No hammer from the judge – 10th December 2019

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? What questions do you ask?

The last time I felt overwhelmed was at CRPAO. My mind could only concentrate on the injustices I felt at the way I was treated. Obviously, the questions I asked myself were not productive.

The first question I need to ask is ‘is this situation in or out of my control?’ If the situation is not in my control then all I can control is my response. This is a difficult skill that I am currently trying to cultivate. It is easy to think about but difficult to execute.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for another school holiday today. Yesterday was tough and left me in a negative state of mind and this morning I woke up not feeling well. It’s a blessing to be able to spend another day just sitting and reading!

Take your time, try not to forget – 4th December 2019

How has a failure set you up for future success?

When I was studying to learn to teach I was doing well in the first week but failed the initial assignment, eventually being given a pass. Then I failed the second assignment, eventually passing. Same with the 3rd and 4th. Initially discouraging I persisted until passing.

Those failures taught me about trying my best, not giving up. Now, when I have a bad day teaching I can consider all the factors and try my hardest to make improvements.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to Amy again as she has soldiered on and cooked for me when I’m feeling under the weather but she is also not well. Today suddenly I have an urge to visit England again.

21st Apr 2021 – Just pre-Covid, this bug knocked me down for about 10 to 14 days and was by far the worst I’ve felt with the flu in the last few years. It’s unlikely that it was Covid and I think I eventually got rid of it and passed it on to others. I seem to remember a lot of people getting sick around this time.

In the garden, the roses have no thorns – 16th-19th February 2018

Not yet hungover, still wobbly and happily void of any stresses involved with departing my home country of the last 24 years, Thai Airways does its usual job of safe and stylish delivery.  In between meals and bouts of sleep, I observe the passenger in front of me constantly annoying the hostess and interrupting her as she talks and serves others.  Finally, she firmly tells him he has to wait his turn.

I tried to watch the new Blade Runner movie but this surely wasn’t the right environment.  Much more satisfied with the mindless comedy of Thor: Ragnarok.  Pretty sure I was still drunk at the time of arrival in Bangkok where the queues for transfer were horribly long but still, I didn’t care as other foreigners stood by and shook their heads.  “Welcome to my country” as Amy sarcastically often says.

The short flight to Chiang Rai is not of any particular note except for the Sumo who steadily waddles on the plane and listens to something on his headphones.  I’d like to think it’s the latest grindcore release or something equally zen.

Just my luck, I get stopped at customs, where no one ever gets stopped and they pick out the new iPhone I bought for Amy as a surprise, at duty-free in Sydney.  They want me to pay tax on it.  Apparently, you can bring stuff in without tax if the value is under 20,000 baht and this is over.  I plead with them that I have just relocated from Australia and this is how I am welcomed to Thailand.  I tell them my wife will be furious if she knows I had to pay tax on the gift.  I look at them puppy-eyed.  They discount the tax rate for me but it’s then I realise I only have 500 baht on me anyway.  I offer it to them but they seem unimpressed.  They look over my shoulder and ask ‘Is that your wife?’  Amy is waiting just beyond the doors with a curious look on her face as the officers her invite her inside.

Some discussions later we end up paying the tax and told that it was just unlucky they decided to check my bag.  It’s also apparent that if the phone had been unpacked and in my pocket, no one would have noticed either.

Welcome to Thailand, indeed.

Next day the hangover finally kicks in, added to by the approach of a cold, no doubt initiated by the last night of drinking and talking which caused me to almost lose my voice.  Now the coughing starts.

Both our cats are confused to see me again but we soon make up when I start feeding them.  Whoever feeds them is their favourite, always.  We are all camped in a bedroom in Amy’s parent’s house.  A place that is her childhood home and we’ve often stayed here on our previous travels but is not quite comfortable for us as we don’t know where their things are, and all our things are stored in the multitude of boxes piled high in the living room.

We head off to visit our house, the first time I have seen it in person.  Now I can appreciate the dimensions of each space, yet can’t imagine it as a home just yet.  It won’t be long now and we can start filling it with the things that make it homely.

