Friday, June 23, 1989

Farewell, Great Britain ...

This was a mildly hectic day that began with the gathering of all of our bags and trying to flag down a taxi. Our original plan was to only take the taxi to the Tube station, but ended up taking it all the way to Heathrow instead, since it was only £20 for the trip. With all of our bags, it was worth it for the convenience.

We got checked through customs with no problem, and at 3 p.m. GMT, we were on the plane and taking off for JFK in New York City. Our flight was very nice, and we were treated to a showing of "A Fish Called Wanda" - my fourth viewing. I have now seen that film in America, Britain, Spain, and over the Atlantic Ocean. It was an edited version, but on the whole it was still good. I was worried because of the curse I believed that it had on me... however, once again, nothing bad happened to me after the viewing, so I think it's safe to say the "curse" is definitely broken.

We arrived at JFK at about 5:30 EST, and boy, what a change in the weather! It was foggy and miserable, and our commuter flight ended up being delayed until 10:15 p.m. So we waited around the airport, eating expensive food and reading books (I am now reading "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" by Douglas Adams).

Tired, we finally arrived at Harrisburg International Airport at 11:30 p.m., and I was greeted to a big surprise... Chris Mulvihill and Shannon Hubbard were there at the airport waiting for me... which was more than a welcome sight! We talked for awhile as we packed Mr. Telencio's car (he came to pick us up and take us home), and then parted, since it was so late. Shannon is going to visit me tomorrow, and I'll be going to Millersville soon to see Chris and everyone else.

When I returned, we unpacked the car. I took a few things out of my suitcase, but I'm going to leave most of that for tomorrow. Grandma came up from her apartment to welcome me back. We talked for a little, and she was pleased to see me again.

Even though it was late, Greg called me shortly thereafter, so he and I talked for awhile. We're going to get together tomorrow and see the new movie "Batman," which premiered last night and is supposed to be quite good. It will already be the second time Greg has seen it.

While I was talking to Greg, Trista called me, so I got to talk to her for a few minutes as well. She's in New York right now and graduates from Hicksville High School on Sunday. She told me that her family has now moved back into our area, so as of July 1, she will be back in the neighborhood, which is great news!

Lots of things to see, and a lot of catching up to do.

It's good to be back home.



Thursday, June 22, 1989

Last Full Day in London/England/Britain/Europe ...

Well, I woke up early again in the flat, gathered my things, and met up with my parents. Dad and I then took three of my suitcases to the Tube station, while Mom and Angie did some shopping. Shelly helped us along the way.

While we were walking, traffic was halted for a Royal vehicle, though we couldn't quite make out who it was. Caught the train to Heathrow, where we dropped my luggage off at Left Luggage, so as to lighten the load for tomorrow when we leave.

We returned to London after some donuts and coffee, and met Mom and Angie outside of Harrod's at 2 p.m. (Picture #1) Walked about Harrod's for roughly an hour, then we made our way via Underground to Piccadilly Circus. (Picture #2) From there we walked up Regent Street so we could explore Hamley's. It's still an amazing toy store, and my parents were impressed.

Made our way to Oxford Street, where we went to the Virgin Megastore for a bit. I bought Mom a tape for her Wedding anniversary (on June 27th... I won't divulge what I bought her, in case this journal happens to fall upon her eyes before that date.) and did some browsing. From there we stopped for dinner at Garfunkel's, where I had chicken kiev and Dad stole one of their beer glasses (It was funny watching my parents attempt to be covert.)

After dinner we walked back down Charing Cross Road, stopping in a few book shops and taking some photos, mainly of theatres. Eventually we made our way through Leicester Square, where I bought the tackiest gifts I could find for a few of my friends. (Picture #3 shows the Odeon Theatre in Leicester Square, where the premiere of the new James Bond film, "Licence to Kill," was shown. This was the same theatre where I saw "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" back in December.)

At Leicester Square, we also watched the Swiss Clock go around, telling us it was now 8 o'clock. (Picture #4. This building was torn down a few years ago.)

Continued down Piccadilly until we arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was too crowded, so we didn't stay long... just long enough to buy souvenirs. My family all bought shirts and I bought a baseball cap. Next we continued walking towards the flat, and when we got there we had coffee with Rosemary and her roommate Shelly.

I was going to go back outside and take some nighttime shots of London... one last night before heading back to America. But I was so tired at this point that after my parents left and returned to their hotel, I went to sleep.

(Picture #5 shows my parents and sister in the Underground station waiting for the next train. As you can see, they have done a bit of shopping on this day, our final day in London.)


Wednesday, June 21, 1989

Taking a Tour Inside Parliament ...

A hectic and fun day today. Dad and I awoke early this morning to walk to Victoria Station this morning, in order to buy my plane ticket. We arrived at around 7.30 a.m. and had no problems. So that detail has now been taken care of.

Dad said the family all enjoyed seeing "Starlight Express" immensely last night, which was good news. He and I had coffee and apple danish at the train station, which was empty because of a rail strike that is going to go on for one day. So as a result, we had to rely on our feet or on taxis for transportation today.

We walked back to the hotel (after buying a Daily Telegraph newspaper) and had a proper breakfast. I showered, packed, and we were out of the room at a little past 10. I dropped my bags off at Rosemary's flat, and then set off to find a room for Mom and Dad (Angela's flat did not work out for them.) In short time we found one for them, which was basic but nice, and they checked in.

Next, we took a walk to the House of Parliament, though we then decided to catch a taxi in order to save time. During the ride, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my copy of the Daily Telegraph. I was supposed to have a copy in hand and use it to flag down Sally Hallam, a friend of Dr. Morrison's who works as a secretary for the Daily Telegraph's political correspondent in the Parliament building. Fortunately, it wasn't a problem that I didn't have the newspaper and we met up with Sally without difficulty. (Picture #2 is the permit that gave us access to Parliament.)

At this point, Mom, Dad and Angela left to take a boat trip down the Thames River, and Dr. Morrison and I joined Sally to begin our exclusive tour of Parliament.

It was yet another memorable experience, as we walked around the floor of the House of Commons, which is much smaller than we expected, as well as other vital parts of the building. It was a great tour, and it was really nice of Sally to to take time out of her schedule to show us around.

Next we had an opportunity to see the House of Commons in action, which was quite remarkable. Although Mrs. Thatcher and Neil Kinnock were not there today, we still got to see some action. They were debating trade and industry, which was difficult to follow because of the style and mannerisms of their debate... frequent cat-calls and "here-heres" when one person spoke. We stayed there for 45 minutes, but left during the questions and answers. The reason? They were on question 10 after 45 minutes, with 91 to go. (Picture #3 is a magazine produced for Parliament; Picture #4 is the agenda for the business of the day for the House of Commons.)

So we then headed over to the House of Lords to see them in action, though here I am using the term "action" quite loosely. They were discussing what to do about Hong Kong, which is an interesting topic. The British are planning on turning it over to China in 1997. Unfortunately, it was presented in a far less exciting manner than the style of the House of Commons. In fact, we noticed that several of the Lords were actually asleep during the proceedings! If only we could've gotten to see this debate in the House of Commons.

