what a long strange trip it's been

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Rayge
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what a long strange trip it's been

Postby Rayge » 08 Jul 2015, 15:37

Erm...
I started this thread on another board, and had completely forgotten about it. That board is now moribund (the two facts are not connected...) and I want to preserve it. If anyone stumbles across it and wants to comment, feel free, but I'd rather someone starts a thread of their own than post their own photos and reminiscences here. Cheers :)

Basically, it's another show and tell thread where I tell stories about pictures, this time portraits of the people in my life (taken by me unless otherwise noted) and what's become of them, undertaken partly because of determination to try to find a way to shape the material of my life into something I can call art. I've got all this stuff – images, records, diaries, writings, memories – that I need to make into something beautiful, or interesting, or witty, or enlightening, to share with other people, because, fundamentally, this is what my life is 'about', because I am an artist and/or crave approval.

I'm not looking at my memories as history: they're selective enough to best be described as fiction, although all true to the reality I lived in. What this thread seems to have become about is stories, and especially stories about the people I knew and the lasting friendships I made in my 20s and early 30s, the connections between us, the way they ravel and un, the diverse destinies and destinations we come to, and the way that knowing this makes us look differently at photos of our younger selves, looking for clues.

And then of course there's always the possiblity, as I ramble through the photos and memories, following the threads, that I will reach the point at which the whole warp and weft of my life will be revealed in all its coruscating complexity, and I will enjoy an moment of epiphanic infinity, poised and immaculate, thrilling with the reflected knowledge of the Oneness. And then the stars will start to go out.

Because some of the stuff I want to write about is sensitive, and I don't want to embarrass anyone of my friends still capable of embarrassment, I'm burying it here in one of the forums no-one looks at, and I'm going to stick to first names and nicknames, some of them made up.
It's all as true as anything else, though subject to my memory.

And the selection is pretty random. It begins with the West Wales connection, provided by my old Tottenham County School pal, Clive M, who spent his entire working life teaching film and American lit (especially poetry) at the university of Aberystwyth, and lives there still: in that time he has had one English, one Welsh and one Irish wife, five Welsh children, and one ever-greying beard hiding a spectacularly dimpled chin.

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Nick the Gypsy and Clive, founder members of the Talybont Massive, 1980s

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1981 Helen, the last girlfriend I had before I met Chip and the only person of whom both I and Wayne Hussey had carnal knowledge. She killed herself in 1989. There is no causal relationship between those sentences – she simply could not live with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis

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Sarah the heartbreaker. I may speak of this at some future date

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Matt & Blue. Awwww. Matt is the son of Clive and Sarah. He is now closing in on 40, and has even less hair. Blue, of course, has sadly gone before - the short life span of dogs is a real bitch - as it were

and we swiftly move on to new locations...

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Anyone who has been paying attention will recognize my Frisbee, acid, photography and mayhem partner, Jim Boone, Dean Moriarty to my Sal Paradise. Born in Nicaragua, he went to high school in Evanston, IL, was a male model in Bangkok in his teens, lifeguard and martial artist in his pomp, but has been going down slow for 25 years, ever since he walked into a full-length window in an amusement arcade in his parent's home town of Dawlish, Devon, so damaging arteries in his thigh and wrist: he got hep C from the blood transfusions that saved his life. This picture was taking in the Trip Room at Oldland Common during the Great Working of 11/11/95 (the day I reached the same age, to the day, that my father was when he died), during which I achieved (or, rather, restored) Immortality

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Jim and Gavin, 1977. Jim affects the Hello Matelot look outside J's flat on the Hove-Brighton boundary. The other guy actually is a sailor, Gavin Galtere, an American (Floridan, maybe?) who had come to Brighton as a crewman on an ocean-going yacht (one with sails). He was a great guy, really easy-going and an excellent freestyler.

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Chip chops one out. The Mrs was a big coke user when I met her. Her first husband was an importer, and she had a high time in Goa, Ibiza and other scenes in the 70s – I'll write about that later. She had, in fact, only married him, after several years together, because he was looking at a five-stretch in the Scrubs, and wives found it easier than girlfriends to get visitors' passes.