I start my life as a gardener today, breaking up big clumps of clay and watering all the various plants and trees still left growing which includes durian, ten lime trees, jackfruit (already with one big fruit almost ready), papayas, Thai chillies and multiple frangipanis.  We’ve also ordered 5 Jacaranda trees that we hope will grow and blossom at the front of our land and attract visitors should we run some business from there.  A small reminder of Australia too.

We pick up some drinks for the workers at the local store where I’m introduced to the shopkeeper.  May as well start the village gossip at the source.  I hope we’ll become good friends in the future.

The workers live in temporary tin sheds they have built alongside our house and we are doing little extra things for them to keep them content and happy to work for us.  They are not quite used to some of the designs and plans that we have so we need to explain things often and carefully for them.  They are very hardworking men and women, mostly from Burma, though legally working I’m told.  One wife is fairly heavily pregnant and presumably (hopefully) not doing any heavy work but maybe preparing meals for everyone.  Despite their poor accommodation they still have a TV and satellite dish rigged up to keep up with their favourite shows or maybe the EPL.

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Despite our tiredness and my now constant coughing, dad (father-in-law) decides we must all go out to the new fish restaurant to welcome me here.  I try to partake accordingly but between us, we only manage three bottles of beer.  The food isn’t as good as some other places we have tried in the past and the service was still going through a teething period.  There’s a big lake out front with attractive table settings but in the evening it’s a constant battle with mosquitos, which would spoil things somewhat.  I still have to invest in repellents and appropriate clothing, luckily those things are very cheap here.

Both our nights are fitfully slept as I cough myself and Amy awake but we stirred at 6am to get to our house again before it gets too hot.  I set about the watering, almost completely covered head to toe from the oncoming sun.  Next, I need to invest in some wellington boots as my runners get covered in muddy clay.  It takes about an hour and a half to water everything and I start dreaming of automatic water systems.  One day, one day.

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The temperature is good in the morning and stays reasonable for the rest of the day.  I, however, have to retire with medicine for a nice siesta.

The siesta soon became a full nights sleep, again, broken often by coughing.  But we’re up and at them at 6am again stopping off at a little shop that has been running for 45 years with just a slim menu involving tea, coffee, toast and eggs.  It’s brilliant and cheap but doesn’t do enough for me as we get to our house and Amy does some supervising and I fall back asleep on a deck chair on the terrace.  I have nice dreams and awake delirious before driving back home and sleeping even more, until it is time for us get prepared for our next little journey to the UK, to farewell my mother and catch up with family and friends.

There are many paths dripping dark so dense – 24th May 2003

What is wrong with my body? Does my sick mind hurt my body too? I get sick a lot – I don’t know why. But this feels different – could just be some weird virus – hopefully nothing more. But what if….?

I feel dizzy or weird when I move my eyes or head and feel sensitive to noise sometimes. The thing is I don’t feel sick – not ill or anything – but it seems my body wants to shut down – I don’t feel like doing anything in particular – just resting or the things I normally do at home. I don’t have the energy to get out really. It’s been like this for about two weeks.

23 Apr 2022 – In 2009 or 2010 I got glandular fever which knocked me around for about 3 months and ever since then whenever I’ve had the symptoms described above, I always put it down to a reoccurrence or triggering of it again. As I was writing this in 2003, it seems like it must be something else that has been causing these symptoms which still bother me even now.

It may be connected with my sertraline medication, which I started taking in 1999 and still take now. I could try and get off it but it’s such a small dose one doctor suggested it may just be a placebo for me. Every time I’ve tried weaning myself from it though, after a while a situation would get me down so much that I would end up taking it again. It’s always worked so I’m a little reticent to stop taking it. I have very little stress in my life now though, so it could be worth thinking about again.

