6 August

Menzies on The Aldwych, approximately 4:15am; newspaper vans screech around the curves. There's no silence here. Tramps toss at the coldest gusts. I walked too far one way round and it came, the N96 bus came and H deserted me, left me so alone! And after such a wait, how he dare. I sit cross-legged on the paving stones, listening to the thunderous lorries. I bask in the early morning sun as it streams through a small gap in the city heights, but then there's the dust churned up by the traffic.

I notice how, when large influences take over in my life, I neglect the little, yet it is the small which give journals their flavour. A journal should capture the magic of the small and analyse the large.

This is more than preposterous. I take up the space of one whole room with my mood. Music rages around me, people everywhere, in the cupboards, on the cooker, under the bed, in the plant pots. Screaming bodies, some sweating with impatience. The floor shakes, I can see it giving way and I can see myself in the rubble on the floor below laughing hysterically, uncontrollably. So I sit and write, and they dance and giggle. This is mood 39. What happens to me? I don't want to talk, I don't want to fuck, I don't want to dance. I ask Jan to treat me like a porcelain doll but she touches me the same as always. The music is Rosy's doing. She wears leopard skin pants, and will show off at dinner.

25 August, Edinburgh

Second rate paintings on the light green walls, depressed by the grey panels and doors. Alone. I am alone in the church hall, not talking or being talked to, no immediate thing to do. Time, time to sit alone and read a book or not - to write. But feeling small in the creaking hall, trespassing with my nervous lisp. My cuticles have gone to seed. My gums recede, regressing past the nerves; I grab a bath, and clutch at sleep when the kitchen table closes. I keep looking at the clock, it's only a minute later each time I look. The hall fills up with people waiting to see Joe Bate's 'Heaven Only Knows', the subject of endless conversation.

Cindy and Chihane attract me most - spot the affection between them in the fog. (While writing I pick up whispers.) I must jilt the phantoms of my past. I read the 'Marbles' script by Peter Godfrey, and see similarities with my own writing 'Borderlands' and 'The Gardeners'. I do not much like the Space Directors, their pretensions, their Americanisms, their appearance, their work. 'The Scotsman' pulled it to pieces, and, the following morning there were the excuses, the great cover-up, the don't show your doubt. It's difficult to tell people standing tall that their show is crap. Difficult for me to mouth anything at all.


Peter wears his dragon gown in the morning, gropes for a cup of coffee to take back to bed where he stares into a plot - for his play 'Marbles' - he can't quite tie up. A rough edge has replaced the constant smirk that can explode a table into mirth. He presents a brave front but failures litter all around. Poor St Peter growing too tall seeing the sooty chimneys fall. Marbles are everywhere, in the kitchen, in the lounge, scattered on the floor, in my bedroom. Marbles are taking over. Is resentment rising anywhere? in the ranks and file? in the players? The script of Marbles is not yet written, rehearsals not yet begun. The press has already been informed of a children's marbles competition in the hall next week. Marbles, marbles, marbles - it is a good name for a play. Will anybody come and see it? Will I be a stooge?

Gillian has already counted some money this morning. Sometimes, she prefers men and sometimes she prefers women. She is efficient, kind and trustable with lips that don't quite do somersaults, but go up and down rather than from side to side. Patrick tastes sweet. He is entirely lovable, especially in th way he twists his head to one side when he's not quite sure everyone will accept what he's saying; his eyes set to the floor in dusk-like movements. His shoulders should lead him backwards but he still manages to move forwards. Acting is his way, truth and life. He talks of the 'Glasgow Citizens Theatre' company, getting laid, last year's health food kick, and an astrology gig.

I must change the reel of the 'Naked Civil Servant' playing in the hall. Quentin Crisp, himself, puts on his one man show in the evenings.

I grow melancholic now that there is time to sit and drizzle. All we do is drink or smoke around the kitchen table. I feel like some intimacy. I listen to conversations and can't believe the games all these people are playing, and then I wonder if they are doing it on purpose, playing deliberately. Is every person in the place playing a game. I watch a girl named Maryam remove her blouse in the changing rooms, I admire her fulsome breasts and large nipples. I think of them later. My sex is sparked for the first time since arriving in Edinburgh.

Paul K Lyons

September 1979



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