Tuesday, March 29, 1983


Dad dropped me at Grant’s in the grey dismal rain of early afternoon.

After listening to a few things by The Fall we set off to walk into Easterby, pausing at the entrance to Woodhead Park to hang about for Lee, whom I’d arranged to meet. He didn’t turn up (I think we were too early), so we carried on up through Lockley past the hut where I used to go to cub and scout meetings. The fact that the Lockley cubs and scouts have long since folded because of a lack of support seemed to emphasise all that has gone.

We walked into town through the serried repetitious ranks of box-like flats, all identical and circled by lines of flapping washing and groups of playing kids, an odd contrast between the unnaturally angular houses and the living moving people. We passed rows of Victorian terraces, some roofless and derelict, scraps of brightly patterned wallpaper still visible on the interior walls through the gaping windows.

By the time we tramped down Fawcett Road toward Easterby the rain sprayed down in a fine drizzle, and gusted in great curtains across the open spaces away in the distance. We commented on how miserable it made everything appear, the big black factories with their grey windows, the churches beneath their stark spines on the horizon, the long lines of bleak prewar ‘modern’ terraces with their mucky white plaster faced fronts & empty curtain trimmed windows. . . .

We went to the flea-market to look through the bootleg tapes of The Fall, The Pop Group, Hendrix, The Birthday Party, etc. The usual crop of raincoats were there (sez I), but as I don’t have a cassette player it was pointless me buying anything. I left feeling vaguely dissatisfied and sickened off, whereas I’d felt OK before. I tried to draw money out from my cash-point but I’d forgotten my card and thought maybe I’d lost it, and so we wandered about in Easterby with scarcely a pound between us. I had 12p.

We sat for an hour or so in a café up Dyson Street which was filled with tables of loudly chatting women with babies and bags, men with newspapers, and office workers in suits and ties totting up figures. Out we went again into the wet slimy streets, ducking into the Eastgate centre for warmth and comfort. At Smith’s I saw Myth de Sysyphe, The Fall, and The Happy Death by Camus.

Grant was now silent and seemed bored. All avenues of talk (even mindless hysteria) had dried up. He says he’s still writing poetry about mental states and is seeing Nik tonight and on Friday practices with his “tame” band (a “tameness” he’s irked by). I don’t have the confidence to set a poem down on paper and anyway poetry has never beckoned me as such. Jack of all trades, master of none. Grant said goodbye with scarcely a comment or a smile and was gone, leaving me on the bus.

I have read a little more of Nate Shaw and as I write Radio 3 strings slide their way through some hard and spiny atmospheric 1980 composition by Richard Rodney Bennett. The weary-mindedness has again crept up in me like a cancer.

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