Sometime around 2000 or 2001, I went to an allergy specialist to see if it might an allergy issue but they didn’t find anything in particular, just a pretty general allergy to dust and which I doubted anyway. A highlight of going to this specialist though was the beautiful and friendly Burmese receptionist that worked there. At the end of the day, I would’ve preferred a resolution to my problem but I took what I could get and tried to make the best of the situation.

I often wonder about people that I’ve had brief connections with and what they ended up doing with their lives. These people were usually serving staff in favourite food shops. Mami at the coffee shop next to where I worked in Help Street, Chatswood. Emma, at my favourite Chinese takeaway (Shanghai Gourmet) in the Mandarin Centre, who taught me how to order my favourite dish in Chinese. That may even be Emma in the attached picture. Eun Bi at the Sushi shop. Mikiyo at another coffee shop. Sue from another coffee shop who I was close enough to to hang out with occasionally. After Sue went back to South Korea I became friends with Jenny too. I would meet these friendly people at least once or twice a week for many years in some cases and it certainly paid off to be nice to them as I would often end up with freebies and extras.

And then there was also Jenny, Peter, his wife Nancy and Nisha who all worked at the sandwich shop I would frequent whenever I could. I watched Jenny grow from a quiet 18 year old, unsure of her future to a business owner and now mother. She even asked me for advice about the guys who chatted her up in the shop, eventually asking for more advice about one in particular who she ended up happily marrying. After moving to Thailand she was the only one of my friends who called me to see how I was doing. I remain very grateful for her thoughtfulness and we still stay in touch.

All you fellas better change your ways, yeah, leaving this town in a matter of days – 8th August 1994

After feeling a bit rough in the stomach department and then stuffing a huge pizza on Thursday, there was nothing for it ‘cept to take Friday off! So I spent a lazy day ambling about in Poole, Just a walk away across the park from where we live now. The park is full of mad ducks and geese and swans all crowing about looking for food off the tourists. And when Broni returned from her work (she’s now winding down too, thankfully!) we set off on the buses for Bournemouth back to good Chinese food and then a dash down to the beach at 10pm, through all the crowds, to catch a firework display. We got to the beach as the last rocket exploded! Luckily we’d been able to see all the aerial light show high in the sky. We were pretty drunk by this time and I guess we got home on the bus somehow!

Saturday was spent lazily too and in the evening we went up to Consumers Paradise to see ‘The Flintstones’. I enjoyed it greatly thanks to a few puffs of magic smoke. We attempted a walk in the park on our return but we got too paranoid with all the dimly lit paths and alleys and ominous shadows of trees. We had to crash out early to get up at half five to catch the early bird bus up to London. And so we trekked back across the park in the early dawn, both still sleepy-eyed.

On the bus, we spread out, my back with an aching hurt making me sit bolt upright and I read William Burroughs and Broni read Roddy Doyle. In the blink of an eye we’re off the bus to a quiet sunny Sunday in central London. First stop for refreshments at the Fountain Cafe, and then into the tube across town to Islington to Piers at Mildmay Grove (now made famous (of sorts) in a poem, to Piers’ amusement).

Soon after arrival, Piers’ Orstraylian friend, Andrew, turned up with enthusiasm for our ‘freeways’, “strewth, knocking on the ton most of the way, just to keep up with people!” He assured us I’d have a great time in Sydney, “Bedder then heya, thet’s fer shore!” Soon he dropped us off near Euston after a 100mph car ride through London’s busy streets. “Oi luv those corners, especially with the four-wheel droive.” and some off the cuff remark while we were talking about money he noted about a fellow car driver “that blek fella’s dun awright fer ‘imself droiving a rolla, must be a drag ranner!” No sign of irony, sarcasm, hatred or even ignorance. Beyond ignorance!

Piers took us to Chutnie for Sunday lunch. An Indian restaurant with a three pounds ninety-five, all you can eat menu. OK food, but no popadoms! Piers then took us to various parts of London, all on foot, which was good but after a while, in the wrong places, we got fed up with the people everywhere.

