PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1981 - AUGUST
7 August 1981
Off to Dulwich Art Gallery with Patrick on a lazy Friday afternoon. With no issue of European Chemical News next week, the office is vacant. I think to sit around and catch up with writing but I end up making arrangements to wile the hours away. So here I sit on Carshalton Station awaiting the Tulse Hill train. Patrick reads 'Clea' seduced by Durrell's language and imagination.
Torrential thunderstorms the last two days darkened the sky. The 'Times' carried a photograph of St Paul's taken at 10:30am that looked more like 10:30pm. Travelling to work around 11:30am the train speeded through a cutting almost entirely enclosed by hedgerows and I was reminded of Darjeeling as the rain swept down in buckets and the train banked following the curve of the tracks. This darkening of the sky is magnificent. But why is the weather so sub-tropical? There is a build of heat and humidity for a few days and then an explosion of lightning and floods causing chaos. There was a power cut affecting half of England.
Dulwich Art Gallery. The tameness of England can anger me occasionally. The pictures here are mostly (I think) from the eighteenth century - Poussin, Van Dyck, Rubens, Gainsborough - but they all lack the masterpiece quality. Famous artists, yes, but no best works. I Liked 'Landscape with Sportsman' by Adam Pynacre because of a kind of Pre-Raphaelite quality. Most of the painting appears conventional, but prominently situated in the foreground stands a clump of large dock-like plants, the leaves of which are a brilliant sapphire blue, a colour that matches perfectly the shorts of the sportsman. Most of the other colours in the painting are yellow and brown. Besides this, or perhaps because of it, I noticed the madness of the dogs' positions and the detail given to the beautiful shapes of bark on the tree. On leaving the gallery I looked up the painting in the catalogue only to discover that the blue had come about through the fading of the yellow pigment which had been originally been used to make the colour green!
Paul Berguson exhibits at the Photographers' Gallery. His framed prints are combinations of one photograph repeated 24 times: six by four. But each photograph is itself a display of some sort, similar to my slides. There is a trolley full of empty jars, for example, a circular clothes' rack of women's coloured jackets, a supermarket tin shelf - each photo having a wealth of detail and some order. From a small distance, however, the detail is lost and a recurring patterned abstract appears. Levels within levels. A photograph of a display turned into a display itself by repetition and then displayed. I can link this up with Hofstader's book 'Godel Escher Bach'. The point is that there are no absolute stand points, but that, at any moment, one can look from one particular perspective. And the mind does this magnificently, able to change from one level, one viewpoint, to another in no time, and then back again. Hence in the same minute I can be feeling the pain of a banged knee, remember that tomorrow I'm going to a concert, and recall that a 100,000 people are dying somewhere of starvation. In the same moment I can be worried about my bath running over, about my future career, and about the question of evolution. I am sure that if Berguson had been given the right sort of gallery and the facilities he would have arranged the picture display itself to give a further level of abstraction at sufficient distance.
Arthur and Wendy - still so young, only 20 or so - came to stay for a few days, having returned from Scotland. It must have been hell in Marielle's father's house. The mother dead and the father surrounded by all his wayward children, Marielle and her entourage, Brian, Cathy and child, Jackie and husband, all filling the house with sorrow and pity and regrets. Wendy is no different from when I first met her. She has wiry lips and offset teeth; and Arthur, with his fine yellow hair, continues to play the prince. Their company was gentle, neither abrasive nor abusive, and they interacted well with the regulars - Gail, Patrick, Ann. I believe Gail and Wendy spent a night or two together, but she left without saying goodbye to him. Instant intimacy. Fickle fancies. And why not? Just that many people are not used to it. The members of Marielle's Group must have broken a few hearts between them.
The blancmange inspectorate discovered a masterpiece at 21 Iverson Road on Friday night, composed and constructed by Arthur. Perhaps it's worth recording that Hubbard, the blancmange addict, showed the most glee.
