The Winterfood Diaries

The Winterfood Diaries

Friday, 31 August 1990

Tomorrow Never Knows


‘L’Enfant’ – Vangelis

The day began with Miranda and me getting drunk in her room after the pub.

We went to bed together – naked.  In bed we kissed tonnes and loads and years.  And we touched. 

‘Wrong time of the month, though,’ she says.

I didn’t tell her that I actually don’t want to have sex with her.  I just wanted the touching and affection.

We slept and then awoke this morning in each other’s arms.

Later:

12pm

‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ – The Beatles

Well, it’s good to be here (and listening to THE BEATLES, of course).  No real cares or worries to bug me, except that I probably won’t get that Library Assistant’s job.  Then there’s my UCCA clearing forms, which need to be sorted out.  Suddenly university is clicking with my crazy mind again just now.  I’d like to do Art, English Language and Theatre.  But I don’t suppose I ever will.  Actually, I may even attempt a language course – not in an establishment, though.  I fancy ‘teaching myself’ German.  I want to be ready for 1992.  Assuming we all live that long.  Mind you, things were a bit dull in the Gulf last time I checked.  But that’s almost two days ago…

I wish I knew where my life was going.  Miranda said to me today, ‘It’s September tomorrow’.  It’s still may, to me.  Nothing worth thinking about, nothing truly earth-shattering has happened to me to tell me that the months have progressed.  May was the last time I looked at my watch, as it were.

I want to make some kind of impact with my life.  I want success and recognition for the creation of great work; I want to be part of the poetry of our time.  I want to be a contemporary voice.  I’d even love to be a ‘star’ with fame and riches, but I’m willing to start at the bottom and work my way up.  Oh!  I am!  I’d love to combine my fortes somehow: my writing, my artwork, my theatre (even my lyrics and ‘music’).

I suppose that bugs me.  Even though I can’t play an instrument or read/write music, I think I’m pretty good at creating tunes.  Some of the stuff I came up with for DARK IS DESIRE and SUGARBLOOD was brilliant, I think.  I’d apologise for being arrogant about that, but I’m just being honest.  I love some of those songs.  So does Ash, who is a way better musician than I will ever be.

‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ – The Beatles

I’d love to do something epic with the things I can do – and I’m sure it would probably end up being a bit avant-garde.  But that’s probably going to be an impossibility.  As a working class child of the post-‘60s revolution, I am hemmed in by free-expression’s unexpected barriers.  As someone who has reached the maturity to express his ideas in the ‘80s/’90s – a walking, breathing bit of pop culture – I am just another victim of there simply being nothing much left that could ever be original.  I could be wrong, but I suspect that it must have been easier to formulate new creative ideas in the ‘60s and ‘70s.  But now it just feels like everything’s been done.  The challenge then is to rise above all that…

Perhaps the most ‘artistic’ and ‘original’ I ever got was…  Well, I was going to say MANSFIELD PARK, but THECHINESE PLAY strikes me as well.  Perhaps I’m trying to pursue a career in the correct profession after all?  Even if the ‘style’ of MANSFIELD PARK was based on one single Berkhoffian premise, I think I ultimately made it my own; not Berkhoff’s, not Goodgirl’s and probably not even Jane Austen’s.  The review testified to that when the journalist (an Austen fan) said he preferred my somewhat ‘gothic’ ending to Austen’s rushed original (which I personally believe to be a pathetic cop-out of an ending).  I did a lot with a very thin, incoherent and feeble script.  The combination of make-up, performance style (paying only lip service to Berkhoff in the end), set, music (I opted for slowed down, moody synthesiser stuff) all made for a great theatrical experience – and an unexpected one, but one that captivated even the old biddies who came along expecting a BBC costume drama.  And let’s not forget my twisting of some of Jonny Badcock’s ‘HENRY CRAWFORD’ lines into something far more sinister, with not a little gallows humour…

‘Cursum Perficio’ – Enya

THE CHINESE PLAY, of course, was quite different.  A cartoon performance style (cultivated in my mind in a single afternoon).  The production’s only failing, I believe, is that the cast weren’t up to it (including Jonny, although he did a great job).  As a piece of work it was very surreal and it required you to interpret and analyse what you were seeing – which is what I like when I watch something.  I wanted people to wonder what was actually going on; what the fuck was real and what wasn’t.  I didn’t want viewers ever to be certain or secure; which is what the play was all about.  Thematic unity, I think they call it.  Underneath the knowing mockery of the teenage experience (real and fantasy), I was saying ‘Don’t hassle the kids too much – think about what they’re going through with all their chemical changes, their insecurity and paranoia.  It was important that the character of ‘Flash’ was somehow in isolation from everyone else performance-wise.  We had to feel his sense that the world was somehow against him.  All the other characters, including ‘Ritch’ were there to somehow impede his progression to happiness.  Putting ‘Flash’ into situations he had no hope of comprehending was meant as a means of mirroring the adolescent experience.  By that token, though I used my best friend Flash as a model for the main character, the play itself is semi-autobiographical in other ways than the obvious ones and ‘Flash’ is really me (though not written as me in order to avoid any personal embarrassment).

