Thursday, August 4, 1983

Night country

I’m now virtually fully recovered. My throat hardly hurts at all and I can swallow as normal and I’m relieved it was only tonsillitis and nothing more serious.

Today another day like all the rest.

I sit inside watching the light change from dull to bright and dull again, while the clock ticks on and on and Dad lays prostrate in sleep on the settee next to me, snorting from time to time. Next door in the dining room Mum is sewing; upstairs, Andrew moves about and whistles while the sounds of Return To Forever drift down the stairs.

He’s moving to London next week. When I think of what a huge step it is I can appreciate in a small way how scared he must be. My days however are empty. I keep promising myself “tomorrow, tomorrow,” but tomorrow always finds me sitting about in a limbo of inaction, scheming for the future: “The evolutionary wound we bear has been the creation of a thing abstracted out of time yet trapped within it: the mind, by chance distorted, locked into a white-ribbed cage which effervesces into air the moment it approaches wisdom.”

The big trial of IRA men has just ended in London and they’ve been convicted on the evidence of IRA “supergrass” Christopher Black. Three of them have gone down for life. I’m infuriated by the blaze of British propaganda. What is murder to one is assassination to another and vice versa; the IRA are described as murderous psychopaths, while the British Army (themselves no innocents at terrorizing civilians) are the heroic boys in khaki, defending the Glorious name of the British State. Although ‘imperialism’ sounds too sloganistic a word to use, it’s the one that springs to mind. “It’s a pity they can’t pull a plug and let Ireland sink into the sea,” says Dad, self-assuredly.

Last night, as we watched scenes of Iranian Imperial Guards gunning down protestors, Andrew said, “If I thought the British would do a thing like that I think I’d leave now.” Peterloo? Bloody Sunday? Stinking hypocrisy! A select few strut and shout and wield their power for Money and Self, or is it Flag and Country? I end up ranting in some sort of naïve New Puritan rage that “all leaders are criminals and bastards.”

There, I’ve exorcised my demons for the day.

I’ve been reading Loren Eiseley’s The Night Country which, oddly enough, is full of none of the things I’ve just been gibbering on about. According to Eiseley, the half page above springs from the beast within; it’s my animal-side struggling to the surface. I’ve nearly finished it and it’s enthralling stuff, similar in style to Ray Bradbury, all about the night things, what they’ve meant to him and his recollections of a life hunting fossils in America.

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