Interview with Cathy, 17, White British, middle class, no religion. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, London, 1989. Anonymised version including field notes. (Ref: LSFS11)
Anonymised transcript of interview with Cathy, who talks a lot about the dynamics between her and her older brother and the impact this has had on her dating life and Friendship. Cathy is in a stable relationship at the moment with someone she met in a nightclub. Sex education was through her brother and his friends, which she found a bit frightening, school and her mum - her parents were quite open and had lots of homosexual friends, so she's very aware of the impact that AIDS has had on the gay community. Contraception-wise, Cathy and her partner use condoms, though she was on the pill in the past - it made sense while in a serious relationship, and she thinks she will go back on it to help with her painful periods. She talks a lot about her Friendship and social life, and offers a very interesting insight into the daily goings on of some middle class teenagers and their family lives.
Reanimating Data Project
CC BY-NC 4.0
Q. If I could just recap a bit on how you're living in terms of your living with your mum ...
A. Yeah, yeah.
Q. In a flat, and then there was the whole complicated thing about your brother to-ing and
fro-ing with your father.
A. So do you want me to go through that again?
Q. Um, well only really I suppose what's more or less happening now. It just seemed that
there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between ...
A. Yeah, well now it's ...
Q. Cos your parents split up ...
A. Oh, when I was a baby, yeah, so now my dad lives with his girlfriend and my brother.
They don't live that far away actually, they just live in NORTH LONDON, so I go and see
him. I don't see him that much. I stopped seeing him for a while when I started going out
with my boyfriend cos of the situation ... and that's about it, really. My boyfriend comes and
stays quite a lot, I mean, he kind of lives with us but not quite and he will be living with us
soon, and then there's mum's boyfriend and I don't know what's going to happen to him!
Q. So is your mother serious about her boyfriend?
A. Well, I don't know. I mean, she had this ... well, I mean, she's had various relationships.
She had this ... a guy who used to live in our flats who she was with for about seven years
when me and my brother both lived with her. That was before she started doing her
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Um, and then she split up with him because he wanted
to have babies and she didn't want to have babies - he was a lot younger than her. And
then, after that, the next big deal was this TRANSPORT ROLE called DAVID who I really
got on with but who wasn't really right for her, wasn't intellectual enough or, I don't know.
He didn't work it out with her, anyway. And then she had this stupid relationship with this
bloke called IAN who I really hated and who my boyfriend hated as well, cos he called
himself a socialist and he wasn't - he was terrible. And he just came over cos he wanted
sex and, you know, his girlfriend had some problem so she couldn't have sex or something
and so he just came over every now and then, whisked her off into her bedroom and me
and FRASER would sit there frowning.
Q. What, disapproval?
A. Yeah. And then, um, I went to stay with FRASER one week ...
Q. Is FRASER your ...?
A. That's my boyfriend. ... when his mother came over. It was half-term and we were trying
to sort out about selling the house and, you know, where he was going to live and that and
I came back, and she'd met this bloke. And then, you know, since then she was ... I mean,
she jumped in at the deep end because she knew she was going away to COUNTRY, so
she knew she wasn't going to see him for three weeks so if she wanted to get out of it then,
you know, she knew she was just going to be flying off, so she could leave him if she
wanted to, so he was over every night and buying her flowers etc. But I think she is quite
serious about it but in some ways, I mean, she was very cynical about me and FRASER
because of our age differences and because we were so sort of lovey-dovey and
everything but now she's just become a total hypocrite. She makes him breakfast in the
morning and, you know. Oh God, the other day, I mean yesterday, he was ... he put his
music on really loud so I came in and I said, 'Are you living on your own or something?',
and she kind of looked at me and said, 'It's just this one song', you know, 'ANDY wants to
listen to it', and so I said, 'Oh, fine, OK, just this one song then' and he just went off and sat
on the sofa and read the paper after that. And me and my mum and my boyfriend got all
the breakfast ready - had a big fry-up and everything. We laid the table and he didn't even
offer to help, you know, he didn't even offer to do anything. He just sat there and read the
paper. And you know, after the meal my boyfriend did all the clearing up and put
everything in the dishwasher and there was just not a word from him. And she doesn't
seem to mind at all so ...
Q. And is that what he's like in general?
A. I don't know. He was married for twenty-five years so ... and his ... you know, he had two
sons and was very much, you know, he was the breadwinner and his wife was the
housewife and he can't cook at all or anything. She always did everything for him and now
he says, you know, he says his views have changed but I ...
Q. There no sign of it.
A. No, I find it hard to believe and I don't know about his politics either - I think they're a bit
suspect but the thing was, my mum was so lonely with just ... I mean, she really was
getting dependent on me which was something I didn't like at all because I was ... I had my
relationship with FRASER and I was thinking of, you know, what I was going to do, where I
was going to go to university, where I was going to live and I didn't want to have to think
about, 'Oh God, is she going to be alright on her own?' and everything. So, I mean, when
she found IAN then I was pleased for her in a way, but it does seem to be a very sexual
relationship - it just seems to be based on sex. I hate to say it, but it seems like they're
making a last stand before they both become celibate in their old age.
Q. Terrible sort of future ...
A. It's like, they make so much noise and they have to, you know, 'We're going to the
bedroom now', and you know, rush off and grunting and groaning.
Q. What, they're not embarrassed about that in front of you and FRASER or ...?
A. No, I mean ... well, they just ... it's like they're trying to prove something, I don't know. I
mean, I know I'm obviously exaggerating it because I'm a bit pissed off with her at the
moment, but I don't know what's going to happen once it gets to be a long-term thing,
whether it's going to survive or not.
Q. How long have you been with FRASER?
A. I've been with FRASER since ... it's a year and a half, just over a year and a half now. So
we met when I was fifteen and he was twenty-one.
Q. How did you meet?
A. Oh, in a nightclub, in the Town and Country Club. It was quite embarrassing actually - I'd
gone ... I was going to go with my friends and they were all in, you know, little short skirts
and red lipstick and everything and I was just wearing my jeans and my T-shirt and I said, 'I
don't want to dress up. I don't want to go looking like that', and they said, 'Oh no, come on,
it'll be a laugh', so I put all my gear on and my friend started ... went off and started
snogging with this bloke and me and LYDIA were standing there, you know, 'Oh God, oh
God'. He had this friend with him who was FRASER, who was ... FRASER was just, you
know, cringing with embarrassment cos it was just so blatant the way they'd just gone off
together, and then that was how I ended up with FRASER. But it wasn't really me - it was
EMILY who did it, going off with his friend.
Q. And did it happen that night that you both liked each other or was that something that
A. Well, yeah. We sort of had a little kiss and I got his phone number and then we spent a lot
of time talking to each other on the phone that week and then the next weekend we went
out on Friday and Saturday and then after that we started seeing each other more and
more until eventually it was like it is now. I mean, we see each other most of the time,
unless we've got exams to do or something or a lot of work to do and then he stays at
home and I stay at home and we don't see each other, but we always phone each other up
and spend hours on the phone.
Q. So you're very very close?
A. Yeah, I am. I mean, we do argue quite a lot, I have to say, but, you know, we do ... a lot of
the time he can talk to me about things and, you know, if I hadn't been there I think he
probably would have cracked up with all this house-moving cos he really did need
somebody to talk to and he was ... and also because he's a student and he feels very
helpless, especially when it comes to where he's going to live and stuff because he's
always been living in his parents' houses and hasn't had the opportunity to get a place of
his own or to break away, so he feels very helpless when it comes to not having a lot of
money and stuff like that.
Q. Yes, because obviously being a student, presumably he doesn't have much?
A. Well, I mean ... his parents wouldn't sign his grant form because they ... neither of them
wanted to get done for tax because they both live in COUNTRY 2 and so they didn't want
to declare their incomes or whatever. So when they got divorced his dad made an
agreement that he'd give him ALLOWANCE a month while he was in full-time education,
so that's what he lives on at the moment. As well as his overdraft.
Q. That's not bad compared to other students.
A. No, but it does go though.
Q. In London ...
A. Yeah, he gets through it really quickly. I mean, just food and stuff takes a lot of money.
Q. So when the house, their house gets sold he might come and live with you?
A. Yeah, I think he will. I mean, my mum thinks he's wonderful because, you know, he
helped me decorate my bedroom and put the shelves up and everything and, you know,
she thought it was great to have a man about the house, especially when she didn't have
anybody. So, and he's not aggressive or ... he really is a nice person. He cares about
animals and stuff, so she's quite happy for him to come and live with us and she's been
saying to him that he should come ever since this problem, his problems at home started.
But he's only ... he really didn't want to because he thought that it wouldn't be a good idea
for us to be, like, with each other all the time and not to be able to escape from each other.
But it's not for that long - I don't think he wants to stay with us for that long because of that
reason and also my mum gets a bit overpowering.
Q. Yeah, you were saying she has a very exuberant personality.
A. Mm, volatile, highly-strung. I mean, when she came back from COUNTRY she was
jetlagged so she just got so hyper and over-excited and I was just like, 'God woman, go
Q. What, because it was so peaceful with her away?
Q. And are you very close to your mum?
A. Yeah, I think I am, because she was never that close to JOE. I mean, JOE was always
the whizz, always the brainy one and she really tried when he was in primary school - we
were both in the same primary school - and she really tried to make him go up a year and
go into secondary school early and all that kind of thing. But they wouldn't let him, so she
got really pissed off about that and then he was ... he got into music so he would always be
playing his guitar late at night and stuff and always getting on her nerves and being a boy,
basically - not doing washing-up, not helping with the housework, not giving her any sort of
respect at all. So I was always the one who was the goodie. But, I mean, I did feel pissed
off because she would always make an effort with him because she knew she had to, but
she didn't make so much of an effort with me because she didn't think she had to.
Q. Right. Because you were already halfway there.
A. Yeah, because I was already ... because I was prepared to go along with her and, you
know, I knew she was a bit of a loony. I found out yesterday that somebody's nicknamed
her 'mad cow'. But, I mean, she says that I'm the most precious thing in her life and
everything so, I mean, I think she does need me - I don't know if need is the right word.
When my brother left for ... when he went to live with my dad the last time, she would
actually get into fights with my brother, actually start hitting each other.
Q. So it was physical?
A. Yeah, not very much, obviously, but he used to get drunk sometimes and he wouldn't
come home looking for a fight but he came home one time and he'd lost one of his friends
and he didn't know what had happened to him. He had got into some kind of trouble and
his friend had run away - they were being followed by somebody or something and he
came home and he was really freaking out and she said that she wasn't going to let him go
to look for him because he was so pissed. But he actually sort of fought her off and went
out and then, I can't actually remember what happened when he finally left, but they were
fighting and I was trying to break them up, so they both turned on me and I was like, 'Oh
Q. How old's your brother?
A. He's eighteen now.
Q. So he's just a little bit older than you.
A. Yeah, a year and a bit. But, I mean, we never got on. I never got on with him at all. And
we had to ... because he had all these problems at school as I said, my mum insisted that
it was because he was too intelligent but I didn't really know why it was, but we ended up
going to family therapy.
Q. The three of you?
A. Well no, my dad as well so that it was ... we seemed to have this problem of all being in
the same place at the same time. I think we managed about three sessions when we were
all there but the last time it was really terrible because they had, you know, the two-way
mirror and the microphone in the middle of the room and there was us four and then two
therapists there and, you know, God knows how many looking at us through the mirror.
Q. Which you knew about?
A. Yeah, well it was just half a wall and you can vaguely see these shapes through it. Well,
when my brother was little, he used to go into these sulks, he used to just not say anything
if he didn't get his own way, he'd just go and sulk for a couple of hours. And then ... this is
what he started doing again - something he hadn't done for ages - when we were in this
therapy session. So he was just not saying anything. My mum started crying and my dad
started, 'Right, yes, well', you know, trying to jolly things along and, you know ...
Q. Oh, how awful.
A. Yeah it was, and I felt ... I don't know, in a way I felt totally separate from it because it
wasn't really my problem, I think, because all they said was that, you know, it was too late
and they wanted my mum to have some therapy on her own because of the way JOES'
behaviour had affected her, but they just said that she'd been too free with him, or my
parents, both of them, had been too free with him and let him have his own way too much,
so it was too late to do anything about it. But, I mean, we used to ... they said we were like
a married couple, me and my brother, the way we argued and that the sort of depth of
feeling we had for each other was like ... that's how much we hated each other.
Q. What, like a married couple?
A. Yeah, well, you know, like a divorced couple or whatever. And we used to have really
really big arguments, really traumatic scenes and one time, on his birthday, I think it was
his fourteenth birthday or something, we went to see a friend and he'd got drunk and, you
know, he'd fallen asleep and I had to wake him up and say, 'It's time to go home', and he
just put his arm round my neck and started strangling me. And he wouldn't let go because
obviously he was in some kind of trance, I don't know. And I was like biting his arm and he
wouldn't let go, so it was really frightening. And then we had this therapy and then I didn't
see him because whenever we saw each other we'd just started having a go at each other,
so he was at dad's and I was at mum's and it was all OK and when he came back we
would have a little go at each other and that would be that. But then when we ... he's at the
sixth form as well and at the same site as me, so we were walking home and I saw him
and I caught up with him or he caught up with me, and he wanted me to take this ITEM
home which he'd borrowed off mum, and I was not in the mood to do him any favours at
all, so I said no. And I was walking along with this boy who I didn't really know who, you
know, I just knew he was walking the same way as me so we chatted on the way and my
brother plays the bass and he has this big case, like a really long and solid thing, so and
he was saying, you know, 'You're going home. Why don't you take this back to mum?'. I
said, 'Look you borrowed it. You take it back to her. I don't wanna have anything to do with
it. 'He said, 'Why are you being so unreasonable?' I said, 'I'm not being unreasonable,
JOE, I just don't want to do you any favours', you know, 'Why do you expect me to?' And
then he got in front of me and he had this case across the pavement so that we couldn't go
forward, me and this boy I was walking with, and then DETAILS REDACTED and kind of
foaming at the mouth, I mean, really red and gritting his teeth, and 'Agh!', you know, I
mean really going mad and then I just ran off after that. I thought, you know, this is no good
and then I got home, and my mum started telling me, 'You know JOE has got a problem.
You know, you don't care about it, you don't care about him', blah blah blah. And then she
phoned up JOE and he said that he'd really scared himself because he felt like he could kill
me. He never felt that he could actually hurt anybody, but when it came to me, he felt that
he could really just do me in and really hurt me. And he was crying. He was in a pretty bad
way as well. So then, after that, I wrote him this letter, but it was the post strike so he didn't
get it. But I phoned him up and I said, 'Did you get my letter?' and it was just ... it basically
said, 'I know we can't get on together, you know, let's just try not to fight because for a time
we were quite good friends, I must admit. When I was about eleven or twelve I used to go
and stay with my dad at the weekends and I'd play Dungeons and Dragons and all these
role-playing games with him and I was like, 'JOE and his friends are so wonderful. They're
boys and they're so gorgeous and, oh God, and I can play games with them and isn't it
wonderful! And my friend was with me as well and she was, you know, infatuated with
them all as well, but then I realised that, you know, really the way they treated me was just
like shit, you know, it was really bad. So then, I mean I didn't really realise that - it's like a
Q. How old were you then?
A. When I realised? I don't know. Because I started off with this playing games with them
and stuff, and then it went on to me and then he came back to live with us after that and
then when he was there all his friends would come round and I would go into his room and
just sit with them and watch TV or listen to music or whatever. And then I would wanna go
out with him or want to go to the same parties or where he was going and stuff and then
eventually that's how it did end up. I was in the same place as him and I was ... because
me and my friends got to know the younger girls from his school and the younger girls from
NAME OF SCHOOL as well which, you know, all these kind of, all the sort of middle-class
teenagers ended up in the same place, basically.
A. And so, I was there with his friends and, you know, I started having these little romances
with his friends and stuff and that really did piss him off and that was what made him really
angry with me to start off with before all this fighting and everythingQ. What, was he jealous?
