Harlesden 1989 - 1990

Then it was time to be depressed and realise that it was time to move on away from college days. I'd headed it off for a year, but now I'd run out of space to run.
Wed 19th I wrote a letter to Jackie and registered with Digs agency. On the 20th I was shown round the house in Harlesden – andy drove me up there in our lunch hour. £60 a week rent. Same day I got my holiday photos back from the chemist. On Friday I went back to Plymouth.
Dad came up to Plumstead on 28th June. Sellons Avenue – and there’s J looking out of the window sullenly at the new arrival.
Pub with Dad on 28th - moved on the 29th. I left the remains of my old bike behind.
The next week or two was the rigmarole of getting my deposit back. I was late to the meeting due to trains and buses, but only by 10 minutes and the cunty landlord didn;t hang around. I never got my deposit back. It was a fact of life back then. I always lost my deposit through some technicality.

My room was a large light double room at the back of the house. I shared it with quite a large number of people including a couple called Eugene and Eleanor who were Irish and Sean and J-----, who were also Irish. I became friendly with Sean and when they split, he moved out, I became friendly with J---- too.

Highlights of the rest of that year appeared to Bill moving to Slough on the 5th of august; and me working nights on 19th and 20th; seeing the film Batman on 21st – may have seen it with Mark. It was disappointing.

First time I spoke to one of the girls downstairs, Eleanor, I was off work - maybe nights - and Eleanor was cooking. She looked stressed and asked me about how to thicken up gravy/sauce that she was cooking. She'd made it too runny and now panicking. I couldn't help - and just did not realise how frightened she really was. Presumably runny gravy was one of those things that could set her boyfriend/ husband off on a violent tantrum. Eleanor was only young. fuck knows how she'd got herself tied down with such a shithead at her age.
Monday 28th August – a bank holiday – ill with a cold – I went off cycling and it was entirely unsatisfatisfying and unsuccessful. Then on Tuesday was off sick.

On 31st to September 2nd I worked a night with Shah, Andy and Woody. Back to days on the 4th. Then more nights with Woody on the 5th, Jon joined us on the 6th, on the 7th I overslept, and just with Jon again on the 8th.
On September 11th I enroled for A level art at Hammersmith. I met Greg and Morizio. The first class was on the 12th.
Went to see Wild Willy Barrett with Sean on Saturday 16th. In a pub somewhere in Harrow / Wembley area I think.
Art class on Mon and Tuesday nights, juggled with more night work – 20th to 22nd September though I went to the pub with Sean on the 22nd before work. I'll repeat that - I went to the pub. Pub. Before work. And drank alcohol. then went to work!!! Wouldn't be allowed now, I'd be sacked.
Out with J and Sean on the 23rd. Think this is when I first began fancying J when I saw her with Sean. She was very cute and funny. We saw John Otway, though I think we talked all through it and got incredibly drunk. Somehow J ended up on top of a bus shelter and we all abused some traffic cones. It was just about the most fun on a night out I had ever had!
October 12th I went and saw Gary Numan and it was v v poor – at the Dominion. Just about the least fun on a night out I had ever had.

Met up with the lads from Plymouth – Andy – can’t remember who else – to see The Who at Wembley Arena on Monday 23rd October. Better then Gary Numan.
Plymouth November 3rd to 5th and discussed going to America with Colin. I remember we had a map out on the table and were frantically trying to thrash out a route that we both agreed with. Inevitably we both made compromises.  Bought our greyhound tickets on the 7th
JAMC at Brixton on 11th – I was burgled while i was out. Stayed at Dave’s overnight Sat and Sunday.
Art classes still going on
Had a track walk at Neasden on Friday 17th
To Bournemouth on 18th and 19th to visit Andy - Bill and Colin were in attendance.
Started going out with J on Wednesday 22nd November. We were up all night. Doing a jigsaw. All the drink in the kitchen. We drank the house dry and as the night went on we got more and more physically intimate, ending with a massive amount of snogging and hugging until we went to our seperate beds. I wasn't sure what would happen in the morning, but for about 6 weeks we became an item.
Slept together on 23rd after going out and again on the 24th - I was so new to sex in those days I kept a detailed diary of every time we did it and what it was like.
John Martyn gig on 25th - with J. He did a lot of stuff from his classic album.
Spent all day in bed together on Sunday 26th . those all days in bed with a new girl are absolutely great when they happen.
Thursday 30th Colorblind James Experience at Hackney Empire with Dave and J came along.
Go karting on December 2nd – with Woody Mike & Bernie

