Slip inside the eye of your mind

CRE-300

Chapter 4

19th March 1996

Cardiff was mental busy yesterday in anticipation of the Oasis gig. Bus loads of Liam and Noel clones, partnered with eager girls, littered the streets. It was like some sort of shaggy haired riot. From about 2pm the pubs and bars were over spilling with attitude. Reminiscent of a national rugby match day but far less friendly. A crowd fuelled by anger and cocaine rather than hope and real ale.

We had bought our tickets months ago, carried away with the hype and general we’ve-got-to-be-there of it all. The biggest band in the UK playing on our doorstep. How could we resist? Oasis are, by now, absolutely massive. And everywhere. Every night in the Taf there is an unintentional Oasis half hour when all the jukebox choices are played together. These days this evokes groans from the locals who long for fresh sounds. I must admit I haven’t ever felt the need to buy the singles but I still enjoy a ‘Live Forever’ or ‘Rock n’ Roll Star’ moment in Metros or Fun Factory. Who doesn’t?

Anyway, controversially , I wasn’t that bothered about going to the gig yesterday unlike the rest of town.

We went to the Rummer to have a few pre-gig drinks, just the two of us. A rare outing together during these busy times. Drinking in the afternoon is always such a treat even as a student. It always feels decadent and a bit rock ‘n’ roll. Even though we may often have the time and lack of responsibility we very rarely have the funds to sit in a pub all day. This unusual moment of indulgence was planned because we knew that the chances of getting drunk at the gig were minimal.  The queues were infamous at the C.I.A. bar and it was always best to get a head start elsewhere.

So there we were. And we were getting along really well both having our own projects and social circles to chat about. No animosity, no jealousy. Little echoes of our first few months together. There was a reason I did love Him once. We were making our way through the no-turning back third pint when we realised that more and more people were entering the pub shouting for spare tickets. Before that third pint had been finished 3 separate individuals , each in varying states of desperation, were asking for “Any spare tickets?”

We were definitely on the same wavelength today and both had the same thought at the same time.  Off He went to find one of the shouters. We ended up being at the centre of a fierce bidding war involving at least 3 different cultures and lots of nonverbal communication. It was great fun and we were more than happy to part with our tickets for the cash price of £130. The smug yet strange winner of the Oasis ticket battle was a scruffy, middle-aged Geordie. As a parting gesture, with the tickets in his hand, he looked Him straight in the eye and quoted, “Slip inside the eye of your mind, Don’t you know you might find a better place to play.” This was done without humour.

We were well chuffed and planned on spending most of our winnings on Stella in the Student Union, we’d be listening to Oasis in there anyway. I have no idea how many beers we drank, or how many cigarettes we smoked but I know that this morning’s hangover was monumental. We both had a laugh together and there were no cross words. Nothing serious was discussed but that is what made the night special. I did not think we could be like this ever again and it has given me some sort of hope for the future. Maybe I was a bit rash with my previous decision making? Maybe we can be happy ever after? Maybe the demons have gone? All I know is how I feel right now.  I feel happy having spent an evening with Him just having fun with no stress. I have no regrets about selling those tickets either but I wonder if I will feel the same in thirty years time?

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“I was lost, lost on the bypass road, Could be worse I could be turned to toad.”

Hometown Unicorn

Chapter 3

26th February 1996

I have been so ridiculously busy these last couple of weeks that my diary has been abandoned. This is how it feels to study a proper uni course instead of a Mickey Mouse, 16 hour a week, plod. The B.I.P has taken over my life and I must admit that I am enjoying being so focused and enthusiastic. I feel like a different person and wish I had been so keen the last two years of uni. What have I been doing all this time? Procrastinating and suffocating. Wasting away into someone else’s person. When I think back to my sixth form days, all Dr Martens and eyeliner, I was a different girl completely. Before I met Him I had enthusiasm, youth and confidence. I turn 21 this year but in my current situation I may as well be 31. Brain dead, dead from the waist down and a dead loss.

So, as a synopsis of my fast paced, action packed life over the last few weeks I have compiled two lists. The first is a list of good things that have happened, the second, predictably, a list of the not-so-good.