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Chip and Marc, c. 1984. As you can imagine, Chip's personality and style went down very well with gay men, and Marc was gayer than most: his father was a politician and Marc had used dad's savvy and connections to help Gay Switchboard and other organisations: his partner edited a gay newspaper, can't remember which. HIV+ since a trip to New York in the early 80s, he has been living with AIDS for more than a quarter century. I also love the way Chip's earrings are caught in flight in this picture

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WPT took over my customers when I quit the business in ’89. He was a childhood friend of Sal (see below). Crippled by alcoholism, he lives in his childhood home in Somerset and does nothing much, as far as I can tell. He in turn handed his business over to someone he met when they were both teaching in Hackney in the early ’80s. That guy, a Crystal Palace supporter who lives just round the corner from Peter Perret of The Only Ones, currently supplies me. Wheels. Paul was a bit of a sweetie, with a warm and fuzzy personality, but, like me, he had lost his father when he was in his first year at university (this was also true of another friend: cuh, what are the odds, eh?), but unlike me, got stuck into the drink as a result, and was a two-fisted smoker of both cigs and hash. He never quite got over losing the love of his life when she objected (rather reasonably in my view, but it blindsided him) to his turning their flat into a dealer's parlour and left him. He actually scrubbed up quite well: here he is at Sal's wedding)
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Sally on her wedding day. Sal, one of the loveliest people I have ever met, was the love of Jim's life. Yet another story for another time. Here, though, she is getting married to the great-nephew of one of the Bloomsbury Set at easily the poshest wedding I've ever been to, in 1983. She and her husband met doing a fine arts/sculpture course and set up a family business as stone masons, specializing in high quality ecclesiastical restoration work. Her marriage broke up early this century, and I've lost touch with her, sadly.

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c. 1983. Simps, a delightful wide boy from Leighton Buzzard, was also a retailer (although we would wholesale to each other). Knew him via a guy called Rob from Uni and Celia, his girlfriend, both of whom were also from LB. He and his mate Ivor (perhaps the greatest druggy fool of them all, but unfortunately one of whom I have no pics :( ) used to sell speed to Lemmy. Simps was an electrician, who used to fit sound systems in clubs in the 1980s, which is why my Technics turntable still boasts a wholly inappropriate heavy-duty cartridge. I saw less of him after he started using junk (he stopped soon after), and don't know where he is now, but wish him nothing but good.

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Jim took this, in Chip's back garden in Mangotsfield, Bristol, after our first wedding in 1988. Those are my white brogues, and those immensely sexy legs belong to Frankie...

...so anyway, here's the top half of Frankie, taken the same day, again not by me:
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and here she is in the early 70s, before the Henna Incident. She's currently a professional woman (sorry about the coy) and a widow (her second husband) living in south-east London, just up the road from where the parents of the Goss twins from Bros lived.

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That's the older of her two younger brothers, Johnny, in the 70s Jesus hair (Frankie and Johnny! I know...but their parents called them Frances and John, so not so strictly to blame). His style was modified in the middle of the decade to something approaching Disco Clone, although so far as I am aware, he is neither gay nor a dancer:
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He was a chippy (that's a carpenter who works on house-building, rather than finer woodwork) by trade, and the last I heard of him he was working in the London theatre as a maker of scenery and flats.
And here's their little bruv;
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Andy was a bit of a tearaway in his youth, known for twocking cars after a night out in their native Leeds (where the family ended up after a disastrous emigration to Australia went horribly wrong in an unspecified way – Frankie told me many stories about it, but, like Jim, with whom she had a brief affair and a long, rather furtive friendship, she wasn't above telling a string of lies about her past when it suited her, or even just for the hell of it) but by this time (1982 or so) was a happy but no longer particularly dangerous idiot. He was intent on being an actor and in the meantime blagged a job with the Royal Ballet as a stage manager – which is how I came to, not exactly meet, but share the same small place with, Rudolph Nureyev for about 15 minutes, when delivering an ounce or two to Andy at the rehearsal rooms for dispersal around the company – and was engaged to one of the dancers. He was married twice, and had two families, but died last year of a heart attack in his early 50s, leaving two children under eight.