Well, after only about 10 minutes of this, we left the very posh House of Lords chamber. I mailed two post cards, to Viv and to Sam, from inside Parliament to get the special cancellation from it's post office. And then we left.

Outside I took a few pictures (Pictured #1 is a compilation photo of several angles of Parliament that I shot, with Dr. Morrison standing in the foreground.), and then we walked along the Thames River until we reached the National Film Theater, where after a coffee we entered the Museum of Moving Images (MOMI). It was a fabulous place that I could've easily spent all day exploring. (Pictures #5 and #6 are brochures from the MOMI.)

It chronicled the history of film, and presented it very well... and since Dr. Morrison and I are film buffs, we had a wonderful time. The highlight of the experience was a section of the museum where we saw how a television production is done. There, they had a freeze-frame camera, a television interview area, a television news report display where you read from the cue TV and appear on camera, and something where it makes you appear like you are flying over the Thames.

They also had a Charlie Chaplin exhibit in honor of his 100th birthday, which was great, since he is one of my film heroes. I bought a badge and a book on Charlie Chaplin. (Picture #7 is the book cover.)

When we left the MOMI, it was a bit later than we had anticipated it would be, so we grabbed a taxi and dashed back to my parent's hotel, where they had been waiting for awhile. We then went to dinner at the Lime Tree Hotel, located across the street from my parent's hotel. It proved to be a very interesting meal.

First, our table was outside, and had a waitress that later told us she had a Yugoslav/Italian accent. She was very nice, but it was difficult to understand what she was saying at times. Then there was the gardener: A bizarre man who thought Angela was my daughter and that Mom was my wife. This was funny, but this guy was not playing with a full deck. (Picture #8 is Dr. Morrison, Mom and Angie at the Lime Tree Hotel.)

Well after that experience, we grabbed a taxi and went back to the Royal College building, grabbed some bags, and Mom & Dad returned to their hotel while Dr. Morrison, Angie and I took a taxi to Rosemary's flat. I think I have taken more taxi rides today than I have the entire previous nine months.

The rail strikes chaotic effect seems to have been ill judged. The traffic surprisingly ran smoother today. Great! I love seeing strikes get shattered.

At Rosemary's we all talked for a bit, but I was in bed by 12.30 - earliest in awhile!


Tuesday, June 20, 1989

A Rare View of the Changing of the Guard ...

The weather remained excessively hot today, but it could hardly dampen what we did today. After breakfast, we walked down to Buckingham Palace and St. James Park, with our intentions of watching the ceremonial changing of the guard.

At 11 a.m., we ENTERED the gates at Buckingham Palace, and were given a very rare opportunity - we watched the changing of the guard from the inside of the gate, actually leaning against the walls of Buckingham Palace while the ceremony took place. There was a certain self-satisfaction we felt from seeing all of the people on the outside of the fence clamoring for a glimpse of the guards, while we were on the opposite side, with a clear, unobstructed view. Thanks go to Dr. Morrison for having friends in all the right places!

When we left the palace, Mom, Dad and Angie returned to the room while Dr. Morrison and I took the Underground to Piccadilly to do some shopping. We went into a Specialty record shop of nothing but Film and Show soundtracks, where I found the record that my friend Scott has been searching for unsuccessfully for many years: "Meatballs," his favourite film. Hope he still wants it. If not, I'll gladly keep it.

In another shop, I bought a few postcards, and then browsed around Tower Records until 5.30, when I returned to get ready for tonight's West End show. Dr. Morrison and I left for "Les Miserables," while my parents and Angie went to see "Starlight Express" (which I had already gone to see during my high school class trip to England in 1987.)

We met Dr. Morrison's niece Rosemary and her sister Angela outside the theatre, having a drink before the show began. Then Dr. Morrison, Angela and I parted with Rosemary and took our seats up in the peanut gallery. I mean, they were way up there. It unfortunately took away from the show experience for us, not too mention the unbearable heat. Although the music and acting and the story were all excellent, because of our partially-obstructed position, and because of the projection of the voices, it was often too difficult to follow what was going on exactly. If I see it again, I want good seats or I'll pass. (Pictured at top is the Palace Theatre. See those windows at the top? That's about where we were in relation to the stage at ground level.)

So in the same day... awesome seats for the Changing of the Guard, horrible seats for "Les Miserables."

We met up with Rosemary at the show's end around 11 p.m., and then ate at a French restaurant nearby (very continental cuisine this week). The food was excellent, although the portions were small. But they were just the right size for me tonight.

We talked and concluded that after Dr. Morrison returned home, Angie and I could stay with Rosemary, while Mom and Dad might possibly stay at Angela's house. We'll see how that works out.

Wow! Yet another full day gone by!


Monday, June 19, 1989

A Stroll Down Abbey Road ...

I woke up bright and early at 6.30 a.m. to begin packing the car with Dr. Morrison. After breakfast, and after bidding farewell to Fiona, Dr. M and I drove off at about half 9, while my parents and sister prepared to leave shortly thereafter by train.

We had a good run on the road from Neston to London, stopping twice along the way: once to eat a very mediocre hamburger at a stop along the motorway, and another stop once we arrived in London to (finally) see the Abbey Road studio.

So between Liverpool and London, I've now seen just about everything I needed to see with regards to The Beatles. Snapped a shot of the street where the Abbey Road album cover was shot (pictured above). Had to move quickly between traffic, and I didn't get a chance to get a photo of myself walking across. Yeah, I'm sure I'd be the first person that thought to do that! (Second photo is the main entrance to Abbey Road Studios. I wonder how many times did John, Paul, George and Ringo pass through that portal?)

We had no traffic problems until we hit London, but we managed OK. Checked into the Royal Society of General Practitioners (thanks to Dr. M, of course), where we plan to stay for two nights. Just as we were all unpacked, Mom, Dad and Angie all showed up.

Once we were all squared away, Dr. Morrison and I took off for Leicester Square, where we came away with five tickets to see the West End musical "Blood Brothers"- at half price, no less! We returned to the room, picked up my parents and sister, then headed for the show. It was marvelous. We enjoyed it tremendously... good music, good story, good acting, and even pretty good seats. (Third picture: The family outside the theatre after the show, sporting a souvenir programme. Next picture is my ticket stub.)

Following the show, we went to Chi-Chis in Leicester Square for dinner, and enjoyed a delicious Mexican meal. We then walked around Piccadilly Circus before grabbing a taxi back to the room, which is located just off of Knightsbridge, across from Hyde Park. It is also right next to the former Iranian Embassy, which was gutted by fire after a bomb exploded following a terrorist overthrow in 1980. For more details, check out the entry in the "Chronicles of the 20th Century" book.

We zonked out shortly after returning to the room.


Sunday, June 18, 1989

Two Wongs Don't Make a Reitz ...

I had a very good, relaxing day following my recent marathon of activity. I woke up late in the morning, ate breakfast, and took the afternoon easy at Dr. Morrison's house.