‘Blade Runner End Titles’ – Vangelis

My MANSFIELD caricatures society: the family, our sense of community, etc.  In some sympathy with THE CHINESE PLAY, all the characters are presented as grotesques, parodies – all except ‘Fanny Price’ (alone, like ‘Flash’ in a world of freaks and weirdoes, full of shortcoming that only she can see).  They see themselves as perfect and ‘Fanny’ is the one who’s all wrong in their eyes.  They want her to conform, but she refuses to, until finally she fails in her struggle and succumbs.  Like all of us, striving to preserve our sense of individuality, she realises she must hold onto herself by appearing to have conformed, thus gaining the support and respect of others who she then uses in the hope that they will come to unwittingly accept her hidden individuality.  And this is me, in 1989, when I cut all the goth hair off and started to dress in a conformist way.  As soon as I did, people opened up to me.  When, some months later, I turned back to something more ‘alternative’, they still supported me.  That said, I was now more like them than I had been.  The individual struggle against mass absorption is a difficult one, emotionally, and it’s not always clear who ‘wins’ however things turn out.  I still don’t know if I will.  ‘Fanny Price’ didn’t, she ultimately became one of ‘them’.

There are other things in my MANSFIELD that take it far beyond the two-dimensional.  ‘Fanny’ is the struggling individual and the BERTRAMS (despite their individual tics) are a single, unified entity: what to become/what not to become.  The CRAWFORDS represent those that believe themselves to be unique, but by their sheer number prove they are not; they are just another mass.  In the end it becomes all about one homogenised gestalt trying to get rid of another homogenised gestalt, using ‘Fanny’ as a weapon.

My MANSFIELD was many things.  My life, largely.  THE PRISONER is also in there somewhere (just as it was in THE CHINESE PLAY), and, with hindsight it has some similarities to – or makes sense of me very much liking – Alan Moore’s V FOR VENDETTA and John Lennon’s ‘WORKING CLASS HERO’.

‘But first you must learn how to smile as you kill…’

‘Working Class Hero’ – John Lennon

Later:

3.40pm

‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away’ – The Beatles

Hello.  I’ve been out.  And then I came back. 

Now then.

Now.

Then?

Anyway…

Miranda’s working today (12pm – 7pm).  Good.  If we were constantly together it’d be shite.  So I’ve been out and I’m glad I have.

Image of me in tassel jacket drawing

I went to a place called ALBERT ROAD, full of antique + junk shops.

I got three Beatles LPs (from various places) for a total of 11 quid.

I got an original (if battered) edition of HELP!...



…an original YELLOW SUBMARINE




…and RUBBER SOUL.


I’m chuffed to buggery.

Later:

6pm

‘Help!’ – The Beatles

It can get depressing staying at people’s places.  They all have these (forgive me) dingy ‘student pads’.

I never want to live in one of these.  I’m probably bound to one day, but please, no. 

I want to move away from East Anglia, of course, but not into this kind of dingy shite.  Life would be much more – infinitely, in fact – depressing.

‘Helter Skelter’ – The Beatles

AND GETTING BACK to my theatrical reminiscing, FRANKENSTEIN was to have continued my need to express ideas that go beyond the obvious drama of the script.  I had hoped it would be a more commercially ‘green’ piece.  My ingenuity, I had hoped, would be getting people in to see a ‘gothic’ drama, full of spectacle and thrills, then delicately lacing it with a message about man’s abuse of nature.

Later:

‘The Tao of Love’ – Vangelis

My appetite has waned.  I didn’t eat yesterday and I have barely eaten anything today.

I feel ill, possibly as a consequence or perhaps the two came as a package?  I feel light-headed, dizzy and all that.  My mood’s gone right off.

I’m going through something at the moment, but I don’t know what it is.  Like I’m ‘shedding a skin’, I think.  I can’t tell if my mind’s taking over my body or if my body’s taking over my mind.  Like in the pub tonite (a crap pub called The Bold Conqueror or something – not as good as yesterday’s pub) and it feels as if my body language, my very movements are no longer my own.  I feel fidgety, restless – constantly moving with nervous energy – like I’m on speed or something (which I’m not and never have been).  It’s bloody weird.


