My music search this week – 5th November 2020

  1. In a never ending search for music that I haven’t yet heard and might like (that is making me slightly mad) I came across some great blogs that I, surprisingly, hadn’t come across before. First is One Chord Is Enough, with one or two obscure 70s and 80s tunes to listen to. Punk, post-punk and things from when it was exciting to read what was new in the “Independent Chart” run downs in the music rags.

  2. I found the One Chord blog after a search for Rhythm Plague who I was inspired to seek out due to this post about the Rotary Totem label. I think I only found one song by the band of this name but stumbled upon a treasure chest of music from that magical period of 70s and 80s. I downloaded all 160+ mixes and will stick them on the phone to listen to at some point.

    I’m kinda excited as my search for music is still on the ear-out for a tune I heard on John Peel back in 1979. All I remember of the song is it was kinda punky a-la The Users and there was a stop in the music for a shouted vocal of “Who are these people?”. I heard a song from the One Chord Is Enough site that maybe the song but only if I’m misremembering it. I can’t even remember what this song was now – it’s in a pile of 1000s of files to check out. Everything is in the queue. I love this shit!

  3. Another search lead me to the Stewart Lee alter ego of Baconface and his show “Global Globules”. The premise is odd (in a typical Stewart Lee fashion) and the music is freaking killer. Lots of freak scene acid folk psychedelic obscurities from around the world. From the first seven two hour shows there’s perhaps only one band I’ve come across before and that’s Brainticket. If you are familiar with them but not much else then definitely check this show out for more.

  4. Another blog that I’m slowly plowing through is Music for Maniacs. I forget how I came across this one – perhaps connected with an episode of the excellent You Don’t Know Mojack podcast, that has lead me in search of many interesting SST related releases. Anyway, Music for Maniacs is as described – it’s out there, avant and just plain weird recordings and stories about them. I quickly found a series of compilations and downloaded them. They are in the queue for listening.

  5. Music related reading, again from the Mojack podcast, is the New Vulgate – Joe Carducci’s old blog. I skip through some of the non music content and I’m not a huge fan of Joe’s writing but that’s not important. The information is important (to old music nerds like me and Rich Levine). Rabbit holes are here.

  6. I finished reading Henry Rollins first volume of Fanatic! Here’s my tongue in cheek review.

It was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right – 24th-27th February 2018

It’s becoming obvious that I’m not going to be able to keep up with regularly posting updates here as time seems to slip on by.  I’ll do my best to keep note of things and get to them when I can but not sure how I’m going to be able to keep them concurrent with events from 1994, of which there is still a mass of writing for that year in my diary.

If I just limit myself to a paragraph per note I’ve made this post is going to get quite long.  I’ll try and be more concise.

So, our final morning in Dorset sees me going through some boxes of things my mother kept over the years.  I’m interested in the photos more than documents such as birth and death certificates and old school reports.  In particular are a couple of school photos I’m guessing from when I was 12 and 13.  You can just see my hair starting to get more punked up, for which I got so much shit at school at the time, from teachers and older kids who nicknamed me Sid.  I never got on with that nickname as I was more into Johnny Rotten but it was difficult to tell kids that as they were kicking and punching me for their random pleasure.  The thing with these two photos is you can still see the light in my eyes, just starting to dull in the later one.  These years were the start of what later would be diagnosed as mild depression.  The transition from middle to high school was particularly traumatic as I had a whole new bunch of older kids to pick on me though I soon found some allies.

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Before we know it we’re up the motorway again, back to other old haunts in Southampton.  We’re staying with Amy’s cousin Ting, who has been in England so long she has the thickest English accent I’ve heard for a while – so much so that I barely recognise her on the phone sometimes.

Amy heads off with Ting to do some shopping as they are cooking together at a friend’s house that evening, whilst I head over to see my old pal, Chrissy.

Chrissy was the wife of Steve, whom, if you’ve been following so far, was the inspiration for writing the 1994 diary after his untimely death the previous year.  I caught up with her briefly in Sydney a few years before as she was attending someone’s wedding there, just a suburb or two away from where I was living at the time.  It was good to catch up again and talk shit like we did in the ‘good old’ days.

The afternoon is made more pleasant by the arrival of Steve and Chrissy’s daughter Rebecca, who was less than a year old the last time I saw her.  I am shocked at the resemblance to Steve and can’t stop looking at her face.  It’s like he’s right there again.

I also make quick friends with their dog who despite being somewhat shy took to me for some good pats, strokes and ear rubbing.  But soon enough it’s time to leave.

I head back to drop the car at Ting’s and get out the maps app so as to walk to the pub where I will meet more old timers and down a couple of pints.  The air is very cold but the exercise warms me and I look into people’s houses as I pass and wonder what their lives are holding for them today.

I stop off for some hot chips as I’ve not eaten much today and it would be preferable to line my stomach with something traditionally British and stodgy to soak up any alcohol intake.

There are some bands playing tonight, including some old friends but I’m not so interested in the music as I am in talking.  Rich introduces me to his partner Geraldine and later Rob and his partner Emily turn up.  A couple of other hopeful attendees find themselves busy elsewhere so they’ll just have to come and visit me in Thailand one day.

A jovial atmosphere and pleasant conversations quickly end this all to brief meet up but it’s much along the lines of that last night in Sydney, with certain friends you can just pick up on conversations with even years of interruption between.