Piers left us to it as he had to dash off to some BBQ and soon after Broni and I lost our rag, poisoned by the city I’m sure. After making up we started to realise just how tired we were and how fed up with all the tourist traps we were. Things got worse as we searched for food nourishment around tea time. My back pain had transferred to chest pain and as we sat drinking an orange juice and water I got scared and cried at the memory of Steve saying “could be the grim reaper for me” after seeing the doctor about chest pains, just days before his death. Then, frustrated, we found an American diner in Leicester Square with the vague hope of getting well-fed but all we got was fed up with shitty garlic bread and nachos with no guacamole – what the fuck! Totally overpriced too for the tourist boom – it was here we started to hate London and it’s consumer nightmare. Buy or die. Charging over a pound for a coffee is just pure rip-off and taking advantage of people – I can’t believe people are sucked in so easily but you are constantly bombarded by it.

We tubed over to Victoria to prepare to leave and things got decidedly evil. I paid 20p for a piss and approached the urinal thinking to myself, stand at the opposite end to the drain hole so you don’t have to smell everyone else’s piss. I’d done the wrong thing as I was thinking that, of course, but made a mental note to do that next time. As all that was going on in my head I became aware of some dude stood two booths away. Looking down I saw no signs of piss flowing down the drain and realised this guy was jerking himself off as he looked over at me. I quickly finished up and fled feeling a bit flustered. Not sickened but saddened by this behaviour. I felt strange for several minutes and as I walked up the stairs at Victoria I saw the shadow of Satan’s angel cast on the ground. I turned and looked up but, nothing! A very real experience probably easily explained but in my emotional state, very believable. And suddenly the city seemed insidious, dirty, depraved and evil and as we begged to leave, our coach was delayed. Only memorable point was while we were waiting, catching a girl’s eye by chance and her smiling at me!

Bussed home eventually, me looking after Broni as her health deteriorated by the poison of the day until she puked as we walked back across the park, now shrouded in darkness, ‘cept sky lit up by wandering searchlights touching the low-level cloud with fingers of fire.

Back at work today, still sad inside with thoughts of the dead city and Broni coming home ill after half a day’s work. I went to the doctors about my wrist again, where I was palmed off with the same old rest and recuperate rubbish. I think there’s more to it and have booked to see another doctor tomorrow. This has been very painful to write I’ll remind you – sympathy, please!

I’m getting excited about leaving now and frightened too but not so much as I’d expected. It seems like I’m just moving house – difficult to explain. Hey – had a great long cool chat with Rob on Saturday night – one cool dude is our Rob. Remember, Rob is God.

The Week That Was – 3rd June 1979

Record of the week: M – M Factor
Highest entry: Squeeze – Up The Junction

20th Apr 2022 – M Factor was the b-side of Pop Muzik and is a preferable listen these days as Pop Muzik became too successful and familiar. Squeeze’s Up The Junction is another classic pop tune that makes me want to go and seek out more of their music though I have a feeling I may have done this in the past and been disappointed to discover that they were just a great singles band.

3rd June 1979
Since I bought Banana Splits, I’ve never not played it
6
2p

20th Apr 2022 – Music obsession was forming fast this year. Of course, at the time it was much more difficult to hear new music and there were far fewer options for entertainment. This really focused interest on whatever it was that caught your attention.

4th June 1979
Average day
First day back at school
7
2p

5th June 1979
Qualified for everything except High Jump and Long Jump in Athletics
10
2p 2p

20th Apr 2022 – As well as being in the football team I was good at sprinting and other field events. I eventually got good at Long Jump and High Jump too. In the last couple of years, an old school friend posted on Facebook about how I seemed to be nonchalantly unconcerned about these events and that it seems I was just very casually good (or better than other participants at the time) at them. I was quite proud of myself but when moving up to high school later, the competition got much stronger. I still did fairly well though.