We went for a walk down the road to Ness Gardens, which is a very nice botanical garden. Although it was very hot, I had a great time with my parents, catching up on the events of the past nine months.

Soon we walked back to Dr. Morrison's house, where after another rest, during which time I listened to a few of my records, we got ready to go out to dinner at the Jasmine Eating House - a Chinese restaurant. Before we made it to the restaurant, we stopped at Mike and Eunice Unger's house for some drinks (cool, refreshing Pimm's, a classic summer British spirit.)

We gathered at the restaurant at around 8 p.m., and around half 8, the feasting commenced... and boy, was it good! Every course was delicious, from the soup to the roast duck and to the main course - sweet and sour chicken, steak and several other delicious dishes. We all had an excellent time, eating and drinking until close to midnight.

It was great to see everyone one last time before jetting off, and what a way to celebrate! Dr. Morrison knows the owners of the restaurant, the Wongs, and I convinced Dr. Morrison to take a picture of me with them. I call it, "Two Wongs Don't Make a Reitz." (Pictured above is the classic photo, with me, Mrs. and Mr. Wong at their restaurant. Nice hair, world traveler!)

Upon returning to Dr. Morrison's house, I still had another task... to repack my gear as best I could for the next journey. I didn't get to bed until it started to get light outside, which is still pretty early in these parts.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Sealed with a Kiss" - Jason Donovan

  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Satisfied" - Richard Marx


Saturday, June 17, 1989

It's My 20th Birthday... and a Farewell to Hull ...

Well, today is my birthday. And also Viv's father's birthday. And my friend Molly Sherman's birthday. And my friend Ted's brother Chip Schaeffer's birthday. And the Queen's birthday (observed.)

So on this, obviously one of the most important days of the year, I turned 20, and had only 2 1/2 hours of sleep at the same time. All the same, it was going to be a "big day" today (as Greg always says.)

I ate breakfast with my parents at the Beck House Hotel (which is conveniently only about a block away from The Grange.), and we dined at a leisurely pace as we chatted and got caught up on a number of things.

Afterward we packed up all of my gear, gave Sam my Social-Political Structures paper to hand in for me so that I could leave a bit early, along with a few other things I gave to him, and also bid farewell to Shannon the Hamster (Lorna, another hamster owner, agreed to care for her). Walked around the residence and bid farewell to J.P., Neil, and other people that I saw walking about.

Next we took a walk up to the Cottingham Road site so that my parents could see the area a bit, and also to return my library books. (Pictured above is a photo I snapped of my parents and sister along that walk.)

At noon, we hopped on the train and I said farewell to Hull for the last time, as we departed for a stop in York. While on the train, we met up with Dave Hart and his parents, who were going to York as well, so we traveled with them for a bit. It was a slow train and we didn't get to York until nearly 4 p.m., but it was another beautiful day and we still were able to see a lot.

We watched some crew races on the river (pictured is Mom and Dad watching the race), walked the shops, went through the Jorvik Viking Centre (third visit for me... my parents enjoyed it). Dad and I climbed up to the top of, oh, what's the name of that castle on the hill there again? Anyway, we climbed up and took some great photos.

At 6 p.m. we went to Pizza Hut for my birthday dinner, which marked the first time I drank a beer with my parents in public (or anywhere, for that matter). In a few days, it won't be legal for me to do that in public for another year.

While there, Dad committed a humorous faux pas. When the waitress asked him if everything was alright, he replied, "No, that will be all" (not listening to exactly what she had said.) I laughed, anyway.

Walked past the minster, and along the wall for awhile (pictured is Mom, Dad and Angie walking the wall), looking at the city until 8.15, when we returned to the train station. Dad called Dr. Morrison, while Mom and I bought drinks.

Another funny moment: Mom asked for a hot tea with a little milk, and when her order arrived, she received a hot tea and a little milk carton. Again, I saw the funny side of this.

We had a hectic train ride, constantly worrying if we were on the right train or not (the Brit Rail men did their best to confuse us). But in the end, we arrived in Liverpool only slightly late, where Dr. Morrison picked us up and drove us back to his house.

I took my parents through my photo albums over some drinks, and got to bed around 2 a.m. Almost didn't seem like a birthday, but it was a great day. Mom and Dad gave me a Beatles shirt on the train, which was nice, and Dr. Morrison and Fiona gave me a Liverpool F.C. scarf and hat. Love 'em both! (Pictured is me and Mom in Dr. Morrison's dining room, modeling my new winter gear over drinks and looking at my photo albums.)


Friday, June 16, 1989

My Last Full Day in Hull (and the Parents Meet for the First Time) ...

I woke up early for breakfast today and spent the morning studying and preparing for this afternoon's big Social/Political Structures essay-exam. At one o'clock I picked up the exam question and - joy of joys - it was exactly the question I expected on the media (after I cleared up the topic with Ian Welsh).

Because of that, I was able to jump right in and work until dinner. We brought our food over to Jane's room to eat, where she gave me an early birthday card... one of the most creative cards I've ever received. (pictured is Jane's hand-crafted card, the outside and the inside.)

By the time my parents arrived in Hull at around 7 p.m., I already had 1,000 rough words completed. It wasn't until 10.30 p.m., though, that I picked up where I had left off and continued working on the essay.

Before I returned to my essay, I grabbed all of my things and packed them into Dr. Morrison's car, and then we waited for Vivienne's parents to arrive. When they finally came, it was quite an event. We checked my parents into their Bed and Breakfast (business card), chatted extensively, and brought a pizza back from Prima's to eat in my room. We were going to eat at the restaurant, but we were told it was going to be a two-hour wait for a seat, which didn't seem like something we wanted to do.

But it worked out. It was enjoyable eating in my room one last time, and talking to everyone. It was great that my parents got an opportunity to meet Viv's parents, and they seemed to get along quite well.

Well, at 10.30 p.m., Viv's parents had to leave for the ride back to Skegness, and my parents and Angie returned to their room for a night's rest. As for me, the night was still young. Unfortunately, I had to spend my last few hours here working on an essay.

During the evening Jane

Well, it went smoothly but slowly, and as midnight chimed in my 20th birthday (as well as Mr. Schofield's, as we both share the same birthday!) I battled to overcome chronic lethargy to finally complete what I consider to be my best essay... granted, it wasn't finished until 5.30 in the morning.

Zonked out straight away.


Thursday, June 15, 1989

A Last Night's Pleasure in Hull ...

This was a day to prepare for tomorow's big Social/Political Structures exam and essay. I'm not too worried about it, but I want to have lots of notes and a rough outline to work with before I get the essay question. I'm also banking that the question is going to be what I expect it to be.

I took a walk up to the Cottingham Road site, where I dropped off my room release form to Jo Sallis (I can't get my "hall caution money" back, since it was actually Dr. Morrison who paid it.) Then I stopped in the library there to do some studying. They have much better books on the media up at that library than back at the Inglemire Site.