The following morning we’re off to London.  Amy wants to go shopping.  I’m not particularly thrilled at that idea but I’ve set myself a task to track down a book I’m looking for.  We’re also booked for a dinner in the evening at the Shard near London Bridge.

I’ve always enjoyed London as a place to visit but never, when living in England, felt the urge to live there.  So, even rush hour tube trips have some sense of adventure to them.  I’m constantly reminded of the Clash as we pass by certain stations and wonder at the motivations they had as they went from small house suburban London city to mega hotel New York city.  Man, they wrote some tunes.

One thing I immediately notice is how much more multicultural London is than Sydney.  Although not so used to hearing the English accent anymore it seems that in many places we visit and pass by that people aren’t speaking English at all.  It’s a little unsettling and really cool at the same time.

This point is highlighted even more as we head for a pub lunch and I’m annoyed at myself for not understanding the bartender’s accent.  I forget to apologise for my difficulty as her’s is a Lubjiana accent, so I ask her more about her country.  She’s busy though but I think she wasn’t offended at my ignorance in the end.

We pop into Waterstone’s bookshop and finally I find the book I’m looking for, ‘Churchill’s Secret War’ and take this final chance to pick a couple of books about The Fall.  I wasn’t going to buy these originally as I figured I could find them digitally but they were there, I was shopping, this was possibly the last day I’ll ever be in England and so they ended up in my luggage.  Amy felt the same and bought a couple of massive cooking books which definitely means a rejig of our bags later tonight.

We’re starting to flag now and consider changing our plans for dinner tonight.  It’s another beautiful sunny cold day, particularly bitter when the wind rushes through small side streets.  We decide to head to the Shard early and see if we can just go up and take some pictures.  We end up on the 34th floor at the small bar there and decide to splash out on a bottle of champagne and 6 oysters.  These kinds of expenses usually bother me but I decided to relax again and enjoy this indulgence despite the fact the cost could probably build us a swimming pool in Thailand.

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We reflect on our lives as we stare out across this old city and talk about how people think we are lucky to be able to do this and that.  But we have worked hard, had a plan and always pointed our way towards it.  I guess those comments are somewhat driven by the social media construct where friends generally only see you having fun, what appears to be, all the time.  We know we have made the right choices along the way, the choices that have got us where we are now.

The following morning we are greeted with snow.  What a nice surprise.  The Mexicans we meet at the breakfast table in our guest house are equally thrilled and we watch them as they step out to take funny photos.  We do the same a little later as we stuff our suddenly heavier re-jigged bags into the car and head to the drop off point.  Unfortunately, our phone direction finder leads round in frustrating circles and we decided just to figure it out following the signposts instead.

Amy decides on one last shop at the airport, so I get in the mood and pick up another book about the rules of being English, something I mentioned to Amy when she smiled happily to the guy in the take away the previous night. I told her it was not usual for someone to smile at other people in England and the guy probably thought she fancied him.  This is overplaying it a bit and is also the exact thing that attracted me to Amy in the first place.  That was in Sydney though, where smiling is an everyday occurrence.  I’m sure the English can often go a whole week without a smile.

The English confound me more on the plane to Bangkok.  It’s another A380 but this time jammed with ‘bigger’ English people looking for thrills in the ‘land of smiles’.  Despite leaving at midday, it’s an overnight flight as we fight against earth’s rotation and the English are up and at the crew galley all night long refilling on free booze.  I did this once when the experience of flying was still new to me.  Free booze must not be missed but I found it impossible to get drunk and to drink enough to be able to sleep.  I would just end up with a frustrating headache at the end of the flight, so I never drink on planes now.

And then occurs the most English thing I can imagine.  There are two meatheads sitting directly in front of Amy and I and they were constantly bouncing in their chairs at every toss, turn and minor readjustment.  I glance the Sun in the lap of the one who is coughing consistently and roll my eyes.  Midway through the flight, Amy needs to get out to go to the toilet so I get up and step into the aisle.  Being half awake I was a little clumsy getting up and knocked the chair in front of me where the now angry boofhead looks around and proclaims, ‘Was that on purpose?  I think it was, wasn’t it?’

I’m perplexed.  My only reply is ‘Sorry?’ and I look behind me to consider if he’s actually talking to someone else because his words just don’t make any sense to me.  Amy is bewildered too but trots off to the toilet as I stand and wait.  The two meatheads decide that they’ll settle themselves down with more whiskey and the event passes.  I still can’t imagine what leads to the guy’s question, if I knocked his chair on purpose, what was the reason?  We’d had no previous interaction at all.  It just seemed a typically antagonistic English response, a show of never back down, one-upmanship.

Those two guys ended up rushing off the plane to get to their destination of my more booze, sun and you can guess what else.

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Our day has only taken 12 hours and we transfer at Bangkok for our flight home, finally my last flight for this period.  There has been so much travel and rush over this month that it has been almost impossible to sit and relax and reflect.  Probably for the best.  Even mum’s funeral seems like something surreal and dreamlike that perhaps didn’t even happen.

This final flight is curiously filled with French and various Middle Easterners and I watch on as people struggle to find their seats.  It’s a little strange really – it’s not that hard, is it?  The numbers ascend and the letters go across.  It seems to take an age for some people though.  I wonder if their brains are wired differently, something that will soon be confirmed as I adjust to life in Thailand.

 

 

Back in Chiang Rai, we rush to sleep, eat, advise our builders, eat and sleep again.  Another day disappeared into the mosquito-ridden night.