6th June 1979
Find out whether I get into the top four in Athletics (June 5th)
I know I got into the Sprint and cricket bungin’
I don’t know about Long Jump
Gotta sore throat
7
2p 78p*

20th Apr 2022 – We didn’t often play cricket in PE but at this time we were too young to be trusted with javelins so there was an event to see who could throw a cricket ball the furthest. I loved this and I was very good at it. One time, balls were being returned from the field and Jonathan Duncan wasn’t paying attention. A ball came flying at speed and smacked him right on the temple, with an echoing clunk. His eyes rolled and his legs crumpled as he dropped to the grass. He soon got back up and went to the sick bay for a while but earned his deserved reputation as a ‘tough nut’.

7th June 1979
1. Blondie – Sunday Girl
2. Roxy Music – Dance Away
3. Anita Ward – Ring My Bell
4. Earth Wind And Fire – Boogie Wonderland
5. Peaches and Herb – Reunited
6. ELO
Not at school got bad throat
7
2p

20th Apr 2022 – Sick again. I wonder if I was really sick, or I probably was a little but not really that bad. Well, that habit certainly continued for the following 40 years or so. Lucky that I always had a set wage. As I learn about and see different parts of the world I realise how much I have taken for granted in my life.

8th June 1979
Off school again
Matthew came down. I found out that I’m not in Long Jump.
8
2p

20th Apr 2022 – Not so sick that friends couldn’t come and play! And likely I was making a healthy recovery by lunchtime when it would be too late to bother going to school. As kids, we already know how to play the game.

9th June 1979
Arnold Muhren is Ipswich’s Player of the Year
8
2p 2p

20th Apr 2022 – Arnold Muhren and Franz Thiessen were the first players (of note at least) from abroad to play in the English League. It was a big discussion point at the time. In the following 20 years, things moved along to the point that it seemed as if some teams had NO English players.

Football feels fully biased towards the teams with the most money and spending power so that there are very few exceptions to the same 6-10 teams winning every year. Although somewhat floored, I like the systems in place in Australia to try and balance things out as much as they can.

52

20th Apr 2022 – 52 out of 70 seems pretty good for a week I was supposedly sick.

The Week That Was – 6th May 1979

Record of the week: Dickies – Banana Splits
Highest entry: Damned – Love Song – 26

21st Mar 2022 – Seeing the Dickies play Banana Splits on Top of the Pops – it was a video, not in the studio – was amazing. I’d never seen music played so fast before. It was thrilling and exciting. And Love Song – it was a time of great music, but look at the top of the charts and it was not so good. However, it provided the balance to kick against. It’s hard to put yourself back in the position of the context of the past.

6th May 1979
Dunno, quite a good day wasn’t it
Exactly one year since Ipswich won the cup

21st Mar 2022 – This was a great period of time to be an Ipswich Town fan and I was annoyed when Bobby Robson was eventually enticed away to manage the England team. They never got the mojo back after that.

7th May 1979
Carey Camp starts
Nothing much
2p

21st Mar 2022 – Hmm – a couple of hundred kids camping for 5 days. Was that a good idea? As a teacher now, I think I would refuse to be part of that! But then, when I think about the teachers at the time they were probably all in their twenties and thirties and still full of enthusiasm. As a kid though, as a student, this was an interesting week, that did eventually get out of control.

For the most part, we were sleeping in tents of 8 and I don’t recall any shenanigans. The teachers were probably smart enough to pick which kids were in which tents and we weren’t yet brave enough to go against the rules sent down for us.

Image from Carey Camp Facebook page

8th May 1979
Went to Old Harry
God were my legs killing me
2p

21st Mar 2022 – Again, probably a good adult tactic was to wear us the fuck out so that we would get back to camp and just sleep. I found out that on Friday we would be going to Swanage and I was desperate to find a record shop so that I could the Pop Muzik 7″. It was all I could talk about. Pun intended.

