Saturday, March 24, 1984


Heavy rain all night, Alex’s room awash, the water dripping through the gaping hole in the ceiling into Pete’s room below and even managing to penetrate as far down as Ben’s room on the ground floor. By morning a patch of damp had appeared on my wall. The roof is our most pressing concern at the moment.

The weather broke in the afternoon, and while it was sunny, Alex, Ben and I filled the gaps between the lats on the inside of the roof (through which streamed sunlight) with pieces of plastic bags, painting over the lot with Aquaseal. We also made a temporary repair job on the roof above Alex’s room.

But when the darkness came and with it sheets of rain and wind, steady drips of water could again be seen all over the house. I worry about the possible effects on the electrics. Pete’s ceiling is a mess, paper hanging off in strips and the entire surface stained with black spots and discolourations, but at least the small but ominous patch of wet on the wall of my room seems to be drying out.

Ade came round this afternoon and later Pete turned up breathless with the news that a policeman had called at Jervis Terrace with an urgent request from Barry’s Dad that he ring home immediately. So Ade spent an hour driving round Watermouth trying to get hold of Barry. His Mum is already ill and immediately we could only think the worst.

Any attempt to marshal a coherent pattern of thought or the thread of a dominant idea seems impossible at present. I’m in a useless, non-productive frame of mind. Words come slowly and indistinctly, a grammatical nightmare. Chaos. Boredom and triviality seem to be the two “ultimate truths” which regulate my mind at present, and everyday preoccupations snuff out any chance of meditation towards a specific end.

Friday, March 23, 1984

Cake and biscuits

We didn’t appear as expected on TVS yesterday or today which is a bit disappointing. Oculus haven’t said anything yet about their plans.

Alex and I went to Lindsey’s and she gave us cakes and biscuits, confirming in Alex’s mind the already firmly established notion that Lindsey reciprocates his desire for her. I’m past caring.

I’m struggling for something—anything—to say, trapped in a web of inhibitions, trapped by preconceptions and prejudices.

Thursday, March 22, 1984


Another warm day. Spring is here, rat poison to buy, the plumbing to get fixed up, numerous small but pressing jobs which must be done before I leave Watermouth in five days time. Gav seems to be taking the death of his dad well, and apart from a couple of nights and an afternoon of drunkenness and the occasional gloomy turn he’s much as he was before.

I trailed round Watermouth most of the afternoon looking for wicks and paraffin for a heater I bought for 50 pence from Ron’s junk shop in Andrew Street on Tuesday. Paraffin £1.50 a gallon, wicks £2.90 each. . . .

Alex said last night that he couldn’t imagine me taking drugs and he seemed surprised when I told him that I used to do speed. My two-month abstinence has given Gav, Alex, Ben—people who’ve only recently met me—a false conception of what I’m usually like. I haven’t been drunk or drugged in the two-and-a-half months since January 1st.

Last night Ade and Gareth drove onto the Teacher Training College campus with the intention of buying drugs. They found the dealer’s door locked and his window open, so while A. waited with the car, lights off, engine idling, Gareth crept in through the window and stole £155, and bought everyone drinks and food at the L.A.

Wednesday, March 21, 1984

Heavy contrivance

A TVS camera crew arrived this afternoon at about three-thirty, a front-man, camera- and lighting men. Morris was here too, no doubt to make sure we didn’t ruin his cherished public image. He was interviewed sitting on Ben’s window sill, the Oculus building in the background, and he'd smartened himself up. This involved tying his hair back into a ponytail and donning a several-sizes-too-small waistcoat . . .

The TV crew asked us to act out various ‘typical squatter activities’ – walking in with shopping, sitting on Gav’s bed having a chat (heavy contrivance here), or carrying boxes to and fro. I dread to think what it’ll look like on the TV. Hopefully the presence of cameras will spur Oculus into giving us their decision soon.

After the cameras had left, a member of the South Piddington squat dropped in to see the place. That squat has been open for a year but is closing on April 5th, and I could sense the depth of his weariness at Morris’s incessant advice and admonishment. Morris is power-mad. Before he left he instructed us not to answer any questions from the press but to refer them instead to him at the W.H.A., as though we are tactless imbeciles incapable of exercising discretion!

Ade is back in Watermouth with a new car bought for him by his mum. He brought round Barry’s synth and amplifiers and a few of my records.

Lee caught the eight-thirty a.m. bus to London this morning and hitched home for a few days. He's gone back primarily to collect his Eumig projector.

I’m looking forward to going home.

Tuesday, March 20, 1984

Black flag

I got up at a quarter to eight with Alex: he and Ben began their jobs today working with Harry, an ex-Special Branch cop, the same Harry who fixed up our single outside tap. They’re working three days a week, plastering walls and doing building repairs.

I walked to the bank, drew out £7 and bought myself a breakfast at Bunyan’s Snack Bar before going into University and getting a promised loan of £90 from the Link-Up offices. We’re getting the money in order to connect the gas and we’ll have five weeks to repay it. The day developed into one of those hazy muggy afternoons, no wind and a bleached out sun, everyone moving slowly in the warmth. I felt tired for some reason.

When I got back I found Gav, Barry, Pete and Lee waiting the arrival of TVS cameras, but Morris rolled up later to tell us it had been postponed a day. The piece on Radio Watermouth was broadcast at eight minutes past eight this morning and took the expected ‘squatting-isn’t-all-dirty-hippies-and-irresponsible-druggies’ angle. Morris said in his interview that all prospective squatters are screened “at least half-a-dozen times in pub, office abd cafĂ© situations” (!). Nathalie’s exit was mentioned obliquely with reference to “one resident whose behaviour wasn’t up to scratch.”

She seems to have recovered her composure since we threw her out and even smiled at Lee when she saw him on the bus. It’s all coming together very well.

Two members of an anarchist squat who dropped by unexpectedly seemed taken aback at the organisation of this place and couldn’t believe it when they heard that councillors, an MP and even a Bishop may be rallied to our defence. They told us were kicked out of one house a day after announcing their arrival by hoisting black flags, and they have just 48 hours to leave their current place. I’d met one of them as I hitched back from University and he said they’re going to squat Watermouth Planning Dept. offices tonight, so I told him how to get in through the open toilet window. As I climbed out of the car he said to me, by way of farewell, “if you see a big black anarchist flag hanging from one of the windows you’ll know it’s us.”

They’ll get kicked out every time.

I rang Mum in the evening. She said that Robert is depressed that he’s thirty and that he only got three cards for his birthday. Luckily I remembered to send him one.
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