Saturday, January 1, 1983

"A new one just begun"

“Another year over and a new one just begun,” and so far it hasn’t really been a very happy one for me.

New Year's Eve night was clear with a full moon. I wanted to go out, so I called Grant and met him in Ashburn; he lent me back the money I’d given him earlier for a record and we set out for the Albion. I suppose I should've known that these occasions always depress me: my inadequacies are thrown into stark relief and I end up feeling bitter and angry towards ordinary people. . . . I’m so painfully awkward.

The Albion was impossibly crowded so we walked miles to the Iron Duke, where we saw in the new year, standing sullen and cynical to one side, sneering at the revelry, talking loudly about how so few people seem worth the effort. I always end up turning into a fascist in these situations, “Line the bastards up against a wall,” etc., which is probably just my frustration and inferiority complex talking. Truth is I wouldn't have minded immersing myself in the sea of lecherous embraces.

Finally the Hour dawned, and we could hear Big Ben faintly above the festive roar of incessant shouting, the clinking glasses, the laughter. We joined in the usual drunken rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,” singing “Fuck off you cunts” instead.

How bitter can you get? I got home to find Andrew and Dad slightly drunk. I felt pretty sickened off with the whole ‘scene’ so I went to bed after the Old Grey Whistle Test's ‘Pick of the Year.’

An inauspicious start to 1983 on the football field. Dad, Andrew and I drove to Whincliffe for the much-anticipated Yorkshire derby game with Athletic. It was wet and dismal and the seven hundred or so Athletic fans were herded to one end of the ground, open to the elements. The rest of the ground was quite full. We met Robert inside.

Athletic began well but after only a few minutes, a cross ended up in the Athletic net and then almost immediately Whincliffe scored again with a penalty. The Athletic fans were plunged into restless, despairing silence, before Newlands pulled one back with a simple header past the motionless keeper.

In the second half things looked a bit more even and Athletic seemed more willing to attack, but Whincliffe looked very very good in spells, especially going forward. And sure enough, after yet another fluid, penetrating Whincliffe raid we saw the ball crash past a statuesque Nussey to make it 1-3. Seconds later they had another and Athletic were broken. They were all over us now, Easterby’s ragged defence looking slow and unsophisticated. Shortly it was five; Nussey was playing terribly, never moving for the ball and showing a total lack of anticipation.

Finally Whincliffe’s sixth stuffed the defeat home and the home crowd rose to roar its triumph at us. It was good to see the Athletic following give the team a standing ovation at the end. There was troubled talk between us of how the break seems to have left us a poorer side. Are we going to be relegated? Will we get a new ‘keeper? Outside the ground the streets were congested as hundreds of cars and thousands of people flooded up Purswell Road towards the town centre.

Distinct feelings of dissatisfaction with this journal again. As I said earlier, it's a feeling that it ought to be more, that it isn’t enough as it is. I'm still only ½ way through Simmons and Ulysses beckons, all six hundred confusing pages.

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