9th May 1979
My legs weren’t as bad as yesterday
UEFA Cup Final (1st Leg)
Borussia Muchengladbach 1-1 Red Star Belgrade
2p

10th May 1979
1. Art Garfunkel – Bright Eyes
2. M – Pop Muzik
3. Boney M – Holiday
4. Abba – Does Your Mother Know
5. Racey – Some Girls
2p

21st Mar 2022 – On this night several of us got to sleep in a different field in two-man tents and this was a cause for shenanigans as the teachers were not around. Also, longer summer nights made for a long period of twilight and so we screamed and shouted whilst roasting food on campfires and generally causing the kind of mayhem that 11-year-olds can – which really isn’t that much. But eventually, the teachers in the faraway field came and told us to pipe down. They noticed that there was a big smear of butter down the side of one tent and were very upset about it. Matthew owned up that it was him who threw the butter and we expected him to be led off in disgrace but instead, we all got punished and sent back to join the others.

I was worried about the ramifications because I really wanted to go to Swanage the next day. That was all I could think about.

Image from Carey Camp Facebook page

11th May 1979
Sick at camp
Wish I knew what was at No 1
QPR 0-4 Ipswich
2p

21st Mar 2022 – And so fate intervened as I started vomiting up dodgy food as the sun rose in the early morning and I felt sick as a dog. Someone else had suffered the same fate and we got put in a room at the camp for the rest of the day. Not to be outdone, I gave my money to one of the teachers in the vague hope that they would pass a record store and could be the single for me.

But I was to be disappointed and frustrated, feeling sure that they probably didn’t even bother to find a record shop, because my request was obviously far more important than whatever else it was that the teachers had planned.

I had recovered my dodgy stomach throughout the day, enough to enjoy the final night of festivities, where everyone sat around a huge bonfire singing songs. No doubt Kumbaya was in there.

Some of the kids had prepared a short skit, which I’m sure was initiated by the teachers. It involved a girl standing by a tree and another person came along. The girl said – oh I like your shoes, where did you get them? To which the traveller replied ‘John Lewis’ (a famous clothing store). Another person comes along – oh I like your socks, where did you get them? ‘John Lewis’ again. Another person – trousers – ‘John Lewis’. Another – shirt – ‘John Lewis’. Another – hat – ‘John Lewis. And finally, (I can picture the boy but don’t recall his name, he was a bit of a class clown) a boy comes along in his underpants and the girl says Who are you? to which he replies ‘I’m John Lewis.’ We all cracked up and thought it was very daring.

12th May 1979
Carey Camp ends
FA Cup Final
Arsenal 3-2 Man Utd
Rangers 0-0 Hibs
2p

Information from the Facebook group: Decade 77-87 – a grown-up disco: new wave, punk, postpunk, goth & indie
On this date in 1979, THE DICKIES released the single BANANA SPLITS (THE TRA LA LA SONG), (April 12th 1979).

THE DICKIES were Leonard Grayes Phillips on vocals, Stan Lee (aka Stan Sobel) on lead guitar, Chuck Wagon (aka Bob) on keyboards and sax, Karlos Kaballero on drums, and Billy Club on bass, a year zero punk outfit that emerged from a San Fernando garage in late 1977.

Within a matter of weeks, they’d been given a spot at the Whisky on the Sunset Strip.

“We just came out of nowhere,” said bassist Billy Club. “We’d been together about a week when Rodney Bigenheimer (L.A. man-about-town) came out to the garage we were in. We had about eight songs. He booked us at the Whisky.”

The Dickies were based just outside L.A. and all agreed that the radio was “an outrage – all that disco shi t. We’ve been hearing the same thing on it for the past five years”. But acting on their anti-disco manifesto had to wait until punk reared its head in the form of the Sex Pistols crossing the Atlantic and passing through the States.

“We played the Whisky – like, it was a Tuesday night, no one was there, but we got a cult following, and we started headlining the Whisky weekends and playing the Starwood,” explained Stan. “It was a joke, then all of a sudden: Dickiemania.”

A typical description of a Dickies live show went something like this: “…The lead singer wears a plaster leg cast, while guitar player Stan adorns womens’ lace panties on his head. The bassist wears a flasher’s yellow raincoat with black polka dots…It’s party-time.”