[Images subject to control of individual Copyright Holders including works originated by Elton Townend Jones, but excluding any images or design attributed to ‘The Situation’ which are copyright of The Situation (see specific acknowledgements in the ‘Thanks to…’section below) / ‘Berwin Groomstool’ is an iteration of the Situation character ‘William Whicker’ and falls under joint copyright of Elton Townend Jones and Waen Shepherd / Based on true events and designed as a study of parochial British cultural and emotional life in the late 20th century, this blog is a work of fiction – cultural icons excluded, all characters and incidents featured are entirely fictional / This blog is non-profit; all video clips are used for illustrative purposes and almost always come from YouTube / No copyright infringement is intended – just trying to get things into context. Never forget: no man is an island. If you think anything I’ve used is damaging you in any way, please comment and immediate action will be taken to minimise offence / This notice was amended on 1 July 2012 and is intended to cover this and all posts on www.25yearstoolate.blogspot.com that precede it]


Next time: ‘With The Beatles…’

Thursday, 30 August 1990

Psychological Throwbacks

12.30pm

INTER-CITY TRAVEL.
DESTINATION: LONDON KX.
NOW THE ‘WAR’ HAS CALMED DOWN A BIT


I need this holiday.  I’m at the end of my tether.

Just been considering life.  If I was some ‘hero’, some ‘legend’ in years to come, what would the person I am right now be seen as?  I mean, maybe Lennon was the ‘working class hero’, Hendrix was the son of a soldier who confounded racial restrictions, Bowie was the vaudeville act that turned rock ‘n’ roll in on itself, Monroe was the abused orphan who came to symbolise sex.  Thinking hard about it, I can’t escape the notion that I am and always be just an ordinary Joe.

No. 

I am, like all of us, unique.

No, maybe not.  Flash is very similar to me.  We’re pretty much the same bloke in many ways.  There are some VERY distinct differences, sure, but…  Okay, what kind of bloke are we then?  Some kind of exemplification of the 1960s freedom experiment?  Fortunate enough to entertain the possibility of pathways through fish ‘n’ chips and rock ‘n’ roll, but also through academic success and theatrical expression? 

I know this much: I’m not just one man.  I am many people in this corrupt and tired shell. 

I wonder what my biography would read like?

‘Orinoco Flow’ – Enya

SOME THOUGHTS…

In my life, I identify with women because I was brought up with only one REAL parent – Betty.

I don’t like or identify with or respond to men in authority.  At infant school, I was originally quite afraid of male teachers.  Even now, if I ever go into a place of cultural or personal judgement (i.e. DHSS or job interview), I’d rather see a woman than a man.  I think this is because although I had three ‘dads’ – Jon, Paul, George, and now Freddie – I was never, psychologically, allowed to believe that any one of them was my genuine father – including my real Dad, who was always referred to as ‘Jon’ until I reached 15.  They have all been brilliant in their own ways (though things with Freddie have been easily the most awkward), but I never had a consistent male figure in my life.  They always deferred control to my mother, Betty, who took charge of everything to do with myself and Jack, including discipline and so on.

My intimate relationships with women are many and varied, ranging from a ‘getting off’ kissing session to full nights of sex in all its forms.  It turns out I have so far been ‘sexually’ involved (either physically or emotionally, but nothing less than a ‘romantic’ kiss) with a total of 76 girls since the age of seven.  Approximately 60 of these encounters took place since the age of 13.  I didn’t ever set myself up as a Casanova, though I have often been pro-active.  That I have largely never needed to ‘force’ these situations (though there have been some exceptions to that rule), I can only assume I must possess some kind of charm, some inherent attractiveness, despite being only averagely (if not just-below averagely) good-looking on the BEST of days.  I can only assume that Betty’s inconsistency with husbands, names, lifestyles, friends and relations must have scarred my pre-teen psyche (though not necessarily damaging it), leaving me to subliminally reason that change and movement in female relationships (and often platonic male relationships) is my personal norm.  Add to this the fact that my environment and my centres of social and cultural interaction have constantly and drastically changed throughout my entire life (13 different houses, 10 schools, plus college).

I don’t know why I wrote any of the above.  Does it really matter? 

Just thoughts on paper, I suppose.

ANOTHER IDEA
The idea that in about half an hour I’ll be charging across London in a subterranean train (getting lost in Yeti-land) freaks me out.  Especially when I’ll be carrying two bastard huge bags.