You see, you feel, you know – 5th September 1994

Change. All change involves a challenge. I remember when I lived with my mother I was content there, I was also fussy and finicky. A cup of coffee was only nice out of my special mug. I had particular knives and forks that I had to use, no others would do. Those two tiny things were barriers I had made to stop myself from leaving. Wrapped up in a golden blanket of security, I would dread the thought of having to use a different knife.

Then I left, scared of watching all that security get old and withered. I learnt how to use a washing machine and how to cook and I learnt that I didn’t have all the time in the world and started using my spare time to good effect instead of wasting it. I slowly discovered who I was and became content again.

Broni gets herself home from work early, now she’s finishing up things she’s on a self-admitted skive but remember back when I was telling you how hard she worked, now at last the slow down.

So with time on our hands (yes, time, that funny thing that you can never have enough of and when we feel so short of it all of a sudden we are presented with some) we take off on a whim down to Poole Quay and the aquarium which is full of fish on the ground floor, swimming around in their swimming round circles, round and round. Only the piranha seem to stay in some territorial still, and Broni sits and watches the silver dollar fish, light reflecting prism-like into her eyeballs, hypnotic, entranced.

Upstairs, crocodiles lounge like dead things in their 12 inches of water, not a blink nor a twitch, then Broni walks into a room where a man sits waiting to take your picture with a 20 foot python, 6 inches across. But Broni doesn’t see the snake until it’s rubbing her hand and she makes a quick exit! The rest of the snakes we watch through glass, most being lazy and restful. But beautiful, the nest of vipers all piled on top of each other like it was cold and were seeking warmth.

Snakes and spiders, then upstairs to a model railway which fascinates the child in me watching a little replicas stopping starting whistling shunting chuffing. A great place to go and visit despite the steep entrance fee, maybe Poole Aquarium is a bit of an odd description too.

By this time we are exhausted again and return home to comfy chairs and brief dreams for a half hour. Next on the agenda is a meal we’ve planned, so I goes with my sweet to pick up my mum and we drive with a remarkable sunset behind us up to Ringwood where we joined Kerry, Ron, Cath and Simon, drinks already underway. I wanted to come back to this restaurant, the India Cottage, as it is the first place I was introduced to Indian cuisine by my boss at the time, now some six or thereabouts years ago. We were served by two young beautiful people, both English but dark skinned. Him in bright white shirt and black trousers, the nervous and anxious to please gentleman, and her also, dressed in a tie-dye one-piece dress, dark and pretty as her skin. With seven of us all giggling away we took some time in there and the best thing was the slow service which gave us all plenty of time to digest one course before stuffing another and I, probably for the first time ever, managed to eat everything I ordered. So the atmosphere was nice and relaxed right through to the last Tia Maria.

So arrived the weekend, Broni off to get her haircut then us both over to Rosemary’s for lunch where we sit and play with Jade, kid cute, running around or having us to run around after her. I feel really good around kids, I enjoy the freedom they express and their ignorance of worry, real life giver.

Our joy takes us home for a brief encounter on the bed where we frenzy practice babymaking before diversion to Wimborne for pizza and then Southampton for our last gig there before we leave, now just three weeks away. Oh yes.

Atmosphere at The Joiners is, as ever, relaxed and exciting, but tonight tinged with some sadness for us as we say our farewells to some of the regulars, brightened up though by new people eager to get involved.

So at the end of the night, midnight we bring back Rob and Rich to Chrissy’s place, Chrissy out on the tiles but Sharon there to let us in. Rich soon leaves as the rest of us prepare to have a few drinks, Rich still on his straight edge kick and good luck to him if it makes him feel better about himself, which I’ve noticed it has.

We make an effort to wait up for Chrissy but all fall asleep dead drunk after playing every single kids game in the cupboard.

It’s light and Chrissy stumbles in, 7 am, she goes to bed and we get up and not only do we get up, so do Amanda, Luke, Sam and Rebecca, our company for the morning, four beautiful active screaming monster children. Rebecca amazes us as she is now walking herself about and saying ‘yeah’ whenever it takes her fancy. Snotty nosed Sam, quietly watching and wandering from here to here. Luke demanding to play Nintendo and demanding to play with me, and Amanda being unusually quiet and restrained today, possibly because mum is not there to antagonise, Chrissy now sound asleep oblivious to rowdy rabble.

After a while of preparation we all set off for the park, Amanda demanding piggybanks of me and Luke off Rob, Broni pushes Rebecca and Sharon looking after Sam. One child each, they will never beat us!

So how is it later on I get Sam on my shoulders, Amanda on one hand and Luke on the other and I’m sure if Rebecca could get out of her locked in pushchair she’d be demanding my affection too. But I know the kids see that I have lots of love to give them and I love ’em to bits. Sam called me dad, Luke kicked me till I wouldn’t play with him no more, Sharon then talking to him quietly and Luke coming back looking all forlorn and saying sorry under his breath, little beauty horror tike.

Amanda asked me if I remember when Steve and I took her tree climbing and I surely do, I remember it so well because it was then I realised I too, could look after kids, not be scared of that kind of future. It was something Steve showed me just by doing it and not by mentioning it. The only thing he ever said about kids was that he thought I would enjoy it, and as it made him so happy. Here I was, now free of all those old inhibitions about coolness and, ‘geez I wonder if anybody can see me?’ type thoughts that always entered my head when I was around children. My only regret is that Steve isn’t here to see that in me, because even though I realised it back then, I was still in a kind of awe of him because he was looking after Rebecca and Amanda so well.

