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Friday January 17, 1975

Meet Marita in Park Row at 5.15. We go to Smiths in the Railway Station where we route around in the glossy magazines and rude paperbacks until Christine arrives. I buy 'Confessions of a Private Soldier', a nasty, dirty little thing by Timothy Lea. Quite cheeky though. Leave Leeds by train and we laugh all the way to Sheffield. MM meets us on the platform, and when he and Marita are together they certainly are very close. Wedding bells will be ringing in a few years time, that's for certain.

The flat is just one room with all the necessities therein. Smells very musty and the atmosphere is positively damp. The four of us are far too shagged out to consider going to the boozer for a few pints - so we sit gathered around the electric fire eating cheese and biscuits and listening to Elton John's Greatest Hits on the record player. Bed time is a farce. MM and Marita have the single bed - all this sex before marriage 'I don't know what the world's coming to' &c. Christine and I share a camp bed...Comfortable it all is too. Not actually having bodily contact you understand - but reaping the benefits from the closeness which warmed us both in the cold flat.


Thursday January 16, 1975

YP all day. Prepare for tomorrow's venture into the depths of Sheffield where no man has dared set foot before. Ring Marita and ensure I have all the correct times, &c.

Wednesday January 15, 1975

The new Whitaker's Almanack for 1975 fails to give an accurate account of the order of succession to the throne. No mention is made of the little Lascelles baby who, according to the Sunday People, was born in September 1973. This babe of the Hon James and Mrs Lascelles is 21st in line of succession. I'm surprised that the YP haven't done anything on it. But I do suppose that Lord Harewood consulted Mr 'Call me God' Linacre and told him that no report at all would be welcomed by himself and Mrs Jeremy Thorpe and others.

On the subject of minor, forgotten royalty, I'd better mention something about Princess Anne and the new royal personage that never was - Capt. Phillips. The royal pair have recently visited Rowley Hall, ten miles from Hull, in good hunting country - with the intention of purchasing the place. Buckingham Palace officials who lie until they lie about the lies they're said already, say that the princess is looking for a place of her own before they're turned out of Oak Grove in 2 years time. Hull does seem a bit out of the way and off the royal beaten track, but I suppose Mark would like the peace and quiet.

A busy day. Sarah is in better spirits. Kathleen too cheerful - on the verge of hysteria. Argue, in a friendly vein, with Sarah this morning on the subject of that repulsive creature John Stonehouse. She said he's committed no crime in using the name of a dead man to creep off to Australia. Only the other day a bloke was sent to one of Her Majesty's Holiday Camps for doing the very same thing with someone elses passport.


Tuesday January 14, 1975

As you can see, I have purchased a bottle of ink and can now scribe here in the correct form. I consider it a disgrace to write my journal in rubbishy biro. Future generations don't want to see before them a page written with an instrument of the 20th century far more horrific than the atom bomb and John Stonehouse, MP.

Slade, the pop group came in state to the YP today. A scruffy bunch they are too. Dave Hill is minute, just about reached up to my knees. Sarah and I bumped into them at the top of the staircase on the 2nd floor. They went down by the stairs and we went in the lift. Don Powell, the drummer, was giving everyone filthy looks and to sum up I'd say they fancied themselves.

Home for tea at 6 o'clock. Mum and Dad are out and Lynn makes tea. Quite pleasant it is too. A letter awaits me from David, Thane of Worcester. He's not going to MMs at the weekend which is a big let down. He also had news of MM thinking about leaving poly! Strange tale indeed from my far-off friend.

Christine rang me at the YP. She's arranged everything with Marita and they're meeting in Leeds at 6pm on Friday. We're all getting the train at 6.45 or something like that.

I'm getting excited now. It's only 346 days to Christmas. Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle All the Way! Despatch a reply to David. He had me in stitches about blackmailing me with certain pictures he's got of ____, drawn by me, and passed on to him without thinking of the consequences. Mum and Dad are in Askern I think.


Monday January 13, 1975

At the YP all day. Sarah is strangely subdued and almost sharp with us. Probably because Kathleen is off, and the heavy mantle of responsibility weighs too heavily on her slender shoulders. Sarcastic sod, aren't I?

