Monday, May 7, 1984


Another day of blazing sun, countered by a chilly wind. The sea sparkled this morning, clear right to the sharp horizon, a demaraction between shades. I sat in my chair in the window reading and watching the sea and sky.

I went out for Gav’s birthday; he’s 23 and set out to spend the entire day drunk and out of his head. I met him, Alex, I. Tropp and a group of Alex’s punk-hippie friends in The Underground on Maynard Gardens, then to the Seven Sisters where we met a rambling old man whose mind was still in the world of 1940s wartime England. He kept looking at me and saying “Bomber Command.”

Ian full of contempt and ridicule.

As the day wore on, dissension grew between Ian and Alex/Gav, and it broke into an open argument as we gravitated to the beach, which was hot and glaring and full of holiday makers. I dragged along in their wake, never saying much and lay in the pebbles hiding my face from the sun and listening to their interminable bitching over how much Ian did or didn’t know about Buddhism.

Both Gav and Alex attacked him for his “egoism and pretentiousness,” Alex getting quite angry with him, while Ian kept on with his quiet yet insistently urgent defence: “Pretentious was a word I forgot about years ago” . . .. etc.

Then he left for home, so G., A. and I went to a sex shop where Gav bought a tiny silver bottle of Bolt—amyl nitrate—which we all sniffed. It made me feel as though my head was bursting. My vision began to speckle and I got yellow spots before my eyes and as these faded, they were replaced by a dull pain deep inside my head. It was hardly a pleasant sensation, and one that felt decidedly harmful, so after several snorts of the stuff I declined and stuck to the cider and wine. But I couldn’t shake off a semi-drunken mood of seedy self-neglect all afternoon, which is a mood I always fall into during daylight drinking bouts.

By early evening the brightness had slipped away and the sea looked blue and huge and still, with none of the dappled patches of shade and light I’d noticed earlier.

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