1969 (There are no letters from this year)
Liverpool was exciting. There were poets, art college lecturers, actors and artists frequenting The Philharmonic, O’Connors down the hill, The Crack and The Everyman Theatre. Jenny and I were part of the crowd and Dave the poet and I became an item. After a couple of months he moved in with me. Bridget disliked him and his poetry and in retrospect I am sad that I devoted so much time on him during that year , time I could have spent with her. Half the time he was stoned and giggly and anyway, I didn’t think much of his poetry…but then poetry was not my thing.
I barely remember the rest of my time at Lawrence Road because my social life was so exciting. Adrian Henry’s rock band played every week upstairs in O’Connors. One night there was an evening devoted to poetry at The Philharmonic Hall and when Dave was on stage he said,’ And the next poem is for Joy,’ and I flushed with excitement! The poem’s first line was…’My lady is very kind, unicorns forgive her.’ ! And there were many parties.
That June, with both Bridget and Jenny leaving we all decided we would have a party ourselves and Bridget made some wonderful bowls of food. We’d invited just a few friends but word got out and our party turned into a nightmare. I used a broom to push back people climbing in through the windows. Seeking sanctuary I went into the tiny bedroom over the kitchen and there was Dave in bed with another woman…so that was the end of that. When Bridget and Jenny moved out I was on my own. That summer I met John and I suppose that he too became a lifelong friend because three years later he died.
John was soon to do his MA in Anthropology at Cambridge and had a summer job working on the bins. He kept rescuing ‘treasures’ people had thrown away. For the first time I felt I had met a man who could be a friend. I think that the sexual side of me had been and was very troubled./hurt; I liked men but I think I didn’t trust or respect them.I attribute this to my father rejecting me once I hit puberty and his plaintive ,’Where’s my little girl, I’ve lost my little girl.’ I liked being with John because he gave me space. We could talk and laugh and I felt relaxed and happy.
In September John went to Cambridge and I got two teaching jobs, two days in Aymnestrey Court , a ‘school for maladjusted girls,’ and three days in Holmrook School for the partially sighted. I liked both jobs and in Holmrook I met Maggie, the music teacher and we became friends. But all was not well
I had had to find lodgers and in September I gave the rooms to two girls who were at the art college., a big mistake. I think that for them art college was a way of filling time before marriage etc. They were both very beautiful and wealthy. I don’t remember either of them doing any college work. I found them cold and very dull. Both worked at weekends in a club down town called The Odd Spot and since they gave the place a glowing review and I was short of money I took a job there. It was grim. We were told to arrive half an hour before work officially began and on the first day I couldn’t see why till I went into the ladies where a line of girls were applying lashings of makeup. Worse, was the outfit we all had to wear, a backless shiny black cire jump suit with a halter top . Working there meant being groped and it was so crowded we had to carry the drinks trays over our heads. I always returned home feeling low. I packed it in. The only night I had enjoyed was when the cook didn’t turn up. I had to cook chips, throw some steak on the grill and add a bit of iceberg lettuce…hundreds of suppers.
I was rather lonely and that Autumn spent a lot of time with Sheila and Paul . They lived a short bike ride away near Lark Lane and I think that all was not well there either.
There was some fun though. I had become good friends with Henry Graham , one of Jenny’s friends ( he would remain a friend till I left Liverpool). He is /was the most witty man I have ever met and we spent much of our time together laughing. I had a television that was on the way out. The screen was a three- inch strip and every Friday night we watched Hammer Horror films. Henry supplied an alternative commentary. We were just friends but invariably he stayed the night. On Saturday mornings I would balance a breakfast tray on his considerable belly and we’d laugh some more. But still I felt uneasy and troubled. I probably returned to Earl Shilton at Christmas.