imagine, snowdonia, december, on a hillside, just set off, the wind blowing cold in your face, already making the tears run down your cheek, then you crest the first rise and the wind blasts into your body pushing you back a step. there's a mountain ahead across some wide uphill treeless stretch. nothing to stop the wind for a mile of slow hunched trekking.5 minutes later the sleet arrives. i look across to see that youve got your hood up to stop stinging ears and i feel glad you agreed to get the warm, waterproof walking boots. it's a physical effort to make each step forward, leaning into the wind, looking down to find good footing and every so often, up, to check the route ahead. my face is cold and numb but otherwise i am dry and not cold. i can still see the well walked path though snow is starting to settle on the higher ground further away and around us. no wildlife, no other walkers. just the sleet, the cold, the wind and the mountains and hills. i start to think about finding a spot behind rocks out of the wind to open the flask. but it's too early for that. we have to get to the lake first. plough on, breathing deeply and freely with each step uphill towards the dark water beneath the scree there's a small outcrop of rock ahead, enough to sit behind for a few minutes out of the gusting grey wind. tuffocks of yellow grass are wet and springy at its base. we wait there, gathering our senses, then after a short stop, we again set out into the cold wind coming down from the mountain top. the lake is maybe half a mile ahead. what will it be like for photos? i'm looking forward to something inspiring but cant hope and have been disappointed before. llyn idwal was a photographer's dream but i wasted the opportunity on poor compositions. not this time for sure though light conditions always throw a new level of difficulty into every new situation. we brought the waterprooof camera. that has great potential, especially in these drastic conditions. we plough on, into the sleet, uphill, towards another ridge, behind which may be the lake.rectus femori are starting to ache now with each slow step. gastrocnemius also. it could be any number of reasons. the climb hasnt been strenuous by the standards of average health but mine is shot and only slowly on the mend. i'm fat. i'm carrying 5 stone too much lard or warter or water and lard. it's heavy and i'm slow. morgan waits ahead, looking about at the hills and the mountains around them, waiting for his slow companion. his father. i try to speed up with little effect. the ground is quite steep and it's always necessary to keep looking where you put your feet. eventually i catch up and immediately he sets off again giving me no time to rest if i want to walk with him. i have to rest. the wind, for everything, is fantastic. i have found a moment to remember this in the arduous blasting of air and now only occasional sleet. this is why i'm here.i'm hoping he gets it. the transcendence, the happiness of awe, of the brief glimpse of the elemental, however contaminated it is by our very small comprehension and noisy minds. but the wind is loud enough, the sky is big enough in its harsh and just survivable sworl to oblivionise that other noise. only self physically and my own love of this elemental stuff and the thought it might be a genetically transmitted need for elemental, fundamental escape.does zeus know anything of these lashing winds in his comfortable cretan gardens or basking warmly on the olympian top? poseidon would know the storm, the surge and power of the waves and their inescapableness. but this isnt the sea and it isnt the south. this is getting towards the north. low skies, grey and indifferent until you wait them out for their profoundness. i step forward, my mind now erased, i'm just a form walking. i know where i want to go and that is about it. i am just seeing and feeling the cold and the sleet on my face, wondering if my son is indifferent to all this and here for some other reason. to keep our connection live perhaps, to show solidarity with the mental man. he cant fail to be moved by all this. we dont have that much of a say.he cant fail to be moved by all this landscape in trial. indifference is not possible. we dont have that much of a say edit.
pushing open the door and shuffling into the livingroom, looking up, slowly, distractedly, silently. suddenly i'm at a dead stop. fully alert. transfixed. i'm staring into the pupils of a rodent. a mouse with a twitching nose and steady stare, looking up at me from the carpet. before i have chance to breathe and part-way thro slow motion shocked recoil, the small furry creature darts forward at great speed and takes cover under the sofa to my left. i felt for a second it's full life force. then, it was gone. it made no further sound. i looked. i couldnt see it, i couldnt hear it. small furry animal called mouse with the stare of another world.
'In the Blighty UK Cafe, the scene resembled that in any other trendy urban coffee shop. But at midday on Saturday, quite without warning, its usual tranquility was interrupted when an earnest band of angry young twenty-somethings entered and launched into a protest. It lasted around three minutes - its target? The cafe itself.