A. Yeah, I think he did get very jealous because there was nothing he could do about it, it
was nothing to do with him. It's so confusing, I can't even get it straight myself, you know,
what happened when and, you know, when ... At first we used to fight every night when we
were little, then we got to be better friends when he went to live with dad and he came
back to live with us and then I started going to these parties with him. And then we started
fighting again and he didn't want me with him and, you know, even if I was in the same
place as him, he would say to mum, 'Don't let CATHY out because I don't want her to turn
up in the same place as me because if she's there then I'll feel like she's my responsibility',
you know, 'and it's up to me to get her home', and all this stuff. And then my friends
would ... you know, he would introduce us, 'This is my little sister and this is my little sister's
friend', you know. But then my friends would start having some influence on his friends and
I started having some influence on his friends so that really got to him.
Q. Yes, because that made you more independent in a way?
A. Well, yeah.
Q. Cos I mean, you'd got entry into his group through his friends rather than just being his
A. Yeah, right. I suppose you could see it like that, yeah. Anyway, so, and then I met
FRASER which was ... I mean I was beginning to, you know, lose that kind of ... I didn't
idolise him anymore at all and, I can't remember ... I think he had already gone back to live
with my dad when I met FRASER. And then I started going out with my friends a bit more.
As I say, when I went to this club and I met FRASER, it was just me and my friends, it
wasn't anything to do with him or his friends. And I felt ... because the thing was, at first,
my schoolfriends weren't allowed to go out by their parents, weren't allowed to go out and
drink or go to pubs or go out with boys and, you know, it was all very much frowned upon.
So I just had this one friend called ELEANOR and we used to go out together. She went to
NAME OF SCHOOL. We used to go out together and then gradually my friends sort of
caught up and then I was able to do things with them instead of just being with ELEANOR
and, you know, sort of relying on JOE and stuff.
Q. Cos you were allowed to go out and go to pubs and things before your friends?
A. Yeah, I think, and also before they wanted to. I mean, you know ... also, I mean, I used to
go to this squat just in, WEST LONDON, you know that road where it kind of goes ...?
Q. I vaguely know NAME OF ROAD.
A. And do you remember it used to have REDACTED?
A. No? Oh well. Anyway, that was the squat where I used to go and I used to go there with
ELEANOR and my friends used to want to come with me but I didn't used to let them
because I didn't think they could handle it, you know. I didn't think they could come up to
scratch. I thought they might embarrass me or something.
Q. Cos what went on there?
A. Nothing special, I mean, you know, you'd go there, they had ... didn't have electricity, they
had gas. It was all just pictures on the walls and people would sit around their little candles
and play guitars. And there were a couple of people who actually lived there but they
weren't often there and, you know, they didn't care who came in and who did what. So you
would go there and either you would stay there for the evening and have a drink, have a
smoke, have a chat or you would go out, you know, if somebody said, 'Hey, there's a
party', because you would always find out where the parties were because there would
always be somebody there who would say, 'Right let's go and clear everybody out of the
squat and we can all go down to this party together', so that was what it was really. It was
just like a youth club, in a way.
Q. But sort of informally, in a squat?
Q. And was your first introduction to boys, boyfriends, romance, was that through your
brother's friends when you were having those?
A. Oh, I don't know. Yeah, in a way it was but it actually started off with this ... a person who
was a friend of mine before that, 'my boyfriend', who also played these role-playing games.
And so he was like my friend and then he got friends with my brother through these games
and everything and I felt very jealous of that, obviously, because my brother was taking
him away from me so, you know, then that's how it got into all this wrangle about whose
friends are whose and we ended up spending the most of the time together and then,
yeah, I mean, that's where I sort of found out ... They were always talking about wanking
and stuff so, you know, that's how I first started to realise about sex and stuff.
Q. How old were you then?
A. About eleven, twelve. Quite young, I think. I mean, I didn't ... at the time I didn't feel, I
mean I felt very intimidated by it, I have to say. At the time I thought, 'Yeah, this is great. I
know it all', but I was also quite frightened, I think.
Q. What, of sex?
A. Well, yeah. Because it was something so big and I didn't really understand it. It was such
a big deal and, you know.
Q. No, because you've put in the questionnaire ... it sounded as though you'd had a lot of
kind of discussion or education as it were through your parents or your mother or school.
A. Well, I can't actually remember, I mean, I'm sure that must be how I found out and my
mum says, 'Oh yes, well I told you all about everything', and she also had a lot of gay
friends when I was younger, so I found out about that side of it as well. So, I mean, I
didn't ... because I didn't grow up in a situation where there was any kind of taboos about
it, then I didn't realise how I was learning about it. I didn't realise when I was being told
about it because it was just there, you know.
Q. So was it ... ? Do you think it was your parents, family, who sort of educated you most as
it were about sex, rather than people whose education does really depend on what the
A. Yeah, I think my mum, not my dad. I mean, my dad was like ... when I'd done, had my
little sex education in the fourth year of primary school, you know, that says how babies
are made, I burst into the bathroom, 'Dad, how big does your willy get when you get an
erection?' 'Oh, um, um ... about seven inches, I think, I don't know', and that was about as
far as it went but he was never sort of bothered about if I saw him with no clothes on, that
kind of thing.
Q. So they were always very open about bodies and things like that?
A. When you say they were open about it, it sounds like it was a ... they didn't, they weren't
sort of exhibitionist or anything like that, but they were straight with me which I appreciated.
I don't know. I mean obviously I did learn things at school, as well especially about sexually
transmitted diseases which was something they didn't, hadn't, you know ... it was just
something totally alien, you know. I mean I'd just heard VD and I thought, 'Oh right, that's
something to watch out for', but then when I actually found out about different kinds of
diseases and stuff and we watched videos in school, then that was when I really found out
about that. That was in secondary school.
Q. And where did you ... what sort of lessons were they?
A. In science lessons. We had ... we didn't have like separate physics and biology and
chemistry, we just had science. So we did everything all together and sex education was
alright. It wasn't all tittering and stuff. It was ... people were quite serious about it, so it was
alright, but we didn't spend an awful lot of time on it.
Q. Could you ask questions? Was it sort of open enough for that or ...?
A. Yeah, well they ... one time, the first time we actually spoke about it, was in the first year
and the teacher said, 'Well, you can either ask questions now or if you've got questions to
ask then you can just write them down and I'll answer them in the course of the lesson',
you know, without actually referring to anyone in particular which I thought was quite a
Q. That's a good idea, yeah.
A. You just had to sort of write them down and post them.
Q. Pass them to the front.
Q. Cos was yours, I can't remember if you said you were at a mixed school or a single-sex
A. Yeah, it was a mixed school.
Q. So there were boys around?
A. Yeah, but I never really was interested in the ones who were my own age at all. I mean, I
had one little thing which was, 'I'm going out with somebody'. I went round to his house and
had a cup of tea and then I thought, 'Oh no, I don't like this much', so I went home! And
that was it really.
Q. So when was your first kind of reasonably serious ... well, not serious, but enough to
actually have a contemplated sexual relationship?
A. I don't know. I mean, I had this thing with this boy when I was little and it was, you know,
kissing, cuddling, holding hands and then that was it. And then after that I had a few little
escapades with my brother's friends but that was nothing serious and I never really
expected any kind of commitment from them, anyway and they didn't ... obviously I wasn't
prepared to make any commitment to them. And then there was all this kind of going out to
parties and pick on somebody and have a quick snog and a quick grope and then that
would be it, you know - no swapping of phone numbers or anything like that. And then ...
Q. So when you were talking about escapades, do you mean actual sexual escapades or ...?
A. Well, not really, I mean, not ... we didn't actually have sex or anything, but it was just like,
you know ...
Q. But was it sort of groping around?
A. Yeah, that sort of thing - fumbling!
Q. Was it always the boys who did the fumbling?
A. Oh no! I did lots of fumbling! I think actually the first time I had a sexual thing was when I
went on holiday and I had this really dreadful holiday. It was the summer before I met
FRASER and I had gone on holiday with my friend FIONA and her parents, REDACTED have you heard of them?
A. Oh well, anyway, MARIE fancies herself as, you know, some kind of matriarch and as a
real dragon and her dad used to be editor of NEWSPAPER and he's a real intellectual and
not somebody you can communicate with at all and FIONA is ...I don't know, FIONA wasn't
really somebody who I felt I could talk to. She was always a bit ... I don't know, a bit hard not necessarily hard but not really interested. And there was a lot of tension between us
because when we got there her mother said, 'Oh Bruce, we can't share this stupid little
double bed. Let's have the twin beds upstairs.' So I ended up sharing a bed with my friend
for three weeks which was not fun. There was no privacy at all. And then her brother and
his friend, JACK, were going round Europe on the trains and they came down and stayed
with us for a while. So when her brother was there ... he's, you know ... he went to NAME
OF SCHOOL and then went to PRESTIGIOUS UNIVERSITY so, you know, he's so
wonderful and everybody loves MARK and FIONA has to be just like he is. And so it was ...
me and JACK felt totally isolated from this so we just went into the town one day and we
saw a bus so we got on it and we just sort of went off and got absolutely rat-arsed. And
then we came back, and we spent that night together and then after that we just would go
off together just so we could be away from the family. But it wasn't ... I didn't think that
much of him really. I don't think he thought that much of me either, but we just needed
each other because we were so sort of isolated in this place and it was a tiny, tiny little
village. There was nowhere to go. You had to walk ...
Q. Where were you?
A. COUNTRY 2. You had to walk miles to get into the town - a mile and a half or something
and there was no lights on the road, so coming back was pretty dangerous. So anyway,
that was ... and then ..
Q. So was that where you lost your virginity?
A. No, that was just with this guy after a party, you know. Me and my friend ... my friend had
picked up some bloke and we both went back to his house and, you know, that was it. And
the next morning we just ... we went out together somewhere but then we realised it was a
bit silly and, you know, we'd just leave each other alone. So we did. And then after that...
Q. Had you taken precautions?
Q. So you were unprotected?
A. I was unprotected, but I was ... obviously the idea of AIDS did cross my mind but then he
said he was a virgin as well. I didn't know whether to believe him or not but I did and I
didn't really go that far because I realised when it happened, I realised what was
happening so I just kind of pushed him off and rushed down to the toilet just to see if it had
really happened. And then after that I kind of, kept away from him a bit!
Q. Cos you obviously weren't protected for pregnancy?
A. No, so it was a bit stupid. Not something I'd recommend. So that was a bit of a sordid
affair. And then the thing with JACK. I knew that he was going to university in COUNTRY 3
after we got back from this holiday, so I knew that I wouldn't have to ...
Q. What? See him?
A. I wouldn't have to see him or anything. I knew that it would just be, 'that was just a
holiday' and then that would be it, you know. So that was OK. And then he came back, and
I saw him once before he went to COUNTRY 3. That was quite funny actually cos he went
to COUNTRY 3 and he phoned me up a couple of times and he wrote to me and I wrote to
him and then I met FRASER. And then ... and so I thought I'd better write to him and tell
him I'd met FRASER, so I wrote him this letter and I posted it and a couple of days later I
got this letter from him saying, 'It snowed this morning and it reminded me how long ago
summer was and I had a dream about you last night and I miss you so much and ... ' And
I'd just written him this letter saying, you know, that that's it, forget it, so I'm sure he felt
quite embarrassed about that. But anyway, it didn't really bother me because I didn't really
feel anything for him anyway.
Q. But had you ... just thinking about protection again, had that occurred to you with JACK?
A. With JACK? Oh yeah, yeah. I mean, we used condoms so that was alright. Safe sex.
Q. But do you get to kind of discuss that, you know, the kind of almost mechanics of
developing a relationship? Did things like that for you or just with him get talked about
before anything happened?
A. Well no, I think we both just assumed that that was what we were doing and that was it. I
mean, with ... with FRASER. Cos the thing was, I mean, I didn't really have that much
experience of relationships before I met FRASER, I mean, sex, alright, I knew what it was
about, but actually having a long-term thing there was only JACK, and that was just a
couple of weeks and before that, you know, it had just been these one night flings. So, you
know, I didn't really know what to do so, with FRASER, basically we were using condoms
for the first few months and then I went on the pill for a while which I didn't ... you know, I
kept forgetting to take them and stuff, so I didn't really like that all that much. And then we
went back to using condoms but I'm thinking about going on the pill again soon because I
get really painful periods, so I thought, kill two birds with one stone. And I know he ... I was
a bit worried about ... cos he's had quite a lot of experience with other girls and he had
another relationship before me with this girl who he was with for eight months and then
before that ... cos I knew he'd lived in SOUTH WEST ENGLAND on his own in his dad's
house and he used ... he was living on the dole and smoking a lot of dope and he was
living with this guy who injected and he slept with a girl who was going out with this guy or
something. Or who had had some kind of scene with this guy who was injecting, so I’ve
worried about going on the pill and not using condoms, so he went to the doctor and asked
if thought he should have a blood test -actually it was a woman doctor, I think- and she
said no, because of all the implications of once you've had the test. You know, it's
assumed you're high risk to have actually bothered to have the test, so it's hard to get work
and to get insurance and stuff. It kind of puts a different light on your whole life. So he
didn't have the test but I don't think there's much chance that he has it.
Q. So if you go back on the pill would you use condoms as well?
A. No, no I wouldn't use condoms. I mean, we didn't last time I was on the pill.
Q. And what do you normally do together, you and FRASER, I mean where do you go
A. Well, we used to go out with my friends sometimes. We used to go to parties and stuff but
because of his age ... because of the age difference he really couldn't handle it and his
friends didn't get on with my friends, so that didn't really work. So then after that we just
stayed in and watched TV mostly, but we go out and ... I don't know. We don't go out very
often, partly because we can't afford it, and partly because we just prefer to stay in, I think.
I mean, we go out and I get leered at by blokes and he gets really annoyed about it and,
you know, it seems wherever you go you can't get away from these stupid, crude people
who think they're in a meat-market or something. So, um, I don't know ... sometimes we
get stoned and smoke some dope but apart from that we don't ... I mean, I've been making
a few new friends at the sixth form. AMELIA is a good friend of mine and she's going out
with someone who's a lot older than her as well. She got this big relationship with this
medical student who's twenty-two, I think. So we see them, you know. I can talk to AMELIA
and FRASER can talk to STEVE, so that's good and we just ... I mean, they're not into
smoking dope very much but they're prepared to, you know, have a good drink and have a
laugh so that's alright, that's quite good fun. But, I mean, I've only just started being friends
with her, so I don't know what's going to happen in the future with that. That seems like
quite good fun, anyway, doing that. Apart from that, there's a friend of mine called
ELEANOR who I told you about, that had a lot of problems. Her parents have been getting
divorced. They've just got divorced and they actually began to get divorced when she met
me cos I ... you know, it was a very bad relationship between her parents and she kept ...
you know, she'd phone me up and say, 'Look, you've got to come over now', and she'd be
crying and everything and her parents would be arguing and her dad would be hitting them
or whatever. And her mum came round one day to see my mum, cos my mum knows
about law and stuff, and my mum told her to get a divorce so that's when she actually
started to do it. And then it's only just come through recently, so she's needed a lot of
support, so we've seen her quite a lot. And also, another friend who was a friend of a friend
of my brother's - his name's LUCAS. He was actually quite good friends with my brother
and then he would come round and he would spend a lot of time with me as well so that
was another thing with my brother, but he eventually decided that I was the person to be
with and JOE was full of shit. Cos JOE would really take advantage of him because he
always had a lot of money so he would always be buying them booze or buying the drugs
or whatever, you know, and LUCAS didn't really like that. And JOE is a very selfish person
- I find - not a generous person at all so ...We were seeing quite a lot of LUCAS as well and
then ... LUCAS was going out with another friend of mine called ELEANOR who was the
friend who would come round when we were playing games with JOE and stuff and she
ended up going out with LUCAS. And then they went out for about a year, but she wasn't
very serious about it. I think she just wanted somebody to go out with. You know, she just
wanted somebody to buy her presents and tell her how wonderful she was. And then she
met this other guy called JUSTIN who she was seeing for about two months. She was
spending more time with him than she was with LUCAS. Although it wasn't anything
sexual, they were very close, and LUCAS was very cross about it. And so, LUCAS always
phones me up and tells me his problems so we... ELEANOR's got problems, LUCAS's got
problems, you know, get them together and then they don't ...
