PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1977 - JULY
Sunday 3 July
I have sat in the sun this morning; I have been swimming; I have listened to Joni Mitchell. A row with M last night. I am so far away from the life I dream of. And what is that life I dream. It is so misty that I realise dreams are always greyer than they appear. And now I am super depressed. I try to wallow in my sadness, to remove it, to feel it, to be - to be. To be a part of it all. The sadness is a part of it all.
I think about M a lot, what I will say to her when she rings, what should I have said last night, whether I should write her a letter, snide or gentle, about where we could go, or what we could do - if, if, if. And so runs my mind, it annoys me so. I remember Helen asking me once 'do I dream?' and I said 'no', but that was a dream, because everything that passes through my head is a child's dream, a child making make-believe plans and never doing anything. I didn't want to write poetry or stories or letters in this mood because they always turn out so negative, but I guess it's OK to describe in a narrative way the deepest things I can see - I'm sure there are others that I am unaware of.
Melanie wants to change schools and go and live with Father. Julian is happy at the moment with a job, a new girlfriend, the exams over, prospects of working in France.
Monday 4 July
Sunday was such an amazing day. Now it is Monday and the sun is the same. A ladybird sits by my side with two black spots on its wonderfully red body. Tonight I am going for an interview with a market research company - when that falls through, afterwards, when I say to myself I couldn't possibly do that job, then I will have nothing, absolutely nothing in the pipeline.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) is a German philosopher, born of Dutch parents. He has opinions on everything, and very often makes particular generalisations like: 'Money is human happiness in abstract; consequently he who is no longer capable of happiness in concrete sets his whole heart on money.' Kant seems to be his superhero.
I also read Dannie Abse's 'A poet in the family'; W. E Butler's 'Magic and the Qabalah'. (about the tree of life founded in Hebrew writings); and Mencius who said people are of supreme importance, the altars to the gods of earth and grain come next, last comes the ruler: when a feudal lord endangers the altars to the gods of earth and grain he should be replaced. When the sacrificed animals are sleek, the offerings are clean and the sacrifices observed at due times, and yet floods and droughts still come, then the altars should be replaced. T. S Elliot says: 'ridiculous the waste sad time stretching before and after' in Burnt Norton. 'All the President's Men' with Redford and Hoffman; and 'Joe Hill' circa 1900 fighting, singing for the workers. Pantheism is the identification of God with the universe; schadenfreude is pleasure in another's discomfiture.
Tuesday 12 July
I am in a large ship, as I walk along I meet two crew who look pale, so I ask them what is the problem. They say we are all going to die. I go up on deck and see that the ship is going around fast in circles, in ever-tightening circles, and the boat is getting more and more lop-sided. I run to my cabin, it is very difficult to move, and with even more difficulty, I gather my diaries and my precious things and put them in a toilet bag which I hang around my neck. I go up on deck again and find an inflatable ring which I put on. I run along the slanting deck and find myself floating to the land. I land on a pier and flee away from the sea because I fear the boat is going to crash into the harbour frontage. I escape toward a hill, just as I see the ship break from its ever tightening ever faster circles and crash into some houses.
Listening to Mahler's 9th Symphony. Watching the final minutes of the second test match. Writing a journal of fraught and fraud happenings.
News: Pitched battles yesterday between pickets and police at Grunwick. Guatemala is claiming a quarter of Belize. The Spanish peseta is to be devalued. General Zia is ruling Pakistan after having deposed Bhutto. Don Revie has resigned as England manager. Gay News has been found guilty of blasphemy.
The last week was particularly depressing on the job front so I sent 13 letters to market research companies as well as two letters about learning exchanges. I also put an ad in the Times which led to one call about becoming a life insurance agent. I've sent an application form to Cambridge consultants for an interesting job I saw advertised. Now I am back in the library every day. I buy Time Out, and the Evening Standard.
Sabado 16 July
All the tired horses in the sun. How'm I going to get any riding done. Clean body with black t-shirt and my everlasting brown tweed-type trousers. 6:43pm. Dylan music simmers through the sitting room. I am going to a fiesta tonight at Paul's house; it will be memory tripping. Yesterday, I saw 'O Calcutta' - a terrible show; and the day before 'Snowy and the Spider Lady' - a bad play. In fact, theatrically it was a bad week. Professionally it was better - odd things happened. I went to Milton Keynes and talked to Dick Hunter about Learning Exchanges. He was very responsive, and I'm going to see him again soon. Also I got one hopeful reply from a market research company, and one exciting call - more about that with results.
Relations with M are difficult
We can dance along silver thread
When the wind blows
Let us say, from the south
And yes, lover
We can play on chequered boards
And choose from white to black
Let us say, the sides
And yes, lover
We can whisper in sparkles if we please
On those days we really meet
Let us say, gold dust days
Or hot pepper days
When our independence
Is two likewise facing mirrors
Let us say, in grey pride
And yes, lover
Let us say goodbye
Tuesday 19 July
My money from New Zealand has arrived. I am worth about £750. Considering that I left England with less money than that three years ago, and I have only worked one year of three, it was a pretty deed of sponging and scrounging.
Another hopeful reply from a market research company brightened the doormat this morning.
And then there was such a crazy trip last Sunday. As a result of my advert in the Times, I was invited to Heathfield Wildlife Park to talk to the owners of 500 acres of Sussex about a job as manager of the park. On this Sunday, the park was hosting a folk festival, so my hopes were high at least for an interesting day. After a late night on Saturday, it was such a rush in the morning to catch a Charing Cross train (the hard running that constricts the throat and lungs to difficult breathing). I was dreaming and aspiring deftly on the train to Etchingham, train to Etchingham, train to Etchingham. After waiting one hour, I was collected from the station by a man from Auckland. He tells me he is a slave in the rich man's house, but is soon off on a cycling tour around France, after which he'll teach in Hastings. I am introduced to the owner, Dr Moore, a Harley Street man of short build and long grey hair. He greets me with an air of 'you must be the lucky one to shake my hand and I'm glad we have another worker now but please please don't bother me again', but we never talk again. There are no ostriches, elephants or parrots that smile at me in this wildlife park, but a Philippino servant talks of the $500 they had to pay an agency in their country to get them the job here in England. He has to serve a two year contract, but there are several other Philippinos in the main house who have been here six or seven years. There are many amusements around: vintage cars, tanks, bus rides, chemical tank toilets, statues, a lion's club teddy bear raffler, giggly girls, greying rabbits, morris dancers. Fairport Convention were to play in the meadow at six, but the concert was cancelled because of bad weather. Some angry people were given their money back; cars queued up to leave. I disappeared to hitch home. Ben Holt, a man in the sugar business with a Hungarian ballet dancer wife, carried me to East Putney.
Friday 22 July
Melanie is 16. Chris is 25. I seem to be riding reasonably high again with some activity on the job front, and some activity socially. I went to see Mike Leigh's 'Abigail's Party' - a black situation comedy with above average acting. I tried reading Joyce's 'Ulysses' but just couldn't get into it (didn't try very hard). John Osbourne's 'Luther', on the other hand, provides some informative insight into the man's life and conflict with the Catholic church. I went to Arundel and Isle of Wight with M. We had a good smooth time, sleeping under stars by a ruined church in Portsmouth, and so much conversation about ourselves. She is sharp and very good for me.
Monday 25 July
Sunday passed by writing letters and words across the winds to Christian, Lynn, Phil, Frederic, and by visiting markets with M. In the evening I went to a folk club.
Paul K Lyons
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