Sunday 4 September

Waiting for phone calls, and worrying about flats - doing nought and hating it, smoking far too many cigarettes. I'm going to Blackpool in a few hours to the Trade Union Congress to interview General Secretaries - what fun. I called M, but she's going to Ireland soon. Chris has gone to live in Scotland.

Monday 5 September

Las arenas lindas, el mar blanco y azul y gris una escala de los tiempos. Los romanticos se banan en mis memorias en el sanido del castellano, y en los recuerdos de la gente latina que aparecen en momentos extranos como ahora en un cafe en Blackpool, cuando vi las palabras en la pagina antes.

Instant memories. Instant impressions. The surging up of images in the brain uncalled for, unbeckoned.

I saw crowds and crowds of different groups, with posters, slogans, jackets, chants, newspapers, and scenes from 'The Ballad of Joe Hill' and 'The Revolutionary', which both tell of a dedication to socialism, to workers' needs, kept flashing in my head. Lots of kids, though, are shouting and screaming - workers unite, smash the freeze, sack Len Murray - because it's fun, regardless of the cause. On sale are red flags, The Worker, Socialist Worker, Free Nation, Trade Union News.

Wednesday 7 September

'My sweet lord, I really want to see you' plays in the Gingham Kitchen.

How involved I get with the work here in Blackpool, and especially with getting the quotas of interviews. As soon as I wake, through sleep and dreams, I am pre-occupied with this business. Why do I attach so much importance to one thing like this - is it because I have been ordered to do it? Is it for monetary reward? Is it for the pat on the back at the end? Is it the challenge? Is it the lack of something else interesting to occupy the head? It is hard to describe in words actually what I am trying to ask? Why does a pre-occupation of the head become a pre-occupation?


Waiting for the light show tram in the sky
Breathing in the coloured neon air
Evidence of the evolved plastic flower
And rainbow rock at night

Curling between the wind shields
Struggling with paper, children and money
Desirous of sleep and many other things
Is the fully dressed man on the sand

We all love Blackpool tower and circus
The generated laugh and smile, a power
The force that wins on fruit machines
We all love the arcade anchovies

Admission Free, Double Bingo
Leisure and pleasure, a surfeit of joy
The lollipop world, the ring of balls
But no-one ever heard of the CCB

8 September 1977

The question of being and living each moment. Is it better to be underemployed and feel one's existence even in its trials, boredoms, sorrows, and joys? Or is it better to to employ oneself so as not to notice the eons slipping by. I have a complete reversal of roles now. One day I was loafing around and killing time with bicycle rides and meditations on little things, and now I am so completely wrapped up in work. It is very comfortable - the security of knowing I have work and occupation tomorrow?

Blackpool is a sea of chips, coloured lights and amusement arcades.

General Secretaries are extremely difficult to get hold of, even though it is common knowledge that they spend all day sleeping on the floor of their office, with a sign hanging on the door saying 'Board meeting'. They are protected by dozens of treble-headed assistants who manage to tell the most amazing lies to ward off people like me. To interview a General Secretary one must telephone at least 36 times until one chances on an assistant who reacts to sonar seduction transmitted through the telephone line. By gentle persuasion, she will open a book and abstractly write your name by a certain time of day, then, with further coaxing, she might actually tell you when.

Sunday 11 September

I found two people on my rides around London: Paul, a medical student from Notting Hill, and Dick a plumber/mechanic from Putney.

Sunday 18 September

I watch a group of horses circumnavigating Hyde Park Corner in the rush hour. I begin to miss M; daydreams take over. This morning I saw a preview of a film called 'The Deep' (an exciting underwater drama). Julian goes on Tuesday to France. I start acting lessons tomorrow. The chicken says thank you to its cooker for finding such a good stomach. Annabelle is in Paris. I read the autohagiography of Aleister Crowley.

Beside the Strand lies N.O.P. and its complex of uninteresting floors (to one side of the first floor, Amnesty International snuggles up behind locked doors, through which pretty men and women pass - they have the secret through-the-glass wink). Six graduates, including myself, did a week's training. From the cob-webbed hierarchy voices spoke to us of the market research commandments, faiths, ideals.

