Wednesday, April 20, 1983


I met Lee last night at Watermouth bus station. He was cluttered with ‘objets d’art’ for his interview, and carried a large canvas, his folio, and a plastic bag containing the coke bottle photograms. In a little red cross haversack on his back he had the cow’s ear piece which I saw in Easterby and which stuck up at a crazy angle. All of this gave him an odd appearance.

We struggled back to campus and sorted out all his stuff for his interview in the morning. The canvas was the single biggest item, a strange amalgam of various bits and pieces that can be described individually, but not so overall—the limitations of language!

With string, wire and glue he'd fastened various objects onto the canvas—a doll’s leg, a length of rope, a piece of leather cut out from an old boot, two flies labeled Fido and Rover, a length of Perspex (“to refract”), and two small squares of canvas which he'd nailed onto the steps of the Art College for a few hours: these he then fastened back onto the big canvas, all spattered and dirt-grimed. He’d covered everything with a layer of Marvin Medium mixed with brown paint to seal it. There were other pieces I remembered from before, and some new things, including a few objective paintings and drawings. Altogether it was quite an interesting collection.

His art caused bemusement in Wollstonecraft; Stu liked the ear for its sheer-repulsion value although Lindsey thought it foul and demanded he “take it away.” Mo and Pete thought the standard of his stuff was pretty good, although Lee did admit to being nervous about how little he’d brought down. We went to sleep fairly early.

Lee’s interview began at 10.30, although he had to be in and setting up his work for inspection by 9.30, and we got to room 235 up on the third floor of the Art College with just minutes to spare. Other hopefuls were already busying themselves pinning up their art, and Lee met a blonde, straight-haired, black-skirted girl he knew from Easterby. After getting him some Blu-Tack I left and came back to campus.

He rang me up at about two and I went back in to help him carry his things back. The interview had gone well and he seemed confident of getting in, but was a bit disillusioned with the cursory way the tutors had flicked through his folio: they thought them “sterile” and “conservative.”

When we got back he flung himself gratefully down on the bed and fell asleep. Later, Lindsey came in and sat with us awhile and we talked: she seemed quite amused by Lee in an awkward, unfamiliar and embarrassed sort of way, and I noticed that she was as red-faced and self-conscious when speaking directly to him as I am with her.

We were interrupted when the mattress Lee was kipping on and which I’d propped up against the wall keeled over and fell on top of her, completely burying her. I’d promised Penny that I’d meet her at six in Watermouth to give blood, so for the third time in one day I set off for the railway station, accompanied by Lee who said he’d give blood as well.

By now it was dark and drizzly.

I met Penny outside WH Smiths and felt anxious as I went with her down to the Watermouth Centre. We were registered and sat down to await our turn and engage in nervous laughter and fatalistic talk. My number was up. The Asian doctor plunged his needle into my arm and as he did so I braced my legs against thin air, much to the amusement of the down-to-earth nurse who was in attendance: “You ought to have been an actor.”

Afterwards we lay down for 10-15 minutes and ate crisps and drank orange juice. I didn’t feel anything except for a slight, maybe psychological (?) weakness in my left arm, and a definite ache.

I went to bed pretty early having seen hardly anyone.

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