Diaries

THIRTY YEARS ON, MONTH BY MONTH, SELECTED PAGES FROM MY DIARIES > About

October 1990

Saturday October 13, Paris           How matter-of-fact a diarist can be about the most extraordinary events. Pepys goes to Charing Cross and sees Major-General Harrison, who had been convicted of regicide, hanged, drawn and quartered.* Momentous enough. But that he, at sixteen, should have also witnessed the execution of Charles I, for which the Major wasContinue reading “October 1990”

September 1990

Saturday September 1, Canterbury           I’m in the University library, experiencing once again my love/hate feelings for these places. On arrival, I got myself into an aggressive mood and failed at first to find the book I need, Lucina Gabbard’s The Dream Structures of Pinter’s Plays. Here I sit between the rows of books, the neon humming,Continue reading “September 1990”

August 1990

Saturday August 5, Siorac-de-Ribérac, Dordogne           Walked around the ‘backstreets’ of Ribérac. There are many houses for sale. The drains stink. There’s a nice old, grey-stone theatre but it doesn’t look as if it’s been used as such for a long while. There are notices on the door about dance and judo lessons. In a toyContinue reading “August 1990”

July 1990

Sunday July 1, Paris           For a while there during the Cameroon v England match it looked as if the lithe Lions were going to humiliate the English team. You could see the logic of a Cameroon victory with every loping stride, you were anticipating the slap the children of the colonised were going to inflictContinue reading “July 1990”

June 1990

Monday June 4, Paris           Another public holiday: Ascension. Mitterrand makes his annual ascension of the mount at Solutré accompanied by a coterie of the faithful. Jacques Lang, as usual, is at his side. Why has he consistently been one of the most popular ministers of the two Socialist governments? Because he’s a competent minister? CertainlyContinue reading “June 1990”

May 1990

Wednesday May 16, Paris           In the rue de Provence, from the window of a café, I’ve just read a poster for a festival of the maître occultistes.These people claim they’re not simply clairvoyants but magicians who can actually ‘change and transform your destiny by influencing the present.’ The festival is just around the corner in theContinue reading “May 1990”

April 1990

Thursday April 5, Paris           I got to Emile Zola with half an hour to spare and had a coffee and a croissant at the bar of a café. As I walked down the rue du Théâtre, a flock of pigeons was using it as a corridor, wheeling off to the left between two high buildings. SomeContinue reading “April 1990”

March 1990

Thursday March 8, Paris           Instead of going to the gym this morning, sitting on the floor at our new smoked-glass coffee table, I prepared video sessions for my classes using an extract recorded off the TV and an article in the Financial Times. The TV report I chose was about the Harrods takeover by the Fayeds.Continue reading “March 1990”

February 1990

Monday February 5, Paris           Was it premonition that drew Pepys to the Bible story of Tobit?* He has alluded to it more than once. Tobit – had to get out my Old Testament – was the one who went blind when hot bird shit dropped in his eye. Seems an unlikely thing to happen. ButContinue reading “February 1990”

January 1990

Friday January 5, Paris           Coming out from teaching an early class into the Avenue de l’Opéra, I went straight into Brentano’s bookstore and found, in one fell swoop, most of what hadn’t been available in London last week. Books such as Ishiguro’s Booker winner, The Remains of the Day and Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of TimeContinue reading “January 1990”


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