As a crazy lady and acid queen, Frankie had no shortage of admirers, but eventually she married an older guy, Paul, who was born in World War II, and was a hipster when that word was approbative, haunting Soho as a teenager (his memories were recorded in Chip's history book, 'Up West', under two different fake names in order not to provoke his unstable second wife – he and Frankie divorced) and acquiring a set of poetry and Olympia Press first editions that would set a collector drooling. He's a lovely guy, a career teacher (and former colleague of S. Carlsson of this parish) and although I have recently lost touch (anyone there live in Wisbech?) I count him as a great friend, with a huge, booming laugh that rocks the room
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Paul in 1989

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Another mature student at the university, and another guy who took a big fancy to Frankie, whom he called Puddin' in some obscure homage to their shared Yorkshire roots, was Shaky (from Shakespeare, in honour of his poetic prowess), who prefers to be called Mike these days. So anyway, Shaky was born in Whitby, the setting for Dracula, and gre up there with his mother, who ran a hotel, a half-sister and a string of 'uncles'. He soon lost all contact with the 'dad' he remembers from toddlerhood, and sometime in his teenage years, without telling his ma, he goes looking for him at his last known address in the south of England, arrives on the doorstep and says, 'I'm your son, Mike.' 'No you're not', the guy explained as kindly as he could, 'your father was a Canadian who took part in the Dieppe landings, and he was killed there.' So Mike finds a father and loses him twice. In the same day. (It later turned out that the soldier, one Pte Furnier – no relation to Mr Cooper – was not killed in the landings, and indeed lived on well into this century. Shaky tracked him down, and was rebuffed again.)
Sometime in the late 1950s, under the influence of Kerouac (whom he was definitely channeling in this photo, taken with his then landlady in Torquay), he left behind his collection of doowop and rock and roll singles (which he spent decades and several thousand pounds trying to reassemble after it inevitably disappeared) and went On the Road, ending up in Torquay, Devon, where he supported the local excuse for a football team, wrote poetry, drank cider, discovered weed, read poetry in pubs, listened to jazz, and started taking smack, which he eulogised in a really rather good (I hate to admit it) self-published set of poems, 'The Golden Horseman', all the while supporting himself with various temporary jobs, a stint on the buses as a conductor, and several gloomy months on the NAB.
Then, one day in his late 20s, he decided to get some O and A levels, and eventually got a place at the University of Kent (note to Americans - not Kent State). This picture was taken back at digs in Torquay while he was an undergraduate. He learned sax so that he could play in a rock & roll band (they weren't at all bad), spent 25 years teaching at a public school in Taunton, and has acquired a doctorate and four MAs. In the course of researching his thesis on The Roodscreens of Devon for his Doctorate, he found God, and he has recently moved back to Whitby. I haven't had direct contact with him for a while, but he's still in tenuous touch with hawkmoth.

Talking of whom, here he is with his partner Mary around 1980
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Another Yorkshireman, hawk grew up in Sheffield as the only child of a working class couple who doted on him. A keen birder, ham radio enthusiast, cornet player and bibliophile, he quit his teaching career around the time this picture was taken and opened a bookshop in a town in North Wales. He was the first British bookseller to have a presence on the internet (around 1994 - his ham radio geekery past was a perfect fit for the new age) and still operates a book search service on it today. A Buddhist and vegetarian and all-round sweet-natured guy. Definitely not a cunt, ’skope.

