PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1984 - JULY
Monday 2 July
July already. The second half of the year. I move into a slightly manic mode. I know this because I'm still up well after midnight.
Geoffrey Howe has gone to Moscow and had a row with Gromyko over armament talks. The press has commented in the last few days on a warming of relations between Moscow and Washington, and this has been connected with Reagan's re-election campaign. Reagan has suggested an arms summit, but Moscow said it would only agree if the US withdrew its cruise missiles from West Germany and UK. In the meantime, though, it said it was prepared to talk about outer-space technology. The US then said it would only talk 'star wars' in connection with 'earth wars' . . . and so the chess-like manouevres continue.
More politics. I went to a recording of a 'You the Jury' session about whether the government should intervene in the miners' strike. I disliked John Smith, the labour MP proposing the motion, because he had a condescending manner, almost rude. He didn't look at the people he was talking tobut stared out towards the audience as though there were a television camera there.
On Saturday night I drove into the office only to discover I didn't have the keys to get in. I drove home and then back again only to discover the keys I'd picked up were the wrong ones!
I took Bel to see 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' which wasn't a patch on 'Raiders'. I almost fell asleep despite the swarms of cockroaches and evil thuggees.
Wednesday 4 July
I keep trying to continue writing the story of JT and the rats, but every time I run up against an impasse in my mind: not having enough factual knowledge about the early days of the underground railway system and its tunnels. I will go to Colindale and research newspapers from the mid-19th century.
Well, I went to Colindale Library to explore the Marylebone Mercury but discovered next to nothing. There was a small article on the opening of the Baker St-Swiss Cottage railway which was disappointing, lacking any detail. I soaked in a few details about the times - 1868 was the year Gladstone first came to power. I then used Willings Press Guide for 1868 to find out the names of specialist magazines: 'Railway Journal' and 'Mining Journal'. 'Railway Journal' had a little bit of extra information, but not much. My next move must be towards London Transport to see if they have a library. A social history of the late 19th century might also be useful.
I am ashamed to say that another week has passed by without an entry. Last week, though, I did actually entertain a little. It was Mum's birthday on Tuesday, she came over with Jan and Melanie and Julian. We drank champagne. On Wednesday, I dined out with the Rosie-Niema clan at Gus's restaurant near Gloucester Road. The service was superslow, and the food badly cooked. As always I found myself more in tune with Andy than the others. On Thursday, Annie was supposed to come to dinner, and I arranged it so she could meet Judy and talk about publishing, but she cancelled. In the evening, Colin arrived but would not eat because his Mum had cooked for him earlier. And Judy was feeling slightly nauseous, so my excellent pizza was gobbled by just Rob and I. We then watched a film about a writer going to live in rural Cork and falling for two women who worked at a nursery. On Friday, Raoul came over with Caroline and declared that they were getting married. I didn't think they were very serious but it seems so. Caroline had planned to go to Antibes when I was there, but now I learn that Raoul had forbidden her to go. They marry in two weeks!
Bel thinks that we should not see each other for a couple of months. She tells me she loves me but can't accept that I always seem to be looking for someone else.
Bel, Know that wherein we are but human minds and bodies, and wherein we are thus victims to a multitude of forces more powerful than we; and that wherein the concepts of love and truth and peace deserve attention lest they be forgot altogether; and that therein we are subject to constant and dismal failure being but more full of ego now than ever before; and in consequence of all this bearing the knowledge that I then am succour to unceasing impatience within this seething panic of life, I say to you; that; I do and will love you for such beauty and generosity of spirit I shall ne'er meet again.
Monday 16 July, Long Island, US
I find myself at the Montauk Yacht Club Inn and a riotously exclusive place it is. My room is 20' by 30' with two double beds. Trotter's room is the same but with a sofa. He claims he could live comfortably in there with most of his family. Despite the expensive hotel room, the exotic food, the attentive service and the exclusive location, this is not much fun. There are about a dozen people, some editorial, some sales, some technology oriented and we are here to discuss McGraw-Hill's move forward. Bill Raduchet, a senior vice-president, gave us a knowledgeable pep talk last night before flying back to NY. He knew some things. He knew that from here on we have to accommodate all our editorial products into pages which are 24 lines of 80 characters, because then the delivery system is immaterial and any customer with a screen can receive the info. Before arriving here, Trotter and I spent a weekend with George Lutjens - Trotter's boss and organiser of this jaunt - at his pad in East Hampton. It was all a bit claustrophobic for me. Only now in the seclusion of the hotel room at the Montauk Yacht Club Inn do I feel I can write this for example.