Q. Talk about them.
A. They can run to each other. I mean, before we'd already tried to get ELEANOR together
with a friend of FRASER's who we thought she would really like and we thought they would
really get on. So we made this big dinner and we invited them both over and they ended up
spending the night together and then the next morning he just went off, you know. And we
all felt really bad about that, especially me and FRASER because we realised that we'd put
her into this situation, although she had a choice, she could have slept upstairs. It's not as
if there's any shortage of bedrooms in the house or anything. But anyway ... but then she
started going out with LUCAS so that was alright, but I don't know if they're really right for
each other. And LUCAS ... ELEANOR phoned me up not so long ago and said, 'Oh God,
LUCAS's got so many problems, let me tell you about them'.
Q. It's not what you'd planned at all.
A. Yeah, right. Anyway, but ...
Q. Are many of your women ... girlfriends having sexual relationships as well?
A. I don't know. I mean, the thing was, I had this group of friends who I was with at NAME
OF SCHOOL who I used to hang around with. We used to go to the parties together and
stuff, seven of us there were, christened the handbag gang by somebody who I hope will
burn in hell.
A. Because one of us had a handbag, that's why. FIONA had a bloody handbag. Anyway,
and they were beginning to get on my nerves because they were very superficial, I
thought, and they were feuding over boys and I don't know, just a general kind of naive
attitudes, superficial attitudes which I really didn't like. There were these boys in the third
year who LYDIA would talk to and I wouldn't even give them the time of day. I thought,
'Bloody hell! Third years! Why the hell's she talking to them?' and they would come up
behind her and grab her arse and call her a slut and stuff and she would still talk to them.
So, you know, this kind of thing really pissed me off. And then I started going out with
FRASER so I started spending less time with them and then once I was spending less time
with them, when I came back into a situation it was very different for me because I had this
outside view and, you know, I could look at it much more objectively. So then I realised ...
what was the question?
Q. It was about your friends having sexual relationships.
A. Yeah, so then I realised that, you know, maybe that they weren't quite the people who I
should have been being friends with. And then they went off on this holiday to EUROPEAN
COUNTRY which we had planned for years and years. You know, 'When we've done our
exams we're all going to go on holiday without our parents. It'll be so good'. But I didn't go
because I didn't want to leave FRASER. I wanted to go on holiday with FRASER and they
met up with these boys from south London who now ... NATALIE has been going out with
one of them since this holiday, so I think ... that is a sexual thing, I think. That's been going
on for nearly a year now, or no, more than that. I don't know. No, it must be about a year.
LINDSEY is going out with one of them. I think that is a sexual thing. I know it was with
EMILY and LUCAS, the people I was just talking about. ELEANOR’s ... ELEANOR's a bit of
a strange case because she was very much into sort of sex and stuff before I was ... into
having sort of actual intercourse, whereas I was still a bit, you know, wary of that. And
then, because of her parents and everything, she ended up getting into religion, so now
she's a born-again virgin as I like to put it. So, she doesn't have sex with LUCAS. I don't
know how he sort of handles that, but anyway ...
Q. He's not become a born-again virgin too?
A. No, I know he has actually been to church with her which is quite good but ... he's a very
sort of sexy person, you know, and he's sort of told us how important it was to him. You
know, when he wasn't having sex with EMILY, how terrible it was for him. Because she
was so ... I don't know if they weren't having sex, but she was being very offish with him
just before they split up. So, I can't really think of anyone else. LYDIA, yes, I think she's
having a long-term thing. EMILY, no - EMILY is always a bit of a, you know, 'take me if you
want me', sort of thing, which ... that attitude I didn't like at all. And she hasn't managed to
squeeze a commitment out of anybody yet.
Q. Is it kind of expected to have a sexual relationship? Is there any sort of pressure that ...
do you know what I mean? Like, almost a social pressure that you should be having sexual
relationship with a boyfriend.
A. I think, yeah. I think it is kind of expected. I don't think there's any pressure. I just think it is
the norm if you've been going out with somebody for quite a long time then you will be
having sex with them. Like LYDIA was going out with this boy called JOHN who ... not for
very long ...but he was a virgin and I think he still is a virgin so I think there is quite a lot
of ... particularly because he's a boy ... there's quite a lot of stigma attached to that. And he
got very cross because she didn't want to have sex with him. But, you know, it wasn't a big
deal or anything. It was just, 'Ha ha! Don't you think I look stupid?'
Q. No, cos there's sometimes the point at which, kind of whether... well, I don't know whether
you've found it at all, whether there is a point at which kind of sex seems to be the next
A. Yeah, yeah, I know what you mean. I think that is true. I think that ... I mean, I think that
most people, when they start going out with somebody at this age, then they will express
their affection for them eventually. Whether sooner or later, it's up to them. But it is a sort
of stage that you're bound to go on to or that people think they're going to go on to, don't
they? I mean because I've had this thing with FRASER, I've been totally out of touch with
the sort of going out, going to parties, going to pubs, because I just haven't wanted it, you
know. It's just so tacky and so superficial - it never really appealed to me all that much,
except when I was a lot younger, when I was too young to do it, anyway. And now, I mean,
I'm still not old enough to be doing it but I feel as if I've grown out of it already.
Q. Cos how long did it take before you and FRASER decided to actually sleep together?
A. Not very long actually. About two or three weeks all in all we'd been together. But I think
that was because we both felt very comfortable with each other and we both realized that
we had made a commitment already. And I ... you know, we didn't expect to be going off
with other people or anything, so I mean it was basically by the time we'd realised how
much we felt for each other. Then when we decided we would - the fact that it didn't take
that long, I don't think is because we didn't think about it. It's just that because, you know,
because we got on so well that's why it happened so soon.
Q. How important a part of your relationship is it?
A. I don't think it is that important really cos we do ... when we argue and stuff or when we're
going through a bad time or... We went to stay with his mum in COUNTRY 2 and we were
decorating her house and it was really bad. I hate ... it sounds really stupid but their house
is opposite this convent and it seems to have ... well, you know how they say all the evil
souls are drawn towards convents and everything and it's supposed to be a place which
draws evil to it, it's a kind of good place so ... There was a very bad feeling in the house,
and I felt very depressed there and FRASER did as well, because his parents got divorced
when he was sixteen and both his sisters had left home by that time. They went to
COUNTRY 2 when he was eight and his father had already had an affair with his secretary
and then he began to have another affair after HELEN, his mum, had taken the children
there. So he, I mean, he was very ... in a way I think he was a bit nervous about making a
commitment to me but anyway ... when we were there ... and also his mother was taking
this speed because in COUNTRY 2 they still prescribe it as a diuretic or whatever, to make
you lose weight. So she was doing two grams of speed a day and splitting up with her
husband as well, so he had ... and she just flipped out and so he had to pull her through it.
So when we were there we didn't have sex very much at all because we were both very
depressed and strung up. But then it depends ... he does, he gets ... sometimes I don't
want to and he does and he gets cross with me and I say to him, 'Is it that important to
you?' and he goes, 'No, no, god, don't take it like that'. I don't think he wants it to be that
important and I don't want it to be either. You know, it's good, there's nothing wrong with it
but there are other things you do, you know, which are equally important.
Q. And do you get pleasure from it?
A. Oh yeah! Yeah, no I mean, it was ... obviously at first, I was a bit nervous and wasn't very
relaxed about it but, I mean, yeah, we have a nice time.
Q. And with your ... like when you first started sleeping with him or maybe other boyfriends,
I'm not sure, what was your mother's attitude towards all that?
A. Well I didn't actually tell her until I'd had this thing with JACK, and you know, I'd lost my
virginity and everything and until I'd actually started going out with FRASER. The first time
that I stayed at his house I came in and I said, 'Well look, I'm going down to WEST
LONDON, I'm going to see this band' and she turned round to me and said, 'So are you
staying with FRASER then?' and, you know, I just said, 'Yes' because that was what I'd
planned to do. FRASER was a bit shocked actually when it came to leaving this place and
he said, 'Right, I'll take you home now' and I said, 'Oh no, I'm staying the night'. And he
said, 'No, no, don't be silly, I'll take you home' and I said, 'No, I've already told my mum I'm
staying the night with you.' I'd thought it was a foregone conclusion but obviously he hadn't.
But anyway, she was perfectly alright about it. My dad, on the other hand, was not. He ... I
hadn't told him I was going out with FRASER because I had a friend who lived in COUNTY
who I was really close to who was a year older than me. When she was fifteen, she was
going out with somebody who was twenty-one and my dad wouldn't take me down to see
her anymore because he thought that she was a bad influence on me with this grown-up
boyfriend and he really hated this grown-up boyfriend. And they were sleeping in the same
room as me and stuff and he thought that it was terrible that they were in the same bed in
the same room as me. And, you know, such a bad influence and so on, so I didn't tell him
about it. And then my mum told a friend of hers and her friend was someone who used to
live with my dad, so she told him, she really put the boot in and then ... So I thought I'd
better go round and take FRASER round there. Cos he thought he should have been
consulted about me going on the pill because it was before I was sixteen but obviously,
you know, if he doesn't have anything to do with my life, I mean, he's obviously not going
to know what's in my best interests so, you know, no reason he should be consulted. So, I
thought I'd better take FRASER round there and show that I didn't have anything to hide.
And there was also this very long stupid story about ... FRASER and I had an argument
one time in a club because LUCAS's lighter had exploded in EMILY's face and burnt all her
eyelashes and eyebrows and everything, so I took her into the toilet to get her cleaned up
and left FRASER outside. We were in there for about twenty minutes and I came out and
he started freaking out because he thought I'd been off flirting with other blokes or
something. And also, because he was very insecure, I mean, actually quite paranoid about
going out of the house when he lived in COUNTRY 2. He didn't leave the house for about
three months at one time. And it also happened to his sister as well and somebody else I
know who lives in COUNTRY 2. I think it's just something about COUNTRY 2 - very hostile
people. Anyway, so we had to leave and we got on this bus and we went down ... it was a
night bus to go back to his house ... and I was absolutely dying for a piss but he'd said,
'Right, I'm going', so I'd just followed him out obviously. And he'd said, 'Oh, I've got to get
off this bus', and we were in the middle of SOUTH EAST LONDON and so I said, 'OK, fine',
and so we got off this bus. And the first thing he did was went and had a piss and it was in
the middle of November or something, it was freezing cold and I thought, 'I'm not taking my
trousers down', you know, 'I'm not going to piss here'. So I said, 'Well, let's walk to the next
bus-stop to keep warm', so we walked for about twenty minutes not saying anything. And
then ... and that was before my exams as well, before my mocks, I think ... and, I can't
remember it now, but it was some big deal - I had a lot of work to do. So we walked and
then he said, 'Oh, we're going the wrong way', so we had to go back to the bus-stop where
we were before and then we just had a screaming row and then I walked off. I just thought
I'd let him suffer a bit. So I went round the corner and I'd given him my money to pay the
bus fare with. So I went off round the corner and I came back and he was gone. And there
was nobody around at all. And I'd been into this gas station to ask to use the toilet and the
man had said no, he didn't have a toilet, so that was the only place I could go so I went
there and, you know, he was really nice to me. He gave me a packet of cigarettes and let
me use the phone and everything. So I phoned my mum and my mum was out at a party. I
thought, 'The only thing I can do is phone my dad and my dad doesn't know that I'm going
out with this man' and 'Oh God!'. So I phoned up and luckily my dad was away sailing and
his girlfriend answered and I said, 'Look, I'll get a taxi to your house and you can pay' and
she said, 'Yeah, yeah, alright.' And then I phoned FRASER and FRASER said that he
thought I'd got a taxi and gone home, and he'd phoned my house. My mum had answered
the phone and he had said, 'Oh, is CATHY there?' and mum said, 'No, why isn't she with
you?', so she started freaking out. And he realised obviously that I wasn't at his house so I
ended up getting a taxi back there so I phoned MELANIE up and said, 'I won't be coming
to your house, but will you not tell my dad.' She said, 'Alright, I won't tell your dad, as long
as you explain to me what's happened.' So anyway, I was taking FRASER round to show
my dad, introduce him, and we were just about to leave and I'm obviously assuming that
MELANIE has told him because he's found out and I haven't explained the situation to
MELANIE so I thought she'd have every right to tell him if she wanted to because I had
made a deal with her and I hadn't kept my side of it. And so, we were just about to walk out
of the door and he said, 'Oh, and by the way, MELANIE didn't tell me.' I mean, FRASER's
there and I'm there and he's just made this totally cryptic comment and, you know, just
thrown it in my face and I said, 'Well no, I know it was LISA' -that was my mum's friend'and it was nothing to do with her', and all this stuff. And he said, 'Oh yes well, I don't think
you can call LISA those names' and so ... and then after that I never really talked to him
about it. And then there was LISA's daughter, VICTORIA, who was fifteen. LISA had a
baby and moved in with this other guy and my dad made her do this degree. And so,
because she had known him when she was sixteen or seventeen and then got divorced
and then she had this relationship with my dad. And my dad made her do a degree and
she got a first and she did really well and so she kicked my dad out and she got this other
guy in who VICTORIA really liked and then she kicked him out as well. And then she
ended up with this guy called GARY and she had a baby with him. VICTORIA really hated
him, but she moved him in anyway and VICTORIA was fourteen at the time and so
VICTORIA spent all her time going to this youth-club and ended up getting involved with
these … club it was. I don't know if you've seen them around - big gang of blacks who just
go around terrorising ...
Q. No, but I've heard a bit about them.
A. Well, anyway, they ... she ended up with them and then she got herself pregnant and
she's now just had this baby, but I haven't seen it. She had it about three months ago, I
think, when she was just sixteen. And that meant me and my dad came to blows over that
as well because I was on VICTORIA's side and he was on LISA's side cos I think he's still
in love with her, but anyway ... So since then really me and my dad haven't been that close
cos we used to be very close when we used to go and stay with them and, you know, I felt
I could talk to him more than I could talk to mum about some things, like my school things
and stuff, because my mum was obviously very busy because she's working and also
having JOE to look after. And then after that me and my dad weren't so close but then, just
recently, we've sort of managed to get things back together cos he's obviously realised that
FRASER's alright and that, you know, I'm managing perfectly well because I got good
grades in my exams and stuff. He can get on alright with this man of my boyfriend.
Q. Yeah, it's often the case that fathers or fathers and mothers freak out at the ideas of
fifteen, sixteen-year old’s having a relationship with over twenty-year old’s.
A. Yeah. Well, especially, I mean, because of the age gap, he probably thought I was trying
to impress him.
Q. And what, that they'd take advantage of you?
A. Yeah. But, I mean, he's realised that FRASER wouldn't do that anyway.
Q. Which relationships is your life is the most important at the moment?
A. I think my relationship with FRASER, really. To be honest, I can't really say that it's my
relationship with my mum or my dad because, really, they're just instrumental now. I hate
to say it but, you know, I'm gonna get out as soon as I can. I especially don't want to have
to live with my brother again.
Q. Yes, especially if your mother is involved with the person she is involved with.
Q. Kind of moved into her own relationship.
A. She doesn't need me so much now, so I don't feel that obligation to her anymore.
Q. What do you think will happen to you in the next few years in terms of sort of education
A. I don't know. As I wrote on the thing, I would like to do a degree.
Q. What in?
A. Well, I wanna do English, I want to write really. Either write novels is what I'd really like to
do but I know that's going to be a while before I can afford to, you know, spend all my time
researching novels and I've gotta have something to live on first so, I don't know, I'll do a
degree and just get some job or other to keep me going and then hopefully get into writing.