More later
In timeless moments we live forever

You can't play a tune on an absolute

When the ball sleeps it dreams it is a Frisbee

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law, love under will

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Rayge
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Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Postby Rayge » 08 Jul 2015, 17:00

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The three dumb monkeys. A pic taken after the wedding of Clive's big brother, John, in Wivenhoe, Essex, in the late 1970s. Smell no Evil on the left is Clive, and hear no evil on the right is Keith, Clive's friend from when they met on their first day of junior school in 1952 to a protracted falling out in the late 1970s, largely due to K siding with Clive's first wife (who was at school with the three of us) when they split and his disdain for wife number two, Sara the Heartbreaker. I didn't get to know them until I was in the sixth form, but I didn't fall out with either of them: Keith and I sat next to one another at Spurs games for the best part of a decade, and he still lives in London, in a mansion flat in Chiswick.
The guy in the middle, one Nigel, is someone who did his PhD alongside Clive

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Johnny G at the Mansions, mid-1980s. When my mate Conrad (aka Snout the Dog) and I clubbed together to buy a house in Faversham, one of the two women we shared with initially, Jane, started an affair with Johnny, a rangy Deadhead who went to a Catholic public school and broke out in all directions once he left it. He went on the hippy trail to India when he graduated, got involved in importing traditional fabrics back into Britain and is now an acknowledged expert on hand-made textiles with a dozen books to his name. I just found a recent photo on-line
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I moved several times when I was a student - who doesn't? – but one move changed my life. I was in my first year as a post-graduate when, in despair at the chilly unwelcomeness of my lodgings, I found alternative accommodation in a house at Harbledown, just outside Canterbury. Four undergraduates, all strangers, also lived there. At first, there was little communication beyond grunts in the shared kitchen, but eventually (with the help of hawkmoth, whom I'd met the year before) I got drawn into the scene in the huge back room, which was shared by a Bristolian called Nick, who was dealing from there (at this time I had no drug experience at all) and TT, a hedonistic linguist from South-West London who is still one of my great friends. The other two were Jemima, a dancer and sometime acid queen from Birmingham with whom just about everyone was in love, and who is still a great friend, and a wild maximum sex-drugs-rock&roll teenager from Finchley (his dad was a friend of Thatcher; his cousin was Julie Driscoll, who made Wheel's on Fire) I'm going to call JD (an illustrative note: JD emigrated to San Fran with someone else who was part of the same crowd in the 1970s they set up in business, some legal, some not, there; when I asked a friend, who had visited them there, how JD was getting on, he said, 'Remember how JD was always being carried out of restaurants? Now they're carrying him in.') because these days he's a straight-edge financial adviser.
I sat in the corner, keeping a watching brief, as the whole crew of drug-addled hippies came and went in great droves - it wasn't unusual for a dozen or more people to be gathered in that back room overlooking the garden. I didn't indulge at the time, but it was my way in to a scene in which I made a dozen strong enduring friendships.
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This is JD at the Mansions, mid-80s; he had just returned from America, a step ahead of the DEA, having abandoned his partner, lifestyle and most of his fortune in order to stay out of jail.
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This is TT at hawkmoth's wedding in 1972

And this is Jem at 23 Abbey Street the same year
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I'd like to write more but the sun came out
In timeless moments we live forever

You can't play a tune on an absolute

When the ball sleeps it dreams it is a Frisbee

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law, love under will

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Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Postby Neige » 09 Jul 2015, 14:43

That's a great read, Ray, I really like these pics from older days and the warmth in your reminiscences - looking forward to the next instalment.
Thumpety-thump beats plinkety-plonk every time. - Rayge

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Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Postby gash on ignore » 09 Jul 2015, 20:25

Lovely stuff Rayge, why not move it to YY so more people can see it?
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Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Postby Belle Lettre » 11 Jul 2015, 16:22

Amazing stuff, Ray. Really.
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Get a fucking grip you narcissistic cretins.

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Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Postby billy » 19 Jul 2015, 11:27

oh Ray, just swell - I'm so glad you are hree
mantochanga wrote:Dave Bartram from Showaddywaddy - on telly every week, but most people didn't even know his name. No burdening us with his issues or personal life, just a straightforward entertainer. Navvy!

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Rayge
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Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Postby Rayge » 19 Jul 2015, 16:06

Well thank you all for the kind words. It was a bit daft starting something like this in the summer and in the middle of one of the cups, because both together make demands on my time, and when I do sit down, I start fretting about which pictures to use and what to say, rather than just being random about the whole thing and letting the flow suggest something.