Following a good study session, I checked out a few books to take back to the room, but detoured to the comic book show, where I bought Death in the Family, Part 1, for £2.50. I now have the complete set, and bought it for a grand total of £6.25 (about $10). That set back home is worth about $45. Quite a good deal, I'd say.

I tended to get sidetracked from studying when I returned to The Grange. It wasn't long before I found myself down at the pub with my mates (Sam, Jane, Barry, Helen, Sean-oh, and Martin) and not my false and shallow ones, who shall remain nameless. It was great enjoying a last night's pleasure in Hull. We went to the Haworth pub and it was quite fun.

We left a little prior to 9 p.m. to return to Sean's room and watch "A Company of Wolves," which is a very bizarre movie starring Angela Landsbury retelling the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

Following that, there was a party in St. Martin's Hall, though it was not radio broadcasted like the advertisements all around The Grange had suggested (pictured is one of the advertisements). I only stayed for a few minutes with Sam. I also talked to Chris for a bit, before heading off to bed. (Chris always wears a headband, which has led to the rumour that he has the word "Elvis" tattooed to his forehead.)

I had a clever moment today when I wrote a note to Sam inviting him down to my room for a coofee, using an old Ollie North poster of mine. He liked the note, even though he's obviously not the biggest fan of Ollie.


Wednesday, June 14, 1989

Should It Be This Hard to Buy a Plane Ticket? ...

Today was spent anticipating the pending arrival of my parents in England, although I won't actually see them until Friday. They will be visiting with Dr. Morrison first.

I also got Viv's airline ticket squared away today, although it was a very close call. First, the Student Travel Agency wouldn't accept a check from me (probably not a bad precaution to be taking), so after confirming her flight (leaving July 14, returning August 14, from Manchester), I walked to the bank to cash Viv's check.

However, after finally getting my cashpoint card back from Lloyd's Bank, the nice lady there told me that it would take until Monday before Viv's check cleared. That sent me into a bit of a panic... I'm not going to be in Hull on Monday. Fortunately, she made a few phone calls on my behalf and we worked it out, so that I was now able to pay for the plane ticket upon returning to the STA.

Now that that was over and done with, I took a little walk into town, along the traditional route through Newland Avenue and Spring Bank Road (both to and from downtown Hull), buying up a few more of those things that you just can't find in the States... including two more old Elvis Costello singles. I also bought a Batman: Death in the Family comic book for face value (50p). Its current value in the States is $10 - good deal!

Upon my return I checked out a few books from the library to prepare for my Social/Political Structures essay on The Media this Friday. I did some preparation, but not a lot, tonight.

My parents called me after dinner... for the first time in a long while from the same time zone! They had arrived safely and were now at Dr. Morrison's house in Neston. Everything went smoothly on their journey, which is definitely good news.

And what day would be complete without coffee and sharing bad jokes with Sam?

I continued to take down some of the decorations in my room today. It looks so barren now.

Wow. My time in Hull is nearly over.


Tuesday, June 13, 1989

Whoops! (The Sound of Jupiter Blowing Up) ...

I averted a near catastrophe today, simply by going to get breakfast this morning.

While talking to Buffy, she casually mentioned that she'd see me later on at the exam today.


I didn't say anything, but I thought the exam was tomorrow. So I went to check it out, and she was right! I warned J.P., who was under the same impression that I was, and we rushed over to the library to study. Fortunately, I had already gone over two of the topics quite well already, so it wasn't a major push to get prepared. but man, the exam could've passed me and I would not have even known it until it was too late!

Thanks Buffy! (And thank you, breakfast!)

The exam was alright, but of course, not without my complaints. The T.S. Eliot question was horrible and I mangled my way through it. I don't recall ever studying any other poems by Eliot, so I didn't know them. Even though the question asked for other examples, since I didn't know any of them, I just tried my best to apply everything to "The Waste Land." Admittedly, it didn't turn out too well. The other questions went reasonably well, so I'm sure I passed.

After dinner, I rewrote the lyrics to "Attack of the Killer Stinkbabies from Venus." Then I watched the news, and spent most of the evening watching TV (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Moonlighting (final episode ever!), the news again, and coverage of the Royal Premiere of the new James Bond film, "License to Kill." From the clips I've seen, it looks to be a good one!

Sam and I again had coffee, and as I sit writing this at 1.05 a.m. GMT (7.05 p.m. EST), I imagine that my parents and sister are now at JFK in New York, preparing to board their plane. I'm quite anxious to see them. Haven's seen them in nine months. G'night!


Monday, June 12, 1989

Last Monday in Hull, Ever ...

Not another dull and boring day? Y'bet! Woke for breakfast, but went back to bed a minute later and missed it... figures. So I compensated, and after a failed visit to the bank (they are still not ready with my cashpoint card), I bought mounds of food on my Access card. Ate cheese and other delectibles with coffee 'n Sam (who just returned from home), and we caught up on some of the weekend's activities.

When dinner approached, I wasn't too hungry, but forced down some grub, because I knew that later on I would be hungry if I didn't eat now. Studied jolly hard for a good long time because "The Waste Land" is one hell of a difficult poem to figure out.

Watched a bad film with Sean Connery called "Zardoz" (Sam likes it), during which time Viv called me and we straightened out a few details. It was good to hear her voice again. I told her about her parents calling me, and that I still haven't received the money for the plane ticket. I hope it comes soon!

Finished watching the rest of the movie, then went back to Sam's room for a coffee, after which I tried to go to bed early, so as to have a full day tomorrow.


Sunday, June 11, 1989

A Few 'Classic' Songs Written Today ...

As per usual, today after breakfast I bought the Sunday Times and read it while listening to The Beatles' White Album. A good way to start off a lazy Sunday.

The warm weather has returned, so after lunch and an episode of "Lost in Space," it was time for a bit of sunbathing. I took a few photos outside, read some of my Viz comic, and soaked in the rays.

When I got bored with that, I came back to my room and felt inspired to write a few soon-to-be Yokel classic songs... brilliant tunes with titles such as "Fascist Tendencies" (inspired by the Tienamen Square massacre last week), "Attack of the Killer Stinkbabies from Venus" (inspired by schlock horror-thriller movies from the '50s), "March of the Stupid People" (inspired by stupid people marching), "A Violent End," "I Hate You You're So Ugly" (sort-of a follow-up to last year's "I Don't Like Ugly People"), "Dead Meat" and "Baby I Love You More than Beer" were among the many that emerged from this marathon music writing session.

The evening continued charming, with converations in Jane's room and a phone call from Viv's parents (they're coming to visit on Friday, but are unable to care for Shannon... oh what to do now?) I also did a bit more studying of T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" (a toughie).

At 11 p.m. I called my folks. All systems are go and they will be leaving for England in just two short days. Tonight I tried to go to bed a bit earlier than I have of late.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Sealed with a Kiss" - Jason Donovan

  • Number One Song in America This Week: "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" - New Kids on the Block


Saturday, June 10, 1989

One Week Remaining in Hull ...

I woke up late today, though not nearly as late as I did yesterday. However, I did miss breakfast today. My sleeping habits have changed dramatically over the past few days. Sam says that it's all of this sleep catching up with me. If it is, it sure waited long enough, and it's catching up with a vengeance.

