Say hello, wave goodbye – 31st January 1994

Seven days later and phew!  Monday and Tuesday my baby worked herself silly and spent each evening zombie-like and sleepy while I continued with the boxes.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday found us under more and more boxes and our tempers were getting frayed.  We will survive a million tiny bickers – I don’t anticipate a major argument between me and my baby for several centuries yet!

Pete and Kathryn increasingly upset us with their sad attitudes to life.  Pete being particularly antagonising.


Thursday went to our future abode where Ally was busy packing, Fatty out collecting some furniture.  When the Fat Man turned up, one tyre repair later, a brief discussion regarding deposit money ensued.  Simon asked me not to give Fatty the deposit until they’d sorted out the bills – this just after I told them I would!  Oh well – awkwardness abounds.  Not til later I found out they had an argument over it (Fatty arguing the most I’d venture) Fatty threatening to beat up Simon!  The first of a hundred crazy stories John and Simon have told us about Fatty and Ally – now I’ve heard both sides of the story.  I find John and Simon much more believable and ‘correct’

Friday found us seeing off Gordon and Nikki as they trek around the world or as far as they can go.  Mick and Lisa graced Poole with their presence to catch of glimpse of Rich next door singing Pogues numbers with Hoedown at Hanks, with that nasty John Otway hater drummer who took over my room at 86.

Saturday and Sunday were big move days and a lot of the time was spent cleaning and trying to remove cat piss odours off all the carpets and removing stains from the nicotine browned walls.

After much quarrelling me and my baby slept like lambs in our new room.  We love it! Right at the top of the house – I trod those stairs a hundred zillion times already – the sun shines in a-blazing!

Sunday was a beautiful sunny day and everyone was smiling.  John, Simon and Mary – our new housemates – all seem like really decent people and we feel rejuvenated for more exciting times to come.

Bronwyn is going down with flu – I’m sure from all the chemicals we’ve been spraying to relieve our house of the odour of piss.  Spoke to her this morning and my heart beams over bridges on lakes a-plenty for her.  I will see her tonight and tell her this.

1st Feb 2018 – Initially I was just going to put these old diary entries up as is but on going through them has prompted some thoughts and reflection on them.  The main one is the traumatic events around the ending of a friendship with Fatty.  It’s clear to me that at the time it was something I needed to do.  It also has become clear to me that the trauma was caused by the deep love and affection I had for him and our friendship.

Fatty and I were very much alike so we got on really well but in the end I wanted to change myself and I felt like I was getting his support in that effort.  Of course, this is all over 20 years ago now, we are all, hopefully, much the wiser.  I believe that I have learned many things about and since that time.  I don’t have many people that I would call very close friends, if any at all.  Possibly this is a reaction to the way things happened with Fatty, and quite likely, an odd reaction to Steve, being so selfish to go and die on us all like that.

Fatty and I are now Facebook friends and we still chat about music and comics, never bringing up the past.  If I get back to England again sometime in the future and the opportunity arises, I’d go and share a beer with my old friend.

I cannot say that I don’t like it – 24th January 1994

Bummed around the hollow house.  A box inside other boxes.

From that box to cardboard box packed up my belongings in anticipation of our move.  The anticipation has already brought beaming teethy smiles to our weekly work-worn faces.  Here starts the weekend of the rest of our life.  For some time, anyway.

Tripped the fantastic freeway, not before Bronwyn had seven panic attacks trapped by the constricts of time.  I strummed the guitar quietly but could not temper her whirlwind.  Arrived in Southampton exactly on time!

Had a little beer before hot-footing it to the bus stop.  Fifty-nine times I wanted to step off the bus to relieve myself behind some dirty shop, down some dangerous back alley.  Held off and dashed to the pub toilets.

Boogied away with friends and beers, laughed and laughed and laughed and wound up broke.

One food stop later and emotions were running high, much discussion that I no longer recall.  One taxi journey later and emotions ran high in our little friend Rob.  Beers turned to tears and with a little advice from my beautiful baby I shut the fuck up. The tears dried up with the beers and sleep met the agenda.

Up early to a dry ugly mouth, soon satisfied with cups of hot coffee waitered by Dave.  Johnny played DJ and we tapped our toes to Superchunk, Rocket from the Crypt and Leatherface.  Johnny found his air guitar and occasionally hit the right notes.

Broni, Rob and I discussed the booklet in more depth and things should be together soon.  Rob’s done an excellent job so far.

