Journal entry, 27 May 1991:
Last night went to the Apollo and got drunk, chatted to Richard and the NZ Tony. Recently the papers have carried adverts showing a boy sensibly dressed for cycling in bright clothes and a hard helmet, rather than in dark gear.
I was wondering if accidents would be reduced by having fewer dark-coloured cars on the road – lower insurance premiums for sequin-coated Escorts.
29 May 1991: Last night Di rang and told me about a vacancy for an epoxy chemist at Proderite, so this afternoon rang them and asked for an application form.
Wrote to Brenda Peakman, phoned BIP confirming my interview next Tuesday.
1 June 1991: Today at long last had cheque from Dole office – only nine weeks after I signed on! Today went to Oxfam shop and gave them a pile of my old paperbacks then went to the Imperial Cancer shop and bought one Barbara Cartland and one Alistair McLean. Tonight went to the rave disco and as I was leaving they gave me a Safe Sex poster and a Durex.
Just as I was trying to decide which was to go I saw R – walking home alone. Don’t think he saw me.
Recently in the papers there has been a story about a man charged with sexually assaulting a dolphin. Claire at work suggested that this guy might have been interviewed by a reporter and asked whether he was bothered by his wife leaving him after this episode: “No”, said the man, “there are plenty more fish in the sea..”
2 June 1991: Something a wee bit different today; lambs’ kidneys with pasta and mushrooms. Must remember the cream and sherry next time. Phoned Dad and Glad to ask if I could stay at theirs Mon night before my interview. Bought new PSB single ‘Jealousy’ which has an intro vaguely reminiscent of Strawberry Fields Forever.
4 Jun 1991: Last night went from work to Dad’s by coach (laid on by BR since train cancelled) then this morning went to BIP for interview. Arrived 10.20, then ten mins later the personnel man collected me and told me all about the job. We went to see the Tech Manager but his secretary informed us that he was in a meeting all morning, and the personnel dept had failed to pass on the message that I would be attending.
Anyway, eventually Tech Mgr turned up and we chatted for half-an-hour, think it went well.
9 June 1991: Today went swimming before dinner. Yesterday went to Randolph Hotel and had cream tea with Pam, John and Rob (clean shaven – an unprecedented sight!) and saw Stephen Hawking trundling round in his wheelchair.
8 Feb 1988: Went to interview at Fosroc, and halfway through the meeting it transpired they had been using a CV from some other candidate (into rock-climbing, water-polo etc). I spent 40 minutes waiting at Reading station, and it was a completely wasted day.
Footnotes and context:
‘The Apollo’ was a gay pub in Oxford, not far from the Police Station; our usual haunt, The Jolly Farmers, had been closed down by the brewery.
‘Di’ was my friend Diana Smith, a fellow postgrad student at the Poly.
‘Claire at work’ was a young lady who worked with me at the Infirmary, where we spent the day packing blood-taking kits and listening to Radio One. It was a temporary post. When I finished I was never issued with a P-45.
‘Brenda Peakman’ was a former teacher of mine, who had kept in touch by letter and sent me paperback books.
‘BIP’ was a chemical firm (British Industrial Plastics) which manufactured amino resins, used as curing agents for epoxy and polyester compounds.
‘Randolph Hotel’ was the grandest place in Oxford, and Rob Halliday had invited me along to help celebrate his PhD.
You don’t really need me to tell you who Stephen Hawking is…
‘Fosroc’ was a chemical producer, who invited me for an interview which had been arranged by Professional and Executive Recruitment.
I was in the Apollo one evening when a chap struck up a conversation, and I mentioned that I was researching adhesive technology. “But how can you do research into glue?” he asked “I mean, you can’t actually learn anything about it.”