As for the music, a Los Angeles Times writer called it “primarily punkoid in structure and delivery, but pop elements to set them apart from the blunt, primitive school”. After much debate, “Easy listening punk” appeared to be the band’s favourite. Time would see their catchy melodic sound labelled “pop-punk” or “bubble-gum punk”.

Their songs were covers – ‘Paranoid’, The ‘Tra La La Song’ (from the Banana Splits cartoon show) and brilliantly odd picks like ‘Sound Of Silence’, plus a growing number of originals.

Notably, The Dickies achieved a series of firsts: the first California punk band to appear on network television, the first California punk band to be signed to a major (A&M Records) and the first U.S. punk outfit to tour Europe. By 1979, they‘d won over a lot of British fans.

The Week That Was – 4th March 1979

Record of the Week: Elvis Costello – Oliver’s Army G. Harrison – Blow Away
Highest Entry: Thin Lizzy – Waiting for an Alibi – 25

29th Nov 2021 – I don’t remember this George Harrison song – wait, I’m gonna listen…..weird. I don’t recognise this at all! Thin Lizzy on the other hand is ingrained in my psyche. A stone-cold classic.

4th March 1979
Not feeling very well!

5th March 1979
Didn’t go to school today
2p 2p 1p

29th Nov 2021 – For someone who was sick enough not to go to school, it seems I was well enough to earn a few pence doing chores.

6th March 1979
Same as yesterday

29th Nov 2021 – The poor kid was sickly again. I don’t know why. Was I just a dirty kid picking up infections from every other dirty kid? I could never stop picking my nose no matter how much my mum told me I should. At least by this age, I had stopped wiping my old snot on the back of the sofa for someone else to find and clean.

7th March 1979
European Cup (1st Leg)
Ipswich 2-1 Barcelona
Go to school
2p

29th Nov 2021 – Whilst Ipswich struggled in the league, we were giving it our best shot in Europe. I only ever attended a couple of football matches in the UK and I think I was too young to notice any violence in the air at the stadiums. It became obvious on TV and over the next few years as rival fan attacks got more brutal and bloody. One countermeasure taken was to make stadiums all seated and it still looks weird to me to watch every sitting down at a football match.

Another I notice is how small the stadiums appear and how close the fans are to the pitch. It makes everything look quite quaint. My only other experience of watching football was at the Sydney Olympics and it felt like everything was so far away, the players looked like ants.

When I started attending occasional AFL games in Sydney there was no air of violence, no separation of supporters and tons of kids with their parents. There was plenty of good-natured cajoling and any angry scenes were soon forgotten. It was always a lot of fun. I seem to have a bad run with paying through the nose to attend games though. It was very rare that my team won, even if they were doing well that season. So I made a point not to go to any games again so as not to jinx my team.

8th March 1979
1. Bee Gees – Tragedy
2 . Elvis Costello – Oliver’s Army
3. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
4. Lene Lovich – Lucky Numbers
5. The Real Thing – Can You Feel The Force
2p

9th March 1979
Got a new bus driver
On bus of course?
Only for that day though
Shaun Marchit
2p 2p 1p

29th Nov 2021 – I remember the bus to middle school being quite a nice air-conditioned coach. The fourth-year kids always got the back seats and had the best fun. It would be a couple more years ’til I graduated to the king of the bus. Our bus driver doesn’t stand out in my memory perhaps because of the legend of our high school bus driver who was a champion never to be forgotten.

Who the hell is Shaun Marchit? Or was I trying to tell myself something? Was it the bus driver’s name? Doubtful. It must have been relevant at the time for me to write in my diary but alas, it’s gone now.

10th March 1979
FA Cup 6th Round
X Ipswich 0-1 Liverpool
Top: Liverpool
2p 1p

29th Nov 2021 – Fucking Liverpool! I admired Liverpool cos they were always winning. So, obviously, I hated them too.