'The trouble with this unassuming establishment in the North London suburb of Finsbury Park is not that its cakes are served on wooden planks instead of plates; nor is it the presence of blocks, where one might expect to find chairs. The problem, says its detractors, is that it celebrates Sir Winston Churchill.
'Its full English is called The Winston, while a dummy of the wartime leader sits in a corner, incongruously adorned in an Arsenal scarf...'
- independent, 30 january 2018
winston churchill as a young lieutenant in the 1890s
born in 1874, winston churchill was an upper class military man. his father was a lord and an MP, at one point in fact, chancellor of the exchequer. the young winston went to sandhurst and, as a 21 year old officer, he travelled to cuba to observe guerilla warfare where he 'was delighted to come under fire for the first time'. he went with his regiment to india, later transferred to south africa, marched on mafeking and became a celebrated news correspondent during the boer war during which time he was captured and made a POW. he escaped and returned to london a hero.
in 1898 he fought sudanese dervishes from horseback with three confirmed kills, shot by pistol at close range. churchill was elected to parliament at the age of 34 where he showed most interest in international affairs, particularly military affairs. he personally went to oversee the military suppression of a small armed uprising in london. firstly for tactical reasons, mostly 'out of curiosity'.
he was closely involved in the british effort to develop tanks in WW1. altho he argued for cuts to military spending in the 20s, churchill was a lonely voice that warned against coming german aggression in the 30s, a time when he urged rearmament.
altho out of favour with his party in the late 30s, at the outbreak of war, churchill's popularity was widespread amongst ordinary people and he was appointed first lord of the admiralty in 1939. after the resignation of chamberlain in 1940 he became leader of the conservative party and britain's wartime PM.
as we all know, winston churchill saw britain thro the second world war - some would imply, almost single handedly. he is known to history for his great oratory and the inspired summoning of british courage during times of extreme national adversity.
so what is to be understood from that? essentially, that it is still possible to dislike a man who saved us from nazism.
the first thing to note about churchill is that he enjoyed war. at the end of the C19th, just before the industrialision of holocaust that was begun by WW1, there was still a little time for men to dream about the nobleness of heroic action, of medals and honour and glory and god and queen and country - and the young churchill was one of them.
the second thing is that even if he hadnt enjoyed war as both a physical reality and as an idea, he still proved himself much more prone to support for military options rather than someone like, say, chamberlain. he was a campaign enthusiast not a blood letter of last resort.
thirdly, and crucially, his war enthusiasm was directly linked to his role as an imperialist. first he was an imperial footsoldier and later an imperial administrator and strategist. he had a horse called 'colonist II'. as with many imperialists, churchill was also a racist. the evidence is all there if you go looking for it. i am cutting to the chase.
at the end of the C19th century, britain was the imperial power with colonies all over the world. other europeans nations tried to compete - belgium for eample, and france - but germany was deeply envious of british prestige and success. and it is on this that our understanding of churchill and our own modern nationalism turns.
if britain, through people like churchill, had not been waging imperial wars across the globe, germany would not have felt any sense of inferiority. it would not, presumably, have felt the need to twice invade france. so on the one hand, while churchill saved us from nazism, he also condemned us to it.
non-white, non british commentators perhaps find it easier to condemn churchill outright because they do not feel the same sense of debt to his WW2 legacy as others. it is more important for them to acknowledge his bloody racist expeditions and to roundly condemn him than it is to say such ruthlessness is forgivable because it was somehow necessary.
but neither outright condemnation nor jingoistic support seems right and i think the reality is that we need to understand the difference between our idealism - that racism is bad, colonialism is bad, murder and war are bad - and our pragmatism - resisting nazism is good, strong leadership during war is good etc.
the way to do this is to understand that we are not dealing with good and bad, we are dealing with bad and more bad. nazism and imperialism were extreme bad, churchill's methods were necessary, post facto bad so - by default - we come to think of those methods as good.
we should never do that with lesser evil.
it is never good.
good is the absence of evil - no churchill, no war, no nazis, no racism.
we must accept that our world of lesser and greater evil is just a world of total evil where good is reserved for another time or place we sense but dont see.
standing / sitting outside the off licence by the 3 lane traffic lights drinking a much wanted can of cold Rio Tropical, looking at the traffic dreaming. the lights must have changed and the traffic on the other side of the road might have started moving forward. slowly at first if there was a waiting line, then, as that dissipated, giving the cars coming up the hill more room, the speed of the approaching vehicles quickened until they were going quite fast.