But, I mean, once I've got a degree, I know, because of the ageing population and
everything, that people are going to want young people with degrees, so I shouldn't have
too much trouble getting a job, please God! And then I would like to move in with FRASER
and he wants to do an MA. He's doing his BA at the moment. He wants to do an MA and
Q. In London?
A. Yeah, I think he wants to go to LSE or somewhere like that.
Q. Cos what's his subject?
Q. Yeah, LSE, makes sense!
A. He actually wanted to do Politics. He wanted to go to CITY, but he didn't go to CITY
because he was ill for his A' levels and they didn't let him sit them again or anything. They
just gave him proper grades so he ended up going to Ealing because it was the only place,
the only course he could get onto which was anywhere near what he wanted to do which
was Political Science and he ended up doing Economics at NAME OF COLLEGE. Wanting
to go to NAME OF UNIVERSITY and ending up at NAME OF COLLEGE! Anyway, but, I
mean, it's quite lucky really because then he met me.
Q. Right. So where would you move into? A flat of your own?
A. Well, yeah. FRASER's mum is going to buy a flat where he can live and where she can
stay when she comes to London, so I'll probably move in there.
Q. What, as soon as possible or after you finish?
A. Well, I don't know. I mean you saw the flat where I'm living now, I mean, it's such a great
flat. I really love it.
Q. It's a lovely area, position and airiness - all that light.
A. Yeah and you look out over the fields and everything and it used to be really slummy but
my mum ... when we moved in there it was at a time when the council was throwing money
at people, throwing grants at people, so she set up a co-op - just that one block and bought
the building from the landlords. And, you know, made it like it is now - you know, nicely
painted and everything, and got all the walls knocked down and done up and everything.
And, you know, people designed their own flats and had them how they wanted them, so
she did a lot. So I would really like to stay there if I could but that might ... I mean, maybe if
she moves out ... I don't even know if I'll get the tenancy when she moves out because I'm
not eighteen. But if she wanted to move out and move in with ANDY, maybe me and
FRASER could live there, but then that would mean if my dad left London then my brother
would have to come and live there as well, so, you know, I mean ... But I really would like
to live there with FRASER, that's what I really would like to do ideally. But, I don't know,
maybe it would be better to actually break away from the Islington clique and go
somewhere else with FRASER and get away from the family. But then I'm worried about
what I'm going to do for money because obviously you can't be financially independent and
I won't ... with all these things about giving people money when they don't live with their
parents when they're under eighteen, you can't actually get a lot of money to live so I don't
know what I'm going to do. I don't know if my dad will be willing to support me when I could
be living with mum and JOE or whatever. I really don't know what's going to happen where I'm going to be living.
Q. And do you ... what do you think of sort of marriage and children?
A. Well, I would like to have children because I just think that's something you have to do something that's worth experiencing - but I don't know about getting married. I mean,
FRASER wants to get married but he doesn't want to get married in a church. But, you
know, what's the point of getting married if you're not going to do it in a church? I mean,
there's no point in having a religious ceremony not in a church cos that's what it really
comes down to. And he said, 'Oh well, there's children. You don't want them to be
bastards. You don't want them to be teased at school', you know. But I don't know what's
going to happen, really. We may get married, we may not. I don't think it really matters at
the moment. His sister's getting married. She met this bloke and she'd known him for four
months or something and they decided to get married or engaged. He's six years younger
than her - this is another thing - he's six years younger than her, I'm six years younger than
FRASER and FRASER's mum said that he's too young for her, but I'm not too young for
FRASER. It's a bit of ... I don't know, hypocrisy or what. Or maybe she just thinks I'm
incredibly mature. But ... she, I mean, I get on really well with her, anyway. But I don't know
about getting married. I get on with his dad as well, so if we did want to get married, I don't
think there would be any objections from either of them.
Q. And have you ever felt like kind of having a relationship with anyone else or are you
A. No. I mean, obviously I do feel sometimes that the difference in our ages does make it a
bit difficult for us because, you know, our views don't necessarily coincide over everything,
but then ... and he does sometimes get jealous when I talk about, you know, boys at the
sixth form and stuff - these people who I always slag off, who I always argue with, you
know, those awful middle-class boys who say they want to have a revolution. But they
don't ... they don't really appeal to me anyway, so ...
Q. You were saying that one of the things that you do is to actually get stoned?
Q. Do you ... I mean, is that ... do you have any other drugs as well or is it ...?
A. Oh, no. No, no. Because this is a thing with my mum because my parents smoke dope as
well. My dad's tee-total - he doesn't drink, so he just has a smoke every now and then as a
sort of alternative. My mum needs it, I think, because she's so bloody hyper-active. She
needs to have a relax. But she always said to me, 'If anybody offers you anything else, just
come to me and I'll give you some dope because I don't want you taking anything else'.
And I never have taken anything else. I mean, I've taken magic mushrooms but never
anything... I mean, I took half a tab of acid once when I was at Glastonbury but that was
just like a piece of paper, it wasn't ...
Q. And did that ...?
A. No. But, I mean, apart from that I've never really wanted to do anything else. Because I
don't actually like drinking that much, so I prefer to just get stoned instead.
Q. Do you feel that you're a person who takes risks at all?
A. Um, what do you mean by taking risks?
Q. I suppose in terms of ... well, in general terms, there are things like ... well, I suppose
smoking cigarettes to some extent is a risk.
A. Yeah, we're gonna definitely give up because this ... I mean, FRASER has smoked
between thirty and forty a day since he was fourteen so ... but we are going to give up but,
you know, I don't think the time to give up is when you've got the most stress on. Because
at the moment I've got more problems in my life than I've ever had before, I think, so I think
once we know where we're going to live - that's the main thing -then we can sort out our
mental state a bit more and then we're both going to give up smoking. But for him I know
it's going to be really hard cos he's such an addict. But taking risks ... I do, I do feel like I
take risks in terms of like the other day me and my friend, me and AMELIA went round to
have a drink with WILL and we went out to the off-license and there were these two guys
at the bus-stop and AMELIA was wearing this little short skirt, and we came out and they
were like right up close to us and they were going, 'Hello darling', and I was going, 'Up
yours'. And so, they started making crude comments like, 'Do you give head?' and stuff like
that, and so I turned round and said, 'Not to you'. And they said, 'Oh, we don't like you. We
like the one with the long hair and the short skirt', so I put my arm round her and I said,
'Well, she doesn't like you. She's with me'. But when I'm in situations like that I will talk
back to people, even if they are ... look like they could be violent or whatever. But I
wouldn't ... I wouldn't take risks ... I mean, if I was ... if I didn't know that the house was just
round the corner and if they'd come up behind us then I could have just shouted FRASER
and he would have run out the door. I wouldn't have done it ...
Q. You wouldn't do it on a remote lonely street?
A. No, I wouldn't, but when it comes to being leered at and sort of sexist comments, then I
will always answer back, I think. You know, whatever ... even if I'm going to get spat on or
whatever. I don't mind that sort of thing. With people in general I will ... I don't think I take
risks necessarily, but I say what I think. I don't ... people say, 'Oh, you're so tactless', and,
you know, 'You don't care about people's feelings' and stuff, but it's not that, it's just that I
try and be frank with people. Which I suppose in a way is taking risks because you can
upset people and you can make enemies that way, but it doesn't really frighten me.
Q. And have you ever taken risks in terms of things like pregnancy, VD, AIDS?
A. No, apart from this one time when I lost my virginity – that was it really. But that ... I mean,
once it was in it was straight out again, I mean that was it. And then after that I was
keeping my legs firmly closed. But, no, I don't think that sex is such a big deal that it's
worth taking risks for. I mean, other things I will take risks with that I don't with sex. It isn't
very important to me.
Q. Cos some people who theoretically wouldn't ... or think they wouldn't take risks
sometimes do in terms of just getting smashed and, you know, ending up with somebody
at a party or something like that.
A. That's what happened with a friend of mine, EMILY, the girl I told you about. We went out
around Christmas and she said, 'Oh, I'm not feeling very well cos I just took the morningafter pill cos I had sex with this guy and, you know, we didn't use anything'. But that, that
sort of thing ... I wouldn't do that at all. But I think she fancies herself as a bit of a
dangerous person anyway when it comes to that kind of thing. No, I mean, with my mum I
wonder how much she thinks about it. I mean, I say to her, I do say to her, 'Are you using
condoms?' and stuff like this and she says, 'Oh yes, of course. We wouldn't take any risks',
blah, blah, but I don't know her relationship at the moment, I don't know what she's using.
But I don't think she would be taking a risk anyway with this guy. You know, he was
married and totally monogamous for twenty-five years, so I don't think he's very likely to
have anything nasty.
Q. Yeah, because AIDS isn't necessarily a respecter of age. I mean, it's not just the young
people who are at risk, it's ...
A. No, well, that's what I think. I mean, especially when she was having this casual thing with
this guy who I didn't like, that did worry me because I thought, you know, if he's just coming
here to have sex with my mum then where else is he going to have sex? I mean, you here
about these men who go to prostitutes regularly because they can't have sex with their
wives or girlfriends or whatever so, you know ... But I think she was quite careful about
that. I hope she was, anyway.
Q. Have you got any friends who you think might be at risk?
A. Well, yeah. I think EMILY ... as I say, she does worry me a lot. I mean, it's not only that. I
think she's going to get hurt emotionally as well because, you know, she thinks she's using
all these men but really, they're using her and it's such a stupid situation. But, I mean, I
can't ... nobody really springs to mind. I mean, anybody who I have known in the past like
the people who used to go to the squat who ended up injecting or whatever, have not been
people who I have stayed friends with anyway. So I don't really know anybody who would
be high risk category.
Q. Was it something that you and your friends ever talked about?
A. Well not really, because at the time when I was closest to them, I was ... we weren't
really ... we hadn't really got to that stage, so it wasn't really something we talked about.
Q. Cos where did you hear about it?
A. What? AIDS?
A. Just through all the stuff on TV and stuff. And then actually I went on a school holiday to
EUROPEAN COUNTRY 2 where we had to go and stay with families. And the family I
stayed with ... I was ... it was a stupid situation actually cos I was, I thought I'd be staying
with a friend in a family and I knew this friend I was going with spoke fluent LANGUAGE so
I thought, 'Oh, it'll be fine. It'll be all right. I won't have to speak any LANGUAGE' or
anything. And then when we actually got to the place, they told us we were going to be split
up. I was absolutely terrified. And we went into these families and the son of the family I
was staying with was nineteen, I think, and he was ... he spoke English which was good.
But he was gay, and he was waiting for the result of his test which I never actually found
out cos I didn't keep in touch but ... I mean, I suppose he could have been at risk although
he did have a steady boyfriend and he'd only had one boyfriend. But I think their
relationship was a bit precarious anyway. I think this boyfriend might have been seeing
other people or something. But that's about the closest I've been. And also, my mum used
to ... as I said, my mum used to have all these gay friends when I was younger, and we
saw ... we stopped seeing them because she kind of got out of that scene and then ...
Q. Was she in that scene?
A. Well, I don't know. I don't actually know if she ... I know my dad had a gay thing for a while
which I didn't know about at the time but was quite funny when I found out that these two
guys who were his lodgers at the time, he was actually having affairs with both of them or
whatever. I don't know, anyway. I don't know if my mum ever had anything with other
women but one of her friends turned up to see someone who used to live with her
boyfriend when she was going out with a guy who lived in the flat so ... and it was him
because he was a writer. He wrote plays and he was involved with Gay Sweatshop and
lesbian theatre companies and stuff and we saw this guy and he just looked terrible, you
know, this gay guy, and he said that he'd come to stay and to escape from it all for a while
because his friends were dying.
Q. But he was alright?
A. Yeah, he was OK because ... I don't know about what he's doing now or where he's gone.
I think he might have gone to COUNTRY 3 or something like that, I seem to remember
hearing something like that, that he'd just bottled out and run off somewhere. I don't blame
him for it, really.
Q. Did it ... what did you think about your parents or your father having a gay relationship or
your mother if she had?
A. I don't know. I mean, it was really funny when I found out about my dad because I'd
always, you know, thought ...because he's very camp. He went to PRESTIGIOUS
UNIVERSITY and everything and went to prep school and did the whole thing, you know.
And so, he's ... I think there were obviously that kind of spanking in the dormitory sort of
thing. And he's very camp and he sort of, you know, flounces around. When we used to
play soldiers, our horses used to mince - we used to make them mince but we didn't
actually know what mincing was but that's what they used to do, anyway. So then ... and
FRASER, the first thing he said when he was introduced ... because the boiler had broken
down and my dad said, 'Oh, we'll have to call a man in'. And FRASER just had hysterics
over that. It sounded so camp. It hadn't really occurred to me so straightforwardly before
and, you know, when I found out about it all ... I mean, it wasn't anything I didn't expect of
him. But FRASER's always suspected his dad of being a closet homosexual because he's
such a ... he has to have all these affairs and everything and has to make such a big deal
out of his masculinity and his sexuality as if he's got something to hide. But I mean, that's
not ... FRASER's dad isn't a very open person, anyway.
Q. You couldn't talk about it?
A. No. I mean, FRASER's a bit prudish as well, I mean, if you can put it like that. Cos his
family weren't very open about sex and stuff.
Q. But did you and your mother talk about sex and stuff? I mean, I know you said you didn't
really tell ...
A. Well no.
Q. Did she know you were going on the pill?
A. Yeah, she knew that, and she was pleased, I think, that I had told her. But, I don't know, I
mean, when there was anything to talk about, yes, we have talked about it, but it's not
something which I feel I need to talk to her about. So yeah, we have talked about it, but not
to a great extent. I remember she said when she started going out with ANDY, he'd wake
her up at six o'clock in the morning and they'd have sex in the morning and then they'd
have sex in the evening and she was saying, 'I can't take this blowing the candle at both
ends. It's like being on a honeymoon and working as well'. It was silly. But ...
Q. And does that embarrass you or do you just think it's part of general conversation?
A. It doesn't embarrass me. It pisses me off when we're trying to get to sleep and they're
grunting and groaning next door. It doesn't really embarrass me, no.
Q. No, I meant more the kind of discussion of it.
A. Oh, no because, as I say, we don't discuss it that much so ... I think ... Go on, you go on.
Q. I was going to say, if you had to, for any reason, contemplate other relationships, say if
something happened between you and FRASER at some time, I mean, do you think with
the AIDS thing and all that, you have become aware of that or is it just something that has
got a bit passe?
A. No, I think ... I mean, one of FRASER's friends said that the only reason that he stayed in
his relationship was because he didn't want to get AIDS. That was the reason why he
stayed with his girlfriend! But I think that has been one of the considerations when I was
forming my relationship with FRASER. I thought, 'Well this is a good thing to have a stable,
monogamous relationship because of ... you know, I don't want to have to keep on
swapping from one person to another'. So I think I will definitely think about it a lot if I was
seeing somebody else, yeah.
Q. What sort of person would you describe yourself as if you had to?
A. Good question. I don't know. I really don't know. I like to feel like I've got my ideas
straight. I sort of know what I'm doing in my life at the moment, even though it isn't going all
that well. And I like to feel like my other friends can come to me and talk to me about their
problems or if they have problems I feel like I am in a position to give advice because I
have got quite a stable relationship and I have been, I don't know, I think I've done quite a
lot in my life, I've had quite a lot of experience in my life in different things. Well, there's my
brother and everything ... so I've learned quite a lot about relationships, I think. I mean,
probably in a few years time, I'll think, 'Fuck, what was I talking about then? I don't have a
clue'. But that's how I like to think of myself, anyway.
Q. And just going back to AIDS for a minute, do you feel that you know all there is to know
about the actual disease itself? You know, there's obviously grades - there's people who
just know there is AIDS and it kills people and there's sort of loads of things about actually
how the organism works.
A. Well, I know, I think I know just about everything ... I think I've remembered just about
everything I've been told, put it that way. I mean, I know how it's transmitted and I know it
can't live outside the body for more than twenty minutes or it can't live for a long time, so if
you're sharing somebody's toothbrush then you haven't got an awful lot to worry about.