Wednesday 21 September

In this wonderful office, Stewart and I don't often entertain, although I do have some flowers on my desk. At this moment the Chief Statistician is sitting talking to Stewart about a new questionnaire. Chief Statistician: Now (pause) . . . sex (pause) . . . do you want just male and female or do you want three categories? Stewart: No just male and female.

This morning I really wanted a letter from M and instead there was a letter from Maja with photos of baby Niki. And then, at lunchtime, came a letter from Irish fields.

Friday 23 September

I am impressed by the writings of Aleister Crowley, he is so much more literate than I. He talks much of climbing, of his Magick, of religion, sociology, society etc.

I talked to Carla who spoke of dancing on the beaches of the Greek islands. How real life is when travelling, the changes are fulfilling, the world is vital. There is feeling every day, existence is being. But now I have the opposite, the rushing of time - the non-existence of time because it is not felt. The day passes by like a minute or a second. I am not quite sure what to do about it. I must have said all these things a hundred times before. New stimuli are not very common in my New Life. City boy becomes a bore. City boy loses freedom.

Sunday 25 September

Some moments are timeless, when the old will always will be old, the young always young, the dead always dead, the song forever playing. I take a pilgrimage to the air, to the light and the air. It is good to be out in the wild (or the tame as it may be), to let my mind run free and feel above and below it all. I walked to a ruined castle, skeltering up hillsides, dancing through barbed wire, and to a steep cliff, where signs large and red said 'Danger' and 'Many people have died here already.' I looked for shelter but there was none.

Autumn comes. Tips of leaves turn autumn colours, edges of trees turn autumn colours. The dark comes on eagerly, hand in hand with the cold.

I walked into a church to play a few notes on my recorder. I ate some tasteless greasy fishcakes, fritters and chips and sat on a broken bench under an oak in the middle of a green. Then I went from pub to pub in search of the perfect shandy and a log fire. My face is wind-burnt, my ears are red, baking with desire.

Instant transportation: I walked along a narrow path between hedges and I was in a village in Peru; I walked along a narrow tarmac road hedged on both sides and I was in a village on the coast of Chile; I walked along some moors to the top of a ridge, and I was in the mountains of New Zealand.

Walking into Sheffield in silence and in rain along the road, early Sunday morning, I had the very strong feeling that I must not lose the emotion of irrelevance and isolation and individualism that is in me. Feeling the wind blow the rain in my face, hearing my sandals squeak, I am knowing that the world is gigantic but that I have some understanding of things even though all I'm doing is walking along grey lines towards grey towers.

I could be in a party in Raynes Park right now. My eyes are tired. I only came here for the air.

Sunday was a strange day - three things happened. 1) Walking away from Edensar (the strange and overkept village of Edensar) I came to a hill. Walking up this long hill towards a bend, a lady came down round the bend and down hill. She had a beautiful face and closed eyes. As we approached each other, I was on the verge of introducing myself when another young lady appeared further up the road. She was more beautiful than the first, so my attention was transferred to her. I was about to introduce myself to this lady when I spotted a third lady even lovelier than the first two, who was also walking down the hill. So I thought to introduce myself to her instead. But then - I know not why - I let her pass by without a word or a smile. I myself reached the bend at the top of the hill and looked back. All three women had vanished. 2) I entranced a whole field of cows with my recorder playing. When I played fast they seemed to run and when I played slow they all herded together, watching me. Weirdly enough, when I tried to do the same thing in the next field, the cows, every one of them, ignored my high-pitched squealing. 3) Just passed Hadden Hall where the road from Bakewell to Matlock becomes a dual carriageway, there are two roads that leave the main road at right angles. Both were tempting, but I chose the smaller of the two with a sign to Congreave. Soon, I passed an interesting house, by a stream. After a further hundred yards or so, I decided not to walk to Congreave but to return to the main road. On passing the house by the stream again I looked up to see a divine and beautiful face staring at me from an upstairs window. I smiled warmly and the girl smiled back. I went to the door of the house and knocked gently. After a while, a beautiful young woman answered. I asked for a glass of water. She responded by giving me her hand and leading me up a staircase to a bedroom. Without a word, she undressed and got into bed. We made love with passion. Afterwards, she smiled again, the same smile I had seen from the window. I dressed and faded out of the house, dreaming and at peace.

In Matlock I walked through some woods. An antique dealer and backgammon gambler gave me rides back to London.

Paul K Lyons

October 1977


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