Saturday, May 14, 1983

Half a dog can’t piss

I spent most of the day in Watermouth with Guy, Barry and Russ. We set out in bright sunshine at about two-thirty. It was a perfect day and I wished I was setting off somewhere remote and ancient instead of plunging into the dusty turmoil of a Watermouth Saturday afternoon.

We stopped at the Second Edition bookshop where Barry tried to offload some Next Steps and Irish Freedom Movement books. I bought a copy of McTeague, and then it was off in search of a new football to replace Barry’s which had fatefully deflated on the day of the 7-a-side match. We paid £5.50 for quite a good ball, which we immediately set about drooling over, fondling and declaring how “excellent” it was.

The streets of Watermouth were seething with shoppers. Living as we do tucked away in the hills we lose touch with the reality of most peoples’ everyday existences and so it’s quite a novel experience just to walk down the pavement looking at everyone.

In Astlow Street we paused at the Common Good, Watermouth’s only alternative bookstore where I bought two records for £1.00 each, Brotzmann and Bennink’s Half a Dog Can’t Piss, and Bobby Wellins Live at Watermouth Jazz Club.

We emerged from the shady side streets into the full glare of the sea front. The sea was calm and blue, the horizon hazy, dotted here and there with the shrouded silhouettes of ships, isolated yachts and the occasional wind-surfer. Every so often the beach would echo with the chatter of a helicopter. On the prom, the families were out in force, children screaming and laughing, rushing to and fro, playing on slides or with remote control racing cars, or bouncing in the huge red and yellow inflatable castles standing at either side of the pier.

We sat on the curb edge watching it all pass, still gloating over our new football. It was quite an idyllic afternoon, everyone taking it easy. Russ was again in irritating boring assertive form, even towards us. Thankfully we got rid of him as he went off in search of cut-price fags, so we sat in deckchairs gazing out to sea: a couple was entwined on the pebbles below us, oblivious to all around them . . . I was surprised at the lateness of the hour, half past five already, but the glare of the sun was still intense and I started to get a headache.

So we wandered back up towards the train station, buying a Herald and a Chinese take-away which we ate sitting in a bus shelter. Athletic drew their last match of the season 2-2.

We decided to stay in town for the evening and I hit the cash point and we whiled away the next four or so hours away in various pubs; The Quayside, The Admiral, The Wagon and Horses, and the Crown and Flute. We rounded the evening off in fine style with a kebab each.

We got ‘home’ at eleven-thirty to find that most people had spent the evening fairly typically in Westway Loop or down the Cellar. I sat in my room with Gareth and a few others as Kamran, Shelley, Russ, Shawn and Guy burnt their way into the fag machine. They eventually ripped off £130 of cigarettes – Kamran whooped with delight as they piled the packets on Shelley’s bed. Gareth dismissed the whole affair as “pathetic” and I too washed my hands of it, for this time, I’m sure, there’ll be hassles galore from security, the Porter etc… I hid my acid inside a record sleeve as there might be searches of the rooms this time.

Later on, Roy and Lindsey came into my room and sat near the door. I may be wrong but I’m sure that Roy is attempting to be more friendly towards me. As he and Lin. bid everyone “goodnight” he had his eyes fixed directly on mine. I couldn’t care less now anyway; I’ve bludgeoned former feelings into submission in the face of inescapable Truth (or is it just the natural ebbing away of affection?)

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