Saturday, September 3, 1983

Say yes to everything


Robert came in the morning for the match. I was treated to a monologue on Buddhism and the need to say Yes to everything; this reminded me of The Outsider. “You can't be a true Buddhist until you’ve accepted rebirth,” says Robert, and claims he has.

I can’t accept that all beings—insects, animals, even humans—will be reborn in different form. If ninety-nine percent of humanity are ‘animal minds’ who live, eat, sleep and fuck for generation after generation without seeing, as Robert claims, then what of the other fraction? I suppose those who are aware of the impermanence of all things are the ones who see suffering as self-inflicted misery that results from an inability to see the world in its true perspective. All suffering springs from this lack of Yea-Saying qualities in the self and it’s like this because we ignore the flimsiness of the foundations on which we’ve built civilization: we deny our own mortality and forget that all material wealth and power and happiness is impermanent. “We look after the body but forget about the Mind,” says Robert. We fail to accept the fleeting nature of our existence on earth and we turn money and possessions into gods that smother everything, including the Mind.

The last year has changed Robert’s life. . . . How much longer can he continue in the confines of his job and marriage? It seems as though as he grows his material world becomes narrower and narrower until finally he’ll have to make a decision.

Perhaps Carol will grow with him too?


The weather was blustery and showery. Croft Perseverance were Athletic’s opponents. The ball just wouldn’t run for Athletic, and a couple of certain goals were denied by agonising off-the-line clearances by Croft defenders. Athletic had more chances in the first half and should’ve scored.

The Shed was crowded because of the rain and a half-time brass band complimented the clich├ęd Northern backdrop of terraced houses and industrial wasteland up beyond Three Locks Road. Noticing this, a big contingent of Athletic supporters broke into a stentorian and ironic rendition of Dvorak’s “Going Home.”

Although Athletic outplayed Croft in the second half, they beat us by three soft goals in the last ten minutes, which brought typically fickle reactions from the fans—“You fuckin’ bastards!” etc., etc., this aimed at the Athletic bench. This annoyed Robert, and Athletic’s bad luck also angered a bewildered Dad who went on about it as though it were something which could be argued with. There is a smell of relegation in the air, and it will be a struggle to stay up.

Tonight Shelley rang from Watermouth; she, Stu and Shawn were at her flat and are on speed as I write this. She phoned through want of better things to do; she broke into occasional giggles and sounded as breathless and as full of beans as ever. I spoke briefly and awkwardly to Shawn who sounds to have had as empty and pointless a summer as I have. He hasn’t got a job and has alternated his time between home and Watermouth. He and Stu are down to look for flats for next term.

I put down the phone with mixed feelings, leaving them (no doubt) to pace the floor of Shelley’s flat all night. That world is so near, so ready to take my to its heart with open arms. Meanwhile I sit up here in Northern isolation and make plans to live and be in a way which is far removed from the hurly burly of the hard reality in Watermouth. Shelley’s call gave a premonition of how truly vain and fatuous are my hopes for a different way to the one of old.

This repetitious petty crap needed to come out. The feeling that I can’t continue in the habits of the past is coming home to me and it manifests itself in dissatisfaction with my University course. The last day or so I’ve been seriously contemplating a change to something like Art History. I don’t know how seriously my tutors’d take me.

But in truth this would be a superficial remedy and I get sick of saying ‘something more is needed.’. . .  But something more is needed. Another two years of what I’ve already had isn’t enough!

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