1968 was a strange year. Student unrest and some turmoil in my
private life as well. It was the year when I probably learnt most
from the Graphics course, various printing processes and things that
have stood me in very good stead as a professional in the business.
The Graphics or “Visual Communication” course as it was officially,
though seldom, called was a very thorough grounding for people who
wanted to be useful in design, publishing or printing work later on.
The student unrest which started in France and then wafted over to
England had a slightly troubling effect on the day-to-day running of
BAA. Hornsey was on the hot-line and new developments were eagerly
awaited by the more revolutionary souls. I didn’t enjoy the
upheavals much, preferred ordinary class work to the new
go-and-find-a-tutor approach which just seemed to make things
Somehow too, difficulties began raising their ugly heads between me
and my girlfriend. She had always been a bit of a tease and somehow her
teasing became more pointed and she soon had me running round in bewildered circles.
I didn’t enjoy it and I don’t think she did either.
We never really quarrelled but there was a
strange and uncomfortable tension that hadn’t been there before. I
still don’t really know what was wrong, probably just that we were
not much more than kids. I have always been rather impulsive and may
have rushed things a bit. We took what was probably a very a
far-too-mature decision, considering how very young we were, and
decided to put things on hold. This ‘hold’ stretched out to
‘indefinite’ and ended with us each calling things off. However we
said that we would always be good friends. I have never forgotten my
side of the bargain and hope we still are. We were somehow that
‘very promising couple that never quite made it’. It caused a few
raised eyebrows in its time and I occasionally had some explaining
to do, not that I really could because I didn’t know the answers
I became very depressed by all this, lost a lot of weight and even
the beer at the Oak started tasting flat. Days which had previously
sped past in a kind of euphoria now seemed interminable. I kept on
with my work in Graphics but really only because it was the only way
to keep my mind off things. Val did his best to cheer me up but it
was a very trying time. And a long time passing. And imagine how
uncomfortable it felt having to meet that once-very-special person in our day-to-day routine
in the Graphics studio. I had to put on a brave face and pretend
that nothing was wrong but my heart was weeping.