Whilst waiting for the bus this evening I did comprehend an amusing sight. Christopher Monckton, the heir to that glorious viscountcy, marching down the central reservation of the dual carriageway on Wellington Street, rotating his umberella at a fantastic speed, as though something sinister and unnatural possessed his very soul. I smiled all the way home.

Heard on the news briefly this morning that the IRA planned to kidnap the Prince of Wales several months ago but then changed plans without any explanation. It's an impossibility. The security surrounding the prince is so tight that even his own grandmother would be unable to nab him.

A man rang me today and asked me if the ventriloquist Arthur Worsley is the father of the Duchess of Kent. Can you imagine it? Arthur Worsley and his dummy - parents of the Duchess of Kent? I pretended to be unsure on this one, and went away sniggering to look in Burke's Peerage. He, the befuddled member of the public, seemed quite surprised when I informed him that HRH's father was Sir William Worsley, 4th Baronet. What a laugh.

What can have happened to Marita? Hang on folks whilst I go ring her. All will be revealed herein. Now then, where shall I begin? MM moved into his own residence before the weekend, and so the letter I posted today will have gone to the wrong house. Marita is going down by train next Friday evening and wants to know if Christine and I are going down with her. Super idea it seems to me.

Mum and Dad go to Esholt and the girls go to bed. Strange having no visitors for a change. Dave and Peter are almost permanent fixtures these days.

See TV all evening. Retire at 11.50 after writing to MM again, for the second time today. My first letter went to Horndean Rd which he vacated last week. My chat with Marita was the first one since the New Year.


Sunday January 12, 1975

1st after Epiphany. In bed until lunch. No after effects from the night before and quite look forward to tonight's escapade with rellish. See Ingrid Bergman in 'Joan of Arc', a corny film. The very mention of the Maid of Lorraine puts the fear of God in me. Reminds me of having to read 'St Joan' by Bernard Shaw at school. No pleasant task by any means.

Out with Chris, Christine and Maura to the Hare & Hounds. John comes along too and does seem to be getting Christine down. He insists on plagueing her to despair, but Maura says she loves it and being pulled to pieces gives her a special pleasure. Kinky, that's what I say.

Move on to the Dyneley. Getting there is like scaling the north face of Everest (if it's got one), and if Edmund Hillary can pick up a knighthood for his endeavours I see no reason why Chris and I can't have the same. The girls don't like the place at all. Sit near the juke box listening to such hits as 'Discotheque and the Sexolets', a revolting thing really, but it keeps us smiling. Back to Westfield for fish and chips in the back of the Ratcliffemobile. After ten minutes the windows were all steamed up, and mushy peas lay thickly over the entire interior, like sediment at the bottom of a forgotten fish tank. Back home for coffee and off to bed with Baroness Orczy and 'I Will Repay'.


Saturday January 11, 1975

Lynn wakes me at my usual Saturday hour. Have a coffee and glance at the Daily Mail which never contains anything worth reading. Fail to see why they bother to publish the soddin' thing. They'd do everybody a favour if they packed up and cleared off to Uganda.

Nothing tremendous happens at the office and come home on the 33 bus. John is just climbing out of bed, the lucky devil, but the extra half day in bed doesn't seen to have done him any good at all. I really do think that one can have too much sleep.
The reception room, or foyer, at the YP harbours a pleasant sight at the moment. A collection of Sir Cecil Beaton's works displayed for all to see. I especially like the pictures of Lady Diana Cooper (dressed a s nun of all things) and of Harold Pinter. The Royal photos are all very nice, but we've seen them all before. His work of genius is one (photo) of the Queen Mother taken at Buckingham Palace in 1938 - the light and shading as it falls on her dress is a sight to behold.

Lunch with John, Mama and Papa. Dash upstairs when Mum says she wants some help with the housework, and Perry Como moaning away in the background isn't very encourging. After a few minutes John and I disappear on a walk around Tranmere and surrounding areas. After giving our approval to the new houses we come back refreshed. I re-read 'I Will Repay' by Baroness Orczy, the third time round and still enthralling.