When people die, you keep a little piece of them with you and it’s something I kept of Steve (amongst other things) and I find that particularly poignant as Chrissy said to Broni the night before that ‘Shaun is a good bloke, a lot like Steve in many ways.’ That kind of compliment makes me feel good inside, I really love all these people around me. Amanda surprised me by remembering that, maybe not sure how much a seven-year-old might remember about a year before, which is great.

I talk to her about the snakes we saw and carry her down to see the cygnets and the ducklings, then onto the swings and climbing houses where we try to wear the kids out but us with only a couple of hours sleep start flagging it instead.

Get back to Chrissy’s and cook some food, Chrissy now up and pale, looking barely alive as Amanda scoffs at her, her not liking her mum getting drunk because it makes her ‘smelly’. We force Chrissy to eat but she’s had it and at 2 o’clock or so heads back to dreamland. We leave around then too, dropping off Rob on the way, Sharon already gone with the kids to a party.

Broni sleeps in the car and I sleep on the sofa when we get back but only for an hour or so. The rest of the day slips us by slowly and gently as we slow down and let the love in ourselves roll around some and spread through our veins to our fingers and toes. We fall asleep with smiles on our faces and play with our friends in our subconscious.

On Steve – 25th August 1994

The pub is vibrant, people are smiling and dancing. It’s New Year’s Eve 1992. I don’t recall the circumstances that took us there, where the place is or what happened there. Our circle of friends were gathering to welcome in the new year in style. Myself, Fatty and Paul Simmons, we were the outsiders travelling up from Dorset to join the Hampshire crew of Rich, Rob, Steve, Chrissie, John, Selina, Dave and Holty. Our connection was music, whether performing, promoting, or watching.

Tonight, however was a celebration of friendship. While everyone was rolling around drunkenly, at about 11 o’clock Steve and I agreed it was time to leave. We wanted to get away from the gaggle, have a quiet space in which to exchange ideas. We just said to each other let’s go back to the house and talk. We both knew what we meant. It was a poetic moment, we both wanted to thrash out ideas and ideals and open each other up in a way that I’ve never found with anyone else, lay ourselves bare, vulnerable, emotions visible.

So we walked back through the empty dark streets, each house and home having their own little private celebrations for the new year. We got to Holty’s house where everyone would be coming back to after the pub shut, we walked in to the living room, I sat on the sofa lounging back slightly drunk. Steve sat crossed legged on the floor, a fine upright muscular figure, I can see his silhouette now. He took out some hash and rolled up a fine joint of skunk weed as we set off on our journey into each others souls.

While not invasive or offensive, we voyeur each others thoughts. We find truth and beauty in what each of us has to say and our relationship develops into something special. He tells me how he used to look up to me when he saw me years ago at gigs and I say I can’t believe it, not understanding that I might affect people in that way. I don’t even remember him from then and even when we toured Europe together with our respective bands I didn’t get much chance to make friends, though I was probably too wrapped up in myself to have noticed anyone else.

I don’t recall the reasons that he looked up to me and they are not so important now anyway. But right then, right when he told me, the roles reversed and I started to look up to him. I loved his bright enthusiasm, the relentless energy, on later occasions at his house we’d talk everyone, to sleep, then sit up til 4am when I would protest that I needed rest but he said no, we must carry on talking. Sleep is the enemy, a favourite saying from Kerouac.

At midnight, we welcomed in the new year, I’d rifled Holty’s varied collection of CDs and played Madonna, Half Man Half Biscuit and Mud, me trying to convince Steve they were ahead of their time and probably one of the very first punk bands, it all seemed to make perfect sense at the time – hey, I was a little drunk and stoned!

A while later the rest of the circus came back from the pub in very high spirits, a party erupted around us and we gladly joined in. Paul was the first to puke (I’m not sure if anyone else did, and Rob eventually fell asleep under the chair of the three peice suite before everyone dumped him in the cupboard under the stairs (or did he go there of his own accord, I forget now?)), his socks left to turn to ice in the freezer (or were they Rich’s?).

One clear memory is Steve reprimanding me for being out of order when I must of said something insulting about someone, I was a very sarcastic son of a bitch back then and thanks to him I changed my ways slowly over the next year or so. I began to respect him even more.

His few letters to me reflected our conversations and I once wrote a six page letter of thoughts and ideas at his request, it was regarding an article he sent me from a newspaper. He was amazed at the huge amount of points I’d raised that he said he would never have thought of, from then we would make demands of each other, more and more, we had to know each other’s ideas and then bounce them around. We were grasping at life, getting a hold on it, looking for meaning, looking for happiness. Steve found it too a lot of the time and slowly I did as well, trying to emulate his outlook and zest for adventure. He loved and married Chrissie, took on the role of father to Chrissy’s daughter Amanda, and then to their daughter Rebecca. He was a real role model for me, changing over the years from a wild youth always in trouble to the most gentle, caring man who loved life to the full. And you know, that sounds just like me.


Steve is giving us a quick conducted tour of the bedroom. He’s keen to show off his pride and joy, daughter Rebecca, sleeping softly wrapped in blankets in the cot. Her 3 month old tiny lungs take short shallow restful breaths.

While Steve is pointing the camera at tiny Rebecca’s face, his hand comes into view and he points his 24 year old finger at her and then sticks his 24 year old thumb up. Proud father, lucky child.