That sort of thing. I don't know. I mean, I think I am quite aware of it, yeah. It does annoy
me when I hear of things like people in, you know, people who organise funerals and stuff,
who refuse to handle bodies which have been infected with the virus because I know there
isn't any risk from that. And when people say, 'It's a gay plague' and all that crap, that
really does annoy me because I know enough to be able to know that that isn't the case.
But I don't think I know everything there is to know about it, obviously. I don't know how the
actual disease progresses once the virus sets in. I don't know that kind of thing.
Q. And what about things like, kind of, safe sex?
A. I mean, I know that it's safer to use a condom ... to use ...or a condom and a cap if you're
going to be really careful about it. But oral sex, I don't really know, because people say,
'Well, you know, if you have your period then you're going to be bleeding or if you've got
gum disease then you're going to be bleeding', so I don't know, obviously there are risks in
that. I don't know. I'm not really sure. I wouldn't take that risk.
Q. What you wouldn't ... when you've got your period or ... you wouldn't have oral sex
A. Yeah. I wouldn't have oral sex without knowing about the other person. I mean, I would
think about, you know, 'Are my gums bleeding?' or take that into account.
Q. I suppose oral sex and anal sex as well.
A. Anal sex, yeah, well that, you know ... I can't say I'm really into that, but I know that when
you have anal sex then you do bleed because your bum's very delicate, so I can see that
would be a very definite way to transfer it. I mean, if you wanted to give somebody AIDS, I
would think that would probably be the most effective way of doing it.
Q. I mean, do you and FRASER sort of experiment or is it fairly ...?
A. Oh yeah, we do different things, but it just depends what we feel like. I mean, we don't
feel like, 'Oh, well, I couldn't say let's do that because she'd think I was a pervert' or
something. You know, we don't feel that. I don't know if in any other relationship I would
feel so open about it, I mean, doing different things.
Q. Cos often when you're very ... kind of starting off in experimental and sexual relationships
as a teenager, it's often the only experience girls may get is the penetration and sexual
intercourse which is actually quite a narrow experience of sexuality as a whole. And then
say, 'Oh, I didn't like it much', but that's their only kind of experience.
A. Yeah, I'm sure that's probably the case for a lot of my friends. Basically, a lot of my friends
... because the thing is, I'm in a transitional stage anyway between losing old friends and
making new friends, so there isn't really anyone at the moment that I'm very close to, so I
don't really talk to anyone about it.
Q. There's no one that if you wanted to talk to somebody?
A. Well, if I wanted to talk to somebody, I mean, yeah, ELEANOR. I mean ELEANOR ... we
have talked about sex. I think I've probably talked about sex more with her than with
anyone else cos she was doing it before me but ... AMELIA, I suppose, I could talk to. I'm
sure I could think of other people if I sat down and went through it. And LIZZIE, my friend
who my dad said was a bad influence on me.
END OF TAPE.
Went to pick her up from the block of flats where she lived. She was slim with short blonde
hair tied back in short pony-tail. She said she'd just been writing an essay on Jean Rhys'
Wide Sargasso Sea, and she was dressed in her sloppy house clothes - T-shirt and
leggings. It was a very nice airy flat, three bedrooms, in a refurbished block (Islington). She
changed into her jeans and sweatshirt and we went back to D. Road. On the drive over she
was very curious and interested in the project, asking lots of Qs, like who was funding it,
what it involved, whether lots of people had responded etc. She was quite confident and
chatty. By the time we started the interview she'd already told me quite a lot about how her
brother had moved to and fro between living with her mother (+ herself) and her father(+ his
girlfriend). There was a lot of conflict between her brother and herself and they could no
longer live in the same place. She was concerned that her name should not be attached to
her responses. Then in the interview she talked at length and quite easily about her family
and about her relationship. She is 17. Had had a couple of casual relationships, but now had
a steady relationship with her boyfriend, aged 23, for about 18 months, and her boyfriend
regularly stays in the flat with her. She often went into great detail about incidents or about
friends that were quite interesting but not always directly relevant, but I didn't feel inclined to
stop her flow. She's been on the Pill but now used condoms. Seemed to have quite a close
relationship with her boyfriend, which she saw as continuing, maybe even marriage. Her
mother and father had split up year before and her mother had had lots of relationships, and
the latest one seemed to SFS11 to be based mainly on sex. She seemed to be more worried
about AIDS with respect to her mother than for herself. She is taking English and other Alevels at the Sixth Form centre. Said she enjoyed the interview and would be willing to do the
same sort of thing next year. If she was not at that address, could contact her at the Sixth
LSFS11 Second interview 27.6.1990
Q. So quite a lot's happened to you since I last spoke to you.
A. Yeah, loads.
Q. Do you want to tell me, starting from the beginning, how - what happened? I
mean, when I last spoke to you, which was about a year ago or so A. Yeah, it was, wasn't it.
Q. - and you were with FRASER and - for six months...
Q. And things like that.
A. Yeah. Well, things were already actually beginning to tarnish between
FRASER... and I. We actually had a massive argument about me coming here
and Q. Really?
A. Yeah, we had a big argument. He never forgave me for coming here and
confiding in - his - his personal secrets with a complete stranger. Which was
macho kind of bullshit really. Which is what I got a lot of after my mum kicked me
out. Which she did because of FRASER, because I was going to - after I had
spoken to you - I don't know if I told you, I was planning at the time then to move
in with FRASER Q. Yes. His mother was gonna buy a flat or something to live in when she...
A. Yeah, yeah. Oh, great, great, oh, great, this is a brilliant story. She came over
to - to see the flat which FRASER had chosen, which was a small, decorated,
centrally heated little pad basically, a little - a little plot. And she came over to
see it and my mum was supposed to be doing the conveyancing; and while while FRASER's mother was in this country - 'cos she lived in EUROPEAN
COUNTRY - my mum was away with her boyfriend who I wasn't getting on with
at the time.
Q. That's right, I remember bits about that.
A. She was away with her - with him, and so behind mother's back as it were,
FRASER's mum became very pally with the mad estate agent, who was a very
very very odd woman. And decided to buy the house which the estate agent was
planning to buy. And the estate agent had taken her round this house obviously
because she wanted - she thought this is a rich, very rich, silly woman who I can
sell a house to, let alone a flat, who kind of wasn't - was right in fact. And so
when mother returned, FRASER was ecstatic that he was going to be living in
this very nice house - because it was very - at first glance it was a very pretty
house, it had a nice - well, anyway, it was a good house. And there - and there
were various plans, convert the basement, rent it out, have lodgers in - two
kitchens, two bathrooms it had, so FRASER have the downstairs and FRASER
collect rent from the lodgers upstairs rather than paying any rent himself, which
was not what the deal was in the first place, because what the deal was in the
first place was for FRASER to have a pad which needed no work... and where
he would be able to hide away and get his degree, which was the main aim of
the whole exercise. And so this - this began with the help of the strange estate
agent who didn't get on with my mother, because she - this woman, DEBORAH
her name was, phoned up and said "I'd like to speak to the solicitor please", and
my mum was a conveyancing manager and she said "I'm the conveyancing
manager" and DEBORAH said "well, that's not good enough, I want to speak to
one of the solicitors" - which was really the wrong thing to say to my mum who's
a very good conveyancer and was not very happy in her job at the time, because
she was working in an office which didn't have any windows, which was actually
underground and so she couldn't have a plant in her office and so on and so
forth, and was the only woman apart from the receptionist in the office and was
being treated very very badly. Didn't get on with the estate agent, had an
argument with the estate agent, had an argument with me when I was showing
her round the house. So on and so forth, argument, argument, argument and
more arguments. FRASER was living with us at this time, because he'd moved
out - they'd finally sold the NAME OF ROAD house, the South London house,
which was an absolute bugger to sell, and this - I think, was FRASER living with
Q. No, but he was going to be living with you.
A. Yeah. So he - he had moved in by this time and it was - tempers were getting
a little bit frayed. And I had my first year exams for my A-levels at the same time
and - and mum, estate agent didn't work, therefore mum - my mother and
FRASER's mother - were arguing about getting a... estate agent and having a ...
conveyancer: "this wasn't a really good idea in the first place, was it?" - "no, and
how are we gonna get round it, how are we gonna get through it?". FRASER's
mother had planned to go to COUNTRY 2 to visit FRASER’s sister who's living who's getting married, no, had been married actually, but was planning to go and
visit her in COUNTRY 2. Before that could happen, the move was supposed to
be done and all finished and completed and tied in a nice bow and everything
finished up. Unfortunately, the surveyor said that there'd been some past
movement in the house, there'd been some shifting; and it had been a very hot
summer. The mortgage company, on the surveyor's advice, refused - no, the
insurance company refused the insurance for the mortgage because they
thought that the trees around the house would sap the moisture away from the
foundations and the house could possibly fall down Q. Subside, yes.
A. And so this - this continued for ages because it was such a complete balls-up,
the whole thing with the mortgage and the insurance. It was at [BUILDING
SOCIETY] because [BUILDING SOCIETY] were doing this special offer, a fixed
interest rate mortgage. As interest rates were beginning to go up rather rapidly Q. So had A. - this was a good idea.
Q. Had the contracts been signed at this point or not?
A. No, no. And the - there was - the kind of really big problem was that the estate
agent had told a massively big whopping lie by saying that the woman who was
living in the house, or the man and the woman, they were sharing the house,
had places to go and could move out. Because FRASER - FRASER and I FRASER and my mother were really kind of nearly at each other’s throats. I was
- I was arguing regularly with my mum about this house moving business and
doing my work and trying to do my coursework for my A-levels, my history
project, my English project which I was supposed to have had - at least have in
the first draft by that time and I didn't. And the estate agent had said that these
people had places to go. They didn't have anywhere to go, they were still looking
for a place to move into. So it all took an incredibly long time and unfortunately it
took so long that FRASER's mother was forced to go to COUNTRY 2 in the
middle of it, which meant that she wasn't around. She had to give FRASER
Power of Attorney but unfortunately she had failed to sign things and send them
back, so there were still things sitting on her desk in COUNTRY while she was in
COUNTRY 2. So things - FRASER had got himself a job by this time which was
very - was quite good because he'd been actually sitting around and fretting for a
month or so because he'd been - had his massive long college holidays. He got
himself a job working at a [HOSPITALITY], which meant doing very odd strange
hours which meant I would stay up and wait for him and... and not getting
enough sleep, and me not having a job and sitting in the house for days and
days waiting for phone calls and so on and so forth, and then - and then - and
then FRASER's sister - because the house, the selling of [NAME OF ROAD]
house and the buying of the new house were always an awful lot to do with
FRASER's sister who had moved out of [NAME OF ROAD], had moved back into
[NAME OF ROAD], had said "let's not sell [NAME OF ROAD]", had said "I'll buy
half the house with you", had said "are we - are you going to move in with my
friend who lives in [CITY]?", had said "I'm going to buy a house in SOUTH
LONDON on my own", had said "I'm going to move in with my boyfriend into the
new house with FRASER", had said various things Q. ...
A. - and had eventually moved up to [WEST MIDLANDS], to where FRASER's
[RELATIVE] lived, his mother's sister, and taken this good-for-nothing twentyyear-old bloke with her, who refused to work and refused to claim because he
thought it was beneath him. So he was just living off FRASER’s sister and driving
her car around and crashing it at regular intervals Q. Did FRASER get on with her? - the sister.
A. Well, yeah, in a kind of manic way. They enjoyed getting very drunk together
occasionally, and other times got very annoyed with each other about using finishing the tomato ketchup and so on and so forth. So we - we get a phone call
from COUNTRY 2 saying - FRASER's mother's been away for ten days and
PHILIPPA has phoned from [WEST MIDLANDS], saying "if you don't come back
from COUNTRY 2 I'm gonna kill myself because I'm having a nervous
breakdown". So we have to organise shifting FRASER's big mother with all her
big bags away from the airport onto the train to get to [WEST MIDLANDS] and
then sort out having Power of Attorney and sorting out how to finish off the house
and everything, and so Q. So is this still negotiating to buy this house that might fall down?
A. This is - this is - the house is being bought but the people haven't moved out
yet because they didn't have anywhere to go. This is kind of wresting of
garments and gnashing of teeth. And we - I went - my friend knew of a friend of
hers who'd gone to COUNTRY 3 and left an empty cottage in COUNTY, so we we took off down there, me and my girlfriend ELEANOR, for two days, three
days, four days or something, which was the nearest... thing I had to a holiday.
And FRASER came down there and that was all lovey-dovey for a couple of
days. But while I was away, mum was really victimising FRASER and bitching
about him with her friends while he was getting ready to go to work and he could
hear - really nasty, nasty; and FRASER's mother had told us and - being as she
was a very chatty woman - told us these horror stories about these builders
she'd had who'd completely messed up her whole house. And come the time
when FRASER was actually in the house and getting ready to rent out the
rooms, the upstairs rooms and that was gonna pay the mortgage and therefore
FRASER wouldn't have to pay any rent, she sends over these builders from
COUNTRY. "The best builders, you can get them, send them all the way,
specially import your builders from COUNTRY because they're so fucking
wonderful and marvelous and great guys and really nice and polite!" - and these
guys spent all the money they had, the materials money and the extra money
which they'd been given, on duty-frees and going to the pub, and being generally
frivolous, and got very upset because London wasn't as it was the last time they
came, which was 1963 or something; and decided they were gonna take this all
out on FRASER. FRASER was working from eight until eight to get the rooms
ready, these guys were doing nothing. They'd been sent specifically to look at
the roof, which was what the surveyor had said was possibly - could have a little
problem with at some point. They went up, checked the roof, said "no, don't
worry about the roof, just get the rooms ready to rent out, start getting some
money in FRASER's mum's pocket because we like FRASER's mum. FRASER's
mum's really nice and we really love FRASER's mum" and this sort of very
strange... another story which really is a bit superfluous but the whole - well, I
suppose it's not really, but I shan't tell you. Anyway Q. But FRASER had moved out of your A. FRASER finally moved out with big sighs of relief all round, because I was
freaking, my mum was freaking; I was freaking about my mum having this awful
boyfriend and so on and so forth.
Q. Was that the TRANSPORT ROLE or was that the one A. No, no, the TRANSPORT ROLE was alright; the one that was the Q. - the one after A. - the one who EDUCATIONAL ROLE. God, I must have a cigarette actually.
It's all getting a little bit muddled here, because meanwhile back at the ranch,
mum has said - this is in October - to her employers, "I'll be leaving at
Christmas", and they have turned round and said to her, "no, you'll leave in two
weeks, because you haven't been working for us for two years". So this
completely freaks her out. And luckily FRASER's gone by this time, but not for
long, and these builders have come and said, "no, no, the roof is fine". Winter
starts to draw in, FRASER thinks, "better go up to the roof and check the central
heating tank" and goes up to the roof, and one of the beams is splitting, and the
roof is literally about to collapse. And so I mean repercussions - whoosh!
Obviously, why did his mother send these builders, why did they say the roof
was alright, why - what were they really doing there anyway, were they real
builders or were they demons in disguise.
Q. Had the lodgers moved in by that time?
A. Yeah. And FRASER had obviously - because FRASER's mother was busy
looking after FRASER's sister and...
Q. So she's still in the country A. - and catering to her every whim - well, in and out of the country, backwards
and - really no use at all and still not signing things that had to be signed and
countersigned and signed again. Was not doing her bit at all. And my mum still
obviously is going really... about losing the job and so on and so forth. And this this awful boyfriend whose behaviour... he only ever sat at the head of the table,
and came home - when he came home from work he would come and have a
whiskey and then fall asleep on the sofa, and generally be a complete arsehole.
And so this - FRASER's supposed to be back at college and obviously isn't
because of roof, lodgers, decorating ad infinitum, and he - oh, God, I've just got
a blank here - he sorts about having this roof done. It's gonna be four thousand
pounds to have it done at that time. One night, after I've just been out trying to
score for some friends of mine and having a completely awful bad time and
actually managing it and coming home having been - come back from college
and gone straight out again, not got back in till 7.30 and not had a cup of tea,
and feeling rather pissed off and very very cold and tired out; get back home,
phone FRASER - FRASER says the whole roof has to be replaced and part of
the back wall as well. This is the place where I'm supposed to be moving into.