Go out with Chris, Christine B, and Dave Knowles's old fiance, Maura, a pretty little thing with curly dark hair and oval face - truely gorgeous. Chris and Christine are more than pals now, and I'm left to entertain Maura. The four of us go to Wikis until 2, where we dance and jive about to our hearts content. A quiet night really, but we didn't notice. Laughed ourselves stupid. Back to Pine Tops for coffee where Lynn, Dave, Sue and Peter are recovering after a large meal in Leeds where they were refused entry into Cinderellas and the Pentagon, &c. John and Peter Mather had been to 'Wheels' at Seacroft and by all accounts it's a smart joint.


Friday January 10, 1975

My first drinking session in what seems like several decades. Go to the Hare as usual with Lynn, John and Mr Baker. Joined by Keith, Helen, Andy and Linda, and the semi-human slag heap herself _____. Had a few minutes hysteria with Miss Christine Dibb concerning my patchouli oil. She says I've gone freaky and have 'crept out of my shell before the world is quite ready for me'. Such a perfect scattering of wit I have yet encountered.

Came home from the YP tonight on the same bus as Phyllis Whitethighs. She kept having to nudge me to stop deathly unconsciousness creeping upon me.

Unfortunately, everyone has undergone a severe set back, mentally, since last week, when they all rushed to Wikis, regardless of a lack of monetary reserves, and categorically refuse to entertain ideas about inhabiting the highly favoured nightclub this night. Miserable buggers they are. I think ____ overheard me refer to her as a 'cow and a half', which didn't do much for our declining diplomatic relations. Her little boyfriend gets me down with his obnoxious large grin and crawling expressions. Something really should be done to curtail his activities as a living human being.

Home at 11pm to see the 1935 version of 'The Scarlet Pimpernel'. Very good considering.


Thursday January 9, 1975

Go to work despite the fact that I'm not too brilliant yet. They are all surprised to see me. Kathleen had given up hope of seeing me before Monday. Derek Naylor, one of our beloved feature writers comes into the office and asks "who would be on the throne now if the Duke of Windsor hadn't abdicated?" I am astounded beyond all description. How can anybody not know the answer to that? Look at it logically, it cannot be that hard. King Edward VIII doesn't abdicate in December, 1936 and goes on to reign until death catches up with him May 28, 1972. Having no legitimate issue, the throne would then pass to his next brother, the Duke of York, who had unfortunately died in 1952, leaving two daughters, Elizabeth & Margaret. So the Crown would have devolved upon the elder daughter, the 46-year-old Elizabeth. Answer: Yes, the present Queen would have succeeded in 1972 instead of 1952.

A busy afternoon in the office. A chap from Leicester CID rings me with a weird request. He tells me that a man died in Leicester yesterday from injuries sustained in an accident he had in May, 1937, whilst installing decorations in a Wakefield street for the festivities celebrating the coronation of King George VI. After half an hour rumaging through the YPs for May 1937 I failed to find anything relevant. The dejected CID man went away and wept bitterly.

Christine rang again today. This sudden rush of attention from Miss Braithwaite is certainly of a heart-rending quality. Her sudden freedom is a novelty I suspect, and now that she can ring as many males as she likes in the shortest possible time I suppose it gives her a boost. Understandable really.

Home on the 55 with Sarah. Lynn is unusually nice at tea time and she can be beautifully pleasant when she tries, but as the poem goes 'when she's good, she's very very good, but when she's bad she's horrid'.

Go with Denny to the Hare & Hounds at 9 - walking from Pine Tops. Have a few drinks. To her horror I tell her that Lorraine's wedding day, June 14, is the Queen's official birthday and the Trooping of the Colour. Devastated we scrap our plans and begin over again.


Wednesday January 8, 1975

Wake up at 11.00am to find the house void of human life, other than me that is. Make myself a coffee and take the necessary medication which is supposed to do something for my cold. Give Kathleen a ring and tell her of the recent developments. She isn't particularly bothered about me being absent, and wishes me a speedy recovery.