Much talk about Mr Cynical (now self-censored!) and going to London to check out the Natural History Museum and the Boredoms in Feb.

Put rubber to road and popped into Chrissy’s, dropping in a beautiful picture of her and Steve from Corfu.  Many children ran the house.  We all left – them to their Gran’s, us to our home and the quest for food!

Supposed to hit the flicks at four with smiling Kerry but plans changed and garlic bread and sparkling wine became more wanting.  Me and baby chatted for well over an hour in that dim dingy living room that we’ll be leaving behind.

Pete, Kathryn, Steve and Rebecca got sporting and went ice skating.  I got mushy and read Kerouac to my baby until she couldn’t concentrate on his meandering trails of sentences.  I felt romantic and poetic as I hope the prose relays.

The guys came back from their adventures – Steve and Pete both claiming to be ‘the best!’  I hit the great outdoors and run the grimy streets for Haagen-Daaz – well worth the effort – many thoughts came to me and boy, am I glad to be alive (with the intention of living life to the full).  Rob lent us a CD of Phillip Glass with Allen Ginsberg readings – it’s beautiful.  Another one with a way with words.  I love all that poetic stuff and I love that about me.

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Watcha gonna do? – 21st January 1994

Another eventful week finds me writing this Saturday a.m. at work.  Let’s start with Thursday’s encounter with Fatty.  He phoned up in the evening moaning about going to the Brickie’s to meet cos it was too far and it was pissing down (it wasn’t raining at all) so I had to make the effort and go to Grasshoppers near him

We chatted til closing time (Bronwyn went out for a meal with Rosemary – wish I’d gone in hindsight!) and we got on quite well.  I was being very positive and deliberately avoided putting him down.  He, however, didn’t.  He said my letter was rubbish cos it was all from a book and ‘you don’t need books to tell you how to be’.

I took in everything he said and really just let him get on with it.  I wasn’t going to argue or point out any of his faults.  He said I’m a different person every time I get a girlfriend and that I treat him badly.  He also said he knows me better and that I’m not a positive person but just get like this when I meet a girl.

I now realise he doesn’t know me at all and am very upset by what he has said.  I don’t feel like being friendly with him at all. He’s using emotional blackmail and paranoia to try and get what he wants.  He wants me to be like him I think – like we may have been years ago.  I’m afraid I’ve changed and do not want to be like that ever again. I’m going places and determined not to let anyone get me down.

I told him we intended going ice skating with Chrissy and Amanda on Saturday and he said ‘Fuckin’ hell, you’ll be going bowling next!’  More fuel for Mr Cynical!

Our meeting left me feeling angry and scared.  He makes me doubt myself and puts me in a bad mood.  Do I need that?  I don’t think so.

On Friday me and my baby crashed round at Kerry’s.  We watched TV and got a little drunk.  It was a pleasant evening and we were glad to be out of the house.

Saturday we went to meet Chrissy and loads of others at Tower Park.  We didn’t find them so went to eat pizza.  We did see Rut there though!

Me and Broni talked for about an hour about Fatty. She’s really upset with him too.  Since Thursday I hadn’t been very nice to Broni cos I was unsure of myself.  After pizza, we went home and practically fell asleep! Later we headed on up to the Joiners and had a great time watching Haywire (Broni wants to play sax with them!), Chicken Bone Choked (brilliant set!) and Fabric.  Only saw two songs of Fabric – their guitarist was the spitting image of Rob!

Went on over to Chrissy’s where her, Terri, her mum and her brother Rob (?) were playing Yahtzee.  We joined in too and ended up playing that and Uno until two o’clock.  Woke up again about 8 o’clock and had a great day again looking after Amanda and Rebecca.  Rich, Rob, John, Selena and Dave came round in the evening.  I spent about an hour putting Rebecca to sleep after was sick on me.  I love those kids.  I felt rejuvenated with positive energy.  So much better than Fatty’s influence.  I’m going to try and keep our friendship distant for a while.

Monday night I went to sleep at about 9 o’clock!  Tuesday night Broni went to sleep at about 9 o’clock!  Weekend caught up with us.

On Wednesday we went to the Joiners to see S.M.A.S.H. with Rich, John and Dave.  John and Dave were well pissed – singing Ramones songs at the end.  S.M.A.S.H. were really good though did look a bit ‘contrived’ as Rich kept saying.  Dropped everyone home and me and Broni had a bit of a tiff – she was very tired.  She works far too hard and I keep telling her to take it easier at work.