On the 3rd J gave me her pressie to me at midnight and drink and we celebrated in my room. Later after sleeping I went to work, and I bought Talking Heads 1977 and a new Walkman on Edgware Road that day.
Worked night on the 6th – at Wapping – in the tunnel I think - the first tunnel under the Thames, then part of the East London Line.
Edwyn Collins at Mean Fiddler on the 9th and bought the Edwyn Collins LP on 12th
On 16th – Saturday – exchanged xmas pressies with J & M – and in the evening had a row with J. She was moody....the beginning of the end.
Patched it up enough to go to the Mean fiddler on Sunday 17th  Went to see M off at Heathrow with J. Saw David Byrne getting on the plane to Dublin.
Monday 18th spent evening with J watching telly.
Out for a Chinese on 19th with J.
JAMC concert on 20th – J stands me up. I was wearing my new shirt, and stood outside the Kilburn National like a lemon waiting for her to turn up. Didn;t even go in to the gig. Just wenthome, miserable. Have never been stood up again!!!. 

Xmas dinner at work.

Thursday off sick – but out to Mean Fiddler with J. See her off at airport and I go home to Plymouth. I know that all is not well with J. And it makes me moody all over xmas.
Plymouth from 23rd to 30th – back to celebrate New Year with J. That’s when she dumps me. I ended up having a miserable new year – think i scored some mj at Presleys that night. Got stoned. J stopped talking to me, and avoided me. Bad atmosphere in house.
This, then, is the real starting point for this blog: my diaries. They are sporadic and often scrawled in such bad hand-writing even I can't decipher the words. However, they serve as my memory just as my actual fleshy memory is dumping old data. It is this period in my life that i can hardly remember any more - so lucky really that I have these old notes.

Here's the first ever entry of my adult diary. J---- was my girlfriend at the time; the name has been been witheld to save any mutual embarrassment.

It's not a very sophisticated diary from the outset. I more or less wrote down the time I got up, whether I was late for work or not, what I did at work, what music I bought or listened to, what I ate, and whether I had sex or not.

Music was the life-blood of this house and this house was where I began adult life, proper. At first, the place seemed unfriendly, though I spoke to the girls in the kitchen quite a bit.
I was learning guitar and particularly the blues which i seemed to have a gift for. I was learning the blues scale as much as I could and improvising. Started having guitar lessons too for a while though the guy got stroppy with me being late and cancelling lessons so had to stop. Dave was also reaching me. Played a lot of blues based stuff - Lour Reed, -- and also stuff like John Martyn, The The, ---- there was a fair amount of music in the house, I heard my tastes reciprocated. There was a real druggie/rocknroll/ blagger type guy in the house. Skinny, into blues and rock, and once turned up with a cutting edge walkman - double play, record facility, dolby, a real nice bit of kit. He sold it to me for about £20 or so. I had it for about a week. Presumably the guy he nicked it off found out where it had gone, he seemed fairly scared and said he needed it back. He returned my money. It would be 10 years before I owned another walkman quite as superb. Still have it in fact.

After splitting with J there was a woman called Millie - african - and another woman from India but a christian and very anglicised, went to an English school in whatever state of India it was that she grew up in. She did explain it to me at the time. This part of India was very pro England even after empire ended, and more or less ploughed its own pro British furrow.

I liked Eleanor, but she was perpetually scared of her shithead boyfriend who everyone apart form Eleanor refered to as shithead. One night shithead went mental with an axe and tried to smash the place up. I locked myself in my room, though concerned about J and sister M who had moved in with a small child, I knew they too wer elocked in there room as I could hear what everyone was shouting. Eugene tried to have a go at the girls - I think in his paranoia he thought they were conspiring in some way against him. anyway, riot police turned up. a megaphone was used. I was suddenly in the middle of a siege situation. It ended fairly quickly. The police didn't even want to talk to me. I never saw Eugene again, and Eleanor was gone too within a few days. I have no idea what happened.