When I get back someone has kicked the crap out of my bike. I carry it home on the tube. The bloke at the bike shop looks at my poor battered green Peugeot: ‘What a shame: it’s a lovely bike. It’s not really rideable. Can you afford a new derailleur? No? I can take it off and shorten the chain but you’ll only have one gear. OK?’ Later I spot a label on it that says ‘This bike is unroadworthy.’ I ride it just as it is, in top gear, even up Richmond Hill, until it is stolen sometime in 1980.
The Southampton friends, new and old, have finished, if they finished, and are largely in London, largely in squats. Southampton ceases to exist. A. and I are living in Brixton in a basement flat. I’m starting again at university, in Hampstead. I scraped in here after scraping out at the college in Bloomsbury where I wore my white winklepicker boots to the interview and hadn’t read any of the things they asked about. I won’t get a grant for the first two years because I dropped out of Southampton. It’s an hour’s ride each way, on my unlovely new bike. I can’t wait.