Sit in bed reading the morning paper. I can hardly believe that the Stansted Airport trick pulled off without any hitches. The demented Arab will be feeling such a fool this morning. Climb out of bed and devour a bowl of soup. Deposit myself in front of the television until tea time, and repeat the pattern after devouring the meal. Bed at about 11 o'clock.


Tuesday January 7, 1975

Wake at about 8.30 feeling slightly better, but do not intend going back to the office until it has cleared up entirely. Mum, in her infinite wisdom, says that the doctor really ought to visit me instead of vice versa, but on ringing she discovers that he's far too bogged down with other cases to find the time for me.

I lay in bed with the radio banging away in my left ear 'ole until lunch. In the midst of Johnny Walker's show one of the news features holds a story on the horror of horrors, Anthony Wedgwood Benn. I was relieved to hear a top authority on politics say that Mr Benn is far too rebellious ever to become Prime Minister. A sad day it would be indeed if it dawned with Lord Stansgate behind the door in no. 10 Downing Street. Even fat, little Harold Wilson is better than him one hundred fold.

See in the morning paper that little Lady Jane Wellesley is now escorting James Balfour, the estranged husband of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia. Over in France the Paris newspapers still carry futile, impossible stories about her and the Prince of Wales. There is no doubt in my mind that His Royal Highness gave her the push months ago - and rightly so. Never did like the idea of her being Queen Jane. (Correction: I have just called the husband of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia James Balfour. In fact he's Neil Balfour, and I apologise deeply to all the relatives of the 20th century Prime Minister).

Later: a plane hijacked at Heathrow by a mad Arab is, at this moment, preparing to fly to Stansted Airport which has been disguised to look like a 'typical French airport'. The demented Arab wants to go to Paris, but Mr Giscard d'Estaing won't let the plane enter France. How they are going to make Stansted look like France I do not know.No doubt they'll get a crowd of men in berets, bicylces, and festoon them with strings of onions, playing old Maurice Chevalier records over the loud speakers. We shall see.


Monday January 6, 1975

Epiphany. Rotten feeling when I awake, but nevertheless I plod on to the YP. Kathleen was surprised to see me and was preparing to cut the EP. Have a few laughs with Sarah, do all my work, and take a half-day at 12, coming home to the peace of this arm-chair near the window.

Gale force winds are ravaging Yorkshire at the moment & here I am sitting peering out into the bleak garden - my face streaming with cold, not unlike a white meringue with a red, sticky cherry on top (the cherry being my red nose of course). Mum comes in at 1.30 and gets me to rinf the doctor. Make an appointment for 11 o'clock tomorrow morning.

Ring Denny and inform her that the Queen's official birthday this year falls on June 14. She leaps with joy at the thought of spending another week with John and Sheila next summer. Over tea I inform John (John Philip that is, not John Edward) of this joyous piece of information but he is unenthusiastic. He says he wants a 'proper' holiday this year and refuses to waste a week in Windsor. Mum agrees with John and says that I cannot afford this. Whatever the cost, nothing can deter me from seeing the Trooping of the Colour for the fourth year running. Dear Christine B rang at about 11.30 whilst I was at work, and I think it's fabulous how friendly she is now.


Sunday January 5, 1975

2nd after Christmas. A nice, quiet day. Have beef for lunch and then see the film 'The Greatest Story Ever Told', a film on the life of Christ. My cold becomes steadily worse as the evening arrives, and it affects by head and ears. Bloody illnesses are a bore, they really are. The day will dawn when nobody is ever poorly, and everyone lives in perfect health until the end of time, because nobody actually ever dies. (Bloody well mad, aren't I?)

No more today, fans. My slowly sapping strength is needed for more important things.


Saturday January 4, 1975

Lounge around in bed until 11. Mum rang Kathleen about my cold. I'll be OK on Monday no doubt, but work just wouldn't do me any good this morning. Have lunch and then go upstairs to look for some counterfoils for a £15 postal order which was despatched to Barclaycard before Christmas. They keep sending me reminders about it, and I'm worried it's lost in the post. After an unsuccessful attempt to find them I sit on my bed in despair. £15 is a hell of a lot to have to fork out again. Mum tries to cheer me up by saying the Xmas post will have delayed it, but I can't see it being held up for two weeks.