Well, once again, today I did remarkably little of significant interest. I watched some television, studied a bit (though not too much), talked to Jane and Co., and that's roughly it. Oh, and in the evening, I watched a Paul McCartney documentary on TV in Sean's room.

Why bore you with any more?


Friday, June 9, 1989

Mundane Existence ...

Geez! I woke up for breakfast a few short hours after I had gone to sleep, grabbed my Access bill from the post table, then went back to bed until 2.45 p.m. I'm pretty certain that's the latest lie-in I've ever had.

It pretty much wasted most of this day for me, so I accomplished very little.

I did write a letter to Viv today, checked some books out of the library, but felt too tired to do much else. I went out and bought a few beers, but only drank two of them while watching "Cheers" and "Roseanne."

A coincidence of sorts on "Roseanne." It was about a tornado that hits their town, and today in the news I heard that a tornado ripped through a town in Mississippi, killing five people.

Also watched "Hammerhead House," a fair thriller, and an episode of "Kojak."

That's about it. Mundane existence for my last week in Hull, I guess.

(Pictured is a photo of Sid, Sharon and Ewan, courtesy of J.P. I haven't really mentioned Sharon or Ewan in the blog, but they were often around the St. Hilda's gang.)


Thursday, June 8, 1989

Dawn at 3 a.m. ...

A lethargic day that began at a quarter to twelve with two letters received, one from Viv and another one from Debbie (letters from my girlfriend and from my previous girlfriend on the same day!) I was hoping that Viv's would have the check so that I could buy her airline ticket, but in her very long and nice letter she said that she would be sending it along shortly. Hopefully very shortly.

After I read both letters I took off for a long walk into town, stopping at the bank first to deposit my check. Went on a bit of a buying spree, getting several records: "Psycho" and "Veronica" by Elvis Costello, "Ghostbusters" (for the instrumental B-side), and "Star Trekkin'" by The Firm.) Also bought coffee, batteries, more film, and lunch at McDonald's.

I then walked back to the halls, so I was well knackered when I returned for dinner.

Later that evening, Sam, Jane and I went to the cinema to see "Child's Play," a horror-thriller that Jane and I liked, but that Sam did not. I thought it was an original idea, quite suspenseful in parts, and a lot of fun. Sam just thought it was absurd.

After the film we all came back to my room for coffee., with Sean joining us. Sean and Jane left my room after awhile, but Sam and I remained, talking, drinking coffee and listening to tapes.

After midnight we went to see what the late night telly was, and ended up watching until 3.30 a.m. Saw "Love American Style," "The American Top 10," and a few other shows mixed in.

It actually started to get light before I went to bed, which was odd, but what it tends to do these days. A little reminder that I'm a bit closer to the Arctic Circle here. It actually doesn't even get dark until about 10 p.m., and then only stays dark until about 3 a.m.

Quite different to what I am used to back home.


Wednesday, June 7, 1989

Farewell, Guitar (And 10 Things I Still Worry About) ...

Woke up far too early, ate breakfast, and then at 9:30 a.m. took my Modern Prose Fiction exam. A few of the questions were not what I'd expected, and on the last question, I failed to catch one of the key instructions... that we were not to repeat use of any author more than once... and I did. Hope that doesn't mess me up too much. Overall, I think I did alright.

After the exam, which used all of the three hours I was given, I returned to The Grange to relax, eat lunch, watch the news, and talk for a bit with Jane. (Jane is pictured here in the center, along with some of her friends. Chris is sitting next to her, Vicki and Ian are standing to the right, and I believe the guy to the left was named Sean.)

Later, she bought my guitar from me for £25. A good deal for her, and a good one for me as well, as that is now one less thing I need to worry about before I leave England.

Here, however, is a list of the worries that I still do have:

  1. What am I going to do with my hamster Shannon?
  2. When am I going to get that letter from Viv with a check so that I can buy her plane ticket?
  3. How am I going to get all of my stuff back home?
  4. Money... though I'm not worried quite so much.
  5. Exams
  6. Housing and registration at Millersville next fall. (Will they get the registration form that I stuck under the office door?)
  7. Finding some posters for Mrs. Rogoff, my former high school English teacher who gave me $20 for that quest before I came to England.
  8. Finding a job when I return home.
  9. Getting my cashpoint card back from Lloyd's bank before I leave here.
  10. How can we get a Republican majority back in Congress?
This is pretty much in decending order, and I think I can let George Bush worry more about #10.

Getting back to the day's events, I got a letter from Debbie's parents, which was a nice surprise. That's about the extent of the rest of the day's events.


Tuesday, June 6, 1989

Armed Robbery at Barclay's Bank ...

I am in-between exams today. I had been collecting shilling coins throughout the year, since they don't produce them any more. I decided today to chuck in my shilling collection and just spend it. I bought food and a newspaper, as well as a stamp to send a letter to Rachel (I had to send it to Chris Mulvihill actually, because I don't have Rachel's address.)

Next I went to check on flight costs, and then I bought the Human League's 45 of "Human" with the instrumental version on the back. Scott and I will have to come up with a parody song when I get back home.

As I was walking back to The Grange, I witnessed the aftermath of an armed robbery that had taken place at the same Barclay's Bank that had eaten my cashpoint card a while ago. What a shame! (But I thought they didn't have guns in Britain!)

Returned to my room, relaxed, and honestly, I thought about studying. After dinner, and after watching "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" and "Moonlighting," J.P. and I studied for tomorrow's Fiction exam.

I broke away at about 11 p.m. to call my parents and finalize more plans with them for their arrival in just a few days. Unfortunately, they told me that Greg's plans to come to Europe fell through because he couldn't find anyone to travel with him. That's a disappointment.

Came back to J.P.'s room and continued studying until I fell asleep sometime after 1 a.m. I sure hope I studied enough.


Monday, June 5, 1989

'Half-baked' Geography Exam ...

Still haven't received that much-needed letter from Viv, or my cash point card from the bank. I did, however, get a package from Dr. Morrison with my photos from our trip to Wales. It was nice to take a look at them.

During the morning I studied the Geography reader that J.P. had dropped off at my room, I only stopped for a bit when Sam stopped by to chat briefly, and then when I went to the shop to buy a sandwich for lunch.

Then in the afternoon I took the Geography exam. The exam was a pain. I didn't feel that they gave us enough time to thoroughly answer each question. "Half-baked" is my phrase for the day. I'm sure I answered every question well enough to pass, but I could've done more. Geography will probably end up being my lowest grade.

That evening was spent relaxing. At 9 p.m. we watched the movie "Dune" on TV, and surprisingly about 15 people stopped in and watched, with very few people leaving before it ended. Of course, I loved it (5th time I've seen it), and after it was finished, Sam came back to my room and we had a coffee and a chat. He stayed until a little past twelve, at which time I suddenly found myself going to bed.


Sunday, June 4, 1989

Tiananmen Square Massacre, and the Death of the Ayatollah ...