'd seen it many times before and altho interested wasnt fully engaged. i looked down at my bags of soft drinks wondering if i would look affluent to a hoodie on a bike. i looked up again. directly in my line of sight, speeding thro the lights in a brightly signed multi coloured van, rigid and straight backed at the wheel, in glorious profile, was an impassive impressive clown with a bowler hat, white face and large red nose.
i stared as he went past, turning my head as he went. was he looking at me out of the corner of his eye? the facepaint made it difficult to tell but i was fairly sure he was looking at me looking at him without turning his head.
no sign he knew anything was up, that he was a clown speeding thro the lights. in a quasi racist way, he was, i instinctively knew, a local man.
reporting from NY for the independent in december of last year, chelsea ritschel told us about an animal rights ad campaign that had recently been banned in london -
'Animal welfare organisation Peta is known for pushing boundaries with their ads - but their recent ad campaign went too far. Before it could reach the public, London Buses banned the foundation’s new ad due to the “offensive” nature of the content.
'Picturing a gruesome image of a cooked dog head, garnished with apples and grapes, along with the words, “If you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey? Start a new tradition. Go Vegan,” it is no wonder the advert was banned.'
you can argue the toss about the merits of such an ad campaign but what interests me here is the subtle way that the animal welfare stance is undermined by the misrepresenting of its acronym.
the reporter reports 'Peta', when in fact the organisation is known everywhere in type as 'PETA'.
the uppercase adds a certain something. i'm tempted to say 'authority' but i wouldnt want to endorse that idea as there's way too much shouting in the world as it is. i think really it's more that the reporter just doesnt care enough to get such an important thing - the defence of animals - right. or, that some more conscious spiteful destruction / misrepresentation reflects ideological hostility.
i have long associated 'PETA' (uppercase) with an ad campaign i liked when i first became aware of the organisation - the dumb animals ads showing women wearing fur - and now 'Peta' with chelSEA ritSChel who stated in her article that 'it is no wonder the advert was banned' - a piece of judgmental piety that seems to be against animal welfare and against my own sense of right and wrong.
have been binge watching 'bondi rescue', a documentary series following the exploits / antics of the professional lifeguards at bondi beach, a surf-side suburb of sydney on australia's east coast.
there were 3000 near drowning rescues in a recent year - upto 100 a day when summer beach crowds peak at 20-30,000. this is an incredible amount of near death experience, especially when you consider that there are virtually no deaths by drowning at bondi.
that was until a year or two back when a middle aged woman and her brother in law simultaneously got into difficulties and were both dragged from the water unconscious, not breathing, no pulse. the woman was resuscitated, the man died despite 15 minutes of shoving at his chest on the beach.
this was all relayed on daytime. a man dying on the beach.
earlier today i watched an AJ documentary about russian youth climbing dangerously on high buildings and other immense structures. they film themselves. they film their friends falling to their deaths. AJ gave a warning at the start of the film not to copy these activities, then ramped up the excitement with some high energy cool music as we watched the death defy-ers do their thing. a young man fell from 20 storeys. we watched friom a distance. he bounced off the side of the building half way down. once. in silence. he fell quickly, sideways, upside down. it was death on daytime again.
i dont know what the law is about this kind of thing. but it seems weird and creepy that fat people can sit home with crisps and watch other people die during the day for their entertainment. just to fill the empty daytime hours.
a young peter lorimer in classic leeds utd strip
i was born into watching and supporting leeds united. my dad was a season ticket holder in the expensive west stand where he used to sit every other saturday with his cigar smoking mates in their sheepskin jackets. for a couple of years between the ages maybe of 11 and 12 i had a season ticket in the south stand with school buddy and member of the victoria mount cohort, lee farrer. the leeds team of the early 80s were a pretty shoddy lot and soon took a nose dive into unheard of lower leagues, from which they have yet to recover.