Later:

2.15pm

[WATERLOO STATION, sitting on the train to Portsmouth, which is, as yet, immobile]

‘Na Laetha Geal M'Óige’ – Enya

This is splendid.  I like this.  It’s one of those trains with the somewhat old-fashioned interior.  I like these.  Big, wide seats, luggage racks and curious windows.

I’m on my way now, then…

Racing through the Underground still does me in.  Puts me in mind of the days of Donna and me finding the pot of uttershite at the end of the rainbow.

Well, that’s how it is, isn’t it?

Be in Portsmouth soon.  Hopefully by half-past four, when Miranda’s meant to be meeting me.

Sophie said Portsmouth is pretty rough.  Mmm.  Well, a rough-looking bloke just got on the train.  So, I expect I’ll get some jyp in Portsmouth.  Or maybe it’s just my overblown paranoia that always gives me this ungroovy feeling that violence is about to open its floodgates at me whenever I go somewhere strange and new.

OH FUCK OFF.

What am I on about?

Later:

HUDSON ROAD

‘Oh Darling’ – The Beatles

I arrived at Portsmouth/Southsea Train Station today at about 4.05pm.

Miranda met me at the station.  We went for coffee and then came back to her place on HUDSON RD, where I was introduced to Colleen.  After this, we sat in her room, talking, for a bit and then we got changed and went to the pub, which was good.  Not too heavy, and everyone I spoke to was nice.  The barmaid (blonde, backcombed and overweight in all the right places) got chatting to me about my twisty hair.  I fancied her.  I told her I’d do hers for her if she wanted.  She seemed very interested. 

I want to fuck her. 

There.  Said it. 

It’s something inside.   These days, inside, I feel rough and coarse and vulgar.  Raw.  Rock ‘n’ roll ‘n’ fish ‘n’ chips ‘n’ girls ‘n’ leather.  I mean, outwardly these days, I’m all ‘90s psychedelia, but there’s a real rock ‘n’ roller in here, just dying to get back out again.  And his name is Jez.

Anyway.  Miranda and I were talking in the pub and we agreed that really we hardly know each other.  She says part of the reason she’s attracted to me is that she finds me ‘strange’.  I’m like no-one else she knows.  She says I’m totally unpredictable and that I freak her out.  She even says that one of the other reasons she’s attracted is that she genuinely believes – KNOWS – that one day I am going to BE somebody.  She says it’s a feeling she just can’t shake.

For years, I’ve been ‘reserved’ in Miranda’s company, hiding behind a façade of decorum that I’ve evolved since I moved to Cambs/Norfolk, so it’s not just for her benefit.  90% of my time since 1983 has been spent using an accent that isn’t mine.  I’ve been acting in order to get by.  Since College ended and I no longer needed to use anything remotely resembling RP, I’ve thought ‘fuck that’ and become a little more Northern.  Miranda has noted this.  Well, if she doesn’t like it (she’s very well-spoken) then she can sod it.

Thing is, there are so many Ritcherd’s inside me now.  That’s not to say that I’m bothered, cos I’m not.  Just yet…

Miranda also admitted to having been reserved in my company and said that she too would drop it.  I don’t know if she has.  I find that I don’t really care, to be honest.

We got drunk, then came back here to her room.  We talked about us and I got even more drunk, because I haven’t eaten today.  


[Images subject to control of individual Copyright Holders including works originated by Elton Townend Jones, but excluding any images or design attributed to ‘The Situation’ which are copyright of The Situation (see specific acknowledgements in the ‘Thanks to…’section below) / ‘Berwin Groomstool’ is an iteration of the Situation character ‘William Whicker’ and falls under joint copyright of Elton Townend Jones and Waen Shepherd / Based on true events and designed as a study of parochial British cultural and emotional life in the late 20th century, this blog is a work of fiction – cultural icons excluded, all characters and incidents featured are entirely fictional / This blog is non-profit; all video clips are used for illustrative purposes and almost always come from YouTube / No copyright infringement is intended – just trying to get things into context. Never forget: no man is an island. If you think anything I’ve used is damaging you in any way, please comment and immediate action will be taken to minimise offence / This notice was amended on 1 July 2012 and is intended to cover this and all posts on www.25yearstoolate.blogspot.com that precede it]


Next time: ‘Tomorrow Never Knows…’

Wednesday, 29 August 1990

Elusive Stan

‘Hanky Panky’ – Madonna

A ‘WOMEN’ LIST (no particular order)










5. SOPHIE FISHER







2. MIRANDA WASP




Later:

‘Opening Titles from The Bounty’ – Vangelis

I sprained my ankle at work today, and tonight after cleaning myself up and all that post-work brouhaha, I’m just so ‘out of it’.  My mind can’t grasp any single concept, be it packing my bags or listening to anything, or washing up.  I was well-hungry and cooking some burgers ‘n’ beans felt like a bastard chore.  I got so fucked off; getting violent with the household objects again.  I even tried to punch the fuck out of the kitchen floor.  A bit stupid, that.

