Monday, July 11, 1983

Step inside

I went into Easterby and met Lee. We went up to the Admiral Street dole office, then down to the one on Lloyd Street so that he could sign on. It was again very hot; I felt as if I was being burnt.

We wandered up to the Art College and Lee collected a boxful of ‘objets d’art’ which we then took around to the derelict house on Abbot Street that he's using as his base. He’s boarded up all the doors and we climbed up onto the porch roof to gain entry through an upper floor window. He hid the box in an upstairs room, barricading the door with a huge wooden beam, and we left for the pub for a drink, and then drifted around Easterby feeling jaded by the heat.

Lee seemed distant and uncommunicative.

We went to Suits Me and I looked for a second hand overcoat and after this, we ended up down on Lockley Lane, trying to gain entry to the old photography studios where he found all the photos. We crept through the overgrown rubble-choked yard but found the back door locked, so Lee suggested we explore an empty school nearby, the old Easterby Grammar School building that stands near the point where Hetherington Road and Dyson Street split. It’s been empty for as long as I can remember, the odd pane of glass broken, brick work black with soot and grime.

We got in through a gaping glass-less window, jumped down and I found myself in a classroom, empty and debris-littered, but still recognizably a classroom. The rest of the school was being gradually overtaken by grass and weeds; a dark and decaying staircase with a spidery tracery of banisters wound up into unknown regions above, the steps worn into hollows by the tramp of long dead feet. We visited each classroom in turn, gazing in on the huge main hall, its floor strewn with glass and lit by sunlight slanting in through large arched windows. Plants grew in green profusion from the walls.

Upstairs, Lee found his way into the tower up a cramped and steeply narrow staircase hemmed in by walls, up into a tiny secluded room lit by floor level windows—quite tidy. Through a hole onto the roof we could look out over the hazy skyline of Easterby.

We had a coffee at a Schofield Street café and I spied a girl I remembered from school, feeding her baby. She’s nineteen. Lee signed on at 3 and we said goodbye. I bought Joy Division’s Closer, but when I got home I discovered it was scratched.

In the evening I met Lee, Jeremy and—a ghost from the past—Tommy Whelan, at the Egley Former Students Disco. It was inauspicious. Tommy hasn’t changed a bit. Harvey’s was as crap as ever, a handful of people from our year there but we ignored them and they ignored us. Several times I felt hidden feet attempt to trip me up as I walked to and fro from the bogs. I ran into Julie Crabtree and Dawn Jagger, both very different now. Dawn was dressed all in white; gone the monkey boots and spiky locks of yesteryear and Julie’s hippy days are over too, apparently; she was dressed conservatively in a white skirt and red T-shirt with a page-boy haircut. She’s getting married next year.

We sat ourselves in a distant corner and hooted at the dancers, all girls initially, flowing virginal pastel shades of green and yellow predominating. They stood like statues, decked out in glowing ultra-violet whites, twisting and swaying imperceptibly in time to the music; they were soon joined by clone-like lads in tight jeans and white socks.

We spied Matthew Knight who looked like some gone-to-seed overweight thirty-year old. All the usual wankers were there, flashily dressed Mr. Farrar in mouthy good humour, Lynn Norden gone the way of all the rest it seemed. By way of parody and just for the doss, Lee and Jeremy went and stood out on the dance floor, totally motionless, gazing blankly into space like two waxwork dummies while people danced around them.

Tommy and I joined them and soon we began to attract attention, people pushing us or waving their hands in front of our faces. The wanky DJ said “They don’t realise how stupid they look, do they?” Them and us, and we were four.

I was hassled by stray dogs on the way home and got back at ten to two.

No comments:

Google Analytics Alternative