So I'm going to start here with a bit of random family stuff, just to limber up

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This is my fifth birthday party in 1953, in the company of a clutch of cousins in the front room of the terrace house in Tottenham that my parents shared with my mother's mother (her husband had died in 1939). The front room (or parlour) was Grandma's living space - and her dying space, fifteen months later, when I was alone in the house with her – but was always pressed into service on family occasions. I remember one earlier Christmas or New Year where most of my 17 aunts and uncles were there, someone had got a barrel of beer in, someone else was playing tunes on a stand-up piano (we didn't get our first record player until later in the decade) and I experienced the glitter and giddiness of midnight for the first time.

My mother was the 10th in a family of 12, nine of whom grew to adulthood. They all married, but five were childless and three of the others (including Mum) had just one child. It was up to Albert (who, due to a quirk in the London accent, was known to one and all as Elbert) to bump up the numbers of my cousins. He fathered four of the kids in this picture.

The guy peering over the back of the chair on the left is my Dad's sister's son, Tony, just three months older than me but always (until adulthood) significantly shorter. It was almost certainly our grandad, who had his own studio and darkroom in the small terraced house he and his wife shared with his daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren, who took this picture. Tony is still alive, and lives in Essex. He worked his way up to be a partner in a specialized photographic firm in the City of London; when his partner / mentor retired and left the business to him, he soon realized that he could get as much, if not more money renting out the premises than running the business.

Next to him, with the gappy grin, is me, then Albert's three eldest kids. Frances, at the back, was the oldest, perhaps 14. She was also the first of my cousins to marry, but did not live happily ever after: she had two children, but both died within a few months of the same congenital heart defect. It destroyed her marriage. She never married again although she did get engaged just before she died, aged 70, of a brain tumour.

Richard, the next youngest, 9 or 10 in that picture, was a kind of idol to me when I was that age, but turned out to be the black sheep of the family, rather. I remember, three years after this, Uncle Albert (a sweet man, my favourite of Ma's five brothers) coming round to our house in tears, looking oddly urchin-like in his flat cap and cycle clips, to return my father's watch and other items that he had discovered in Richard's possession; apparently he had abstracted a front-door key and took stuff from the empty house while playing hooky from school. I also remember my mother tearing into him the next time he came round – never seen her so angry before or since – and leaving him in no doubt that his worse crime was in making his dad cry with shame. I don't know much about his adult life, except that he fancied himself as quite the ladies man, had at least four children and two wives, was a grandfather at the age of 35. There were scrapes with the law, too. He may or may not have done time. I only saw him at family weddings and funerals, and not always at those. He died in his early 60s of stomach cancer.

Christine, with the bow in her hair, was just a year and a half older than me. Like Richard, she took after in personality not her dad, but her mother, Florrie, a foundling, brought up by the parish, who had attached herself to Albert when she was quite young and he the suave man about town. That's him on the left below, with his mate who rejoiced (IIRC) in the name Wilf Martindale.
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Anyway, there was always something wild, almost feral, about Chris. She made some bad marriages - one so bad that her sons both took her maiden name when they were adult because they did not want anything of their father - and was in and out of mental hospitals (looking back, I suspect she was bipolar: Richard and the youngest sibling Dennis, who was born in 1954, and hanged himself when he was in his 40s, too) before losing touch with everyone in her family some time around the beginning of this century.
Albert and Florrie's fourth child, June, is on the extreme right, in the high chair. Twenty months younger than me, June was in the sensible half of her family, with, like Frances and little sister Sheila (a babe in arms when this was taken and the first to die, of a heart attack, aged 45. She went to Israel on a kibbutz as a teenager, met a guy there, converted to Judaism and married him, which meant she never came to any of the family celebrations and lamentations, and I can barely remember what she looked like), a temperament that took after her father rather than Florrie. She is quite the star, June, level-headed, big-hearted and loyal. We're not bosom buddies by any means – a bit difficult with her living in Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex and being a committed Jehovah's Witness (she was actually a little shocked when I gave the eulogy for my aunt Ciss - of whom more anon, if I'm spared - explaining that it had been her wish to have no Xian component at all, and especially no vicars, at her funeral), but if there is ever any residual Edwards family business to be conducted (and there's very little now, with almost all players dead, save for the curating of memories and photographs and the marking down of days), she's the one I call.