One night we all went to Heaven - it was a Tuesday when Equity members can get in for a £1. Ros brought Rick and his cousin, Arthur came and Wendy, Patrick, Gail, Ann and I - a whole crowd. The music thumped away and the lights crackled bright, brilliant and fluorescent. Wendy was shy. Arthur found himself a black tailor (though he still lived with his parents so Arthur had to be smuggled in for the night). Ann sweated in neo-romantic white. Ros, in red, danced with two men. As Gail took off his sweater I thought 'Gosh I wonder what it will be like to see him dance, he must be so stiff', and then I remembered that he's a dancer. His movements were fluid and angular, controlled and harmonious, whereas mine were un-coordinated and un-rhythmic.
Escapalogist dies as trick goes wrong. 'An escapologist died last week after a Royal Wedding party trick went tragically wrong. Trevor Revell, aged 35, was performing at a street party outside the Guildhall, Portsmouth. He was strapped into a straight-jacket then hoisted 30 ft in the air on a burning rope before a crowd of 3,000 people celebrating the wedding. But the trick failed, and, said a police statement, 'the rope burnt through too quickly and he plunged head-first on to a concrete paving slab'. Revell later died in Alexandra Hospital.' The Stage, 6 August 1981. Short story material? How about: 'If I should die before my time I can think of no better way of doing it than in the process of defying death. Some say life is a game, but I say death is the game. Most play the game taking few risks, but how much more valuable life becomes when the period between each risk is small and the chance of survival no greater than the chance of death?'
A ninth hunger striker dies. How faded the news has become. The ninth suicide. Yes, there were riots but the news of the death in London has become as insignificant as the presence of war itself. The stage is so well defined now in Northern Ireland, to change the parameters has become impossibly difficult. People grow up there with a need to perpetuate 'The Problem'. We can sympathise with the Polish food shortages and imagine the horrors of queueing for hours to buy food, but what do they think of us, with an ongoing war on our doorstep, riots, three million unemployed.
Sunday 9 August
No soon have Arthur and Wendy departed than Marielle's brother, Brian, arrives, giving the truth (can one say that as meaningfully as giving the lie) to Peter's question: 'When is the next wave arriving?' In fact, Peter K has never actually complained to me about anything. But then what does have to complain about. My visitors may annoy occasionally yet he gains pleasure from their company too. Last night, though, Patrick slept in his bed, and was turfed out angrily early in the morning. Brian tells of difficult times at the family home.
Card with motorbike picture to Ann: 'There, you see, I dared to care; And give you some of my loving flare; And now I feel I should not feel; As dust flies up from the spinning wheel.'
Tuesday 11 August
The Tricycle Theatre was full to brimming last night with all types for a performance by a Japanese theatre group, part of the LIFT festival. I was ushering, as usual, and managed to usher Ann in without a ticket. The Kabuki was traditional in style and content, with nothing modern or experimental added. Part of the charm of Kabuki, as with opera, is the grandeur of set and costume, but this production was small, there were few surprises in costume and none in set. Though it was all very professional, I felt it was a watered down and un-inspired version of an old fairy tale. Of course I don't understand the language, but then most people here don't either. I felt the strong applause was more in appreciation of the esoteric than anything else. Billington, in the 'Guardian' praised it, but I've seen better at Sadlers Well's and in Asian streets.
Brian has left for Vienna. Gail moves out today. I go to Paris tomorrow so Peter will be left for four days alone and quiet.
I sent Rob a letter complaining at his editing of my stuff for 'Performance Magazine', claiming he was doing so on political grounds. It will probably only serve to alienate me further from him. It's a shame because I want to be more involved in the magazine not less. Gail is currently writing a piece for him on Growtowski. He spent a weekend in Cardiff at a workshop with the man.
I smoked a joint last night with Ann, but then, during our love-making, I couldn't communicate, and became paranoid. She couldn't say or do anything without me mistrusting her motives. Why did she mention the baby oil bottle looking emptier? Why did she continually stop me touching her on the cheek, on the thighs? Why did I tickle her too much? Why did she say things like - you're getting lazy these days? Making love with Ann is not a remarkable affair. Yet both in and out of bed there is an ease of relations, a childishness that warms the cockles.
