‘A Walking Shadow’, p.17

January and February 1971 were dynamic months.

The Danbury Street flat experiment continued. I liked the sense of community, and the lively  debates and meetings that occurred; and Snoo was a fabulous cook and bon vivant.

He’d make delicious home-made taramasalata and hummus ( not generally so well- known in the early Seventies); and brought  reclaimed stripped-pine pews ( from a church) into the kitchen. We listened to ‘The Doors’, ‘Dylan’, ‘Steely Dan’ (1972);  Miles, John Coltrane and non-stop Joni Mitchell. These people were the  soundtrack to our lives.

We also  drank copious amounts of red wine.

On January 31st, my father got married, for the third time, at Marylebone Register Office, where I, and  a certain Lady Wendy Turner, were both witnesses, and he, and his bride, Helen, then flew to Australia, to begin married life, on February 3rd. To me, it was a kind of death.

On February 9th, I spent a weekend with Alan Munton in Cambridge, and we went to Rudi  Dutschke’s farewell party at Clare Hall.  Dutschke had been the most prominent spokesperson of the German socialist student movement in 1968.  After the failed attempt on his life by Josef Bachmann, in ’68,  he was accepted by Clare Hall to finish his degree, and to recuperate here in the UK.  However, in 1971, he was expelled from the country, by Edward Heath and the Conservative government as ‘an undesirable alien’.

At the party, I met many friends of Alan’s, including Roger Hood, the criminologist, and Peter and Ursula Jonke.

The next day, February 10th, I was back in London, comforting Jonathan, because of an arts programme he’d been on, in which he felt he hadn’t ‘performed’ well ‘on. That same day, Hugo Williams, the assistant editor of  London Magazine, called round to the flat to bring back some poems of mine that I’d submitted, and that  he’d decided to reject. He was very friendly. It was to take me  thirty years from 1971 to 2001  to have six poems finally accepted by that fine and superlative editor, Alan Ross,  in the February and March 2001 editions of  London Magazine;  and days before his death on February 14th, 2001. Those poems were: ‘End of the Road’, ‘Exploring the Arctic’, ‘Motel’,’Flying to Alaska’,  and ‘Half-Term’.

 

 

 

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