Which just leaves one in the picture, my 'cousin' Brenda, brought up by Aunt Ciss and Uncle Charlie as their daughter, but actually the progeny of Charlie's daughter by an earlier marriage, Doreen, who contrived to get impregnated by two different US servicemen while in her teens in WWII. The first was adopted, but when Doreen left for Australia (presumably in search of a new liaison) in 1946, she left her newborn in the care of Ciss and Charlie. I saw more of Brenda than my other cousins, as she was close in both age and domicile; Ciss and Charlie ran a sweet shop just around the corner from us in Tottenham, and I would go there for lunch in school holidays and after school until my mother got home from work. So Brenda and I were sort of friends and playmates, but didn't really like one another much, and barely kept in touch as adults. She gave up her job at a bank – much to Cissie's disgust – when she formed a long partnership with an older, married man, who eventually moved in with her only after his wife died. He's been gone a while now, too, and I suspect that Brenda is still living in their bungalow at Clacton - what is it about my cousins and Essex?

Oh, and while the people are gone and the memories are fading, I still have the tumblers and the carnival glass dessert dishes in this picture.
Got to go now.
Back soon with less elderly memories
Last edited by Rayge on 13 Mar 2018, 11:40, edited 1 time in total.
In timeless moments we live forever

You can't play a tune on an absolute

When the ball sleeps it dreams it is a Frisbee

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law, love under will

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Rayge
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Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Postby Rayge » 03 Sep 2015, 19:47

Well, an unseasonal chill has got the better of my gardening plans, so I'm stuck indoors; none of my current lexulous games are very thrilling, and here I'm still waiting for the JB&S cup to start, for me to develop any enthusiasm for my Beyond the 130 tasks, and for the Modernist to come up with some back-up questions in the interview process, so this looks like my best bet.
Let's get random, and pull out a pic to start with.