The overnight trip was a little difficult, though, I managed to sleep on every leg of the journey. Arriving at Dover customs I was still spinning slightly from a joint I'd smoked; on the one hand it helped me accept the queues in a state of indifferent banality - I didn't get frustrated - but, on the other hand, I became self-conscious passing through passport control. In the line, I caught the eye of a well-dressed young man with arms folded and an official looking moustache. The eye contact was minimal but I knew he was a policeman, and from that moment I tried to behave too normally, watching the passengers in front and the controller opening and closing the passports. Sure enough, as I was passing through the smart gentleman came over to ask to see my passport. 'Travelling alone sir?' 'Yes.' 'Where are you going?' 'Paris.' 'On holiday?' 'Yes, three, four days, coming back on Sunday.' By this point my throat was drying and my legs starting to wobble. 'Are you still a student?' 'No, a journalist.' And he was off. Having been on the Dover train at the wrong end meant that I arrived too late on the boat to get a decent stretch of seat, so I slept outside and listened to the courting giggles of two Italians nearby. It is frightening to see so many youngsters with rucksacks hitched onto their backs; so many rucksacks all the same - all framed. And to think that every day every train is crammed with blue, red, green and yellow rucksacks, all framed. I am sleeping in the hold having pleasant dreams when suddenly I am wakened by someone putting a framed rucksack on top of me. I am about to push up, when another one lands on me, and another, and another, until I am drowning in a huge mountain of them. When I try to breathe, the rucksacks shrink in size and enter my mouth and choke me as if they were dust. The rucksacks enter my lungs and begin to expand again, the awful metal frames bursting through my skin.
As usual my mind took to thinking about itself again under the influence. For some reason, I examined why I took the same seat almost every day on the train to Sutton. This led to an internal debate on the relative qualities of biases associated with routines. It seemed obvious to me, for example, that the making of decisions entails use of energy. A particle moving in space can only alter its course or speed if energy is spent. Likewise, if the mind can continue without a decision it uses less energy than if it has to make one. As children we learn many physical movements, how to walk, catch, bicycle, put on clothes, eat, etc. and we develop the most efficient ways of doing them, physically efficient. I mean so much so that we don't even think about them. But the routines of the mind carry with them similar energy saving devices. In the morning, as I approach the train and see my usual seat free, I do not need to make a decision as to whether to sit there or not, my routines tells me yes, saving a decision. We can and do build up a great variety of automatic decision-makings on many scales, on the every day level of our lives, but also over more lengthy time gaps. It's the building up of experiences in the memory store that saves us in future situations examining every aspect and wasting energy on doing so. Like cycling to work by many different routes until one finds the quickest and easiest. I suppose all this is quite obvious but I have one more thing to say. I wondered why routines should be considered dull and boring by our society. I decided one reason might be that some people fill their lives with routines and this is not dissimilar to being an animal or machine. But it is self-awareness and consciousness that gives us the ability to step outside of the routines/habits/instincts. Also, I thought, it might have something to do with science giving us much understanding about the body, but little about the mind. We are only now moving into the age of the mind. Interesting that it should coincide with the micro-electronic revolution.
Friday 14 August
Every other shop is shuttered up - it must be August. Fermeture Annuelle. The French are more gregarious than the British, everyone likes going away on holiday together. I prefer to be here in Paris than on one of the crowded beaches in the South of France. There is still life here. I don't mean 'still life' but that life is still here - around the Pompidou centre there is activity of every kind, sounds, colours, movements, a veritable jamboree.
Gigi has lent her 2 cv to Harold but when we tried to use it the brakes started juddering violently against the wheel. We had to leave it behind and walk. Harold is now racing around trying to fix it. In this short time together with Harold, I find myself becoming aggressive with him. We move in such different rhythms, and, I suppose, I have less patience with him now than previously. He doesn't learn any discipline at all. It is 4:00 in the afternoon before he has woken up, but I was out of the house by 8:30, and by 4:00 I need a rest. Our friendship is no longer based on a desire for each other's company more on our history. We must go different ways. Harold's friend Sammy says to me: 'You were very cold when we first met?' Of course, he doesn't interest me very much, my warmth now is only polite. He has a habit of poking me with questions that provoke me into egoistic honesty, but I do try and restrain myself. Colin says he has had enough of women. Odd that he should still be there, part of my life, after all these years. What would have happened to him, I wonder, if we hadn't been friends in the Fordwych Road days. I feel somehow responsible for his destiny.