there seems to be a disinterest in the city. while championship rivals newcastle get crowds of over 50 000, leeds muster an average gate of 27 000, not enough to pay top transfer fees or wages so keeping them out of the premiership. i dont know why the people of leeds dont care so much to turn out on match day. there are 3x as many people in leeds as there are in newcastle and twice as many as there are in liverpool which has 2 major clubs. maybe its a more middle class place. maybe the people are smarter. go to galleries, play squash.
that's now. but even then crowds never matched those of manchester united or liverpool - in 1981/82 the top 2 teams for home attendance were man utd who averaged crowds of 45 000 and liverpool with 37 000. leeds came in 13th with gates averaging 21 000. and it showed in results. both liverpool and man utd always seemed to come to elland road for a 2-0 victory which they got with tiresome predictability.
(in fact between 1977-1982, when leeds were finally relegated, united's record at elland road against their big 2 rivals was as follows:
v liverpool P 5 W 0 D 2 L 3
v man utd P 6 W 1 D 3 L 2.
there was only one game ending in a 0-2 reverse for leeds and that was against liverpool in 82).
away fans at elland road were always given a pitchside quarter of the south stand, penned in, crammed like animals, flailing ferociously, taunting. it was from there that various clubs fans, including those from liverpool i think, ripped out the newly installed seating and hurled the plastic bottoms onto the grass like frisbies. seats had been installed at all major grounds to replace terraces which were considered dangerous. fans often stood anyway in some seated sections of the ground if they felt that way inclined. something which still happens today.
i admired the liverpool colours in those days, a deep shade of red that seemed to take on confident, regal qualities when worn by the men from merseyside as they warmed up in front of the south stand goal. leeds were renowned for always choosing to play attacking the gelderd end kop if they won the toss.
supporting leeds in those days was not a glorious business. it was depressing in fact. listening to the bland and unbelievable apologies of jimmy adamson, watching a stream of ex united players players - clarke, gray (E), bremner, hunter - fail in the manager's job, waiting with head in hands for leslie silver, chairman, to appoint the next short term appointment, was... well it was just normal. we won nothing and lost frequently. but we kept turning up and listening on local radio if we couldnt get to the match.
there was also the question of hooliganism. in those days we frequently heard about pitched street battles between leeds fans and those from elsewhere and i saw a little of it myself. one time at an away game, dissatisfied leeds fans were clambering from the standing area below into the seating area above, pulled up and clambering over the 6' retaining wall. they sat in the aisles and chanted. one greying man stood up and complained. he was punched in the mouth by someone half his age who turned to his mates and laughed. it was just before half time and as i made my way into the stand i stopped and stood holding back the tears in front of a police officer by the tunnel who had seen everything. 'why didnt you do anything?' i asked. i was moved on.
another time, at derby, where i had watched the game with my dad and someone who looked very much like colin welland or was maybe colin welland, we came out of the ground at 85 minutes to find little pyramids of brick dust on cars in the street where half bricks had skidded across bonnets as they landed at pace, thrown by or at leeds fans sometime earlier.
many people my age were just as caught up in this tribal sideshow. the giant and threatening henchman scoffer always used to stand in the yard with a scarf wrapped round his neck. dave hurst and lee farrer were known to wear united colours.
lee farrer in united gloves with someone else wearing same just behind him, somewhere in the girls' playground at BP
one year, maybe just before we went from newlaithes to BP, lee invited me to his birthday party at the top of the mount. next to his house and adjacent to the scout hut was a patch of grass where the locals had guy fawkes bonfires and the kids played football. we played a match with terry yorath guesting for the team i was up against. i remember the great toothless blonde giant approaching with the ball as i shuffled ever further backwards, too timorous to try and tackle the great man. he was laughing. not at me. he didnt know i was there. he lost his friont teeth apparently by sticking his head where others stuck there boots in the 6 yard box. joe jordan was the same i think. yorath apparently got to know lee's dad through the farrer bookmakers near elland road.
