Friday, June 10, 1983

How can I turn boredom into an artform?

Another hot day spent lounging about, watching the election news in the morning and kicking a ball about in the afternoon.

I got a letter from Andrew asking me what I’m doing over the summer. It all depends on whether or not I get a job. I intended making a start on my essays, but I frittered the afternoon away in the sun and listening to the Velvet Underground and Joy Division.

In the evening, Barry’s friend Mike from Manchester arrived in his car. Of all of Barry’s friends he's probably the easiest to get on with and the least ideological. We went up to the Town and Gown with Shelley, Pete and Lindsey. Lindsey and Shelley sat quietly talking while Barry and Mike laughed and talked Marxism, the RCP, and shared tales of Patrick and Carl Cotton.

Lindsey seemed quite cheerful. Earlier, she and Susie bought me a badge (“How Can I Turn Boredom Into an Artform”). They said they thought it quite appropriate. For some reason I felt very down, as though suddenly the semi-contentment of the last month had been stripped away and I'm filled with the Void. I felt dead and helpless and I didn’t know why. Even talking seemed too much effort, and I could only parry Pete’s attempts to cheer me up. How do I explain what I felt? It’s such an effort and virtually impossible probably to capture the precise essence of my mood at that time. But all I could see around me was total meaninglessness.

Everyone left, Barry and co. to go into Watermouth in Mike’s car, and Lindsey and Shelley back to Wollstonecraft. I sat on my own for a moment, my inner state dominating every thought, denying me any peace. There was nothing I could do, so I too walked back to Wollstonecraft, where I lay on my bed in a state just like the old times. In a way it had something to do with Lindsey, but not entirely. . . . For an instant I felt myself begin to crumple. Quite out of the blue I felt as if something had dropped into me from a great height.

The corridor was empty, so I went to bed. It was only 11 p.m. and as I lay there uncomfortable and wide awake in the dark I heard people returning, mumbled voices from someone's room.

I look back on what I’ve written and I wonder why I’ve gone into such painstaking detail. I didn’t intend to. In years to come I’ll appreciate all this for what it is—mindless, utterly mundane trivia. I’ll laugh at my typically adolescent obsessions.

Laugh, or probably throw up.

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