A tooth has fallen out. When I examine the gap all the rest of my teeth fall out. I am screaming with the pain I imagine I must feel, but someone standing nearby tells me it will be all right, a dentist will put them straight. Then I try and put them back myself, but am scared I will distort the gums. When I've finished I realise I've put them in upside down.
Gigi and Lionel live in the wing of a rather delightful chateau, southwest of Paris, a little further out than Versailles. Calling the house a chateau is a bit pretentious but it has a certain charm with four pointed turrets and a generous helping of fleur-de-lis along its perimeter railings. Gigi and Lionel have two small rooms and a kitchen, but the rest of the property is owned and lived in by an Iranian mother, two daughters and man whom Harold has never seen. We have the run of Gigi's rooms and the grounds because the family is also away. The house is surrounded by lush and dense forests. The nearby village, Villiers Le Bade, a short way up the hill, has two classy restaurants and a village green. Further away is Gyf sure Yvette or Gyf-s-y for short. We eat and laze on a large terrace which traps the sun most of the day. A large wild lawn dips down from the forest to the road. It is littered with odd and randomly place stone sculptures. Some pseudo-Roman columns in pseudo ruins stand at the edge of the forest. At night the great danger is to tread on a slug with bare feet.
Sharman delights me. I avoid the attempted seduction of his mother, Sylvie. She is tall, attractive with ochre eyes. She talks of India, street theatre and karma, and wears white robes. There was a hint of possibilities - perhaps a simple touch through the light sheets, a smile from the eyes, an embrace, or a word or two such as 'how enchanted I am by your son' or 'shall we love tonight in celebration of moons and castles and fairy stories that sometimes now I feel too old to enjoy'.
Sunday 16 August 1981
DREAM (fragments of)
Peter K is giving a party when I return home after three or four days away. People are dancing and the floor is vibrating. I tell Peter that it is going to give way, but he says no. More and more people arrive, up the stairs and into the room. Peter tells me Steven Berkoff rang. He's not happy at what I wrote in Performance Magazine. I tell this proudly to someone else. Then the floor does give way. Downstairs I rush around shouting to see if anybody needs emergency services, but everybody seems OK. The party spreads out to a grassy area. Then there is a scene with Ann, her mother, another girlfriend and her mother and they are all bitching. The mothers are small and old, perhaps like the woman whose garden we drove into yesterday. I promise to ring Ann later when I know what is going on. I am cycling along a way I should know but in the distance I discover a line of medieval towers along a mountain ridge and wonder why I've never explored them.
It occurs to me that for two months I've not gone 24 hours without speaking to Ann. I tell this to H. He asks, do I love her. And, of course, I say I do not know what love is. I understand infatuation. But I am not infatuated with Ann. I recognise a need for a partnership that works. Love which is need, respect, caring all together only comes with time and ever deepening layers of trust, that fold in on each other and bond people together in many different conditions.
Wednesday 19 August 1981
Vonny tells me that Hank, the beatnik for whom Andrew has taken some responsibility, took some alcohol last Saturday on Brighton beach and then went swimming. He half drowned and had to be dragged out of the water. He's now in hospital and it seems he might die.
Cycling through Hyde Park last evening around 8.30pm I turned my head and recognised a face: the name Adam came easily. He was unshaven and wearing dull-coloured, if not dirty, clothes. He carried his guitar in a case. I do not think he remembered my name but slowly he pulled a few facts about me together. I remember him chiefly for the strength of his personality (like Andraz he is a Hungarian refugee) and for the astonishing and unique way he plays guitar. He told me he was experiencing the 'horrors'. He needed no prompting to explain the finer philosophical points of his predicament. We went walking and talked of death, ecstasy and some mid-point that he, as an artist, was trying to achieve. He talked intensely in pace with his walking, eyes always forward. He told me that a friend of his almost died six months ago from not eating. He locked himself in his room and lived on water till death knocked. Adam, in Berlin at the time, called some friends here in London and told them to break in, for he had had an intuition that his friend was dying. Adam then came to London and joined in with his friend's euphoria on the edge of death. The friend and Adam both believed they were about to enter ecstasy for ever. Since then, Adam has been back to London three times, but both he and the friend have deteriorated to the point where Adam is now wandering around in pointless despair. I was reminded of Peter in Brighton sitting in his room of rubbish and working as a dustbin man. I understand, I understand so well this despair. Yet there is nothing to be done. There is either death, more despair or no more despair - that's it. Things are and always will be as they are.