Later:

‘Norwegian Wood’ – The Beatles

I’d better mention this now.  I’m sure it’ll be relevant soon.  Today, I had a phone call from the elusive Stan!  He was back down from Leeds, staying at his mum’s and he wanted to see me this weekend.  Obviously, he can’t because I’m going to Southsea, am I not?  Anyway, he’s going back to Leeds next Tuesday and we’ve arranged to meet at BAD on Wednesday at about 1.30pm.  I told him Flash and I are going on holiday and I think he wants to come with us.  As far as I’m concerned, he can if he wants.  I enjoyed his company when Flash was down and it appeals to my sado-masochistic state of mind to have to drag Stan along through the countryside.  A final lads’ adventure that we are unlikely to be able to repeat in years to come.

I’m going to bed soon and I’ll listen to The Beatles as I fall asleep.


[Images subject to control of individual Copyright Holders including works originated by Elton Townend Jones, but excluding any images or design attributed to ‘The Situation’ which are copyright of The Situation (see specific acknowledgements in the ‘Thanks to…’section below) / ‘Berwin Groomstool’ is an iteration of the Situation character ‘William Whicker’ and falls under joint copyright of Elton Townend Jones and Waen Shepherd / Based on true events and designed as a study of parochial British cultural and emotional life in the late 20th century, this blog is a work of fiction – cultural icons excluded, all characters and incidents featured are entirely fictional / This blog is non-profit; all video clips are used for illustrative purposes and almost always come from YouTube / No copyright infringement is intended – just trying to get things into context. Never forget: no man is an island. If you think anything I’ve used is damaging you in any way, please comment and immediate action will be taken to minimise offence / This notice was amended on 1 July 2012 and is intended to cover this and all posts on www.25yearstoolate.blogspot.com that precede it]


Next time: ‘Psychological Throwbacks…’

Tuesday, 28 August 1990

Ritcherd's Top 20 Comics & Graphic Novels

‘Jack Talking’ – Spiritual Cowboys

HERE’S MY ‘COMICS’ CHART

20. ARKHAM ASYLUM – Morrison/McKean



19. BLACK ORCHID – Gaiman/McKean



18. ROGAN GOSH – Milligan/McCarthy



17. THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HITLER – Morrisson/Yeowell


16. NEMESIS THE WARLOCK (ABC WARRIORS/RO-BUSTERS) – Mills/O’Neill, et al



15. CAPTAIN BRITAIN – Moore/Delano/Davis, et al



14. SLAINE – Mills/Bisley/McMahon, et al



13. MARVELMAN – Moore/Leigh/Davis, et al


12. THE BALLAD OF HALO JONES – Moore/Gibson



11. THIRD WORLD WAR – Mills/Ezquerra, et al



10. DARE – THE FUTURE – Morrison/Hughes



09. LUTHER ARKWRIGHT – Talbot


08. STRAITGATE – Smith/Phillips



07. STRAY TOASTERS – Sienkiewicz



06. THE PRISONER – Motter/Asquith, et al



05. ELEKTRA ASSASSIN – Miller/Sienkiewicz



04. MARSHAL LAW – Mills/O’Neill



03. THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS – Miller/Janson



02. WATCHMEN – Moore/Gibbons


01. V FOR VENDETTA – Moore/Lloyd



(Though, 18 may soon disappear from this chart to be replaced by PURPLE DAYS from Shaar Murray/Hughes)




[Images subject to control of individual Copyright Holders including works originated by Elton Townend Jones, but excluding any images or design attributed to ‘The Situation’ which are copyright of The Situation (see specific acknowledgements in the ‘Thanks to…’section below) / ‘Berwin Groomstool’ is an iteration of the Situation character ‘William Whicker’ and falls under joint copyright of Elton Townend Jones and Waen Shepherd / Based on true events and designed as a study of parochial British cultural and emotional life in the late 20th century, this blog is a work of fiction – cultural icons excluded, all characters and incidents featured are entirely fictional / This blog is non-profit; all video clips are used for illustrative purposes and almost always come from YouTube / No copyright infringement is intended – just trying to get things into context. Never forget: no man is an island. If you think anything I’ve used is damaging you in any way, please comment and immediate action will be taken to minimise offence / This notice was amended on 1 July 2012 and is intended to cover this and all posts on www.25yearstoolate.blogspot.com that precede it]


Next time: ‘Elusive Stan …’