Tuesday, September 13, 1983

Blue phantoms

It was very cold this morning. I jumped out of bed shivering. There was a heavy dew on the lawn and condensation on the windows, outside the smell of frost, frozen canals and cloudless, glittering days.

We’re going to suffer this winter in Jervis Terrace.

Grant rolled up at one o’clock and after playing a few records we went out to the Windmill in Moxthorpe for a drink. I bought four cans of Stella Artois lager at the off-licence and we drank these sitting at the top of Glenbank Lane, our backs against a young oak tree, overlooking the spread of Egley’s red-roofs and secluded gardens. Keddon Hill loomed across the valley: to our left lay Knowlesbeck.

We got very fresh and loud, helpless with laughter at a bizarre comment one or the other of us made and stumbled back towards my house—I felt like going to a party—but within half-an-hour of having tea, as we sobered up, our alcohol-fired enthusiasm, conversation and high spirits died. I fell into a drowsy torpour and Grant felt the same, and it wasn’t until eight that I felt lively again.

Grant and I amused ourselves by listening to old ‘60s/early ‘70s records. Which of my records will people be “amusing themselves” with in ten, fifteen years time? The Fall? We came upon a classic, a 1972 effort called Distortions by Blue Phantom, which has the worst cover of nearly any LP I’ve ever seen. The music is ‘progressive’ (utterly bland and monotonous) rock embellished with synthesizers and ‘special effects,’ and test-card muzak. The tracks all have names such as “Psycho-Nebulous,” “Violence” and “Equilibrium” etc.

Grant and Nik have finally got their magazine together and had it printed; thirty copies at 50p each. In the pub, Grant suggested that I write something for it, and he hopes it’ll be a continuing concern that’s kept going with contributions from more people, perhaps some of Nik’s Camberwell Art College friends, and Grant’s friends-to-be at Gloucester. They’ve called it The Spike because “we couldn’t think of anything better.”

He left at eleven to walk home. He goes to Gloucester on the 28th. Lee rang shortly before he left, full of a trip to Whincliffe he made with John and a hat he’s brought.

There’s quite a big contingent of people from Easterby at colleges and poly’s in the South: Tommy is at Camford Poly, Nik's in London, Grant at Gloucester, Lee and I at Watermouth; there are probably more. Grant still can’t believe that he’s actually going to escape the clutches of his home situation after so long and so much uncertainty. I often thought that he’d end up drifting into a crummy job in Easterby and a flat of his own (it’d have to be in Lockley).

He’s feeling fed up with his group Eat People and told me that he’d been embarrassed listening to their latest tapes because they sounded “so contrived.” The guitarist has become the dominant influence on their ‘musical direction’ and Grant is glad that going to Gloucester will give him opportunity to quit, no doubt to get involved in something stranger there.

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