I rang up the letting agent on Tuesday and went over and signed to start living where Fatty is now, as soon as he leaves.  I rung up and told Fatty – he was a bit pissy as he told me to wait until his contracts had been exchanged but I was thinking ‘fuck you, I’m taking control – I have to sort out where we’re going to live’.  Besides that, he seemed ok – though he didn’t have much good to say!

Thursday me and Broni probably had a fight – we’ve been very strained this week with me being upset by Fatty and her having a bit of P.M.T. and working too hard.  We get through though.

Friday was a funny old day.  I rang Chrissy from work and we had a long chat.  I tried to get her to tell me how she was feeling and although I think it upset her a bit she knows she’s going to have to go through it.  We talked about all sorts of stuff and I could tell her thoughts were elsewhere.  She is so nice – it’s hard to accept something so sad could happen to her.  We make a lot of effort for our friends cos we know they are worth it.

Got home – no Broni!  It got to about six and I was getting very worried.  I rang Kerry and Jo who hadn’t seen her.  Kerry’s dad had been taken to the hospital too.  I was really upset cos I know she would ring if she was going to be late.  All sorts of thoughts ran through my head.  I couldn’t handle being without my Broni-baby.

Anyway, she turned up at 6.15 or so and went next door to chat with Dani and Rich.  I was very relieved.

During the week I’d been working on a Mr Cynical and my own column – inspired by my meeting with Fatty.  He said to me he was really hurt by telling everyone Steve was my best friend and cut me down for it – even saying his funeral was the wrong place to say it!!!

This got me thinking about friends and how friends like to be treated and how I like them to treat me.  Steve and most of the Southampton crew are great friends and show me love, respect and interest.  I don’t get that from Fatty – ever!  It’s a case of where do I go from here.  The easiest thing to do is for us to drift apart but I feel like I want to tell him why I don’t like him but my anger would make it unconstructive.

I so much would like for him to be happy and enthusiastic and see a light at the end of the tunnel but like he says, he’s stubborn and loves moaning!  Maybe he’s upset cos a girlfriend can have a big influence on me, yet he can’t? (Although he does have an influence on me and it’s not one I like at all). He’s very insecure and unhappy with himself.  He thought the book I was reading from was a religious thing!  I guess to have faith in oneself would look like that to one with a soul so black.  He even thought my mum was being over the top when she said she had an ‘excellent’ Christmas – like I’d told her to be enthusiastic to Fatty in an effort to cheer him up.  He’s getting really paranoid!  I don’t want to waste any more of my time on him.  Steve’s death teaches me that time is short and ‘real’ friendship is very important.

Me and Broni went for a pub meal and caused great commotion cos we wanted vegetarian food – it was funny!  Popped round to Kerry’s – she was very drunk and not so much fun.  Met her new lodger, Simon, who seemed really nice.  Kerry’s friend Jen came over and she seemed drunk too – it was a horrible atmosphere then.

Broni’s told me a bit about Jen and she’s not very likeable.  Not a nice thing to say I know but…..  They reminded me of Emma’s mum and her lover.  They were fun but out of control.  I’d hate to see Kerry go that way.  I think Jen’s probably a bad influence in her life but her insecurity makes them friends.  How to tell Kerry to cut down on the booze?  She’s a bright girl and very intelligent – a shame to waste those good points.  We left quickly despite Jen’s protests – she reminded me of a wino!  Like Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous but with no sense of humour.  (Things go wrong for those expecting the worst – what goes around comes around).

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Watched a bit of TV when we got back but Pete’s letching at girls on TV really pissed us off.  Besides sometimes being a nice bloke he really is an asshole.  He goes on about how great it is to see gays on TV and freedom for homosexuals but puts down women left, right and centre.  And Kathryn, dear girl, let’s it go on.  I lack understanding (Thankfully).

Enough for now.  I still miss my friend, Steve.  Your death has transformed me (and others too!).  Look to the future!

Cowboy killers – 12th January 1994

Getting Bronwyn up is great fun!  She looks like a little child looking up at me through sleepy eyes, with her bottom lip stuck out.  She looks so beautiful.  She sleeps on and I wish I could get back into bed with her and into her arms and into dreams.  These winter mornings are difficult to get up to.

Read parts of ‘The Understanding…’ book as aid for tomorrow’s encounter with Fatty.  Learn to disagree, respect yourself and others – that kind of thing.  Just have to remember all the things it mentions and not get hot-headed as I could be tempted to and then I know nothing would get resolved.

