scribbles tagged ‘1981’

Slowly one spring

Saturday, February 28th, 2015 | tags: , ,  |

I was 18 in 1981

Dry stone wallingI knew I didn’t want to be a wife, a secretary, an accountant, a person doing a job to earn money to live in a home and go on holiday. I tried to find things that I really wanted to do. Travel and see the world? Not really, it may be fabulous but what’s the point in that? It’s just hedonistic, and I didn’t want to do things just to make myself happy. Maybe I should want to be the prime minister? No, I didn’t want to be important.

I would walk out onto the Cotswold hills at night, sit watching the lights flickering over Wales in the distance. Sit in my Paddington bear duffle coat, which I loved, alone on the hillside in the dark thinking that the world was beautiful but there was nothing I wanted from it or could give to it. These thoughts were at once profoundly peaceful and sad. I would cry because there was nothing that I wanted to do or be. I had no vision or desire for a future. These thoughts were mine, I shared them with no one, I did all the things I believed you were supposed to do, ate, slept, went to school, studied, looked at universities to go to. But it all felt like an act for the purpose of fitting in, not worrying anyone with my complete lack of interest in anything.

One March morning I walked out of school and went home. My parents both at work, one brother at Salford University another living in Didcot. Just me at my parents home. Warm, comfortable full of good memories. This was enough, this was all I needed, nothing more.

I collected all the pills I could find in the house. Had a hot bubble bath to clean my body for whoever had to deal with it afterwards. Took off the earings and necklace that I always wore. Carefully, neatly, placed them by my bed. Put on my pyjamas and my favourite hand knitted (by me) aran jumper. Went into the front room and put “Closer” on the hifi at a really high volume. I loved Closer, so beautiful. It took 3 pints of lemon squash to down all those pills. Pills are dry.  Unpleasant to swallow.

I curled up on the sofa and fell asleep. Ian sang “Existence well what does it matter? I exist on the best terms I can.”

I woke up 3 days later in Frenchay Hospital. My first thoughts were “Shit, I’m still here, and now everyone knows I don’t want to be here”. The nurses had no trouble showing their disdain for someone taking up a valuable hospital bed when there are genuinely sick people around. Another girl on the ward had a broken leg and she persuaded me to push her wheelchair as fast as possible up and down the corridors. She was full of life,  positively glowed and kept me away from the hissing nurses.

I was allowed home after a couple of days ‘observations’ and required to have weekly meetings with a psychiatrist as an alternative to being sectioned into an insane asylum. Charming. I’d rather not be in an asylum. Waking up in Frenchay was like being born again. Not in a Christian ‘I’ve seen the light’ way.

A  new beginning nonetheless

Slowly one spring
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short termism

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

A sharply frosty new year’s morning. Glowing from a sociable celebration in my local pub, stumbling homeward bound along Love Lane with my first, second and third boyfriend. One boy, a ringer for James Dean:

James Dean Ringer (JDR): will you marry me?

17 yr wendy: Oh! Yes! after I’ve finished my A levels and got my degree

JDR: Why? Why can’t we get married this summer?

wendy: marriage is for life – we’ve got a lifetime to get married. Waiting 4 years is nothing as part of a whole life time. We’ll be able to save up for a home together and I’ll be able to get a job to help out financially

JDR: If you don’t want to marry me this summer, then it’s over

wendy: Huh? Are you serious? I’ll love you whether we’re married or not. I’m not going to marry you as a way to stop you from leaving! If you’re going to leave, you’ll leave, if you want to stay, you’ll stay

I never saw him again. It broke my heart because I didn’t understand how he could propose a lifetime together one moment then leave in the next. Most baffling. In the following years he sent valentines cards from four different continents. I remember him fondly

short termism
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Monday, March 7th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Car ParkThe characters, photography, chase scenes and humour of the 1981 film Diva left a lasting impression on me. It’s still one of my favourite films

Occassionally the mood of a place spontaneously evokes memories of the film.

Midnight, walking into this deserted downtown Reading car park was one of those moments

Enjoy the original Diva promotional trailer:

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rather bad dream

Monday, December 14th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

In my dream I was  still living with the *anker  that I actually  left in 2000 after years of building up the pluck to walk out.   Tight black leather jeans, tears bullying,   and that was just his his contribution to the dream, mine was even more icky.   I fell over several times at a cricket match during the game.   Most embaressing.  