Mike Goldsmith has managed to interview Bokassa, the ex-emperor who beat him up once with a stick and who is now in exile. Rather fine to have a famous uncle. I called him before I went to Paris to see if he was there but was told he was 'travelling in Africa'. Obviously he was busy. Which reminds me I must write to Otto, the rich relation, in order to persuade him to take me skiing this winter. TO OTTO Or nOT TO OTTO.
We arrived at the chateau mid-afternoon last Friday. With some trepidation I popped my half tab of acid. I was afraid to take a whole, but I was also unwilling to wait until Saturday: my memory of other trips was that I experienced slight disorientation for days afterwards. For an hour or so I remained unaffected, pottering around in the sun, building a sculpture on the terrace of odd bits and pieces. As soon as as it started affecting me I was aware of it. For approximately six hours I was in a state of limbo, as if in space; at times gravity appeared absent; the movement of my hands became all important. It required conscious decisions to move my body or parts of it, also to change the mode of my thoughts. Instinctive reactions were considerably lessened. I wandered aimlessly about on the grass attempting to bring the bad sculptures to life. I noticed the mass of insects in the earth and the dirt on my body. I lazed in the sun. I read one page of a thriller. I saw shapes and lines, but I had no hallucinations. I was, indeed, rather trapped in the effects of the acid, and even bored by them. On occasions I felt its strength, but mostly I wished I'd taken more, risked more. I couldn't communicate with Harold, since I had the same kind of mental blocks I get with dope. Having a bath was probably the highlight. I felt free to masturbate and experience the ecstasy of sexual stimulation and gratification. Nothing else comes close to it really. There was very little push in the head to think about anything at all, and when I tried my mind reverted to sexual fantasies, before the bath that is. Towards the evening, Harold and I went out exploring in the car. I found it difficult to relate to him, and most of what he said took ages to understand, analyse or respond to.
Thursday August 20
I seem to be writing in here quite regularly this week, perhaps it is the influence of Anais Nin. She always does inspire me to write more widely, more analytically and less self-indulgently. I think, though, that her diaries must be very heavily edited because they are so 'clean' - she never talks of her lovers, for example, and love-making is only referred to in the abstract. She writes in answer to a letter asking her why she writes: 'I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live . . . a world on my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I would breathe, reign, and re-create myself when destroyed by living . . . it is a materialisation, an incarnation of his inner world. Then he hopes to attract others into it, he hopes to impose this particular vision and share it with others . . . We also write to heighten our own awareness of life, we write to lure and exhort and console others, we write to serenade our lovers. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection . . . we write to expand our world, when we feel strangled, constricted, lonely.' Yet in me this compulsion is not strong enough. I do not find solace in my imagined worlds rather in writing about my need for solace. I do not retire to the desk and typewriter as an escape from loneliness, only as an escape from people if I know I can have them any time.