Wow, what an eventful day, though not too much on my part.

Reports are that thousands of protesting students were shot dead in China, then hundreds of people were reportedly killed when a gas pipe exploded in Russia, destroying two trains. Oh, and the Ayatollah Khomeini finally croaked. I wonder where he is now?

As for me in my own little part of the world, I spent the day revising for tomorrow's Geography Exam. But the day started out when I actually woke up in time to grab some breakfast (insane!), then walked up and took out £5 to buy the Sunday Times and the new Viz Comics to read in the morning.

Ate lunch, studied, chatted with folks, hung up the clever Calvin and Hobbes study signs that I made, practiced a little guitar (I think I'm getting better), and then watched the events of the day on the news, followed by "The Cosby Show."

After all of that I called my parents for a further assessment on our itinerary for their impending arrival. Everything is still all go, and I'll call back on Tuesday to confirm a few more things. Nice conversation, though. I'm anxious to see them in person, and to talk to them free of charge! I also told Mom to call Greg and see what is up with him, and if he is still planning on traveling to England.

Studied more in the evening, hung about in Jane's room with the gang, and then let Shannon run about. That pretty much sums up the day.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey" - Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and The Christians (for the Hillsborough Disaster)

  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Wind Beneath My Wings" - Bette Midler


Saturday, June 3, 1989

Milling About Town, Spending Dosh ...

I did my usual sleep-in today, but I did wake up mid-morning, though little was accomplished all day.

Let's face it,other than a little studying and talking to Jane & Company, I did nothing of great importance. Well, I did walk into town today with Jane, Sean, Barry and Sue, where I bought a few necessities (shampoo, etc.) as well as the "Baby Plays Around" cassingle by Elvis Costello. It has a new song on it, so I had to get it.

After milling about town and spending dosh, we returned for tea, which was typical. After that meal was finished, we watched some TV, sat in Jane's room, then Helen's room, then my room.

We found out this evening that Chinese authorities opened fire on a large gathering of students demonstrating in China. Bad news, that.


Friday, June 2, 1989

4 Cans of Whitbreads, 2 Cans of Carlsberg ...

Slept in today until 10.30, when J.P. came by to pick up his Geography Reader, which I intended on using last night, but never did. I spent the bulk of the morning finishing up the first part of "The 37th Heir," which is eight pages long. So the whole story may eventually exceed 20. I hope I can finish it before I leave here.

When I finished, I dropped off two library books and bought a turkey sandwich for lunch. Then I came back to The Grange and hung out in Jane's room for coffee and tea with Cat, Sean, Barry, Bruce and Helen.

Stayed there for a few hours, and then returned to my room and re-designed it a bit, because I felt like it. Looks dead good, I think.

After dinner I talked to Jane a bit more, then borrowed her cassette recorder to do some taping. Following that I went to the off-license for four cans of Whitbread Best Bitter and two cans of Carlsberg lager for the evening.

It turned out to be a great evening. Started in Jane's room, talking, and then went over to Sean's room to watch some movie ("The Honorary Consul") starring Michael Caine, Richard Gere and Bob Hoskins (in the film, not the room.)

After that, everyone in St. Martin's started to break off for bed, so I traversed into St. Hilda's and ended up in one of the Spanish girl's rooms, where a group had collected. I talked to J.P. and others for awhile, including Fiona, one of the Spanish girls from Madrid. I talked to her for awhile about Viv and Madrid, though in hindsight, I'm not sure that I was altogether coherent. Matricia made some ice cold coffee, so I passed.

When this got boring, I went downstairs and found J.P. (who found it boring a bit earlier than I had), who was watching the Woody Allen movie "Bananas" in the common room. The movie ended at 20 past one, at which time BBC2 went off the air.

We, however, were still going strong, even though J.P. kept insisting that he was going to bed. I ended up in Louise's room, with Louise, Kevin, Neil, Irish Johnny and others coming in and out. They were waiting for a pizza that they had ordered, which finally arrived about an hour and a half after they had called in their order.

Irish Johnny had had a bad day, as he had found out at 2.30 this afternoon that he'd been dropped from his architecture course. He should be able to find placement somewhere else, but he was distraught, as he really wanted to stay in Hull with his friends. When I saw him, he was alright, but from what I was told, earlier in the day he was in pretty bad shape. I hope that he'll be alright.

Anyway, at around 3.30 a.m., I wandered back to my room and went to bed. A good evening, this was!

(Pictured is Carl, Irish Johnny and Neil, in St. Hilda's Hall. This photo is courtesy of J.P.)


Thursday, June 1, 1989

The First Day of My Last Month in Europe ...

Not a tremendously exciting day today, but it is officially the first day of my last month in Europe. I checked some books out of the library to study, and I spent a bit of the day revising for exams.

I talked to Sam for a bit as well, until after dinner, when he left for Scunthorpe for the weekend.

The high point of the day was receiving a letter from Rachel back home, who is currently in Virginia for her marine-thingie course. Sounds like a good experience for her. I also found out that Elvis Costello is going to be doing a US tour in July.

Anyway, that evening, in the midst of boredom, Jane visited me and we proceeded to talk for about three hours. She said she might buy my guitar, which I need to sell before I return to America. I sure hope she does. She also liked my Yokel tape and thought the Reed & Reitz tape was brilliant, so she borrowed them to tape for herself. Finally, a cult following! I can see big things for our band in the future. We're going to be big in Europe, I just know it!


Wednesday, May 31, 1989

Horseback Riding in Beverley ...

Woke up, ate breakfast, and received a great letter from home that had £60 in it! So I took that along with a check from Dr. Morrison for £16.50 (he gave it to me for train fare) and deposited it all in the bank. Then, after withdrawing £10, I still had £30 left in my account. I also have a £65 Access bill coming, so I'm still actually in debt... but I fortunately have my overdraft to lean back on.

Hard times these are, financially, for a poor college student abroad.

Anyway, I bought myself a bacon sandwich at the Colberg Deli for lunch, and then read the newspaper at the library.

At 2 p.m., Jenny, Simon, Karen and I caught the bus to Beverley, and at 3 p.m., we were riding horses through town. (Pictured is Beverley Minster.) This was actually the first time since my trip to Mount Rushmore in 1982 that I rode on a horse, so it was difficult for me at the start to get accustomed to it, but it was good fun besides.

The four of us rode on our horses along the roads through town, which was very nice. Beverley is a pretty little town. This was certainly an unusual way to view it. It did make my bum sore when all was said and done, but I managed. Definitely a good experience.

When we were done, I had a quick snack while we waited for the bus, and when we finally returned to the halls, Simon and I went straight to dinner.

Following that, I went back to my room and began recopying the first part of my epic short story, "The Thirty-Seventh Heir." That is, until Sam stopped by and convinced me that we should go to the movie theatre and see the remake of the horror flick "The Blob." Good schlock-horror-comedy, it was. I quite enjoyed the film, as did Sam.

When we returned to The Grange, we had coffee in my room, listening to Steve Miller Band and talking our usual conversations, while Shannon roamed the room all the while.


