The following year, the first year of the main course, quite a lot of the old faces had gone. Vicky was gone, whom I used to tease in the darkroom, and so was her friend Wendy and also Carol,
Daisy’s room-mate. Towards the end of her time at Corsham Carol had started going out with a chap known as Tweedy. He was the owner of a motor bike, a rather dishevelled individual and seemed not too careful about his personal hygiene. We all thought that Carol could have done a lot better for herself because nobody was keen on Tweedy. I believe they got married but have no idea what happened to them after that. Anyway, the first few days were a rather empty and I was a bit depressed. But things were soon to change. There were new faces, a whole bunch of people that had skipped over the Pre-Dip year and were beginning on the main course. Judy Pilcher, John Kerr, Lynne Jenkins and some others whose names I can’t remember just now. Nice lot, and one person in particular that I couldn’t keep my eyes off however hard I tried. It was in a typography class with Mike Grey and to be honest I haven’t got a clue what Mike was trying to teach us. My mind was elsewhere! Somehow there were far too many people in the studio at Beechfield and I sat up on a cupboard because there weren’t enough chairs to go round. So I had a good view over the room. I kept looking up from whatever it was that I was supposed to be doing and was always catching her eye.
This new arrival was always looking at me too, so I suppose the attraction must have been mutual (or maybe she just thought I was
wierd!). We were very soon on speaking terms. I found her quite
irresistible, she was the girl of my dreams with a scintillating laugh and I particularly liked the way her upper lip used to curl when she smiled. I was just completely hooked from the very beginning! Total meltdown and we were very soon going out together on a regular basis. One also has to bear in mind that in the fast living (and loving) at Corsham there was some considerable competition, so I dared not miss this very special person. I thought we made a very fine couple and there were soon envious eyes looking in our direction. I was very fond of my new girlfriend and considered myself a very lucky bloke to have got myself such a wonderful person and never really understood what she saw in me! She lived at one of the hostels in the High Street.
The place where she lived was in my opinion the nicest of the hostels. A number of us blokes used to spend our evenings there. There were good comfortable seats and a telly and a very good kitchen for making cups of cocoa when we got back from the pub. My girlfriend wasn’t much of a pub-goer but bore with me as I liked my beer (and still do!). The warden there was a bit strict to our way of thinking but after ’68 the wardens got chucked out which meant a lot more freedom with regards to ‘opening hours’. A couple from Painting moved into the warden’s room; they were Bob Dylan fans, and certain ‘substances’ were often smoked of an evening. This was considered completely normal - I was never a great participator of ‘substances’, but if there happened to be a reefer going round, what the hell!
I am also told that the couple from Painting sniffed ether, but I never tried that.
The Graphics crowd were always considered a rather more sober bunch than the Fine-Arts people, not quite as wild. At least that’s the way I remember things.
Whom the gods love dye young
My girlfriend once asked me, rather cryptically I thought, what colour her hair was. She was a brunette but of course I could see that she was helping it a bit in the other direction. I liked it that way, so I innocently told her what I saw;
“sort of blondish” or words to that effect. All was well for a while until one evening when I came unannounced to the hostel where she lived to watch something on the telly. She came down the stairs with most of her hair wrapped up in a towel and a few wet ends sticking out from under it. Strangely, she seemed a bit taken aback to see me and told me to look the other way. I always had difficulty keeping my eyes off her and she looked just as pretty towel or no towel, but she still snapped at me when I peeped between my fingers. Being slow on the uptake as usual I never realized the reason for her indignation but I think in retrospect that she believed she really had me fooled with the blonde thing!
Of a quite different nature was the incident when John Kerr decided to dye his hair. Normally it was fairish but John decided to take it a stage further and arrived one morning with it bleached almost white. John had a big wide-brimmed navy blue hat with a blue band and really looked rather spectacular with the hat and his new hair. However the novelty quickly wore off and soon John decided to revert to his former shade by chemical means. The result was not as expected. John’s hair now became a very pretty shade of pink! Not to be put off, John got himself a length of broad pink ribbon to match and put it around his hat. Totally brilliant. He had truly outdone himself and our Johnsy Boy wasn’t trying to fool anyone.