Dear Journal

I used to keep a diary.

Well, that's not strictly true – I used to keep a journal, because diaries are only kept by Victorian young ladies and Samuel Pepys.

Anyhows, I started writing one back in '82.  I used to get a day-a-page book at work where I was supposed to mark in appointments and shit like that, which I never did and the book used to get burned to supplement our modest coal supply.  In January '82 it snowed rather heavily and as usual the entire country ground to a standstill.  I was stuck at home, bored out of my skull when I saw the empty book full of empty pages and started writing.

I kept it up to date for the best part of thirty years and then I stopped again.

The reason I stopped was that it became intensely boring, particularly in the latter years when I was working for myself. 

"Got up.  Made a mug of tea.  Worked until 6.  After dinner went down the pub.  Bed at 1am."

Next day –

"Ditto"

You can only write Ditto so many times before things get a little tedious.

Things were a tad more exciting back in the RTE days but not much.

"Up at 7.  Got into work late.  Boss is in a foul mood.  Fixed the network in the Radio Centre.  An hour and a half to get home through crap traffic.  Knackered.  Watched telly.  Bed".

Again, the routine became a routine in itself and was only lightened a bit if I had a blazing row with the boss, or someone in the office got carted off to the Funny Farm.  Sometimes someone would get electrocuted or stab themselves with a screwdriver, but the fun days were few and far between.

I can't even read the journals now they are so boring, but occasionally one comes in handy when I want to find out when I was last in court, or what year it was when I went to Dingle on my holidays, so I keep 'em.  If nothing else they look quite impressive taking up an entire shelf of a bookcase.

My biggest regret is that I didn't keep  journal during the Seventies.

Jayzus but they were great years!  College days, escapades first on my motorbike and then the car, the drinking and the carousing, playing on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival and the Kilkenny Beer Festival [anyone remember that?].  Music sessions in pubs that carried on into the small hours.  There were whole weeks that disappeared in an alcohol induced haze which I could have read about after [except that my writing would have been illegible].  There was the craic we used to have in RTE in the Good Old Days before the organisation became overrun with bureaucrats and accountants.  There were the parties where you would get a great high just by inhaling the blue haze in the room.  I had better not mention the wimmin in case Herself reads this.

I started the decade in college without a clue where I was heading.

I ended it with a missus, a year old babby and only nineteen years to run on the mortgage.

Now that was a journey worth recording.

But I didn't.

Pity.

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Comments

Dear Journal — 3 Comments

  1. I never wrote any of it down and as a result, I only recall becoming 'aware' around sixteen. Then suddenly I'm facing into sixty and it all just happened so bloody fast somehow.

    • That is so true that it's frightening.  You wake up one morning and suddenly realise you're a pensioner [well, in my case anyway].  Where the fuck did all those years go?  Even worse, the older you get, the faster time seems to pass.  I see a film advertised on television with 1980 in brackets, and think that at least it's a recent film and then realise it's fucking 35 years old!!!  I hear of some 64 year old bloke and sneer that he should have know better at his age, until I realise that I am older and he's only a young lad.  It really is scary.  Even more so because mentally I am still in my twenties/thirties.

  2. Ah, the 70s.  What a great time it was to be young.  Who on here doesn’t remember that long, long, long, hot, hot, hot summer of 1976?  Baah!  Youngster!

    As one of my best buddies (with whom I traversed the 70s) often says, “It really was the last of the good times.”  I’m sure everyone says that about the time when they were young, but I actually don’t think that the 1970’s were the best of all the good times – they were just the last of them.  Looking back I think that things really started to go downhill about the mid 1980s onwards.  Sorry all you 1980s and 1990s veterans, but you really did miss the boat, no matter how much of a great laugh you thought you were having, you were just a little bit too late, believe me (I was actually still quite young then, too, and they just don’t compare).  No, when I look back at the way things were even before my time, when my parents were young, they look even better than the 70s to me.  And as for the days when my grandparents were youngsters – i.e. around the 1920s and 30s, well, I think they must have been the very, very bestest of bestest times to be young, free and single.  It’s only when you get back to the very early years of the last century that things start to look a little tougher.  Then (probably following WWI) they peaked as people suddenly realised that life is short and made to be enjoyed whilst you can, before starting a slow and steady decline away from all that fun, with the balance tipping, as I say, around the 1980s.  Which, coincidentally, is about the time that the health zealots first started to raise their ugly heads, really got the bit between their teeth, and started demanding that we all live their proscribed, fun-free lifestyles.  Now, I wonder if there's a connection there?

    Just my take on things as far as “good times” are concerned.  Time for bed now!

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