one year me and lee went to a match against man utd which was also the home debut for allan 'sniffer' clarke as the new manager. lee had made a banner saying 'welcome back sniffer' which the police behind us came to check for fewr it was something about munich 58. sniffer didnt last long and whatever optimism either of us had was soon gone. dave hurst was another person whose dad had elland road connections and, i think, a season ticket.
chris boffey was also a fan and i used to get a lift to matches with him, mark millson and chris's dad. we always went the same way down a hill at the bottom of horsforth where mr boffey would turn off the car engine to save petrol. this put me and mark into hysterics and caused chris a lot of embarrassment as he squirmed in the front seat. mr boffey said nothing. he just waited until the car slowed too much then turned the ignition and off we went as tho all was normal. people are doing this sort of thing all the time now - turning the ignition off at traffic lights. then, late 70s / early 80s, it was strange enough to be hilarious.
i stopped supporting leeds and following pro football in 2001 for a couple of different reasons. that season a group of 3 leeds players and a 4th individual committed a racist assault on an individual after a night out in leeds. the club failed to deal severely enough or quickly enough with the whole business or maybe i was just sick of the whole racist / tribal culture i dont remember, but i gave up on leeds. i stopped following other football, missing FA Cup finals and internationals amongst other things because i was sick of the high wages players were getting paid. it was and is grotesque and unjustifiable. in theory i would watch some amateurs play or kids maybe but i havent felt enthused enough. was the game ever really that good? i never bonded enough with my own supporters to feel fully comfortable participating in the roar at a goal. i usually felt vaguely unimpressed (there were exceptions) and just stood up and yelled because it was the form. i say there were exceptions. i remember a tony yaboa shot from 35 yards that dipped and flew into the net at incredible force and a cantona goal of the same making.
visiting the hursts one day, after they moved to a more select street, johnny and i walked down the road to norman hunter's house to ask for his autograph. he was disappointed to find i only had a panini sticker of lorimer for him to sign. for many years - up until a month or two back in fact - it was a family myth that we were related to norman through my mother's side whose stepdad, another hunter, had been a talented forward in the castleford area in the early years of the C20th. it turned out to be a fantasy. norman hunter came down from the north east to work for leeds in 1960 and had no family in the area when he got here. he retired from playing in 76 so my visit must have been shortly after that. his house was a large-ish detached in the barrett style with a neatly mown front lawn. a rather depressing looking house he's lived in for at least 40 years. some people like that sort of thing. my parents did.
i liked playing football even tho i wasnt very good at it. i had dodgy legs and couldnt run very well. i wasnt strong. i was, as ive said, occasionally timorous. i often ended up in goal for these reasons where i was also occasionally and catastrophically timorous, weak and slow. lee might remember that one time, playing for newlaithes reserves against a local school with 'a woman coach'. we were so far ahead at half time that i was brought out of goal and put on the wing where, finding myself in a 1 on 1 with the keeper, i slotted the ball sideways to a screaming farrer who duly scored, sidefooting into an empty net. i'd never scored a competitive goal and i sometimes wondered if i should have tried rounding the keeper and selfishly attempted to score myself. it's never really a serious thought. i did the best and the right thing. i would have got tackled by the keeper anyway and no one would have scored. but still, i have to think that thought.
my favourite leeds players were always the more skilful ones - wingers and such. tony curry, allan clarke, eddie gray... the pitch always looked a very lush surface, slightly too long grass that cut up easily when it had rained. they served pies and some kind of oxtail soup that would burn the roof of your mouth off if you werent careful. then there were the scarf and badge sellers on the way to the ground with their desirable enamelled pins in various designs. i had a few but they were expensive for a kid with little money. their stalls stood between burger and hotdog vans, the smell blowing down the road as you walked to the ground in the crowd, avoiding cars as we spilled into the road. there was the sound of the turnstiles and you went into the ground. the concrete steps leading from inside to the seats outside, where, as you reached the top you saw for the first time in a fortnight the bright green turf, the bright white lines... and there was the song as the teams came out - marching all together... we are so proud we shout it out loud we love you leeds, leeds, leeds. love was always going a bit far. i had loyalty and unquestioning support that waned in the end to a tribal reflex that would make me lift my head if ever the name leeds united was mentioned on the TV. there were some chants - '13-0... 13-0...' when police appeals about the Yorkshire Ripper came over the tannoy and '7-0... 7-0...' when a van carrying 7 indians or pakistanis was ploughed into by a lorry on the nearby motorway hardshoulder killing everyone in the van. those were the days. oh yes, those were the days.