Tuesday, May 30, 1989

The Return Trip to Hull ...

Today was "Return to Hull" day, so I packed my bags, bid my farewells, and Fiona drove me to Liverpool Lime Street station to catch the 10.52 a.m. train.

No problems on the journey, as I just read pretty much the whole way, changing trains at Leeds. I arrived in Hull at about half two, and then caught the bus back to The Grange halls.

Checked my post (no letters arrived while I was out), then I relaxed in my room. A bit later on, Kofe stopped by and we talked for awhile about Millersville (he was an exchange student there last year), music, America and various other topics.

A bit later on, and after cleaning up my room, I went over to St. Hilda's to visit J.P. We talked about the weekend past, baseball, and our usual fare. He said his last performance of The Mikado went really well.

Dinner in the refectory was poor. But later that evening, there was some good TV. Both an episode of "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" series and "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4" were on at the same time. "Hitchhiker" won, and it was fun to watch. It's a shame that I'll miss the last 2-3 episodes, as they won't be shown before I head back to America.

Following that we watched "Moonlighting," then "Thirtysomething" was on, but I left the common room to visit Sam, and we ended up talking for the rest of the evening.

Jenny Rourke stopped by and asked me if I'd be interested in going horseback riding with her and some friends tomorrow, and I said I would. That could be fun (I hope)!

Went up to pick up Shannon the Hamster from Cat, and she said that all went well with her over the weekend. Good to hear!

(Pictured is a photo of the Coca-Cola cans that I collected and displayed on a ledge over the one window in my room. Pretty cool, huh?)


Monday, May 29, 1989

Bank Holiday in the UK ...

Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. It's not celebrated here, but they do have a "bank holiday." Just a day off, apparently, that happens to always fall on the same day as Memorial Day.

Slept in a bit later today and didn't even really leave the house on this day of remembrance. Fiona's boyfriend Dave (pictured with Fiona, showing off their American influences) was over at the house today, taking Dr. Morrison's phone calls in case a patient in need of his services would call. So Dave and I sat and talked for a good part of the day. I also got some studying done as well, finishing up on "The Importance of Being Earnest," and nearly finishing "A Handful of Dust."

Ate a makeshift dinner of whatever we could find in the house, which was highlighted by us putting the mini chicken kievs in the microwave to see if that would cook them OK. (They exploded.)

Watched Superman II on the telly, then bits of "Miami Vice" and a pretty bad Pee Wee Herman special. I finished the day playing Rummy with Dave and Fiona, though we played using rules that were completely foreign to me (this being a foreign country, I guess I was being the foreign one). I did alright, as it came down to our final hand to determine the winner.

Read a bit more before going to bed.

Good news: The dollar is stronger than ever, about $1.56 to the pound. That'll hopefully help me out a bit.


Sunday, May 28, 1989

My First Trip into Wales ...

What a grand day today, even if I didn't get any studying done (again). I woke up early and ate breakfast with an international crowd, reading the Sunday Times and talking over various topics.

When it was a little past 11 a.m., we all gathered our gear and headed into Wales. Rosemary (pictured right, with me) was traveling with Dr. Morrison and me, and her friends traveled in the other car. It took us awhile to get there, with holiday traffic and all, but it moved steadily.

It was a beautiful day and the scenery was wonderful. It's a shame my parents aren't here to see this... they'd love it!

As our drive progressed, we somehow had lost the other car, and when we finally arrived at our destination, the town of Porthmadog, there was no sign of them. So after eating lunch and a brief look in Cob, a nearby record shop, Dr. Morrison and I took the Ffestiniog Railway trip to Blaenau Ffestiniog, leaving Rosemary behind so that she could meet with her friends.

It was a lovely trip, and I took loads of photos along the way. We returned on board the same train and arrived back in Porthmadog at 5.10... giving us just enough time to look through that record shop again. I bought a cassette tape of Mike Oldfield's "Platinum" (second hand), and Michael Rutherford's album "Smallcreep's Day" for £1.45. Dr. Morrison bought three jazz tapes and a Bob Newhart record album.

When we got into the car, we listened to some of our music along the way, and took a slightly different route home. We stopped at the Theatr Clwyd Cymru to take a look at it. Fabulous place, though not much was going on while we were there. I bought a King Arthur poster while I was there.

We returned to Ness at about half nine, ate some Chinese food, and watched the last bit of "A Handful of Dust" on TV. I'll watch it in full on video tape tomorrow.

After the show I phoned my parents and talked to them about today's trip, as well as about their plans for coming here next month. Everything is still a go. Also, Uncle Larry and Aunt JoAnne were at the house when I called, so I was able to talk to them as well. Hey, they were eating Chinese as well!

Next I listened to "Smallcreep's Day" (I quite like it!) while finishing up reading "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4," which is really good. Chris Mulvihill would like it.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey" - Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and The Christians (for the Hillsborough Disaster)

  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Rock On" - Michael Damian


Saturday, May 27, 1989

Meeting at a Pub in Chester ...

I had a lie-in today until around noon, when I arose and ate. Milled about Dr. Morrison's house until about 5 p.m., doing little of any consequence, at which time Dr. Morrison and I left for Chester.

Once we arrived in Chester, we met up with his niece, Rosemary, and four of her friends, at a nice pub/restaurant for a meal. Three of Rosemary's friends were from New Zealand (Ian, Shelley, and the other one whose name escapes me at the moment) and one of her friends was from Texas (Wilson).

We carried on some interesting international conversations and discussions (Ian was impressed with my desire to become a journalist) before we left to go see a movie. We went to see "Beaches," a bit of a tear-jerker at the end of the film. It wasn't too bad, though. (At times when the movie was quiet, you could hear sniffs from the people in the audience.)

After the movie we all returned to Dr. M's house, where we watched a Billy Connolly video. Good fun! I ended the evening talking to Rosemary about traveling... she's done quite a bit herself.

Tomorrow we are talking about taking a trip into Wales. I can see it from the back window of Dr. Morrison's house, but so far I have not been there yet.

(Pictured is a pub-restaurant in downtown Chester. I've dined there before, but I'm not certain if I did on this particular evening. Still, very nice building.)


Friday, May 26, 1989

Leaving for Liverpool ...

I spent the morning re-taping Liz's Beatles' tapes for her, while I still had Jane's recorder in my possession, and before leaving on my trip to Liverpool. Once I was finished, I gave the recorder back to Jane, dropped off Shannon the Hamster to Cat (it's not often that a hamster is in good hands when you give it to a Cat!), then caught the bus into town to catch the 4.42 train.

And what do you know? Jenny Rourke was on the train! She was heading home for the weekend. So Jenny and I rode together and chatted as far as Leeds, which is where I had to get off the train and reconnect to the Liverpool train. She reminds me so much of Stephanie LaBella from high school (whom I've only seen once since graduation).

Anyway, I waited a half an hour before catching the train, and during the ride I worked some more on my short story, "The Thirty-Seventh Heir." I finally arrived in Liverpool at a little past eight, and shortly afterward, Dr. Morrison arrived and we rode back to Ness, stopping at the Old Quay for dinner.