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Eliot college E1S8, winter 1967-8
My life so far splits neatly into four acts. Act 1 ended precipitately at the end of June 1967 with the death of my dad and the destruction of my childhood; the floundering wretchedness (aka young manhood) of Act 2 merged into Act 3 when Chip and I got together in 1982, and Act 4 started with my reinvention after her death in September 2012.
This picture is the earliest I have from Act 2, and features my college room at the University of Kent. It was taken by Richard G, who lived in the room above and was first attracted down by the quality of the music floating up. In the following year (our third), he and I and another Ray would share a farm cottage in the Kent coalfields, and the pair of us would get embroiled in investigations of thefts (actually carried out by the other Ray and an officer of the students union who went on to have a long career in university administration), harrassment (not guilty, guv) and even an attempted murder, but I digress.
This is basically a rare snapshot of my innocent, entirely drug- and druggie-free, undergraduate life. I had no camera at this time, so all I have are some shots that Richard took. That's me on the outside of the window (it was a ground-floor room, I'm doing nothing daring), not sure why. On the bed are Dave G and Liz W, a couple through most of their undergraduate years who married after graduation. Both were from South Yorkshire, Dave from Hipperholme, Halifax, while Liz was the eldest child of the vicar of a small town near Doncaster, and lived in this remarkable Victorian vicarage with a mature garden beneath the levee of a river (the Don, I presume), a rare thing in England, with five or six younger siblings who proved to be enchanting to someone who had grown up as the only kid in the house. Dave and Liz were both delightfully down to earth. I went to their wedding in 1970 or so, and hitched up to visit them, via Lincoln cathedral (I collected all bar two of Britain's medieval cathedrals in my travels), in sunny Grimsby, where they had set up home, and toured coastal Lincs, including Saltfleetby, where I took this in 1971 or so, one of the first portraits I took.
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I also went to see them one time on spec in the early 1970s, on a hitching tour from Kent. And they weren't there. I hung around for a couple of nights, sleeping the first time in their garage and the second in a Sally Army hostel, the only time I ever did that in my life, before giving up and moving on. My stay coincided with an early-season Grimsby Town fixture, so I went along to Blundell Park for that. The ground isn't actually in Grimsby, but in the contiguous seaside resort of Cleethorpes, virtually on the sands at the front, so one is occasionally treated to the sight of a ball that has been hoofed out of the stadium bouncing around amid a magnificently uninterested quartet of beach donkeys. All it needed was for some of them to raise a hand and look around for a linesman for it to be a perfect portent of the Arsenal defence in the early 1990s. I lost touch after that (it was the days before either of us had a landline), so Liz (on whom I had a crush for a while) and I had to write to each other, and did not manage to keep it up. Heigh ho. I do know that they later divorced and both remarried, but can't find either on the interwebz today.
Anyway, bottom left of the picture is Roz, a well-brought-up Home Counties gel (the university had only opened in 1965, and proved irresistible to HCgs, which meant that by 1968, when hawkmoth, a working class northerner, applied, the humanities department was so over-subscribed with middle-class female Londoners that they more or less begged him to come). I once remember that she expressed mild shock that I should eat a banana 'like a monkey'; i.e. without use of a knife and fork. It's odd what sticks. Otherwise I can remember nothing other than that she was soft-spoken, blushed easily and was very sweet-natured. I can't remember why we were friends. She was probably part of my seminar group in something; that's the way things worked. I wonder how little, and what, she remembers of me.
The chap standing on the right of the picture holding the Viet Cong flag was called Geoff then, but later became known as KC (from his driving prowess - it stood for 'Kerb Clipper') and later still, as Fatman to Brian G's Dobbin in the events of 1969 (attempted murder, dark conspiracy, that one – I'll get around to it eventually, and save the juice for then).
The guy in the middle with the surprised look, Mike L, went to public school and university without ever leaving his home town, which was Canterbury. He was splendidly enthusiastic about stuff he liked, music specifically, and when he was really thrilled with something would splutter and grin in a wonderfully manic fashion. As with I, none of these people had come anywhere near drugs of any kind, despite being 18 and 19-year-olds in The Summer of Love. We were normal, and we dug Bert Weedon. Although I remember playing The Velvet Underground and Nico (bought on the back of having Nico's I'm Not Saying single and a write-up somewhere) to the whole crew in this pic (maybe not Roz), and both Mike and Liz (who appreciated Heroin as a stirring pop song and liked the drumming) were rather fond of it.
That leaves the guy in the Tweed jacket holding up a copy of Mao's Little Red Book (I think Richard's idea was to present us as a nest of commies, hence Roz's bemusement and Liz holding up a copy of an Economic Theory textbook in response to R's request to hold up something red: the posters of Mark and Lenin and the Vietcong flag were joined in wall decorations by exploded versions of Jim Steranko comics, but he carefully missed those out of the frame) is, as the keener-eyed and better-memoried of you will recognize, my old school buddy Keith, who was one of four from our year at Tottenham County to go to Kent to do social sciences (the others being a Jewish guy called Al and a right-wing lower-middle-class political operator called Malcolm who took over the university Conservative Club virtually on arrival and ruled it for three years, and would almost certainly have been an MP under Thatcher if his out gayness had not led him to demur; last I heard a wealthy financier living in Switzerland).
Anyway, many tales hang from Keith, and I need to be somewhere else.
Last edited by Rayge on 23 Sep 2015, 14:39, edited 1 time in total.
In timeless moments we live forever

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Neige
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Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Postby Neige » 16 Sep 2015, 14:14

Great stuff, Ray, reminds me of my college days.

The Little Red Book and the Communist Manifesto still were a serious matter for some, I had a couple of slightly older buddys who joined what was then called the Revolutionary Marxist League - a real shock for parents in cold-war Switzerland.

... me? I only really cared about music.
Thumpety-thump beats plinkety-plonk every time. - Rayge