PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1982 - MARCH
I suppose idealism runs through my body like lymph! Like a toddler I dance through the offices of well-respected men. I am uncomfortable in the world and I want other things, yet what things - what else is there to want? Almost everybody and everything counterpoints my naivety. Yea truly I walk through the valley of the shadow. Bright sun streams into my room, an oboe complements a piano, but my mind though will not stop thinking about the Rotterdam Spot Oil Market. I am tense with fear that I might not be able to write the story. Most of the people I've talked to have been in the industry at least ten years, who am I to thrust my simple questions at them? How is it I still do not accept my own limitations?
Waltar at the Waterloo Plein in Amsterdam was a good host. I think he is a little lonely and was glad of the company - there were a lot of similarities between us. We found a delightful couple at Rose's Cantina who laughed before even I opened my mouth - my eye movements were enough. When did I last write poems and messages on napkins?
Luke and I got a bit carried away over the idea of an issue of Performance devoted to religion. It is difficult, after all, to ignore the similarities between churches and theatres, and impossible not to recognise that millions go to church and only thousands to the theatre. Surely religion is an historically-blended performance for all-man, while Performance Art is but one man's religion at one moment in time. But, let's face it, audiences at religious services get more to do than they would in the theatre. Luke and I consider inviting contributors to write straight reviews of church services.
Does winter do this to me . . . to us . . . slow the body down? The muscles move less, the lungs take less air, and the bloodstream has less oxygen. I am consciously breathing deeper, as though my instinctive breathing is not enough. But I feel that my general level of activity has fallen and my body is less accustomed to exercise, hence a short run up the stairs or cycling up a hill leaves me breathless.
Saturday 13 March
A spring busyness takes over, and I feel almost ready to fall in love again. About time. About time.
In how many ways does the body excrete: shit, piss, tears, sweat, snot, skin, nails, hair, saliva.
Raoul is quietly excited. It seems he has been given the go-ahead for a massive research programme on one particular type of cure for cancer: a monoclonal antibody, cultured from mice, which can make straight for cancerous cells when introduced into the human body; and a poison lethal to cancer cells, such as rycine made from lentils, can be attached to the antibody.
Why do all poets exist on the bread line and become drunkards? Such ran the discussion in the 77 wine bar newly opened on Mill Lane. It is an abstract form, difficult to understand, inaccessible. Why? Because it's out of fashion. Why?
Richard Burton keeps a diary. Wouldn't the press like to get hold of that. wouldn't the press like to get hold of my diaries. But they're not having them. Not ever. Not even if they offered me £1,000. Not even it I were offered a peerage or fame. I've got my principles.
Why do parties always come in splurges? Why do I go to them? R & V had a loud one. Patrick's friends from 'The Grove' had a cast one; and the Kingsgate crowd - Mick Jagger's brother - had a country and western one. Actually, I enjoyed myself at all of them, but was acutely self-consciousness when dancing.
Julian stands for the paid job as editor of his college rag and comes for help on laying out his campaign leaflet. I help him rewrite it as well as putting more emphasis on his independence. If he doesn't get elected, he's happy to go to Cardiff to do a year's stage management course. I suggest he should go into business - after all he has just done a four year business course. Who else do I advise? Patrick on his flat situation; Jane on her lonely heart situation; Bel on her CV situation; Andrew on his children situation. And last night, a pert 20 year old violinist told me why she had given up professional music school. I tried to convince her that the only things worth doing in life are those with depth. Life and society only reward commitment. Of course, she has other ambitions - she's far too open and daring to become prey to an orchestra's tedium and clubbiness. But, I suggested, try to keep the violin a focal part of your work.
Back to Richard Burton. He says he respects writers more than actors, but actors are more fun.
I write some freelance for 'Procurement Weekly'. I play squash with Greg occasionally. Tony Cox is reasonably happy with me now which means it's more difficult to find the impetus to look for another job. I mean I do and will apply but the fit will have to be neater.
Could I ever make a living writing stories. How that does appeal to me? Surely, surely within a couple of years I'll write something that's published somewhere. I do have ambitions above an old car and a tiny flat. I have ambitions to love and be loved, to travel, and to live in sunnier climes. But there's time, god, I hope there's time.
25 March 1982
Manzi returned, more brazen, more self-possessed, yet still with the same weak knees. And she still bears mannerisms of endless youth: the wide beautiful eyes that disappear in acute and angular haste; the mechanical top lip that lifts with a laugh to reveal her glistening white teeth. She's very into counselling and talking about it. It being relationships etc. Oh, but the sex was fine after a Sunday drive. I suppose three chimes saw us asleep only because we'd been at it before dinner. It was so complete, it was almost all . . . it might be all. It was almost as if we had returned instantly to the pattern of our old relationship. But a writer would note that the man made mistakes. He said: 'Where's the silver necklace you used to wear?' She said: 'I never wore a silver necklace.'
I lie in Nonsuch Park, Cheam, and it could be midsummer. I feel emotional pits in me despite, early this morning not long after Manzi had gone, having felt a sensation of perfect well-being. At 30 years old, never satisfied, never fulfilled.
Friday 26 March
Should I go to Brighton? Where I really want to go this weekend is Aldeburgh. At Rosy and Andrew's I'm never really light and airy, never explosively me, never wild. But, nevertheless, it might be nice.
Paul K. Lyons
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