The tour is a glimpse into a private life, not really a show for friends but the capture of a moment trapped in sound and vision for that old age memory loss time, a reminder of beautiful things that affect life profoundly.

Continuing on our tour, lots of short dialogues (excerpt ends)

Don’t wait or hesitate, take care, beware, Wrong! – 27th June 1994

Hate That Smile in Holland

You want gossip! Here’s what’s on my mind right now. Write it down, clear it out, forget about it – here’s the rub.

Spoke to Rich from Eastleigh a couple of days ago and had a cool chat, Rich being more forward than usual and telling me what he’d been up to. Anyways he mentioned Fatty had been in touch to try and speak to Rob. Rob not being there, Rich had a quick chat with Fatty saying he should get in touch with me, ur that maybe I should get in touch with him. According to Rich, Fatty didn’t say anything to that and when Rich mentioned about going up to some of the gigs in Southampton, Fatty replied ‘maybe after September’. Rich was rather taken aback by this apparently and we can only assume that he’s waiting from me to leave this country before taking up again with our mutual friends.

When Rich told me this I just said ‘Oh well, no good to harbour hatred’ and shrugged it off, but afterwards it really got me down. It’s not nice knowing someone out there hates you to the extent of wanting to see you go away completely. It’s upsetting and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m very sensitive to these things (as you may have worked out by now anyway). It also makes me angry because I have not done anything wrong and my hater (Fatty) can’t even come and talk to me about it.

Okay, I’m saddened because this person can’t deal with their problem, can’t handle their emotions and can’t be honest with me about it. Remember, last time I spoke to Fatty, we left on amicable terms and he’d be in touch (also remember I don’t know his new address or phone number – Yes, I could get both if I really wanted to!) And now the turnaround – his problem is not my problem.

If I met him now I would talk to him like nothing has happened (in fact nothing has happened has it!?) and it really is a shame for him that he hasn’t been to see me in the last six months and a shame he probably won’t see me again after September. For me, however, it is not a shame. I feel like I’ve cut out a poisonous sore, an infection. Close the door on a chapter of my past, one which turned sour, especially at a critical time for me emotionally, with Steve passing away.

I am stronger. My character will carry me through this and I can only hope one day Fatty can see how foolish and stubborn he has been. Good luck old friend, remember, happiness is only just around the corner. So there it is. Now I can forget about it. Will write you some more later.

I feel great, let’s celebrate
It’s a sunny day, let’s dance and play
Never fear, love is here
– Wrong by Nomeansno

Your thoughts are chosen, your world is advertising now – 25th March 1994

Here you are again dear reader.  I’m currently sat here in the van waiting for my physio appointment.  Some old man politely hassling me about how long I’m going to be parked here cos he wants to put his car here.

Had a weird dream last night that involved a known paedophile and bestial man who I saw running naked down a street chasing a pig.  I was with a bunch of youngsters (11 to 12-year-olds) and to show them that this man was wrong I beat him the ground and pissed all over him!  Knowing he’d be mad at me I ran to the next town and went to where I lived (?) with Martin B(!) on a houseboat(!!!).  The man had got there already and had stolen Martin’s dog!  Jeez, what does all that mean I wonder?

Me and my baby are often in dispute these days and I wonder what it is that’s changed.  We are both of strong character but very forgiving so most arguments are laid to rest quickly but what is it that creates them?  Is it being together every night?  Is it how I am busy in the evenings and Broni just wants to relax?  I can’t help busying myself, it’s the only time I get to do things that I like (ie reading, writing etc).  I know these things are mostly to do on my own and in some ways that’s not fair but I do also take time and trouble to make Bronwyn happy.  It is difficult living with someone even if you are as madly in love with each other as we are. 

I wonder if things were any easier a hundred years ago when the men ruled the roost?  I honestly don’t think I could do that in this day and age, though it seems plenty of people still do.  I’m increasingly appalled by man’s treatment of women.  Why is there a page three girl?  Why so many (any) pornographic magazines?  Women blatantly used to sell everything.  Where in the world can I go to get away from it?  Where do people live in some sort of harmony?  With respect?

Sometimes I feel myself falling into these traps because they are ever present, bombarded at you from every media angle.  What future for our children?  So many decisions are made by few people who believe they know what’s best for the majority.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about Rich and how it’d be nice if he loosened up a bit!  He and Rob have their fair share of arguments I understand, and they live together.  Rich tells me some of the tales but I must confess to not being very sympathetic.  He’s on holiday in Europe right now so maybe that’ll relax him up a bit. 

Mostly the other things on my mind involve Australia.  Everyone’s wishing me luck for when I go. (Hey, I caught up with Little Crabby in Safeways and heard the latest gossip!  His parents got divorced!  Wow!  Murray’s still the same and Jasper’s a pothead!  Double wow!  I remember he wouldn’t touch that stuff when I had it!).  I can’t wait to get to Australia – I think it’s going to be a great adventure and a turning point in my life.

I heard someone talking about their destiny the other day and whether they put their success down to luck but he said it was just about making choices and he was positive in his thinking and therefore made the right choices.  This is the way I will be and I know I’m making the right choice in going to Australia.  I know that this country has little to offer me unless I want to work my ass off for the next 50 years (dying in the next 10 from stomach ulcers).

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I’m in search of that harmonious world, not expecting to find but just happy searching.

I want to mention that Kerry has given up drinking and has slimmed down considerably over the last four weeks.  I mention this on looking back at previous entries when she was drunk!  Just wanted to put that straight.