Contrary to all my practices and beliefs as a human being I go with Mr Mather and Denny to the Hare at 10 o'clock to see all the others. I feel far from well and come home half an hour later to a barage of questions from Papa 'what has possessed you to go out supping ale in your condition'.


Friday January 3, 1975

Home all day because I'm working 5 to 12 tonight. Get up at about 11.30 and remove the wilting Christmas tree from the lounge. The house looks bare without the familiar sparkle of tinsel and decorative objects, but the festive season is over now and we must all get back to reality.

Arrive at the YP at about 4.30 feeling awfully knackered. It isn't as if I've been up and about all day either. My throat feels unusually hot and I can sense a cold coming on. A busy night. Kathleen left all the filing for me - 2 EPs and 1 YP. A large bulk to battle through. Go across to the Central for a few lagers with Tony (Kelly). At 11.30 I stop work and have time to realise that I'm far from well. Keeping busy has kept my mind on the work. Get a taxi at 12 and home 20 minutes later. Sit about until 1 in a poorly state. Inform Lynn that I am not working tomorrow and go to bed. Kathleen won't be amused but I fail to see why I should put myself into an early grave for the sake of the Yorkshire Post.


Tthursday January 2, 1975

Have a rotten nights sleep and get up feeling a bit bog-eyed at 20 to 8.
Busy day at the YP with the New Years Honours List. Charlie Chaplin, PG Wodehouse and Gary Sobers are new knights, and the revolting deaf MP Jack Ashley is a CH. Chaplin is 85, and Wodehouse is 93. Mr Wodehouse may be a genius of the pen, but his politics aren't really what they should be. He made certain hideous broadcasts from Berlin in 1941 which upset everyone a good deal. As for Sir Charlie Chaplin, I'm not a fan of his at all. I do smile occasionally at his silent movies, but that hardly makes him 'knight worthy'.

Mum is 40 today, but like Jack Benny she says she's not going to get any older than 39. She does right too. Dad is 41 today. We bought Mum a series of black underwear, and Dad another new shirt. John and I have tea alone whilst Mum and Dad discuss buying a new car with one of Daddy's PC friends. Lynn and Dave are in Scarborough for the day. Lynn may be in love for the first time. (I think it's the first time anyway, but I wouldn't know about that).

Sit looking at the bedraggled Christmas tree and make up my mind to remove it from the lounge tomorrow - a sad occasion indeed.


Wednesday January 1, 1975

Michael Rhodes, 19 years, 8 months and 26 days. Here I am again, everyone. No doubt you're all sick of me, but you'll have a long wait if you think I'm going to pack it in just for your sakes.

The party was a tremendous success. At about 8.30pm last night John, Christine B, Chris and self went to the Hare where we were joined by the mob. Lynn and David, and even Martyn and Alison attended. In keeping with tradition we all went to the Commercial to see the New Year safely in. Mum and Dad are entertaining Ernest* & Edith Blackwell** in the crowded ale house at Esholt, and we draw the conclusion that far more people are out spending money on ale than at the same time last year.

Back to Pine Tops at 12.15 after hearing from Denny that Adrian is 'too poorly' to come. This is the first New Year in three years that Miss Akroyd hasn't attended. Uncle Harry came at about 2am and was stoned as usual. He says he now wants to join the Ulster police. Uncle H in Northern Ireland! That's all they need!

I stood on CB's toe whilst dancing and she lost the nail. Blood pouring everywhere. Not a pretty sight I might add. I felt unusually knackered all night, and Dave Lawson kept saying I looked 'lethargic', which seemed to give him a good deal of pleasure. A spot of bother came when Carol and Christine W attempted both to bed down in my precious sleeping place. David B (yes, I've reverted to the old style) had to step in and take them home at 6am. I went to bed shortly after.

Up at 1pm and sit in front of the TV for eleven hours. Had a good, peaceful time though. Lynn and Dave are going to Scarborough tomorrow. Lucky Devils!

*Ernest Blackwell (born May 16, 1907)
** Edith Hannah Blackwell (born Sept 11, 1909)