But by this time I made the decision, I'm not going to move into this house, I'm mum has moved out of the big bedroom to let me live in the big bedroom and
keep out of her way basically, and keep out of the way of this awful boyfriend,
and this has entailed FRASER and I moving her wardrobe, her chest of drawers,
moving all her stuff, and her saying, yes, we'll do the rest, meaning her and
ANDY, and what she actually meant was "I'll move the rest of my stuff out of the
bedroom and you can move the rest of the stuff"; so that I actually had to move
all my furniture on my own from my small bedroom into the big bedroom. This is
- ... bit pissed off with my mum by this time. So she comes in and says "I've-" she said "do you want a cup of tea? Do you want some soup?" and I... "yeah,
yeah, tea, yeah, need, need, look after me", and she says, "So what did
FRASER say then?". I say "oh, FRASER said roof and..." and she said, "oh, I'm
getting a little bit tired of hearing about FRASER's problems". So I said, "okay,
forget the tea, I'm going to my room". I was taking advantage of my space, that
I'd been granted, I was going into my room to get away from this situation which
was obviously brewing into a very nasty scene. She brings the cup of tea in,
says "if you don't want it, you can pour it away yourself!". So being as I was a
little bit pissed off by this time, I threw the tea over my mum. and then she - she
started hitting me and pushing me and slapping me and we got into this big fight,
and she said, "right", you know, "you get out and don't come back". So I leave,
go to FRASER's because my dad is working in COUNTY 2 during the week,
coming back at weekends Q. So he's not around.
A. So he's not around. His girlfriend's there and I can't go round and plonk
myself on the doorstep and say - by this time, you see, my brother has moved
out of his room in a friend's house across the road from my mum's, because the
plan is for dad and MELANIE to sell the house in London and move to COUNTY
2 where my dad's working, and MELANIE commutes in to work in London. So I
go to FRASER's; FRASER is losing his mind basically. I am also very very close
to killing myself. Go, talk to my brother on the phone - this is a Wednesday when
I go to FRASER, I talk to my brother on the Friday about moving in with dad,
because I obviously don't want to go and move into his room if he wants to go
back and move into his room and be there, and I can go and live wherever and
get my rent paid by dad instead of him getting his rent paid by dad.
Q. 'Cos you didn't get on that well with your brother, then?
A. No, I didn't. And so FRASER takes this opportunity to say "you should never
confide in your brother because he will always use it against you", which is not
really a very apt thing to say, or a time to say anything negative at all so Q. Not very tactful.
A. That's right, not very tactful. So I leave FRASER's in high dudgeon, leaving
behind my folder, my schoolwork, which is my lifeline by this time. The next day I
say to FRASER, "well, look, you can't be any - you're obviously no good
emotionally; you can come over and help me bring some more of my clothes and
books round to my mum's, and come and buy a jacket with me" - 'cos I thought
I'd cheer myself up by a nice jacket, getting cold, have a nice warming thing. So
FRASER comes round, forgets my folder, we go to the shop, tells me to pull
myself together and cheer up a bit - "fucking cheer up or else". So I'm left, dad
has gone to COUNTY 2 to mend his boat, MELANIE's at work, mum is not
somebody I want to talk to, FRASER says "I'm not having any more of this",
walks out, leaves me at my dad's on my own. This is kind of bordering on suicide
by this time. Dad and MELANIE comes back, say "yes, everything's gonna be
lovey-dovey, you can live here until you've done your exams" - which is "we are-"
- obviously not from MELANIE's point of view, MELANIE has been an absolute
angel throughout all - but the impression I get from dad is "we are making this
massive sacrifice for you, therefore you are gonna get three As or else". You
Q. A bit oppressive for you A. That's right, that's right. And also because his first job, which he's still doing
now, was to [FINANCIAL ROLE], he was working all the hours that were sent
and coming back at weekends and basically, because he doesn't drink, getting
stoned out of his mind. So he would come home more or less too tired to speak,
and then I would go out for the evening and come back and he would be in no
condition to do anything at all except kind of behave like a twelve-year-old. And
so this carried on, went on and on; I at one point flipped and said "look, I'm not
JOE", because when JOE was living with him, JOE was... take, take, take,
money, anything, give, give, give, so dad was - and because this has been his
relationship with my mother as well, too - it's always been him guarding his
income, guarding his mortgages, guarding his everything from mother's grabby
sticky little fingers; and JOES'. So he had this attitude towards me as well. So I
tried sitting him down one day and saying, look, I'm not like him, I do - I need
support, I need to be looked after, I need communication, I need, I need, I need;
and he was saying "mm, yes, mm, yes". This actually didn't work, and so the
situation continued where I was not getting on with my mum, I was going out as
much as I could. I was going out during the week, I was spending a lot of time
with people who were very into drugging and dancing and not being normal
basically, being strange, reading strange books, and basically freaking out over
this period, after having split up with FRASER.
Q. So you had split up with FRASER? How did that happen?
A. I'd split up - ah, well, that happened because I could no longer stand being in
a place where there were so many (?)knives available, young men, and having a
manic depressive sitting on my shoulder the whole time. FRASER and I split up
three times and got back together again. We split up, we got back together; this
was - happened once when I was still at my mum's and we got back together
again, and then we had some really awful times over Christmas. We went - we
went to see this woman, who's a friend of FRASER's mother, who thought the
best idea was to get FRASER very drunk and let him pour out all his troubles.
We - FRASER and I had by this time tried having agreements like "I'm not gonna
tell you how to live your life as long as you don't tell me how to live my life" and
so - whenever - and so FRASER being, as FRASER was, has carried on pouring
out all his troubles to me and weighing me down, burdening me with all his woes,
and - and expecting my advice still, and then turning round and saying "what
about our agreement that you wouldn't tell me how to live my life?". Very very
confusing for a girl. And we went to see this woman; and I'd been telling
FRASER to move out, I'd been saying "you don't need this, you need - what you
need is to get your degree, because if you don't get your degree you're gonna be
so down, you're gonna be mad and - and it's gonna really probably make you
very unhappy for the rest of your life if you let your mother get you on this one as
well". Because meanwhile there's been happenings in the background, of
FRASER's father moving in with tart, the woman who he left FRASER's mother
for, and "are you going to get married?" and - and, you know - all - and obviously
FRASER's sister still being in a bad way, and problems with FRASER's father
not seeing FRASER's sister, and other sister in COUNTRY 2 wanting to buy a
flat and, you know, is daddy going to give money to JESSICA? Is daddy - if
daddy's giving money to JESSICA, does that mean that daddy's got to give
money to PHILIPPA and FRASER as well, and Q. Sounds very complicated.
A. Yeah, very, very complicated and confusing. And we - we go to this woman's
house for lunch and she gets FRASER absolutely paralytic drunk, which - what
FRASER was doing quite a bit was getting drunk and being very very nasty to
me in these drunken states, which had occurred a few times. There was also a
meal to celebrate the buying of the house, which was another big one, which I
won't tell you about because it's too awful for me to talk about really, it was just
too incredibly bad. This woman got FRASER completely drunk and then left me
in charge of a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of port, because she'd just come into
a lot of money through inheritance and thought the best thing was to give me
some more booze and for me to take FRASER home and get him even more
drunk. So by this time I'm dragging - holding the bottles in one hand so they
don't get broken and holding FRASER up with the other hand and trying to get
him home from [SOUTH LONDON] back to [LONDON BOROUGH]. And he's
trying to throw himself in front of every train that comes along and crying and
saying "oh, oh, I can never do anything to please you" and "whenever I come up
with a good idea you always get angry with me": because what this woman has
said is "why don't you come and live in this house and collect rents for me
instead, because I'm going to be moving into my new husband's mother's stately
home" or whatever it was. And so he's saying to me, "isn't this a wonderful idea?
I'll move out." And I'm saying "God, FRASER, I've been telling you to move out
for the past six months!". I said to him, "my whole life has been devoted to
getting you away from your mother, and now you're telling me it's a good idea".
And so this was - this was a bad time, and what I was actually forced to do, was I
was - I was forced to beg him to come into my father's home where I was
already walking on thin ice because of still being with FRASER when obviously it
was very bad, and I had to phone - 'cos part - one of our agreements, I had said
to him that I would have counselling if he would. Because I knew that this was
really what he needed because he was not in a very good way. And so, one of
our - this was our agreement that we would get back together again, and we
would both have counselling. And so I have luckily been given my counsellor's
phone number for the Christmas holiday, and so I phoned him up, and say "what
shall I do?" and he was - "it's really not a good idea for me to talk to FRASER
because I'm your counsellor and I don't have a relationship with him and...". So...
Samaritans' phone number. So trying to get through to the Samaritans between
Christmas and New Year is not - not very easy. So FRASER is kind of beating
himself about the head and going "oh God, oh God" and I'm sitting there on the
phone, a dial phone not a pushbutton phone, the redials, over and over again,
pounding the dial trying to get through to the Samaritans. Upstairs my dad and
MELANIE are going "oh God, oh God, what's going on?"
Q. Sounds horrific.
A. Yeah. It was, it was really horrific. So finally I confided in my counsellor that
there was a nice young man that had taken a shine to me and who I was - quite
liked him and perhaps this was something, you know, perhaps I ought to split up
with FRASER. Which I did. And I - this was - I spoke to him over the phone when
I was - when I decided I would actually split up with him, and I said - 'cos we'd
agreed to meet the next day and I was phoning up to confirm this meeting, have
a walk around, have a chat, have a cup of coffee or whatever; and he was - he
was saying that he didn't want to see me. He wanted to get on with his
homework. And I was obviously very very adamant that I did actually really want
to see him, and so this made him suspect that there was something wrong. So I
ended up doing what we'd sworn we would never do, that we would never be so
- so disrespectful as to do it over the phone. But I did it, and I didn't see him for a
month, and so - he - he Q. Did you tell him about the other person, or did you just say you wanted to split
A. I - I can't remember if I - no, I think I did actually, I - or it was implicit in what I
was saying, and basically I mean I had enough reasons anyway in spite of that. I
had quite a few very good reasons to split up with him. This I did. And then he
was writing to me and phoning me up and I couldn't handle having anything to
do with him for a month; and then the month elapsed and I still had this bottle of
whiskey which he - and the bottle of port but I said "well, I'm not giving you both
of them, I'm keeping one". And so, this he wanted back, and he said that he
wanted to see me one last time. And so we had this very strange day where we
ended up going in the pissing rain going to [NAME OF MUSEUM] and drinking
this bottle of whiskey and having this big massive argument in this museum, and
drinking more whiskey on the way home, and then him coming back to my house
and staying the night, and staying up all night talking and smoking and drinking
whiskey. The next morning, going off and - and he's written down, all the
possible outcomes of our meet he has written down and they all are based on
the fact that it would be completely impossible for us to be friends. Which is
something which I really wanna do. I really wanna be friends with him, because
after going through so much together I thought, well, this is, you know - we could
be very valuable to each other. And he's got all this list of reasons why it couldn't
possibly work out. So it's terribly melodramatic, the next day at the tube station
and "yes, you can borrow a pair of sunglasses" because we were both crying,
and "oh, God, isn't this really just so completely heart-wrenchingly bad and
awful" and "oh, no"; and so off he goes, and he phones up two days later and
says he's changed his mind, and could we be friends 'cos it would be really good
if we could be friends. And so I said "fuck off" basically. And after that was when
I got into going out with... and being really, "God, I'm just so happy to be out of
this terrible relationship", and going out and Q. Did you feel freer?
A. Yeah, I felt amazing. I was on a high basically, which was what was
happening, and I had these - I went - I actually went out with two younger men,
because FRASER was older than me and I thought, well Q. He was what, twenty-something?
A. I was fifteen, he was twenty-one. And that was - I was seventeen, he was
twenty-three. And we actually split up in January. And after that I went out with
two younger guys because I thought, you know, not having anybody being older
than me, I know what it's about now and I'm gonna have the power in a few
relationships. And then I met this guy ROB, which was a couple of months ago. I
met ROB, the barman at the [NAME OF PUB], and had a very strange time with
him because I had said I would go and see him on Thursday - I'd met him on a
Wednesday, I said I'd go and see him on Thursday; missed him, because I went
in the evening and he was working during the day; went in on Friday and his
girlfriend had come up to see him from CITY, which is where he was from. And
so this - this was not very good. And then saw him again the following day, went
in there to say "what the hell's going on, what do you think you're playing at?"
and he said that he would split up with her, did go ahead and split up with her.
Then we had - we had a wonderful time and - and went to the country and - and
made love on the side of a mountain and had just a God - wow - kind of trippy,
marvelous "isn't this just the best time you ever had in your life" kind of time. And
then this - and obviously this was not good news for my exams, which were
rapidly approaching, and my dad, who was - who obviously wouldn't like the look
of a kind of six foot, muscle-bound lump with green hair and teeth rotted from
doing too much speed, and - so it was generally - I mean it was - and because
he was really - he was a barman, he was stupid, he was from the country, he
was, you know, I could - I was really in control, I thought.
Q. Was he all those things or A. What? No - yeah, he was, he was - he was a complete knucklehead. And he
still owes me money as well.
Q. Not that stupid then.
A. Oh, no, no, I mean... money back, but that's by the by. And so this - this was
generally the situation, and then what actually set me off was - I had written
down, everywhere I would write things down. I had written down that my dad's
birthday was the [REDACTED], and it wasn't in fact, it was the [REDACTED] for
some reason. And still - I'm still very confused about this because I did actually
ask my dad, in one of our conversations we had... "when is your birthday? What
day were you born? What year were you born and what day in that year were
you born?", and he said "I was born on [REDACTED]", which is obviously a
different day every year.
A. And so I thought, when he was telling me that it was his birthday, I thought he
was playing a trick on me, being funny, saying "no, it's not your birthday, dad, it's
your birthday tomorrow... written down everywhere, it's the [REDACTED] not the
[REDACTED]. And so this was - this was what actually got me, I could not
believe that I could have had the wrong day for his birthday, because my mother
had told me that this was the day it was, and I knew this was the day it was,
because all my old diaries, my Beatrix Potter's birthday book, all said that it was
the [REDACTED]. And so that was really what got me and - because dad had
been progressing in his usual manner of, you know, coming home and getting
stoned and being completely uncommunicative, being patriarchal, being boring,
mean and selfish, uncompromising, being a complete fucking bastard basically,
he didn't realise over the however many months, the four, five months, that since
I'd split up with FRASER, what I was doing, how I was reacting to being in a
situation where I felt that my only salvation was to pass my A-levels; my bed and
board was my three As which I could not do without, and my entire life security
was based on passing these exams because - and also what's happened is that
JOE has moved out from being with his friend and moved into the big room at
mum's, moved into my bedroom at mum's, which I had - me and FRASER had
stripped the fireplace in there, and I'd put the pole up with the shelf above it, the
excellent wardrobe facility, and it was my room. And this obviously I was a little
bit miffed about really, but obviously I didn't want to go back and live with mum,
obviously I was happy to be at my dad's, but outraged by the fact that I was
being treated like JOE when I was behaving like a complete angel for most of the
time. Which was what really got me, which was why I was ready to get into a
relationship with somebody who didn't give a damn what happened basically.