The Good Stuff

  • After being voted Single of the Week in NME, the first Super Furry Animals single, Hometown Unicorn is out today. I went to Spillers this morning and bought my copy and have been listening to it, and the amazing B sides all day. SFA rule and I really hope they become a success. I remember GrFFA-COFFI-PAWB-Yr-Atal-Genhedlae-316212uff’s former band Ffa Coffi Pawb playing at my school assembly hall. Maisie and I used to stalk the poor guy around Upper Bangor. Definitely on my ‘marry’ list.
  • As I mentioned earlier, the B.I.P is turning my life around. I have actually been spending time in the Humanities library with Sophie and Ben. We have a regular table on the second floor and I have probably spent more time there than in the Taf this last month. What is happening to me? Books before beer?????
  • I have been meeting more new people through the B.I.P – exciting people with ambition and energy. I have been translating a manifesto into Welsh for a Student’s Union President candidate and will be paid in beer. We will all be going out in a few weeks as part of his team. Lowly little old me part of the presidential team (OK not of the US of A but it’s a start!).
  • He has a new weekend job in a Sci-Fi shop in town. He detests the clientele for what He calls their ‘pathetic obsessions’ but has found like-minded friends in the staff. He has the beginnings of a new social life. We see less of each other.
  • My new found confidence and independence has led me to rekindle bygone friendships. Friendships that were deemed unsuitable by Him. I have been spending girly nights both in and out with Harry and Ruth. I had forgotten how good it feels to hang out with my mates. The hours of gossip and bitchiness over shared cigarettes. The sacred getting ready to go out rituals involving pre-drinking (in our own special glasses), watching Top of the Pops, TFI Friday or Blind Date. And then the day after, dirty details discussed at length with hungover heads. I am so enjoying being myself without watching my step.

The Bad Stuff

  • A ridiculous cashflow problem, I still can’t find a job and am two months behind on my rent by now. I had to hide behind the sofa when Mr Afzal came round for his money yesterday. I can’t keep avoiding him for much longer. HUGE STRESS!
  • Serious doubts about me and Him. I feel as though I have been suspended in time for the last two and a half years. There must have been good times but I find it really hard to remember them. There is another life out there. Every time I analyse our relationship, which I do frequently, the conclusion is the same. Escape. As I write this now it seems so clear but also terrifying. I need someone to tell me what to do, but maybe this is the first time in recent months that I do what I want to do. Help!

I’ve just made a cup of tea, lit a cigarette and put SFA on again. These actions have somehow, strangely, cleared my head. I am obviously becoming stronger and I need to make some serious choices, otherwise I am going to waste the last few months of Uni shackled to Him. What have I been missing out on whilst playing being happy with Him? I used to love Him, now I don’t. Simple.

‘Bydded Goleuni’ it says on the sleeve of Hometown Unicorn. Let there be light.

And with my fears in the back of my mind, will they gang up on me? And when I least expect them to they’ll devour me

Image

Thursday 18th January 1996

Catatonia gig – The Terminal at 7.30.

An eventful day that is ending in a bizarre way. I had my follow up meeting for the B.I.P. this morning which went brilliantly. I am really enjoying spending time with different people.  Ben and Sophie are so friendly and easy to talk to – I just love being in their company. OK, so Sophie can be a bit stressy and straight but this is balanced out by Ben’s chilled out, confident attitude. Ben believes our project will be great and therefore, I believe it too.  Maybe confidence is contagious?

He finished His final mid-year exam today so we decided to celebrate with curry. We then went to the faithful Tafarn to meet Maisie and Rhys for a few beers before the gig. All was going well, The Taf was quiet which meant we found our favourite corner and tucked ourselves in with a few beers and packets of crisps.

Suddenly, the beginnings of a good night became uncomfortably complicated. Just as we were leaving to go next door for the gig, I heard someone shout my name. It was Ben from the B.I.P.,

“Hey, where are you guys off to? Why don’t you stay to have a few beers with us? I think we deserve them after all our hard work this morning don’t you Gwen?”

I blushed.  Not just slightly – my face went crimson. I could feel that tell-tale tingling skin and knew this meant trouble. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye and shuffled from one foot to the other. I knew that I desperately wanted to stay and have fun with these exciting new people, He knew that I desperately wanted to stay with these people He didn’t know and so did both my friends. I cannot explain why I felt like that. I am fully aware that I shouldn’t have felt that way but my emotions, at that moment, were running wild. These emotions were also very obvious to those that know me. I could see the accusing look on His face framed by the raised eyebrows of my friends. I felt guilty and exposed but also resentful and restrained. What was going on?

I mumbled something about going to a gig and shuffled on past Ben with downcast eyes. God he must think I am a complete weirdo. I think I am a complete weirdo. Why do I care what he thinks?

In the queue for the Catatonia gig nothing much was said.  This, of course, was worse for everyone concerned.  Wouldn’t life be simpler if everyone just said what they were thinking?

He would say, “How dare you have a friend who is a man! And a good-looking man with a friendly, outgoing personality too. I am no match for him so therefore stay far away. You must be with Me and no one else ever.” Then He would do an evil Skeletor cackle.

Maisie would say, “What the hell just happened there Gwen? I may not be Cilla Black but I can tell you fancy him!” Followed by, “Oh great! Now we will all have to put up with His mood again all night.”

Rhys would say, “When are the doors opening as I am freezing my arse off?” This is, in fact, what he did say and his cold weather talk broke the ice, so to speak, for a while.

Inside the Terminal, the gig was shambolic to say the least. It is always slightly amusing yet, at the same time, disappointing when the band are pissed off their heads on stage like Guns n’ Roses circa ’89. If you are going to do Rock n’ Roll at least make sure you can play your songs. Feel free to drink as much as possible as long as it doesn’t spoil the crowd’s enjoyment. Don’t become like an extension of the underage crowd and tumble and mumble through your set. Cerys’s voice was like twenty Marlboro Reds before breakfast and the band were unruly but in a failing way, rather than an anarchic way. Out of time, out of tune and Maisie and Rhys were outta there. I don’t blame them, the band were chaotic, the crowd looked like a valley’s Youth Club on 20/20 and to top it all His mood was blackening by the hour.