Boredomer in Boretribe – 13th-17th February 1994

Both Broni and I rushed past our days at work in excitement for our evening.  A quick zip of the pans brought us nutrition and, once again, we hot-footed it up the mighty highway to our pals in Eastleigh.

Eastleigh’s Tory MP had been found dead on Monday wearing only stockings and a plastic bag on his head with a cord around his throat and this was the source of constant amusement throughout the evening.  The media had been leading with this story every day and were going to town on the sex scandal – it didn’t seem so important that someone had died.

Rob drove us to the Joiners after Rich giving him much hassle for being on the phone so long. Not so patient, our Richard.

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Got their about nine and got a beer and conversed with all our other friends.  A band of locals took to the stage and pounded through some noisy songs.  They had three young fans standing right in front of the stage, admiring their heroes and ritually mouthing the words to every song.  I thought that was brilliant.  I remember being like them (they helped the band take the equipment out too – dedication!).  The band was called Ban Ylang or something similarly rhythmic.

I stood centrally to watch the second band while Bronwyn stood near the bar with ‘our’ crowd.  During a break between songs I (and everyone else!) heard Selina shout out ‘It’s Bronwyn’s round’ to which the bass player said ‘Good on Bronwyn’.  Fame for my baby comes in small doses. She is famous and fabulous in my eyes.

We’d been in the other bar playing bar billiards and getting smashed and bearing cheeky toothy grins.  The second band, Skyscraper, had one good song that I heard and after that were fairly dull but alcohol made me too drunk to care.

We ate chips and the guys stuffed burgers with too much mustard relish.  We eventually zipped our way across the midnight skies and were forced into slumber through stupor.

Rich woke us in the morning at 7.20 and after toast and coffee me and my baby and Rob hit the harder highway to hell to London.  I drove while Bronwyn showed Rob our photos and then they played backgammon.

Broni, direction-finder general, took us straight to Islington where tonight’s gig was.  I had a real quest for food but the guys wouldn’t let me cos we were in some kind of hurry!  We had a lot to get through for sure.  Broni stopped at every map and said ‘that’s where we are’ which didn’t tell us where we wanted to go!

First thing for us to do was go to Australia House in Aldwych. We caught the frenzy bus in the earth to some place near and hop skipped onto a double red decker missing what could have been the most amazing of food we were ever likely to find.  On this bus, I started to love London and wanted to be closer to it.  It brought to mind many Clash songs that would name drop London boroughs and famous places and reminded me why things are different in London.  Australia House was a breeze.  Broni filled in her forms and got them signed there and then.

After a food stop, not up to Broni’s requirements, we tippy-toed a few blocks to Covent Garden Market.  Me and Broni reminisced as we walked past an American diner where we had nachos last time we came to Oz House.  This time it was full of builders sawing wood and putting up walls for a refit.

We looked in every direction at the market not having any idea which way to go so we checked out some stalls of cheap crappy gothic jewellery and crummy clothes.  Broni found a juggling stall and got a demonstration out of the guy there.  He was pretty good and gave Broni some ideas for tricks.  We had to pass on the clubs though, being out of our minimal price range.

After asking a couple more stall holders the way to Rough Trade we merrily sang up the street as the sun beat through the grimy atmosphere.  Several stops and reverses later we found it – the doorstep up the alley occupied by the same person as last time I was there, smoking a fag and begging for money.  I reckon he prays on the skaters who probably spend a fortune in Slam City Skates.  Actually, I reckon he probably works there!

A quick glance through the Jap noise CD section, Broni denying me time to ponder purchase, we picked up three tickets for entry tonight.  We checked out this great health food shop on the next corner too, spending another ten pounds on food and refreshments of exotic flavours.

We headed in any old direction for a tube – it seemed great that you could just about walk in any direction and you’d come across some form of transport that would help you on your way to where you may be headed.  It made London seem a whole lot smaller.

Next quest was the British Natural History Museum.  A tube or two later found us walking up a long subway, yellowy with paint and time, crammed with people, a girl I thought I recognised.  I sometimes have the strange feeling of recognition.  If I look at someone for a while then look away and return to them some minutes later I feel sure I’ve met them before.  This happened at least twice today!

On this walk, Broni questioned our finances, running through where 75 pounds could have gone in just 24 hours.  Another four pounds fifty each later saw us into the museum and here started four hours of exploration. First hour spent studying everything in detail, second spent eating some extortionately overpriced food and wandering around the room with a whale that made me say ‘fuck’ out loud.  I also taped the noise of a dolphin saying ‘Hello shit for brains’ or something.

The third hour was spent looking for something more interesting to look at.  The fourth spent whizzing around 60% of the rest of the museum with Broni moaning about her feet and how tired she was.  We were all tired by now and I had information overload (head explode).

As darkness gradually crept into the outside world we took da tube frenzy rush hour time to Leicester Square in search of more sustenance, eventually settling on a ritzy kinda pizza place which was really a glamourous Pizza Hut.  The waitress was kinda cute if she was a day over fifteen!

We left there disturbed at the cost of shoddy service and took the madness line again back to Islington for the evening’s soiree! (Must look that word up in the dictionary sometime).  The tube stopped at Kings Cross and the guard poked his head in the door asking us very quietly to leave.  We emptied reluctantly on the station wondering what exactly was going on.  Next, we were told to go to the other end of the station.  As we walked past the next carriage we saw a brown doctor’s bag, we guess, left unattended.  Broni got very excited and upset at the same time, as the station was gradually emptied and section by section, shut off.