Q. So did you feel in control with ROB?
A. Yeah, I did, and I - I mean obviously I wasn't, because obviously he was - he
was a barman and I was a student with exams coming up, and I was behaving
like a barman, not like a student. But I was - because I was - I didn't feel wanted,
I didn't - I'd lost FRASER, I'd lost my walking-stick if you like, I'd lost my security,
I'd lost my mother, which was very painful obviously, which was really very hard
to get on with. I had just managed to persuade her to get some counselling,
because I was still having counselling and I - I was - and I knew that basically my
mum had problems and that, because she had - she's always been very hyper
and always had funny kind of headaches and strange periods and all sorts of
kind of - kind of related - kind of happiness-related illnesses - or unhappinessrelated, I should say - and so I - I just had this big conversation with her. And
then basically I - what I started doing was I stopped phoning up when I was
going out, stopped coming home for meals, stopped - and started taking
advantage of the fact that sometimes dad and MELANIE would both stay in
COUNTY 2 for the weekend and I was getting ROB to come and stay the night. I
only did that once actually, but it seemed like I'd been doing it for ages because I
was doing it with such zest and verve, such vigor. And enjoying it so much, in
fact I really was enjoying being what I thought I'd missed out on being by being
Q. Which was what?
A. Which was being - well, basically, just being - being cool and kind of jumping jumping in ROB's car and going down to CITY to meet all his homeless friends
and - "wow, aren't they - aren't they just a bunch of dudes" and "yeah" and this we thought, yeah, we'll start doing some dealing, 'cos we could get these drugs
really cheaply in the country and come and sell them all in London. And I thought
- what I did was, I thought, yeah, this is ace, because I've got the capital and
ROB has got nothing to lose because he's just a barman, if the police get him
they can have him and that's alright and it won't be anything to do with me. And
I'll just be - I'll just be getting the profit and that'll be really cool. And so I left him
in charge of all the money and he bought himself a bloody expensive watch. And
therefore was - was - remained indebted to me. And proved - when I did get very
ill, proved himself to be a complete bastard, a complete wanker, because he
didn't visit me, he didn't write to me, he didn't send me a card. He was - he still he had seen - bumped into my mum and so on in the street and was working
across the road from my mum's house. Didn't enquire about how I was doing,
was - and had gone ahead and got back with his old girlfriend as well, who was
in fact a sixteen-year-old student, even younger than me, and completely
besotted with him. Which I realised when he showed me that the letter - he
showed me the letter she'd written to him after he split up with her, which was
really very kind of genuine and coherent and obviously - and honest and open
about how she was feeling, and obviously showed that the way he was feeling
about me wasn't serious, it was just kind of interested, because I was middle
class, had a lot of experience, had a lot of money, had nice clothes, had cred.
And could offer him spliffs and that kind of thing. And so, he was just kind of
impressed by me rather than wanted any kind of relationship with me, it turned
out. And so that was it really. And then I flipped out and then the rest is history. I
went - I had some very very strange times at mental hospitals, which is really
very interesting in fact. Mental hospitals are very interesting places.
Q. What about the two relationships you had with the younger guys, what were
A. Ah, well, one of them - one of them - they were a complete contrast actually.
One of them was this guy BEN, who I'd met when I went to the World AIDS Day
Conference [DATE REDACTED]. I met him there - (Tape change)
A. ... this was - his name was BEN.
A. And he had just split up with a girl who he'd been going out with for two years
as well. So I thought, well, this is great, you know, he's obviously gonna really
understand and kind of be really fabulous and cool and Q. How old was he?
A. He was lower sixth, I was upper sixth. And so, I thought, yeah, this is cool, this
is wonderful. And it turned out that he was just a spoilt brat basically, and was literally wouldn't, for instance - I mean wouldn't buy drugs off anybody who was a
friend of his, because he said oh, no, it's no good, you always end up owing
them money and you stop being friends with them. But actually what - what I
observed from being with him and his friends was that they bought their drugs off
a guy in the pub who they spent most of the evening taking the piss out of. And I
realised that the reason he wouldn't buy drugs off anybody he knew was
because he wouldn't know anybody who would deal drugs, because he refused
to associate with anybody who wasn't middle class basically. And so this was a
complete (?)wow, because I didn't actually believe there were these people who
- who would literally have a token black in their midst as a token black, and just
sit around and - and work in Marks and Spencers to get money to buy drugs
because their parents only gave them enough to keep them in nice clothes and
not really enough to keep them in drugs as well, so they had to - all had to work
at Marks and Spencers so they could have lots of money to buy lots of drugs and
sit around and smoke a lot and kind of - oh, God, they were awful. God...
Q. What sort of drugs were they into?
A. Oh, just dope, just Q. Just dope, yeah.
A. Cannabis. But obviously there - I mean some of them were ... the type of
people who were doing ecstasy and going to acid raves and I was - also had
another friend called STEPHEN who I was spending a lot of time with, who was
very strange, and propositioned me several times although I found out actually
that he's - he was homosexual. And there was another guy as well, who was
also a closet homosexual and also kept kind of trying to ask me out and things.
Very odd. And - yeah, and then there was this other guy who was sixteen, who
was very pretty but very very very very weak and wishy-washy, and he'd had a
very hard time. His dad was a heroin addict in fact, it turned out after I'd known
him for a couple of months. And he was completely besotted with me, which was
not very good because in the end I ended up having to actually literally tell him to
fuck off, because I could no longer deal with his adolescence... which was really
most tiresome. And therefore, I mean, when I met ROB, I thought, it's alright, you
know, it's a nice - a nice bit of trouser rather than a milk-sop. And because because basically I came to this realisation that most men are very very similar
in lots of ways when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex and so Q. How do you mean?
A. Well, in the kind of where - where - where you come across difficulties, it's like
the kind of jealousy and possessiveness and - and basically demanding
independence but resenting it as well. And - you know - you know what I'm
talking about. And so this - and I was really quite pissed off with it, so when I
came across ROB, he was just, you know, very good-looking, very roguish and
handsome and very well-built and I thought, yeah, right, this is what I'm in for,
this is a good bit of sex and a good laugh and a good smoke and generally drive
around in his - in his beaten up old car and play loud music and talk to some
interesting people. And I did actually meet some very interesting people when
we went to the country, people who were like - just like new age hippies kind of
squatting in various places and just meeting people by being in the same
graveyard every Monday and this kind of stuff, which is all very interesting. But it
was very bad timing.
Q. What, with whatever else was going on?
A. Well, with - with mum, with dad, with exams, with general mental state. So yeah, I mean this - it was - for me to go out with these two younger guys was like
a - a sort of - just a like puppet-master thing really, it was -
Q. Were they sexual relationships?
A. No, not really. I mean, no, I didn't sleep with either of them and I didn't really,
because they were both obviously not very experienced. I mean this BEN had
been with this girl for two years and I don't know what - what sort of relationship
that was at all really. I mean, obviously it was sexual, but - they'd been sleeping
together for most of the time they were going out but his attitude towards women
was very - I mean, basically he just wanted to bag me, you know, he just wanted
to have the - a really good-looking wonderful older woman who he could be
going out with and kind of show off to his friends, and he was kind of really
excited by the whole idea of it and got a bit carried away. Didn't realise that to sit
around with ten sixteen-year-olds, seventeen-year-olds, was really not my idea
of a good time. Coming down from having a very serious heavy bad time with
Q. Did the time you had with FRASER affect your sexual relationship with him?
A. No, I don't know really, I think I was very wary about getting into another
sexual relationship, but at the same time I did want some kind of comfort. Which
is what I got from ROB, because ROB was obviously very into sex and drugs
and rock and roll and I was kind of pleased with that because it was kind of
(?)waiting, sleeping together with BEN and I mean this other - LUKE was a
complete virgin and completely green; I really don't know what I was doing with
him, I was just - he - he was just my dog for a couple of months basically. Really
really cruel, and I was forced to be even crueler to him, to get rid of him, which I
did feel very bad about, and I knew that - one of the things I was sure about with
ROB was that he could take quite a lot, he could take what I wanted to throw at
him, which was basically a lot of confusion and a lot of anger with FRASER,
which I thought ROB could handle - but he couldn't handle because when I
started freaking out he didn't know how to handle it at all.
Q. And was he a comfort? I mean, was having a sexual relationship with him a
A. Yeah, it was, it was really good and - it was really cool and fab and
everything, 'cos I could take my friends into the pub and say "this is my new
man, isn't he a complete hunk?" and "isn't he wonderful?" and hear them all say
"yes". And that was really good but he was - he was a bit - I mean he was - he
was kind of two-sided, because part of him was "yeah, I'm ROB and no one can
touch me" and the other side was "I'm a country bumpkin and whatever, and why
is this sophisticated city girl so interested in... bumpkin yokel?".
Q. And was he kind of quite good to you sexually?
A. Yeah, he was, he was great, he was marvelous.
Q. Better than FRASER?
A. Different. I couldn't - I couldn't say that anyone was particularly better, 'cos me
and FRASER did have some marvelous times, but he was - yeah, I mean he
was - and it was very romantic and everything, and him coming and staying
when MELANIE and dad were away, and it was all very sort of teenage-movie
kind of stuff.
Q. Was he romantic?
A. No, he wasn't, but I thought him not being romantic was very romantic, you
know, I was really quite into being - being man-handled (laugh).
Q. But did you feel in control then? Sort of, like, sexually?
A. No, I didn't actually, because we - when we had sex it was unprotected Q. Really?
A. Yeah. And this - I mean I really - I mean I know that I must have been - and I
went - one thing I did do which was - which really was marvelous, I went away to
CITY on a COURSE where I stayed - I was supposed to be staying in halls but
my friend had gone up to stay with her brother in CITY, my - a really really good
friend of mine who's - who's like really working class, and her mum killed herself
and her dad was an alcoholic and - really, she was a really very strong person,
and I went and stayed with them. And this was when I started talking to NICK
who's... my mum's, who was really really good to me when I was in hospital and
- I'm not answering the question, but this is good as well, this is when I went into
the (?)[NAME OF HOSPITAL], he wrote to me when I was... and then when I
was at the [NAME OF HOSPITAL] he came up to visit me every day when I was
there, and sat by my bed when I went to sleep because I was very afraid of
falling asleep because I thought I wasn't gonna wake up again. I was very
panicked and so he came up to visit me every day and kind of took me out for
walks round the park and really looked after me very well and listened to my
insane rambling and Q. And you just met him from going up there?
A. Well, I - I'd known him vaguely from the sixth form but, because he was doing
retakes, he was older than everyone who was there, so he didn't actually mix
with people from the sixth form at all, so I didn't really know him and - there was
a big confusion; I was supposed to be getting a train back from CITY with him,
and there was a big confusion, and I missed him unfortunately. Which I really
regret doing now, because I think if I'd got that train everything would have been
alright, and I never would have met ROB, and everything would have been
different and I wouldn't have freaked out but - I don't know, I think I was - I was
heading for a breakdown, a breakthrough. I was - I was heading for a (?)stoned
time anyway... FRASER. And I have spoken to FRASER since then, and it was
very - the time I spoke to him was after I'd come out of (?)[NAME OF HOSPITAL
2], before I'd gone to the [NAME OF HOSPITAL], so I was still very delicate; and
FRASER was telling me that he'd been having a really marvelous time and he'd
been doing a lot of speed to do his revision, and that was really good fun, doing
a lot of speed, and he'd been having a really good fun time, and he was going
out and - and - I said, "well, can I see you this weekend?", and he went "oh, ...
doing this weekend... exams", you know, and really was not helpful at all.
Q. Had he been to see you in hospital?
A. No, he wasn't allowed. He didn't know what to do really. He was very very
shocked... Because really it ought to have been him because really what I was
partly - I mean obviously, my dad, my mum, but obviously part of it was me
getting rid of all the stuff which I'd been - which he'd been forcing down my throat
for nigh on two years, so that was a large part of it. And I feel now I really do
blame him in a lot of ways for what happened because I know that if - if he had
concentrated on sorting his own life out then I would have - I wouldn't have been
burdened with so much of - of something which I just couldn't understand,
because I wasn't (?)human. It was this whole thing of - which is what my dad's
been doing, is I don't - "I'm in such a state, I don't know what to do, therefore you
must decide what to do and you must take responsibility for everything which I
do; and you must decide what I'm going to do this weekend, and you must
choose the one thing which is exactly what I want to do. You must read my
mind." And this is - I mean, I spoke to my dad last night; he came home because at the weekend I hadn't seen him and it was really bad because I hadn't
seen him properly since I'd been out of the [NAME OF HOSPITAL], and I was
going out with my mum, and my mum was taking me to these parties of her
friends, and I was having a nice time with my mum and not seeing my dad, and
my dad... And, whereas, what my dad had done was brought a massive pile of
work home with him and - and gone round all weekend going "oh God, oh God,
oh God" and not acting in a way which is conducive to sitting down having a big
pow-wow, which is supposedly what he wanted to do. So when he came home
last night I sat down, it was half past eleven and his girlfriend was there,
MELANIE was there, and he was sitting at the kitchen table, and I said to him,
"look, it's no good. It's no good abdicating responsibility and then trying to snatch
it back when you realise that perhaps what - what MELANIE and I want to do is
not what you want to do", and trying to explain to him a terrible thing, which is
what - what - what men have generally as their problem, in that they want
women to make independent decisions and they want those decisions to be
exactly what they want. Whereas they won't actually say what they want,
because that would be admitting a weakness, that would be - and the thing is, is
because he's been so completely freaked by the whole thing, by this whole
experience at work, which is getting into a job and finding out that he really isn't
up to taking responsibility for [FINANCIAL ROLE] or whatever it's called, and so and he actually said to me that MELANIE has a problem, which is her individual
problem, which is that she can never decide what she wants to do. Which is
basically when dad says "I don't know what to do, what do you want to do?" and
MELANIE says "no, no, you decide"; because MELANIE knows that if she makes
the wrong decision then she's gonna get a real kick up the arse. Which is not
what she wants. And so - and this is what I was trying to do last night, I was
trying to explain to my dad that if you're feeling weak and frail then you must
freak and wail, you must say, you must admit your weakness, you must admit
the fact that you want to go and lie down in the sitting room and be talked to,
rather than sitting round the kitchen table and engaging in conversations.
Q. And did he understand?
A. Well, he was sitting there saying "I'm really tired and I'd like to go to bed right
now", which was obviously, you know, [DETAILS REDACTED]. At the weekend
we've had much opportunity for pow-wow and it was impossible for me to take
the initiative and create these pow-wow situations because there was a massive
pile of work sitting on the kitchen table saying "do me" which he'd brought home.
And I went to the doctor's, 'cos [MINOR HEALTH REASON]; and the doctor said
- because he's a big friend of the family as well, this doctor, and - I explained that
mum and dad had had this big argument on Sunday and - and he said, well why
doesn't your father leave his job at the office? So I tried to say to dad "don't bring
it home", and he was saying "well, I try my best, you know..." and "would you
rather I spent an extra twenty-four hours in COUNTY 2 than - than bring two
hours' work home with me?"; and I was saying "yes, yes I would, because it's
you who got yourself this job, it's you who wanted to have a job outside London
and you've got to take it" -
Q. - or leave it.
A. Yeah, exactly. And this he couldn't take because this was - this was his
teenage daughter telling him some truths which he had been avoiding for most
of his life in fact. 'Cos he used to be - I mean, my dad had actually been in a
mental hospital because he was an alcoholic and he had to go into an addiction
unit and get dried out, and he was in for three months; and there was - and I do
feel now that the way my dad handled me being ill made me a hell of a lot worse.
I shouldn't have gone to (?)[NAME OF HOSPITAL 3], I should have been kept at
home. I should have, because I'm - the thing was, the way my dad was trying to
persuade me to take the medicine was by pulling rank on me, which was
obviously the wrong thing to do because, the way he'd been behaving for the
previous - for the entire time since October, the whole time I'd been living with
him, was not - was not a way of behaving which entitled him to pull rank. It was a
way of behaving that entitled him only to - to be inferior to MELANIE and I, which
was what he was. And so, when it was him being my next of kin, being my
responsible carer, it didn't work. It should have been my mum who was
persuading me to take the medicine; and it should have been MELANIE who
was persuading me to take the medicine, it shouldn't have been him. But
obviously, being the product of a private school, [NAME OF PRESTIGIOUS
UNIVERSITY], and so on and so forth, he couldn't understand that and so that
made it a hell of a lot worse. And that was also one of the reasons why I went
back into the [NAME OF HOSPITAL], because when I said my medication had
been reduced, he didn't believe me, and therefore reacted in completely the
wrong way, and said "I'm gonna phone the doctor, I'm gonna phone your
mother, I'm gonna..." and just completely went mad and didn't realise that there
could have been just a mistake. Didn't realise that what he - that I wasn't lying
about my medication and - 'cos all he was doing was expecting the worst. I
mean he was expecting me to be mad for the rest of my life basically, because
he had worked himself into this situation where he was so - so miserable, and
feeling so sorry for himself, that for me to freak was just like "thank you, God,
you've dealt me another blow". And that was - that was the way he saw it, and
this is the way at the moment he's still behaving, in a - he's just kind of moping
around and feeling sorry for himself, which is very very difficult to cope with. And
difficult for MELANIE as well, because MELANIE's just got a new job, which is
[DETAILS REDACTED], and MELANIE has her own problems. My mum has
problems; she's supposed to be doing exams. She was supposed to be doing
exams, doing [LEGAL ROLE] exams - has just changed her job several times,
obviously because of the loss of the other job, and basically - and I'm ill, so dad
moping around feeling sorry for himself isn't Q. - doesn't help at all.