my dad left football too tho not as completely as myself, becoming instead a leeds rhinos fan. he had no ideological qualms. he was just sick of supporting a losing team, which is why he stopped following hunslet rugby many years earlier. ive survived without the whites and theyve survived without me. it's been an effort to switch channels but in the end it's been the right decision by a country mile.
* note -
in an effort to get some plain tv manliness back into my life as a temporary emotional antidote to the ubiquity of soft porn post feminist feminist women and it's friend gay culture, i have recently started watching football again.
i havent changed my mind. it's still wrong for all the same reasons, but i can zone most of that out and barca are really great this season.
what i find more difficult is not responding in a loyal foot soldier kind of way to the parochial, tribal, ingrained prompts of leeds united. the white kit, the yorkshireness. i lean forward on the sofa as they feed down the line. i look to see if someone is running into the box. this crap has to end. i need to be a world citizen, unaligned, neutral. a barca fan. not because they are barca but because they play some excellent football and tribalism is grotesque.
i had intended this to be a healthy series of posts about my schooldays which, in the recent past, have proved to be fertile writing ground. but now that i begin to think it over again, i'm not so sure there's much that hasn't already been said. it's a question of nattering as my mother said today about the honeysuckle. if she left it before going into hospital it would natter at her. and it's the same for me with BP. those days, especially the 6th form and the 1st year, have been nattering at me for over 30 years, driving me slowly in and out of and around the sad world of nostalgia... a place of emotional highs and lows, a place of great fear, terror perhaps, and great love, of laughter and pain and injustice. i written about much of it and managaed that way to convert some of it into nothing, but there's still stuff that remains, that is a part of me that needs to be processed.
so what is to say today about that part of the past that, at current maths, took up just more than a seventh of my life?
immediately i think about chris boffey's incredible 1st year blushing episodes, rare tho spectacular, turning his face into a shuddering strawberry topped by bright blonde hair. this happened once in the playground when i suggested he fancied maria povey, a girl in the year below. he couldnt speak. chris and girls was not a connection that was ever usually considered. he was quiet, incredibly shy.
i mentioned maria. he just stood there and went red. literally. it was and has remained a memorable image. as memorable as the strong but fair sliding tackle he made on me on the football pitch one time. he was being competetive. and assertive. it was unexpected. like a secret he kept for the pitch where people who made fun of him could be held at bay or shown there was more than one place for a person to be.
by the time of 6th form chris was part of the gamma quadrant in the common room, the alcove to the side of the main room which wasnt of interest to the showboating alphas and betas, the jocks, the more attractive girls and the cooler nerds, who preferred the seats in the bigger room. it never perturbed me at the time that this was how the place was divided - every day the same people in the same seats - and maybe my greek understanding of the situation, which implies some kind of hierarchy, is a thing that wasnt felt by other people at the time. but that isd how it seems to me now. the guffawing jock john denison in one corner, the shy and again shy ruth wilkes in another.
i was a beta cool nerd having come out of my shy and again shy self immediately 5th form was over. the bullying chavs were gone, i had nothing to fear. in practice, and over the 2 years, this meant coming into school in a red beret worn parachute regiment style and an orange wool jacket out of a foggitt wardrobe which he gave me as a dare tho he didnt say as much. i got a mohican and had it cropped off with nail scissors on the back step of sarah scott baker's house before they sold it for bankruptcy reasons, before i could get suspended from school. my mother had already blurted 'how could you do this to me and your father' as i introduced the cut to her as she watered the plants. certainly i remember her being very near my dad's geranium collection and it was sunny. maybe the watering is an embellishement...