Up on the surface, a few thousand bemused underground goers searched out alternative arrangements.  We hopped on a bus and got back on the trail of adventure and entertainment.  After a little dilly and a dally, we exchanged our tickets for entrance into the club they call the Garage.

It was reasonably well packed early and a band was banging away enthusiastically onstage.  Met my fellow Jap noise-loving friend Neil but talking was restricted due to the disturbing barrage the three guys on stage were making.  They were called ‘Pig’ apparently, though Neil did suffix them with the word ‘shit’.  They did lack something and the drummer had pre-recorded drums which he was playing along to, I’m sure.

The place started to pack a bit more and I got the feeling most people were here just to see one band.  Next band was Jacob’s Mouse who were very loud and not very interesting – may sound OK on record but not here.  As they finished I persuaded pretty Broni nearer the front.  She wanted to stop about eight back but I took her to the second row and we waited patiently.  None of us really knew what to expect from this freaky ensemble called Boredoms but we had several shapes of madness involved in our daydreamscapes.

On walked six small Japanese folk, picking up instruments on their way.  A girl in the band stood on the rail that stops the crowd surging forward, she waited for a second til all the band were ready and proceeded to scream at the top of her voice.  She jumped off the barricade as the rest of the band launched into a delirious song-orama!  From here on it was total madness and chaos.  Eye (singer one) sung several songs with a woolly hat pulled right over his face.  The girl ran to the second drum kit, playing that and screaming, when she wasn’t playing trumpet.  The guitarist was totally amazing keeping his plectrum in his third finger when picking notes with the other digits.

Both singers were going mad jumping about and during one song jumped against each other in rhythm with the song.  A review in Flipside said they were the beginning and end of Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Everyone smiled and loved the band.  Both drummers had huge grins most of the time.  Eye went crowd surfing and also into a hypnotic chant.  This is probably the most amazing band I’ve ever seen and ever likely to see.  I wonder what they are like on home turf with all stage props etc.

We left the club with excited faces and excited words. ‘We are Boredom. Come from Japan.  Hope you like.’  Yes indeedy.

Me and my baby navigated the way to Waterloo to drop young Rob off to catch the train to Southampton and I was feeling emotionally exhausted.  The big bright lights of the city looked fantastic at midnight and I would’ve enjoyed just bumming around but for all the excitement my tiny brain had to endure I was in need of rest.  Broni was too and we had several tiny arguments which culminated in me throwing a tantrum outside David and Louise’s.

After making up we woke up David, such a gentle giant, who let us in, made us coffee, we talked for a few minutes and then retired into a most beautiful slumber for the night.  Our arrangement to be up at nine was broken by all of us!

We stirred out of our wrapped up slumber around ten and woke ourselves up with cold showers – not through choice I might add!  Breakfast was made and we talked and ate as the most glorious sunshine poured into the kitchen and into our souls.  Eventually, talk got around to our wedding and Broni’s mum and dad’s thought on the matter.  I was very quiet through this as I did not want to upset anyone with my thoughts on religion.  Louse and David gave us a few ideas for compromise.

We checked out photos for an hour before deciding to hit the road again.  The raging red yellow ball of fire in the sky was still there yet I did not feel completely whole.  As we exited London me and my baby talked about the wedding and could not come to an agreement.  We both felt stuck.  Her wanting to please her parents as well as me and me wanting not to upset anyone but not sacrifice my principles.

After some thought and more discussion, I told Bronwyn I’d marry her with a priest but not with any religious overtones.  This seemed like a good possibility to put to her mum and dad.

Despite the sun, our disagreement clouded most of the rest of the journey, though we picked up considerably as we approached Bath.

It’s a strange time warp feeling entering Bath.  As you descend the hill side from the north looking into the valley, time seems to go backwards and the light dims.

We drove round the Circle, Royal Crescent and Landsdown Crescent where we first held hands.  Aah – how romantic.  We found the old B+B we stayed in but alas, no vacancies.  It seemed the same story everywhere else too.

After about an hour of traipsing around in car and on foot (and being rudely told to go away by one landlady), I ran into a pub bedecked with old wooden beams and wood fires.  The landlord rang up a pal of his who had vacancies, so we took the car round the other side of town to this old bastard pub and got ourselves a huge sparse ugly room to crash for the night.

We crashed, washed, prepared and had a short run back into town, passed a zillion people queueing to go into some hall for something we couldn’t quite work out what.  It could’ve explained why there was a lot of people in Bath and everywhere booked up.

We had a drink in the pub that I’d dashed into earlier, after walking upstream the raging murky river.  There’s a wealth of hidden walkways in Bath and cafes stuck in the strangest of places, many below street level.

We paid tribute to India again at the Jamuna restaurant.  Then, after a drunken search in the bottle shop for Australian port, we hijacked a possed off taxi driver, upset that we could’ve walked such a short distance, who sped off for the fastest taxi drive I’ve ever been on, all for one pound fifty.  We opened up the port in our room and fell asleep with the TV on, watching the Winter Olympics.

It took us a great deal of time to get out of bed this morning as firstly the room’s inadequacies did not tempt us and each other’s bodies did.  About an ecstasy hour later we went down and got some coffee and omelette that fortified us for the morning.

Back on the road again we navigated our way across beautiful moorland and down, once again, through the crag and crevice of Cheddar Gorge.  Beauty is in nature and not very often handmade.  Here we ran up and down the road, through the bitter wind taking photos as the sunshine hit the cliffs higher up.