Godley and Creme sang Under your thumb

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enourmous insignificance

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 | tags: ,  |

The early hours of a march morning,   dew is forming on the grass,   the clear skies above reveal more stars than I can count.   After a long evening meandering around country lanes I  found myself sat on the  sweet smelling damp grass of the hillside.  I pull my dufflecoat tightly round me for warmth.    The black line of the Severn in the distance cuts the view.   Above the black slash I could see the flickering lights of Cardiff.   Only visible on a clear night.  

Have dinosaurs roamed this very hillside?   Running my fingers through the grass I pull a pebble from the earth.    Turning it in my cold fingers, feeling ridges,  it is a  fossilised shell.   The cotswolds were once  the seabed.    Difficult even to  begin to imagine how much has happened here on this now hillside.    How many people have lived and died in this world.

The enormity of my insignificance seared.  

A plane rummbled across the night night sky  above.   Sniffling while tears silently crossed my cheek.    The rough cloth of my duffle-coat sleeve clumsily failed the  tear sponge test.

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31 centigrade

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 | tags:  |

31 CentigradeA week of temperatures in the 30’s (centigrade).  

No air conditioning in the Wendy House.  

Remiscent of  North Carolina in the spring.  


Body Heat.    

Hot enough to draw sweat in the shade and not too hot to drown movement.   Body Heat caused quite a stir in 1981.

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mumbling adolescents

Monday, February 16th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |


As a teenager, for empathetic reasons  I had a soft spot for lanky skinny people with pale complections, outrageously large quiffs, and an inability to clearly articulate.   People like me!

In 1981 Edward Tenpole,   or ‘Teddy’ as I liked to call him,    twitched and loudly mumbled in a video that could have been inspired by the fabulous sets and costumes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.   I could loudly mumble along with this little ditty without even knowing what the lyrics were.   Excellent.

Tenpole Tudor sang ‘the swords of a thousand men’

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snow stopped school

Thursday, February 5th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

In December 1981 most of the 1000 or so pupils turned up at my school during the snowy week,   only a few teachers managed to get to school.  

Dec1981 school closed due to snow


The story was very similar to the current snow-stopped-school.     Except that the current snow brings the country to a standstill crisis because parents are having to stay at home to look after their kids,   in 1981 the kids stayed at the closed school and thrashed the proverbial ski-pants of each other.

In 1981 the few, local,  teachers who turned-up organised mass snowball fights between academic years.   In this photo the 3rd year students on the right hand side are advancing on the 2nd year students who are bravely running away to the left.  


The third year won thier foray.   I was in the 6th form.   The 5th year thoroughly squished snow down our necks, up our not insubstantial noses  and in our pants,   jolly good fun it was too.   Hot scrumpy all round,   Hoorah!

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the big freeze

Monday, January 12th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Early 1963 was the coldest winter on British record.    Records had been kept since 1659.  

During a cold winter people try all sorts to keep warm.   One result of ‘all sorts’ was that myself and most my secondary (US = High) school classmates have birthdays during the Autumn.    In 1981 the autumn babies turned 18.   A fabulous autumn of parties.   Myself and my best friend, born 7 days before me, shared  a party with buckets of big hair,  lip-gloss, bouncing and upbeat music.

Altered Images frequently bounced around to Happy Birthday that autumn. Unfortunately, or not, my dance style hasn’t evolved since my early days of copying Clare.

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bless my cotton socks

Monday, January 5th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Since 1981 my dress sense has been significantly influenced by Julian Cope.   As the Guardian recently reported:

Julian Cope arrives on my doorstep looking exactly like he does in all his photos. He is wearing leather trousers, heavy boots (it is midsummer) a flowing camo jacket and The Hat. He politely takes his boots off when asked, but The Hat stays on throughout the afternoon

Julian was the front man for one of the first  bands that I saw live in concert, Teardrop Explodes, the band included Alan Gill who co-rote rewards and joined Teardrop from Dalek I Love you   who’s Compass Kumpas album is one of my favourite vinyls.    Through the years Julian has supplied much worth attenting to including a couple of treasured books (e.g. The Modern Antiquarian).   Fabulous fellow.

Teardrop Explodes sang Rewards

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