The life of Anais Nin makes me envious. Luke's life also spurs some sense of regret in me. His obvious ability to write, organise and be diplomatic. He has landed a plum job as administrator of the theatre group Shared Experience, one of my favourite theatre companies. This is very strange considering that his previous job was with the Phantom Captain and these are my two favourite theatre groups. Luke has already developed a relationship with Mike Alfreds apparently. Alfreds, who models himself somewhat on Peter Brook, is well respected and has been offered work by the RSC but says it is not compatible with his current work. To my chagrin, Luke tells me that Alfreds has moved away from the fine improvisation work he was doing with 'Arabian Nights' and 'Science Fictions', to put on Chekhov's 'Seagull' - well Brook has just done 'The Cherry Orchard' in Paris. The point is, though, that Alfreds does not stay still and has the will and ability to change directions radically. Luke also tells me about the canal theatre in Birmingham that happened a couple of weeks ago. He and Mike Banks organised the whole event, involving the old Phantom Captain gang (Neil, Cindy, Ian etc). They hired a house for a week on the canal and used it as the focal point for 15 or 20 actors and friends. It all went off quite spectacularly, he reported. The audience were packed into a barge and from start to finish events happened along the canal route - in tunnels, on bridges, on the banks. There were fireworks, for example, and the house was turned into a brothel. They must have had finance from the Birmingham Arts Lab.
Gail's piece on the Growtowksi visit wasn't used in 'Performance Magazine' because the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff rang Rob and said that Growtowksi had only been allowed out of Poland on condition that the press gave him no publicity. Perhaps I will include a few pieces of Gail's article about G in this diary. I have a copy. Gail has gone to Ireland.
It seems I will get a trip to Venice in October for ECN. Luke knows a theatre group in Padua and I may well go to Ljubljana to see Maja. That would be a trip.
Monday 24 August
I shouldn't let so many days pass without an entry. Stories get lost in the irrelevant folds of time. I submit to the mocking airs of the office.
Wednesday 26 August
The day is brilliant, my mind bogs, leaving Ann sourly again this morning. Since Marielle's arrival, I hate to admit it, Ann and I haven't had a good hour. It grieves me to tears. What self-destruction is this that we battle so. There is the fight of prides and independences, like sandpaper rubbing against sandpaper. I rode right across town last night at midnight to spend the night with her but she then spent two hours talking to her flatmate Mala. My anger only grew and I could not abide her touch when it came. In the morning I was moody. I begin to feel as though I keep returning to have my head bashed, yet I am also conscious of this trait in me to expect more than there is. For a while it was fine because I had been so lonely, now I become accustomed to her and she to me, our joy in each other is diminished. I find myself punishing her for her inability to want me/love me/need me more than she does. And of course that is stupid, as she says, she can only give what is there. And as always there is this conflicting dialogue in my head, that swings radically from evidence to evidence. I can find so many reasons why I am hampered and unsatisfied in the relationship, yet I can bring to bear the memory of past relations and find positive parallels. Surely I'm capable of finding growth and joy in a partnership, but my life is only full of fickle fancies.
Time doth tame the bull; and temper thus our distant love
Poetry still exists with Marielle. But even poetry ages. Her freckled face distorts so easily into angry or delightful images. Her mouth twists and turns, revolving from hate to love, through tense and supple lips. Her hair is so fine and golden, it grows long in flight across her neck, as she in flight comes from the north, where her dead mother lays, a weight she must bear for a while. To rise above the levels of mortal men and women was not so easy this time round. Ann weighed heavily on my mind, and Marielle's flights of fancy did not fit so easily into place, given the new norms of my life, given the presence of the lovely and imperturbable Thomas, given the restrictions of a tiny space. Still, that said, we did touch chords, chords which are now private cliches of other times together. Hints of sighs, once so high, whispered in the air just for a night. Quiet lovers, like newborn leaves unfolding into each other, yet with the prescience of old oak trees in the veins. But, but, her presence, her departure indeed, seem quite insignificant. How callous I become.
Overheard at Waterloo station 'Single for Axminster'. I thought this a good title for a thriller. I ring home. Marielle and Thomas left during the night.
Thursday 27 August
Gale and Polden's, our printers, have such ugly premises. They date from a time when workers really worked, and printing presses thrived. Now rooms are empty or half-empty, and the sound of the printing presses reverberates with a hollow sound. Our work proceeded at a fair pace, so that at 5:30pm Tony told me I could go. But, he said, he wanted to see me tomorrow at 5:15pm. Adrenalin! No wonder he'd been so quiet. I thought he was going to try and give me the push. I was about to leave, and then thought better of it, preferring he gave me his talk then and there. So I wait until he's finished, and, sure enough, the news was blue. Basically, he said, he's not happy to confirm my position at ECN (my six months probation is nearly up). In fact, I feel, he's been hunting around for excuses not to do so. Apparently, Peter Taffe says my copy needs too many grammatical changes, but nobody's mentioned this to me before. My probation is to be extended by three months. I intend to reply strongly when the official letter comes, after all my ego is at stake, my entire self-esteem is under threat.