I just couldn’t face a row tonight, so when he suggested we came home, I obediently obliged. The walk home was as cold as the atmosphere between us, our house seemed further from the Union than ever before.  And now I am here, tucked up under my stars and moons duvet writing this.  He, I presume, is in his room. I can hear the depression of Depeche Mode thumping up from downstairs. A strange thing has happened tonight, something that has not happened ever before in this struggle of a relationship.

We are both too tired to fight. Without words or actions we have gone our separate ways tonight.Slash drunk

I am going to lock my door though, just in case.

“Vampires who pretend to be humans pretending to be vampires.” “How avant-garde.”

Interview with a Vampire

8th January 1996   CHAPTER 1

I LOVE YOU

I have just rescued my new diary from the bin. It was unceremoniously dumped there yesterday by Him before I even had a chance to scrawl over its inviting new pages. He has been forgiven and has assured me that He will not interfere with my beautiful book again. Although, as you can see above, He has already left His mark.  In blood red.

Anyway, as the cliché goes, today is a new day. Following the well-rehearsed formula of every previous lovers’ tiff, row, argument, fight, the morning after is not a period of reflection and change. It is instead a time of surly ‘sorry’s’ and of burying any unresolved resentment.  Never mind, let’s brush it all off and start again. All is forgiven and no, we won’t let it happen again, and, of course, I love you too. Any doubts we both have are masked with a desperate, unhealthy need for each other.

But, back to today, a crisp, promising January day where the new year enthusiasm has yet to fade. Today I managed everything on my to do list,

  • Apply for job at Jones the Bootmakers.
  • Apply for job at Howell’s toy department – this is the preferred job.  I keep on fantasizing about all the Barbies and the fancy dress costumes.
  • Prep myself for Big, Important Project Meeting tomorrow at uni – this was actually an enjoyable task and I am surprised by how much I already know  from my lectures. Some of that stuff actually went into my lager soaked brain without me really trying. Amazing. I am slightly nervous about the B.I.P though as it involves working as part of a team, with people I don’t know. I am not great at making new friends.
  • Bought myself a jumper from New Look.  So this wasn’t necessarily on my list but buying clothes is always in my conscience somewhere , especially if said item was half price in the sale.  It will look great with my jeans and my Adidas Gazelles.  I will be Louise Wener.

Also, had a fantastic girly night tonight as He was studying for an upcoming Archeology exam.  Maisie came over after accompanying me around town as she is feeling rather low due to college course uncertainty.  Her adoring boyfriend, Rhys, is away with work so it was the perfect excuse for some giggling,  pizza and Interview with a Vampire.  I Love Maisie.Adidas Gazelles

So here I am on the brink of a new start at Uni, with a proactive day behind me feeling fantastically positive.  Shine on ’96.

“And life is wonderful, now that I’m over you.”

Lush Lovelife 1996

13th April 1996   PROLOGUE

He’s gone. Two and a half years of my life gone with one final slam of the front door. The sound still echoes in my ears, an over dramatic slam that rocked the very core of the house. The windows rattled,  the picture frames toppled and the mirror threatened to smash. It sent a very definite message,

‘There is no turning back. This is the end.’

Right, I need to gather myself and my thoughts. I have managed to reach my diary from its hiding place and it opens its covers to me. Thank god for writing.

Since the slam, I have been just here, by my bed, cowering. I am not scared to move, I am not consumed with sadness, I am just still and reflective. I know why it has finally come to this, I understand His anger and His need to destroy,  I am unsurprised by His lack of respect and violence. The events of the last twelve hours have been strangely predictable and dreadfully familiar. And now that the devastation has ended I can sit here in the calm aftermath of the rest of my life. I feel refreshed and relieved as I can finally, after nearly three years of being weak and dependent, see a future without Him. A future of freedom.

Feeling a murmuring of regained confidence, I have ventured a tentative glance around my surroundings. What I see is unprecedented even by His standards.  My once peaceful, cosy, nondescript corner of my shared student house looks like a scene from the apocalypse. The majority of my life possessions have been purposefully and cruelly vandalised or destroyed. There are no memories, nothing remains whole from our life before. CDs wrenched from shelves lie in glittering fragments over cigarette burnt rugs. Uni books and files gape open ripped, battered and red wine stained. My clothes lay trampled and torn peppered with make up, jewellery, perfume, pens, anything he could get his hands on at that precise minute of his rage.

He did this.

And I did this.

My sanctuary is shattered, my nose is bloody and my hands fumble as I write in my precious book. But, in this moment, I feel different. My resolve is stronger than ever before as a familiar mantra helps me up on my feet.

“NO MORE, I CANNOT TAKE ANY MORE.”

And this time I mean it.