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 unnecessarily difficult.
    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 myself.
    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.

A Love Nest / The Storm Before the Storm


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