We didn't do much more than talk this evening, but it was still relaxing good fun. Fiona was at a friend's house that evening and didn't return until late. I finally got to bed at a little past one.

Pictured: For the past several weeks J.P. had been busy rehearsing for his performance in "The Mikado," which was presented this weekend. For some reason, I didn't get a chance to go. I was at the Elvis Costello concert on Wednesday, and in Liverpool on Friday and Saturday... but I don't know why I didn't go to see it on Thursday. J.P. will have to fill in any details about the show itself. Even though I didn't see it, I did manage to swipe one of the posters for my own personal collection.


Thursday, May 25, 1989

Wear Your New Concert T-Shirt Day ...

Today I slept in quite late, recovering from last night's activities. Needless to say, I missed breakfast. I checked for post, but there was none.

I then found myself sitting in Jane's room with Sam, talking about various topics (the concert came up), and eventually I borrowed her stereo to do a little taping. So I was doing a little bit of taping today. I made a Monkee's tape for Gill, a friend of Jane Goodman's (not the Jane whose room I was in... that's Jane Challis-Whish).

The day carried on with little excitement. That evening, Sam and I sat in Cat's room and talked for a bit. She's going to be taking care of my hamster Shannon when I leave for Liverpool to visit with Dr. Morrison tomorrow. After that, it was back to Sam's room for more coffee, and after that, back to my room for even more coffee. I gave him a copy of a tape he requested. Side one is my parody work with Reed and Reitz, and side two my thrash metal stylings with Yokel.

Tomorrow, I leave for Liverpoo'.

Pictured is me trying to be artsy, I guess, showing off my new tour shirt, as well as the tour program (right next to my arm) and the tour poster (far left), which now joins my two other Elvis Costello posters. And yes, that's an ALF poster right above it, surrounded by Bloom County and Calvin & Hobbes comics.


Wednesday, May 24, 1989

Elvis Costello in Newcastle ...

Well, the day has finally arrived! After three months of waiting, I finally got to see Elvis Costello live in concert, and it was well worth the wait!

The day began by waking up for breakfast at 8 a.m., as usual, followed by a shower and general nothingness unil noon. With my pack of essentials, I headed into downtown Hull. It was quite hot outside at first, nearly unbearable. But the temperature gradually became more comfortable as I went along.

I bought a few things while I was in town: Two Peanuts books that I needed and three 45s, including Cliff Richard and The Young Ones doing "Living Doll." I also bought some food, bateries, a train ticket, and lunch at McDonald's once I reached the city centre.

At 2.50 I met Cat in front of the movie theatre, and then went over to Ferensway where shortly thereafter we were on a bus bound for Newcastle. The journey took three hours, and included a short pit stop, but it went rather quickly as we listened to Elvis Costello over the bus stereo most of the way up.

We arrived in Newcastle at about half 6, so Cat, Nile and I had a few minutes to walk about Newcastle before we could go into City Hall. Nile, incidentally, bought a ticket a few minutes before the bus left for the concert. Talk about a last minute decision!

Anyway, it was noticeably cooler out now, so after a run-in with some photo shoot going on in the street, we stopped at a Kentucky Fried Chicken for some coffee, and then returned to City Hall to get our seats for the show.

I was a decadent individual today. I bought an Elvis Costello tour t-shirt, a tour poster, and a tour program. Good deal, though... I only paid £13 total for everything!

We then grabbed our seats and waited for the show to commence. The concert hall was rather small, about the same size as The Forum in Harrisburg, which gave the show a nice personal feel.

At 8 p.m. the lights dimmed and out came Nick Lowe, who performed quite well. I was impressed with his performance, and especially at his sense of humour (at one point he said, "I will now play a medley of my greatest hit," and then began to perform "Cruel to Be Kind.") I was also impressed by his new songs from his forthcoming album. I will have to check that out.

Lowe played for about a half an hour, and after a short break, Elvis Costello ran onto the stage and jumped right into an acoustic version of "Accidents will Happen." In fact, most of this brilliant show was simply Elvis playing acoustic solo versions of his songs, both from his new album and his classics from the past.

The songs he performed included: "Watching the Detectives," "Alison," a medley of "New Amsterdam/You've Got to Hide Your Love Away/American Without Tears," "My Radio Sweetheart," "Loveable," "Veronica," "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror," "Pads, Paws & Claws," "Any King's Shilling" and "Let Him Dangle."

Next was the most brilliant song of the evening, a 15-minute humorous version of "God's Comic." In this song, Elvis talked of his inspiration from being on a Swedish talk show where God was a guest. My favourite part was after the lyric "wondering if I should've given the world to the monkeys," Elvis suddenly stopped, then broke into a few verses of "Last Train to Clarksville."

Even with a lot of his political jokes throughout the concert, I found myself laughing in spite of myself.

Next he brought Nick Lowe out on stage and they performed "Indoor Fireworks" and, of course, "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" (which Lowe wrote). Their duet was excellent... certainly a rare treat for an Elvis fan to see live. I thought Lowe's style complimented Elvis very well with these numbers.

As the show wound down, Elvis concluded with three of his politically-themed songs, the last two being among my least favourite songs. He brought out the piano and performed a nice version of "Shipbuilding." But that was followed by a very bad "Pills and Soap," and concluded with "Tramp the Dirt Down." It's alright musically, but I hate the lyrics. In my opinion he should've ended the concert with something more upbeat, as he had now become quite serious in his demeanor. It was a downer of an ending to the show.

Apart from that, the show was brilliant and well worth the journey. As I sat in the audience, I thought to myself, "this is what it's all about." A definite climax to the journey. It was amazing how he could be the most amusing entertainer I've ever seen in a concert, and then the most serious. Will we ever be able to see the real Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus, or have we?

At the end of the day, I would call this the second best concert I've ever experienced (Ol' Neil Young in Hershey still holds that title, with Peter Gabriel a close third).

All told, Elvis played for over two hours, so we did not leave the venue until after 11 a.m. That meant we were going to be getting home very late. We arrived in Hull at about 2.30 a.m., and the bus driver decided to take us all right to our homes, which was very nice.


When the bus arrived at the corner of Cottingham Road and Newland Avenue, we contemplated asking the driver to just let us off there, and we could do the 10 minute walk back to The Grange. But we decided not to.

As a result, he turned another way, and we ended up on the bus for another hour. Then, when he did finally drop us off, it was at the corner of Cottingham Road and Beverley Road... about 200 yards away from the Newland Avenue intersection. Cat and I had a good laugh about this... an hour to travel 200 yards! It was dark and quiet, and we walked back most of the way in the road, while Nile walked swiftly back along the sidewalk.

Tired and approaching 4 a.m. by now, I still managed to hang my new posters up in my room - not only the Elvis Costello tour poster, but I also "liberated" the poster that was on the bus as well.

I let Shannon run around a bit, cleaned up, and then, completely and utterly knackered, I went to bed.

What a brilliant day!