Park, and Athletic’s first league match for a month, against strugglers Scawcroft Main. The steady, unrelenting drizzle made things pretty dour and the crowd was pathetically small.
Scawcroft played better than I remembered from last year and at times looked quite dangerous. Yet Athletic were always in control and apart from a few dicey moments – Ackroyd saved on the ground and another time a Scawcroft shot ricocheted off the post – Athletic never looked in danger. They strung some good moves together and after half-an-hour a free kick by Wild sailed into the net without their ‘keeper even moving. The game got scrappy midway through the second half but Athletic were always cruising. Goal number two came fifteen minutes from time, a superb Broome header. We went home happy.
Andrew packed for most of the evening and the atmosphere was good humoured. At ten we watched Wajda’s ace Man Of Iron which we thought was brilliant, although it was horrible and frustrating to watch Big Brother wielding authority supposedly in the peoples’ name.
Saturday, January 2, 1982
“Decadent rubbish! They’re conning you lads with a load of twaddle!” Dad’s verdict on The Pop Group, the Gospel according to St. Ernest. At teatime he got on about it again, calling their music “terrible” and saying “the proper composers will be turning in their graves. Even yobbos in t'cells could do better. . . well, they probably are yobbos!” I said that that was only his opinion and he got angry, snapping “Oh shut up,” and making annoyingly absolutist comments. I couldn’t help getting riled up.
He proceeded to ban me from playing The Pop Group while he's in the room. At this I could feel my anger boiling inside at his intolerance and censorship. The atmosphere was soured. What right has he to do that and say such things, as if he's the judge of what's good and bad? The more I think about it the more incredible it seems. He got really angry!
The first violent media deaths of ’82: someone blown up in N. Ireland, a man in Auckland, N.Z. found decapitated after trying out his home made guillotine. At teatime Mum and Andrew both lectured me on diplomacy and tact, and I suppose it’s true. I should learn by Dad’s mistakes, not respond likewise.
At about seven-thirty I was downstairs, having just made a Herculean effort to start my essay on Naipaul, when Andrew asked if I fancied going to the pub’ with him. I said OK and we set off for the Windmill. We didn’t stay there long. Beetham and Boocock and girlfriends from school were there and for some reason I was embarrassed. Me and Andrew talked about his involvement in the Badon College Student’s Union but how he dislikes politics. I said I thought I could end up being a militant NUS person but then I felt like I was sinking into cliché. Why do I have such a negative view of things?
On to the Rising Sun, which was packed out, as expected. There were loads of people there I knew: Sean Barker, Nigel Duckett, Gillian Pugh, Mr. Gledhill, the Chapelside ex-student lot, etc. . . . We drank loads, exchanging wooden formalities with everyone, and Gillian came over and talked with us. "You were really bad that Tuesday" she said, referring to the former students thing at Harvey's. We had quite a long conversation, which is amusing because she's regarded as the school 'dosser.' I had five pints and got quite drunk.
Friday, January 1, 1982
New Year's Day. Grant arrived at twelve, bringing with him an album by The Pop Group and we sat for a while and played records with Andrew. This made me uneasy. How would they react to one another?
I began to realise, probably because I feel like I change so much when I'm in different situations, just how strange Grant really is. The perspective of the two different ‘me’s’ – the Grant me and the me of home – gave me a balanced sort of view of him. He constantly hides or rubs his face with his hands, and frequently scowls or frowns because he's paranoid. His laughter is a bit too loud at times. I told him I could see him being really unstable one day, and he found this interesting.
We went for a walk. It was foggy and the roads were even more slippery than before. As we walked up Glenbank Lane, Grant told me about how people at school think he's pretentious, and about his New Year’s Eve at the Albion in Ashburn, “I felt angry.” We reached the top of Glenbank and were greeted by the panoramic sweep of skyline from Moxthorpe right over towards Knowlesbeck, Heber, and Keddon moors and beyond. It was sunny, yet the entire Cluder valley was filled with a sea of white mist above which floated the disembodied yellow and black streaked bulk of Ainsley Hill, still covered in deep snow, against a hazy blue sky. We were really impressed and so we sat on a bench for a while, just admiring the view. What with the weird landscape spread out before us and a man riding around in a horse-drawn sleigh it was all slightly surreal.
I thought about last night. . . . Maybe it was just a hangover, but it felt like everything was pervaded with negativity and a sort of pessimism.
We wandered on amid amazing sunlit-blue shadow scenery and I wished I had a camera. We thought of going all the way to Knowlesbeck but turned off Gilthwaite New Road instead, down a footpath through snow fields and feathery mist-shrouded trees, the sun now a yellow disc surrounded by a smokey glow, weird-looking through tangled branches. I enjoyed this the best. We walked, slipped, and fell our way down to the footbridge and stood over the road watching the traffic and thick fog and talking. . . .
When we got back we played records and watched Talisman and The Specials on Something Else's pick o’ the year. Grant invited me to a concert with a mime act and poetry reading at Easterby Poly and things wound down to their gloomy silent conclusion. We both sat in the living room, hardly speaking. He left just as 2001: A Space Odyssey was beginning. Mum confessed to being “bored stiff” by the film and I admit it wasn’t as good on TV.
Andrew says Grant comes across as pretentious. I don’t know what to think.