We gave the caves a miss in favour of Wooky Hole just ten miles away.  Last time I was here I wasn’t overly impressed but this time I reckon I must have more soul and fire in my heart as I found the caves absolutely thrilling and fascinating.  You can’t get much closer to nature than this.

We took photos in the 100ft high chambers as we traversed the steely iron walkways some 30ft above the grey blue chilly waters below.  After hearing all the stories about the caves we checked out the paper making in the mill – then through some fairground antiques and into the most amazing maze I’ve ever seen.  It was maze of mirrors.  You could literally take two steps forward and not be sure where you’d come from.  Images of yourself would be reflected on six different mirrors and you could walk up to your own back or see yourself from the side.  We were so fascinated we went in twice.

Outside, in reality, we high-tailed it to Glastonbury to check out the scrummy Blue Note Cafe.  Glastonbury is a strange place – it’s very nice and relaxed but the hippy attitude seems kind of fake.  The shops sell hippy culture junk and million books of all descriptions on how to find yourself.  We did buy a CD of just percussion which seemed jolly interesting.

By this time we’d worn ourselves out and set off for home where relaxation was beckoning.  After a quick, yet uneventful ride home through dusky paths of tarmac we sat down with coffees and enjoyed our new musical soundtrack of rhythms.  I’d guess we fell asleep after that.

The next few days were spent working and writing all this.  Monday brought the promise of snow and by late evening an inch had already fallen.  The once grim terraced rows now transformed, as light reflected from every inch of crispy white.  We took a slippery drive down to the park and took photos and threw a ball or two.

Next morning found us under five inches and Broni rightly took the bus to Upton to work.  I arrived at my work some two and a half hours late and my day just whizzed by.  I noticed with some irony the council workers clearing footpaths of snow that would’ve melted away in a few hours anyway!

Wednesday found me giving Broni a long slow massage which developed into squelchier things and we fell asleep in each other’s arms after a port or two.  We woke in the morning and in love.

“Always I was running, always was running, running to throw switches, running in my sleep and running now – happy.” – Kerouac

Get that fuckin’ needle out of your eye – 8th February 1994

It’s Tuesday and I’ve skipped worked yesterday and today.  I felt like having a break and doing some other things which would’ve been better attended to before now.  Let me tell you about the weekend first.

We drove up the cobbled highway with a mental funny argument about the blinkers being out of action.  It made us laugh more than it made us angry!

Went round to Johnny Fry’s who I will now refer to as Johnny Glue from the Dwarves song of the same name.  He reminds me of the Dwarves for some reason.

Broni hit drunken frenzy after only one can of Miller Lite and could not stop talking.  She’s amazing – I have a million reasons to love her.

Nest stop was Rich and Rob’s where Rob and Broni discussed the booklet some more while rifled Rich’s record collection for tunes to borrow.

Then on to Chrissy’s and have fun with Amanda and Rebecca.  I even got Rebecca dressed (nearly single-handed) and put on her nappy.  Broni got clucky and I promise here and now we will have children, one day.

With much to-ing and fro-ing, we all headed off to the school where Steve’s memorial disco/gig was being held. Two of Chrissy’s friends (Sharon and Tracey – yes I know, but it’s true) were hovering around her all night and would jump on anything Broni or I said.  They really remind me of stereotypical Sharon and Tracey characters.  They seem very insecure and overbearing on Chrissy.  They virtually chased anyone away who would get close to Chrissy like it was invading their space.  They upset me quite a bit actually.

Besides all that everyone seemed to have a fun night with John and Selena winning a bottle of champagne in the raffle.  This encouraged me and Broni to stay round at Rich and Rob’s so we picked up our stuff from Chrissy’s and Broni drove (slightly drunk) up the road, picking up John, Selena and Rich (Rob and Dave lost somewhere) on the way.  From then on it was party time.

Rob and Dave turned up sodden after Dave ended up unconscious in the gutter!  Duly, two bottles of champagne got divided into six glasses and Selena declared ‘down in one’, which she, Dave and Rob (maybe Johnny too) did.  I took it a bit easier and after finishing my glass found one left (by Rich) which I drank too.  Then it was a case of drinking anything we could find, which we did!

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Selena managed to break the glass part of the frying pan trying to demonstrate a dutch toilet.  Dave crashed out again and many hours later, after Rich telling us, fatherlike, to turn the music down and then, motherlike, telling us he going to bed and not to turn it back up, one by one we crashed, Johnny treading on Rob’s head before upending himself, legs in the air, head on the ground style, on the sofa.  Broni slept where she leapt and I crept in after her.

Woke some hours later and spent the next six hours laughing at the night’s events (and other night’s events too).  I did actually discover that Fatty wasn’t happy with me cos I have changed, though I learned this from Rob – I wonder when Fatty will face me with this?  He makes me so angry and upset and I know that Broni is right that I can only move on if I forget about it, a bit like she did with Dani.  From now I will do so.

I borrowed a shitload of records from Rich and done a sickie for the last two days to give me time to tape them!  I did have a few beers Sunday which didn’t exactly leave me in tip top and what the hell!  I feel good having some time to myself and being able to today some loose ends at home.  I’m now looking forward to the Broni whirlwind which may be subdued due to a long day at work and the fact she’s got a letter from her mum about our wedding which, from what I gather, is not quite accepting our ideas of getting married.  More later.  Learn to love yourself more Shaun.

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!

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.