R's wedding to C is fact: Tuesday week, 2:30 Chelsea Registry Office. I went to R's house last week for supper, and, with C out of the room, R quietly asked me to be his best man. I, more embarrassed than he, stuttered some form of refusal - not for any lack of love or care for R, rather through my feelings of inadequacy. I even suggested that he should invite someone other than me given the limitations of numbers at the registry office. This is not false humility on my behalf. I wonder if R thinks it is. He was forced to say he really wanted me there and for me to respond that of course I wanted to be there. These things need not have been said and in the saying were awkward and almost ugly. In retrospect, of course, I am the ugly selfish one. R would not ask if he did not want me as best man. By refusing, I am putting my status and self-respect before his most important occasion.
Last afternoon and evening I was wrecked by a foul bout of spewing. I didn't tell anybody but I thought it might have been caused by Lutjens's stuffed vine leaves. The feeling of nausea carried through until sleep.
Still trying to recap on last week's social events before venturing into the world of business. On Wednesday night, a week ago, I finally went to bed with Amy - about a year after my first pass. It was a good evening, part of it spent waiting for R, part of it haggling in our amicable way over politics, and part of it making love. This latter was slow and unsexual if that's possible - now, a week later, I don't recall it with any great enthusiasm. For all her feminist ways, Amy was less dominant than J, not that she was either. Odd that I should have known both women for such a time - one and half years in both cases - before going to bed with them.
Sunday 22 July
My sun roof is complete. It's up to expectation. There is a different feel on the roof, a more spacious atmosphere (obviously) than in the yard. Certainly, my friends in the house are pleased with it.
The trip to NY was quite enjoyable, new people, new places. The exclusive Monthawk Yacht Club at the NE tip of Long Island was fine for a day or two. The meeting was interesting - to understand McGraw-Hill developments more clearly. Some of the characters: Lew Moore, the man who can jump out of a wheelbarrow quicker than his age would lead you to believe, and who cures all ills with white creme de menthe; Jo Links, the computer editor whizz with a gaunt face and body and whispy hair; Bob Christie, full of witty corporate correctness and the money to ship me down to Rio; Peter Gall, the friendly cuddly concerned director of World News bureaux who could find me work in the jungle of my dreams; Pat McReadie, the stiff squat hunched smiler at the helm of Chemical Week's falling circulation and the man who believes in a Catalyst Wire.
In NY, I got to say hi to Vera Caspary, my step-grandmother, who was dining with George Sklar, her long-time collaborator, particularly on the 'Laura' play. We watched Hart speak for too long in the final round of speeches before the voting at the Democratic Convention. Vera seems in good health - I always expect the worse.
Raoul got married yesterday - to Caroline Oaks. R has been my closest friend, in terms of spending time together, for ages. Now I ring him up and Caroline answers, and I know that R cannot come out to play. The ceremony was a clean uncomplicated registry office affair, with the two immediate families and closest friends.
7am Thursday morning,
Early to rise to grace the launderette.
To everybody, I oversell my trip to South America. I'm really boxing myself into this future. But what else do I aim for, what else is there?
We went to 'Noye's Fludde' at St Andrew's Church in Holborn notching up yet another Britten work seen together. Luke enjoyed it more than I - the production was rather unfocused and the music not crisp, rather diffuse as it can be in churches. I was shocked to see, in the storm sequence, four black adolescents dressed as jungle people acting the part of serpents. This seemed an horrendous pandering to past pattern stereotypes - if only one of them had been white it might not have been so bad.
8:15 Monday morning
The Olympics kept me awake last night till well past one. We are all going to get tired of the US national anthem. Of the first day's events, the Chinese won some shooting events, but the Americans dominated the cycle road racing and swimming. What an extraordinary occasion it is, the gathering of so many sporting superstars; and what organisation is required.
Saturday night, the secret garden had some of to its former magic - regardless of me: an odd foreign man quietly playing classical guitar; a photographer capturing the beauty of a model; a group of pretty people picnicking while the sun died in the west. Gone are MY days here of midnight theatre, gentle dances, romancing with Emmanuelle.
Paul K Lyons
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