A. Not valid. So that's the situation as it is now. I'm just really glad that I've got
myself a new boyfriend. Because really it gave me something to live for, gave
me something to feel it was worth getting better for, because mum and dad were
really - and JOE as well, I must admit, JOE was a darling, he really was. I mean,
when - when I first - when I was - when I broke out of (?)the [NAME OF
HOSPITAL 2] and had to be taken back, they let me and JOE go out for a walk.
And I didn't wanna go back inside, I wanted to stay and walk around forever, you
know, I didn't - I thought, now I'm out of there and I've got JOE here I can carry
on talking to him and - as long as I can keep him involved in a conversation, then
I can Q. - won't have to go back.
A. Yeah. So - and JOE was actually crying when he persuaded me to go back in,
because he realised that I wasn't - obviously I wasn't mad, I was just very
confused; and he meanwhile was confused because he was part of the - the
game that was happening. And so I mean he's - and still now he's really nice,
he's really Q. Good.
A. - excellent and wonderful so - that, and my friends coming up to visit me
obviously, and mum coming to visit me every day, was sort of what really sorted
me out. Because when - when dad came up to visit me, he only came - I think - I
think he actually came more times than I remember because my memory goes
very funny. And he - he kind of lay on my bed and went "oh, I've had such a hard
day!", which wasn't really what I needed.
A. Yeah. So really, as father/daughter relationship... has still much (?)feeling to
undergo. But that's - that I'm gonna get sorted out, because I know that my
counsellor from college, luckily, is also a trained therapeutic counsellor who does
work with family groups and so on, so I'm gonna get some of that. Get my dad
down there. Which is really what he needs, because he's - he's still an alcoholic
basically, and he still doesn't know why. And that's really a problem.
Q. (?)So what's NICK?
A. NICK is - God, he's just wonderful, he's just marvelous. Everything about him
is really really perceptive and sensitive and gentle and Q. ...
A. He is, he's got his own - he's nineteen, and he's had a lot of problems with his
dad recently, and so... about problems with dads, and he also has - was very
depressed for a long time, so he understands when I say I couldn't handle
FRASER's depression, because he knows that nobody could handle his
depression, and so he's - marvelous.
Q. What does he do? Is he A. He was, yeah, he was in the sixth form doing his retakes when I was there
and he's actually got a place at [NAME OF UNIVERSITY] and he's supposed to
be going in September... He's taking a year out to stay in London and then he's
gonna go. He's gonna get some kind of job. He's been looking in the paper today
actually, going "I don't wanna job, jobs are awful, I can't type, I can't do
anything"; which is stupid because he can speak Spanish and so he could easily
get a job...
Q. Well, that...
A. I mean he was just wonderful. I mean, he lives - he lives in [SOUTH
LONDON] and he was coming like all the way up from [SOUTH LONDON] every
day, spending all day at the hospital, which is not a lot of fun for anybody really...
But I feel now, I mean now I've been in two institutions of the worst kind, the
worst possible kind, that I can really handle anything. I mean, you don't go any
further than that. I mean, when you're in a mental hospital you're no longer in the
realms of the acceptable and unacceptable and sort of good and evil and... into
fighting with little demons in your head and... very very strange. Yeah, it is, it's
very weird, weird, weird, weird. And weird things happen when you're there as
well, because it's - it's pure kind of - it's pure energy from your head, it's not
police and thieves, it's angels and devils. Strange. And - and because - and and NICK having been in the [NAME OF HOSPITAL] and had funny
conversations with funny people who just will come up and start talking to you,
and will take it badly if you don't talk back Q. ... understand.
A. Yeah. It's... and it's alright.
Q. So is that a sexual relationship?
A. Well, not - not yet but it will be soon if I have anything to do with it.
Q. And will that be unprotected?
A. Oh, no. No way. No, no, no.
Q. Why was the other? Why did you have unprotected sex with ROB?
A. I - 'cos I just didn't have any condoms and it didn't - I was just - it was kind of it was lustful and rampant, it wasn't - it wasn't kind of - it was like, I mean it was
basically like being asleep. The whole thing with ROB was like a kind of
equivalent of a wet dream. It was just, you know, this is too good to be true, so
I'm gonna behave as if it isn't true, kind of thing.
Q. He didn't have any?
A. No, he was - no, no, no.
Q. But was that all the time that you didn't have it or just A. No, I mean I only actually had sex with him twice, so it was just that those two
times happened to be when condoms were not kind of available.
Q. So you didn't have sex when he came to stay at your dad's?
A. Yeah. But I - I did have a condom when I actually come to think of it. But it
was - I don't know, we just didn't - no, it was really really stupid. Especially
because I knew he'd been injecting as well. I mean he said - obviously he'd
never used dirty works, but why I believed him Q. How do you tell?
A. Exactly, I mean Q. You didn't feel that you were at risk.
A. No, 'cos I was - I thought I was some kind of god by that time, you know. I can
have anything I want, life is completely perfect, the world is revolving around me
and I am marvelous, I am strong, I am the god, I am - I was mad basically. Off
Q. You didn't even think you might get pregnant?
A. No. And in fact I think I may actually have been pregnant because I had when - I mean I - it could have been any number of things, but I did have some
very strange painful irregular bleeding throughout the time that I was... the
[NAME OF HOSPITAL] - that was the following month after I had been sleeping
with him, so I mean it may have been true. I mean, basically, it might all have
been his fault. Because I mean to be pregnant and have a miscarriage, it's - it
can do funny things to a girl, as I've noticed with my mum's lodger... pregnant.
Which was really quite funny actually because when I came out of the - of
[NAME OF HOSPITAL 2] before I went into the [NAME OF HOSPITAL], she was
- this is when I was at the [NAME OF HOSPITAL] day hospital, I went to see her
and she was saying, yeah, yeah, I know about freaking out, and my friend
freaked out, and I'll look after you and I'll take you out and we'll take photographs
and all this kind of stuff, and - and then the next time I saw her: "... I don't know
what to do, I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't do anything" and - so it was a
complete turnaround and Q. You had to advise her?
A. Yeah, that's right, I was sitting at the end of her bed. It's a funny old world.
Q. So are you going to seduce NICK?
A. Well, I've tried already once, I've tried, and he wouldn't let me.
Q. Why not?
A. Why not? Because he - just - he just didn't feel comfortable.
Q. What, with the surroundings? So soon?
A. He's just a - he's just a complete gentleman, I think...
Q. I bet you'd got your condoms in your bag.
A. Yeah, I did, I - waving .... and he was going... No. He was very lovely and
sweet and charming... But anyway, yes, as soon as possible. Any (?)opportunity.
Q. How were you going - did you say you'd met BEN, going back to December,
at the AIDS A. Yeah.
Q. Why were you going to that?
A. Oh, because they needed some people - I mean it was a - it was an event, a
happening for young people to partake in, and the woman who was organising it
happened to be friends with my politics teacher, happened to come into a politics
lesson and say "do you want to go to a really great, all-expenses-paid good
laugh day out and - really great, kind of little bits of theatre and watch videos and
have discussion groups with people who are HIV-positive and generally have an
interesting time", and it was very interesting actually. It was - part of it was very
painful as well, because there was one girl, HELEN, who was - basically was a
person of exactly the same ilk as myself, and even had the same jacket and
boots that I had, and was - yeah, and really - and there was another guy who
was really weak and frail and - greasy hair and big bags under his eyes and And we all - we all had a go at Virginia Bottomley at the end of it as well.
A. Unfortunately - it was really stupid actually, we were given some false
information. This woman said that the Terence Higgins Trust video had been
banned for use in secondary schools, and so I - this was - I asked the first
question and I said "why has this video been banned for use in secondary
schools when lots of people who leave school at sixteen won't have access to
seeing it in higher education?", and then the woman came up to me after and
said "actually, that video hadn't been released yet". And everybody there everybody had been told that this video had been banned, it was just Q. ...
A. Yeah, it was just them being over-zealous and implying that the situation was
much worse than it was, so we'd all have the bit between our teeth when it came
to talking to Virginia Bottomley.
Q. So did that mean that you got much more information about AIDS than A. Well, yeah, I mean, it was - although it was - it was split into two groups and it
was - the final thing was one group was talking to Claire Rayner about the
relationship side of it, and the other group, which was my group, was talking to
[DOCTOR] about the medical side of it, which meant that he - doctor whoever he
was - got very elaborate about something eight - hemophiliacs, what's it called,
the stuff that they need from the blood Q. Oh, yes.
A. Yeah, you know, and he got on about how the blood was heat-treated and the
special machine that did this and - "yes, we have - all our blood is treated in this
country" and then... when what we were interested in was toothbrushes and oral
sex, and it was Q. What, whether you can catch it from that?
A. From toothbrushes and oral sex. He didn't really realise though, it was just
sort of a bit silly but Q. So he didn't answer those sort of questions A. Well, no, he did, he did because there was people like me going "hm - actually
I'm interested in oral sex" (laugh), being kind of open about it.
Q. He wasn't shocked by that?
A. Well, yes, he was, but that was just too bad.
Q. But did he answer the question?
A. He did, he did, yeah. But he obviously was much more into talking about
machines, because men like toys and they like talking about them.
Q. Yes, probably more than they like talking about oral sex.
A. That's right.
Q. So did he say you could get it from oral sex?
A. Well, yeah, he said if you've got cuts in your mouth and so on and so forth.
So, yeah, I mean I did learn an awful lot, and I also learnt that - something which
I experienced in hospital, was that if you - when you know you've got a terminal
illness you're likely to become incredibly much... than it was before, because you
realise that life is for living and doing things that you want to do. And this - I
mean, when I was in hospital it was - as I say, I thought I'd died and gone to hell,
I thought there was nothing to live for, and then when I came out it was all very
confusing because it was - I was going to the day hospital and being very feeling very confused about the day because I was not being helped and not
being chaperoned around the hospital, getting lost in the hospital, because all
mental hospitals are designed to make you think that you're madder than you
are. The [NAME OF HOSPITAL] had [DETAILS REDACTED] and - it would be,
this ward'll be locked here and open here, and this ward'll be locked here and
open here, and if you wanna get from this ward to this ward and the lifts don't
work and - they only work if you keep pressing the button, and they have to go
all the way down before they come all the way back up again, and if you wanna
go to the - if you press the fifth floor it'll go down to the ground floor whether you
like it or not. I don't know why I started telling you about this, but yes, very
strange. They - they do make you think that you're ready to die basically,
because you think it's just the end of the road, because you can't go any lower
than a mental hospital. When you're in a mental hospital you're shit, basically.
Q. How did you actually get out, what triggered A. What - it was... day for my dad's birthday... But what I was trying to do - I
mean I remember, all I was doing was - I kept saying to people, "I'm strong and I
can look after myself, I'm not vulnerable", and I was climbing on the furniture and
throwing things around, and waving my watch around saying, "look, I know what
the time is, I know you're fifty, I know you're halfway through, and I know I'm
stronger than you, dad, and I know I'm stronger than you, ROB, and I know I'm
much nicer than you as well 'cos I'm a woman and you're a man"; and - and
basically I was - I was saying what I felt, which was the way a young woman
feels living in London knowing that you can't walk home on your own at night,
knowing that you're forced to get a lift, knowing you're forced to do as your dad
tells you because there's no way you can leave home, live in a hotel and feel
safe, and there's no way you can move out and move in with your girlfriends
because you just end up bitching with each other because they're in the same
boat as you, and they feel shitty about not being able to walk home on their own,
and so on and so forth. I was basically telling it like it was and my daddy couldn't
handle it and ROB couldn't handle it and no one could handle it. And mum was
just so upset to see me doing this. But I went - actually I went to see somebody
who was a friend of a friend who had a - who'd had more or less the same thing
as me, went hypermanic; I went to see him in [NAME OF HOSPITAL 4] and - it
was ALEX, 'cos I - I mean I was telling him about the side effects. I said to him,
get a padlock for your locker because then you'll feel safe, because he was
doing what I was doing, which was carrying all the stuff around with him
wherever he went. And I gave him [JEWELLERY] and said, right, that'll help you
to sleep at night because that's what I was wearing at the [NAME OF
HOSPITAL], and I was saying, you know those demons that you're fighting with
in your head, you've just got to say "fuck off" and - and giving him all this sound
advice, and giving him a kind of condensed version of all the advice that any everyone had given me while I was in hospital, and I had some very good - very
good friends came and gave me some very good advice. Which was what got
me out of there, because I was sectioned - twice, I was sectioned when I went
into [NAME OF HOSPITAL 2] and then I was sectioned again when I went back
to the [NAME OF HOSPITAL]. Which is what - people keep telling me to keep it
under my hat because I won't get a job if I tell people that I was sectioned twice.
Q. A bit like having a criminal record.
A. That's right, it's worse. ... indictment. But - yeah, and I was - and - and - it was
- I just watched him getting better over the afternoon. I was telling him about the
side effects of the drugs and telling him how to talk to the doctor and telling him
that if any other patient hassled him, all he had to do was scream and the nurse
would be there, and if the nurse wasn't there then you could complain to the
authorities; and he could get his mum to go to the European Court of Human
Rights and so on and so forth. And basically, persuading him that he was in the
real world. And he went to see the doctor at the end of the afternoon, and she
said he could get out with some friends and go back home and see his family...
And I told my dad about this last night, after I'd given him - read the Riot Act to
him, I told him about going to see this guy in hospital, because I knew that if he'd
been around and I'd said to him "what do you think?" he would have disallowed
me. He would have said, "no, I'm not letting you go back, I'm not gonna let you
freak yourself out again"; because he thought that the reason I had to go back to
[NAME OF HOSPITAL] was because I stupidly didn't write down what medication
I was supposed to be taking; it was my responsibility blah-de-blah. He didn't
realise it was in fact the doctor's fault for letting me take responsibility for my own
medication, which I was in no state to be able to do. And he didn't realise that
when I got out of [NAME OF HOSPITAL 2], all I was doing was pretending to be
sane so I could get out of a completely scary environment; because I was in the
remissions ward, and on the last day I was there, one guy came in with four
policemen, these massive - they were massive blokes, massive mad men
around, and I didn't like it.
A. I just kind of watched how my family were behaving and just mimicked them
to get out of there.
Q. Do you think you might get a place with NICK or is it too early to A. Oh, no. I'm not, I just don't think...
Q. So what do you think'll happen in a few months or years or...
A. I'm only really going one day at a time... not really - I really don't think I'm
sane enough to start planning my future. I'm gonna - I've got an aggregate mark
for English on my course work which is (?)A; I'm gonna retake politics in
November... apply to university.
Q. Do you still feel pressure to get As or is that gone?
A. That's gone. Only just, you know,... my dad, because my dad was a complete
whizz at school, and he did all his A-levels at sixteen and he did an S-level at
sixteen and got into [NAME OF PRESTIGIOUS UNIVERSITY], and was too
young to go to [NAME OF PRESTIGIOUS UNIVERSITY] so he had to take two
years off... basically equivalent of a genius, and he's now in this terrible situation
because he's working under people who are stupider than he and he just can't
End of tape.