so i became visually extravagant compared to my peers. it was a kind of rebellion against the uniform tyranny i associated with school - at some point i provoked french martin into a rage because i was wearing a waistcoat which he knew i knew to be against school rules. for those of us that had dealings with him, french martin's rages were common enough but they were always surprisingly violent in one way or another. this time his face exploded in a frenzy of syllables that were just not doing justice to the speed of his brain. he was seated at the time at the desk in his office on the ground floor.
i once saw him stride quickly acrioss the length of the entrance hall and shove a 2nd year full in the chest with both hands so the kid went sprawling on the floor. he'd obviously seen something i hadnt that justified this. he had a french wife who wore long leather gloves and was reserved.
so what of all this uninteresting stuff? i suppose by 6th form i already felt defeated, that this kind of laughter driven life, this in thrall to venus bullshit was really another kind of prison that i would never get out of. and that it would only briefly make me happy. the rest of the time i would be chasing happy and i would not be succeeding.
jim foggitt told me casually one day that the love of my life had given her virginity to someone else. a rather quaint way of putting it. i was never the same after that. broken. shattered into so many pieces i couldnt find them let alone put them back together, fumbling in the dark on the floor, desperately trying to find what i'd lost. alone. shattered. shattered some more.
that terminalness affects me even now. i cant change what she did or how i remember feeling about it. and with remembering the emotions come alive and it is like i am that person again, i suffer it again.
i cant eradicate this cycle because i am always first drawn in by beautiful memories of loving her. there is no grief here. yet. i have not remembered it yet. then foggitt's face or the back of her boyfriend's head rise from the depths and i am broken again. it is something that, if i had choice over, i wd consign to oblivion - the whole loving / losing chain of events. i would start over, go back before i knew what such everlasting pain meant or something of this kind. what that decision says is that the love was not worth the pain and the love was indeed total.
i have a son now and a partner and i would give up neither for what i had. but still i remember, i remember that love and it will not go away. her golden hair by the window, her smile, her confidence and confidences, her quirky dress sense, the sun on her hair by the window as she sent me a furtive note for the first time in history class. smiling. laughing really.
i am trusting that that is what death is. the erasure of pain. and going thro this cycle is pain. it is an injustice to my family that i am burdened with this kind of memory. it's not wallowing. i have no volition. my thought processes follow paths and sooner or later i am back at the familiar tree lined drive of BP and all that that then opens up. i walked that drive in great fear many times. perhaps that has something to do with all this as well.
richard brown once bared his teeth and snarled at me on an otherwise empty stairwell for innocently calling him 'huggy'. i'd heard others say it and wanted to be friendly to the black boy. i saw his freakishly large biceps and felt afraid. at 11 he was working out. i thought later about wearing a scuba knife strrapped to my calf. i had one. i couldnt see how i'd use it and never got that far. but you can see how it works for smaller kids, afraid kids who just dont have the aggression and the poundage. and who have no protection.
schools are criminal in this respect, leaving children open to violence in the most casually negligent way. one teacher patrolling at lunchtime, walking round the island school, not seeing half the pupils for 10 minutes at a stretch, 15 minutes if they got chatting, enough time for blood, someone's agony by the portakabins. i watched all this and lived in fear. standing in a huddle of nerds, wanting no one to notice we were there. 'andy firth wants to fight you nick', 'richard hammond wants to fight you nick', richard brown threatens violence to you with his snarling teeth and biceps nick, carl greaves will ambush you at the bottom of the stairs out of sight nick. his older friend will punch you when you are in a headlock and give you a fat lip nick.
you will live in fear for 5 more years nick until the red beret comes out.
i remember standing in the coach park sometime during the 1st year thinking, '5 more years of this' and it felt like a prison sentence. up to that point i had grown up in fields of long grass with mud and frogspawn and fire. crash came the bulldozer. everything was taken away. i lived in fear. no one knew... i lived in fear...
dannii minogue, 45, singer
emma willis, 41, TV presenter
maryam nemazee, 41, news anchor
rachel riley, 31, maths expert
sophie shevardnadze, 38, current affairs presenter
surely 5 of the most beautiful women on uk tv. now they are collected, i feel less charmed. they are individually diminished in their transfixing power which overcomes many times volition.
beauty is a terrible thing. it disguises its function. to tranquilise and introduce horror.