Wednesday, September 12, 2007

a week in England, 10/31 – 11/6/88

October 31 is my birthday. I was awakened at 6:40am (the family was away?) by a ringing telephone. When I picked up, my mother sang “Happy Birthday”, then spent most of the call complaining about how hard it had been to get ahold of me.

Dragged Chris to Drowning by Numbers, my first Peter Greenaway movie. “Lovely weird little black comedy.”

Kept up my journal for English class and was bored to tears in class. Following the advice of classmates I began bringing letters to write and textbook reading to catch up on so when Prof droned I had somewhere to turn my attention. I had two English classes. The nonEnglish classes were British Life & Culture (I remember one visiting lecturer who said he loved real American names like Massachusetts and Narragansett; was contemptuous of such nullities as New York and New Hampshire. Too bad the names he preferred are sometimes all that’s left of the people who owned them.); and a class on Environment and Economics. Small is Beautiful was one of the texts for that class. It was a consistently interesting class. I got the highest score (an unamazing 94) on the midterm. Prof McP had me “read aloud one of my answers. So, with a lot of throat-clearing and in a monotone, I read it.”

Chris & I visited Parliament and listened “in the strangers’ gallery while the MPs debated the new govt policy of denying airtime to the Northern Irish Sinn Fein Party.”

I bought more 45” singles at the used record store in Camden Town – 10p apiece. Also stopped in at Forbidden Planet and “bought AARGH!. It’s another one of those benefit comics – Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia. Pretty high quality. Edited by Alan Moore.” Margaret Thatcher’s government had instituted something called Clause 28 (or Section 28, once enacted) that directed schools to say nothing positive about gay people, so there was noticeable activism over that.

I raised my daily budget from 2.50 to 5 pounds.

Took a coach tour to Avebury, a town build inside an ancient stone circle. It was cold but I liked the place. “Bath wasn’t so exciting, though I did enjoy the Roman bath. Wish we could’ve jumped in, the warm water was so inviting – they told us not to touch as it’s untreated.”

On Saturday the usual group of us took an independent trip to Hampton Court Palace, mainly for the hedge maze. “I managed to get pretty well lost, which was what I wanted.” That night was Guy Fawkes fireworks and bonfire at Battersea Park. The bonfire was huge. I remember feeling the heat far back from it.

I got some DJ training at the student-run Imperial College radio station. Started planning playlists.

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