Received our special chicken pox edition of the free LP for the Newport New Year gig (that we couldn’t attend).  Good old Simon – punk rock in spirit and in heart.

It’s so hard to fall in love – 11th January 1994

Entries from 1994 are left as written, except fixing any typos.  On reading these words again 24 years later I can see they don’t always form a great narrative structure and introduce people, concepts and ideas without any background.  That may become apparent in future entries from this period and I’m also loath to add to this dialogue from the present – ‘knowing all the things I know’.

All written here dedicated for Steve Burgess R.I.P. 28/12/93

Many things have happened since Steve’s death.  It was a shock to everyone.  I remember when Rob called and Bronwyn called me from the other room, I could tell by her voice some had died and I initially thought it might be my mum.  We were both in tears.  And I was still getting over chicken pox.  What a terrible Christmas.

We went to see everyone in Southampton on the 30th.  We went to John and Selena’s.  It was a funny atmosphere but we all had a few drinks and by the end of the night, we were pretty drunk.  Selena spoke to Chrissy in the morning.  She was still sad but seemed fairly positive.  New Year’s Eve was the worst.  I burst into tears several times with Bronwyn comforting me.  I had a big cry and did feel better for it.

Things have been pretty quiet otherwise around this time.  Thursday 6th was Steve’s funeral.  It was very good (if that’s the right word). I’m sure everyone he knew was there.  A lot of us went to the pub afterwards.  It ended up with me, Bronwyn, Fatty, Rich, Rob, John, Selena, Gary and more (can’t remember).  It got very emotional.  I had a little cry and so did everyone else.  Me and Fatty had a heart to heart as he was upset that I considered Steve my best friend – though we didn’t really resolve anything.  Bronwyn suggested writing to him and after a day’s thought I did so.

On the Saturday me and my baby drove up to Southampton.  We dropped in on Rich and Rob before going to Chrissy’s.  I felt happy to be where Steve lived and didn’t feel uncomfortable in any way.  I didn’t once think it was strange that Steve wasn’t there.  There were lots of flowers and cards.  Chrissy seemed very well.  She’s been a lot stronger than I expected.  Heaven knows how I’d feel if I lost my beautiful Bronwyn.

We went to pick up John and Selena.  Selena said she felt a bit strange about going round but we convinced her it was going to be the best thing to do.  I think people are worried about what to say to Chrissy.  Chrissy just wants everyone to act normally.  Rich and Rob were a bit worried about that too.

I took a bit of control in the evening by organising everyone (I consulted Chrissy all the time though), in the hope of relieving Chrissy from having to worry about people coming round.  Selena phoned up Rich and Rob to get them to come down but she said Rich sounded a bit off on the phone.  I snuck out and went and got them.

By this time pizza had arrived and a few drinks had been consumed.  Everyone started to relax a bit and I think Chrissy was happy with that.

I had a chat with Amanda in an effort to try and get her to sleep!

Well, everyone got pretty drunk and had fun playing cards til 2 o’clock when everyone left and we went to sleep in Amanda’s room.

We spent all Sunday playing with Amanda.  I think she enjoyed having a male adult around.  I really enjoyed myself and had lots of fun though it was very exhausting.  Steve said ‘The best thing you can do it have kids’ and I did find myself a bit clucky. Wow!

Rebecca’s a beautiful little baby too. What a shame she’ll never meet the man who fathered her and a shame he’ll not be able to watch her grow up.  I felt attached in some way to Chrissy, Amanda and Rebecca and think it’s my way of hanging on to Steve.

I was sorry to leave Sunday night but happy to know me and Broni will be having our own kids someday.  We talked virtually non-stop on the way home.  I dropped the letter into Fatty’s too.  Rang him up next day and he looks like he’ll definitely be moving out of there and we can move in.  He said we should have a talk so we decided to go out on Thursday.  I couldn’t tell from his voice if he was upset with me or not.  He sounded kind of stern – like it was what we ‘ought’ to do.  However, he seemed fairly chirpy otherwise which certainly is a change.

Spoke to Rob tonight about the poetry booklet and it could cost us a fair bit but feel it to be worthwhile.  I’m writing an introduction which I think is fairly good even if I do say so myself.

Me and Broni had a couple of P.M.T. fights but we resolve things fairly quickly.  I want to be more patient and understanding.  I want to stop putting her down too I don’t even know I’m doing it.  She’s great, really the best girl I could ever wish for.  A true companion for the rest of my life.  I’m pleased other people say this to me too.