A letter from Colin this morning. I'll repeat that. A letter from Colin. He includes a carefully drawn graph of my physical, emotional and intellectual biorhythms. The letter starts with forecasts of my welfare and proofs that we are intellectually incompatible. He ends with a welcome proof that biorhythms cannot exist.
Meanwhile Anais Nin describes an experiment with acid organised by a doctor friend. How well she tells of her experiences, but there is no acknowledgement of how fascinating the experience was to her, how different from the normal it was. But, to my mind, to see a carpet come alive with snakes, or a wall melt is quite extraordinary.
Such warm weather, almost sultry. I think of swimming on the Heath. Sooz rings but declines my invitation because she hasn't got any togs.
Sunday August 29
Do you see all these different levels of consciousness - realising aspects of the universe, the philosophy of this world, the aims of a single life, the daily routine of buying bread? They are all so difficult to correlate, to superimpose, to bear witness to. And the orgasm - that wretched drug - is a complete betrayal of all that is outside of a man. All those levels are diminished to pure irrelevance and the entire soul/body/mind system of a person is concentrated into a pinpoint of sensation that is of complete and utter importance in place and time. So how can man be expected to wake then from his pleasure and cope with a world full of proofs that he is not at its centre, not a king.
Life with Ann continues to be a battle. Discussions are arguments, and actions are trivial incidents in the power games between us.
I finally finish 'Holy Wedlock'. It is neither more nor less than what I wanted to do with it, but, as usual, I am dissatisfied with my actual language - there could, for example, be more detail, more careful character description. It also occurs to me that my writing is very claustrophobic. I think about my stories and see them as closed accounts of a particular space between two people. There is no freedom of movement with the world, no breathing space. Perhaps this says something about my own life, my inability to socialise well and my preference for the intensity of one person's attention.
Bank Holiday Monday
What a lazy day. Thoroughly enjoying just laying on my bed and doing nothing. It must be the first time in years that I've been able to relax doing nothing. For the first time in ages I've actually got ahead of myself: the flat is clean, letters are written, the washing is done. I've even completed another lesson of the short story course (alas I've abandoned the Open University 'Risk' course). Now finally I get out my 'unfinished' file. As usual it surprises me to see what I can write when I do set my mind to it. There are three things on hold. There is the story about three characters Divine, Clive and July which has been stagnant for ages. Tube-knows when the idea first germinated. It looks to be short novel length if I write it the way I've planned. Well, I did it once for 'The Gardeners', I don't see why I shouldn't do it again. But that really needs me to keep my mind on it, and get down to writing consistently over a few weeks and months. Also waiting to hit the production line is the story of a battle between a sex-craved guitar-playing professor and a young dancer. The dancer wants the man to play the guitar which he does in a magical way but he just wants to screw her all the time. Story to be set in the strange tower at Thorpeness. I also plan to write a one-man play called 'The Suicide' based on a series of flashbacks that go ever further into the past and end up with the actor as a child playing with a railway set (inspired by Gordon's dramatic suicide on the railway tracks near Rugby). Here on a mid-Bank Holiday Monday afternoon I cannot summon enough mental hailstones to attack any of these. I prefer to potter and wait for someone to come to tea.
I met a chauffeur hitching down to Brighton. He drove a Rolls and a Merc for a night club owner. He was going to work - it was 8:30pm. Later in the evening, he said, he would drive the boss into town and then hang around waiting for him all night at different clubs. I plied him with questions. 'I suppose he's pretty drunk by the end of the night?' 'No, he doesn't drink, nor do I, we get on pretty well.' 'Does he have a different woman every night?' 'Sometimes several. We often don't get home until the morning because one of his night clubs is for night club people.'
Paul K Lyons
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