Peter Steward's Web Site
The following review of the year 1973 was written at the time:
One of the difficult factors about looking back at a year is to see everything in perspective and remember many of the things that happened.
I can remember at the end of 1972 walking round Windsor Road thinking of all the possibilities 1973 held. Now looking back over the year I have mixed feelings about it.
Admittedly it had its moments but it had far too many boring points. I think this last statement comes from the fact that in the past 12 months I have changed.
Although I have not been particularly happy working at Head Office in Norwich I feel it has been a very important move. At Lowestoft I was drifting into boring solidness, prepared to stay at home. In Norwich I became more prepared to have a go at anything. A lot of this came from added confidence and a greater sense of fun I now have. The idea of ignoring certain people. Working at the Globe has helped a great deal in handling the public and showing me how to assess character and not feel self conscious or inferior. In fact the only time I get this feeling today is when I'm out shopping, something I feel to be both boring and hectic.
Walking round Windsor Road on that day just over a year ago I looked at 73 as a year of firsts. My first trip to Wembley, my first visit overseas and a number of other minor firsts.
One strange feature is how things are exactly the same now as they were then and how some things have completely changed. An example of these two things comes from January 1st, 1973 when I went to Ethel's at Boughton. During the year her house has been sold and she has been in a number of homes and hospitals. Without doubt I will never go to Boughton again. On the other front this Boxing Day I went to Mikes for tea, something I did last year and although this year it was a different house, all the guests were exactly the same.
But once again back to myself. I feel I have grown more over the last year than at any other time in my life, perhaps with the exception of my year at college.
My aims have been to improve my personality and charm and forget my outer self - a philosophy in fact held by a group of young people I met in November.
I now feel no need to look up to people. Although, as I have said, I feel I have matured considerably I have also inserted a new fun dimension into my life and become more friendly. I now feel that if somebody ignores me, my job is not to ignore them but to make them speak to me.
As in any year there has been both laughter and sadness, but very often when I hear other people talking about their problems I think "what a simple life I lead -" basically a job, a home and one being.
Certain concepts such as my music collection and my poetry have carried on as they always will. My musical directions I feel are changing and my poetry has more depth. Altogether I feel the year can be summed up by a line in the introduction to my poetry. This is the year when I have stood up and thrust two fingers at the world.
World... what a world. I suppose like every intelligent person I have my thoughts on how to make it a better place. But that is up to the individual. I have lost the naive view that all people are pleasant. Granted they may exist, but I now look for bad in people, their faults. I am sure of course that I have my own faults and I hope to rectify some of these in the coming year.
For a start I am basically a very lazy person, preferring to put things off until tomorrow. I need to be more diligent and more decisive. My indecisiveness I feel comes from the fact that I hate being alone or doing things on my own. I need people. This doesn't mean that I do not like the odd hour on my own with a record and my thoughts. On reflection, however, I like to be with people provided they are my kind of people who accept me as I am without putting on pretence.
As I have more than once said, I feel I have something of a split personality. On the outside I give the idea of a completely carefree happy go lucky person whereas on the inside I am serious and a very deep person.
I feel this ability to put on a front when worried is something very important so long as it doesn't take over from you completely. In my opinion there is nothing worse than a man or woman who puts on a charming character only to be vicious inside when you get to know them. These people are slimy and sly and I would hate to be numbered amongst them.
On the other hand I feel it is important to entertain in life. There are so many boring people that a good old fashioned character sweeps in like a breath of fresh air. I may talk too much and on certain occasions make a fool of myself but if only one person gets a laugh from it, it is all worth while.
I am no longer worried about what people say about me or if they laugh at me. Instead of shutting them up it is important to accentuate their laughs with outrageous actions.
Many people I meet only see me for a few minutes and I feel it is my job in those few minutes to get my character over as best I can.
Somebody reading this might think what sentimental clap trap it is. This doesn't worry me. Perhaps by next week, month or year I may feel totally different. This of course will be because of my changing traits in life. Then again I would not fight against semtimentalism. I still want to fall totally in love. Perhaps things like that do not happen, but who knows, at least I can go on hoping.
I feel today I am much calmer than in the past. I very rarely lose my temper and, if somebody in a high office at work has a go at me I just sit back and take it and tell myself that I am a better human being than they because they have chinks in character that I do not possess and in this way I am superior to them. Once again I must stress that in no way am I a perfect being. I still do things I hate myself for but at least I reflect on this afterwards.
Meanwhile the events of the year are over. Although I don't think I will ever look back and wish for 1973 again it has had its moments and it is these good times that will remain long after any pain is erased.
Lowestoft was really the starting place. Looking back I shall always remember my stay on the Journal and all the friends I met there, I think I suffered once again from wanting to be somewhere else and then when I had left wishing I was back there again. You always think of the past as being better than the present. Perhaps the saying "Better the Devil You Know" holds weight after all. Despite that in a year's time when I have finished my indentures with Eastern Counties Newspapers I intend spreading my wings to get more experience. I have no wish for a cabbage like existence in Norwich for the rest of my days.
The fact that I have kept a diary going for a whole year says much for my new found steadiness. In fact it has now become a ritual, writing it every night before I go to bed no matter how late the hour and there have certainly been some late nights during the year.
But to start at the beginning with January. January was by no means a bad month. The New Year was seen in at George Perrin's. I must admit that there were no staggering outstanding pieces to it but I did attend a good party - Richard Aldridge's 21st at which I met a girl called P. I got a wrong idea about her completely thinking how nice she was. It only took two meetings, however, to find that she wasn't my type at all. Indeed by the third meeting I realised we had nothing in common and did the cowardly thing by telling her I would phone back when she phoned me - somethig of course I didn't do.
I seem to act differently with different girls. Some I feel I can be myself with, while others I have to put on a front with. Actually felt a real bastard during the month when D my pen friend from Harlow returned my picture. I had stopped writing to her. I was again too much of a bloody coward to do anything about it.
Bob Mee, who remains one of my last links with Harlow College and who is indeed my best mate from those days, paid two visits during the year. The first being to me in Lowestoft. We had a very enjoyable weekend simply playing records and writing poetry. Soon afterwards I tried to fix up dates with M. It failed. Towards the end of the month I went in for a change in appearance by shaving my moustache off and having my hair cut short. An experiment I didn't completely approve of. I quickly let both grow again and by the end of the year I not only had the best of three moustaches I have grown but my hair was probably as long as it's ever been (by today's standards it's still comparatively short, however).
I shall always remember March and in particular the 3rd when Norwich City played at Wembley for the first time. Actually it was a very strange day because of the coach breaking down and other things happening. As I said at the time a very crazy day. An attempt to get a team together myself for the Sunday League failed, mainly I must admit because of my lack of action.
My lack of self-confidence (which I think I have now conquered) showed when I was supposed to go to a South Lowestoft rotary club dinner. By the time I had hesitated and they had hesitated I ended up walking out. For the occasion I had borrowed a bow tie from John. The first time in fact I had worn one. A couple of hours later, however, I was on my own in old clothes eating fish and chips. There is an idea going round at the moment that a person's life is split into staged governed by things such as joy, depression etc. I think this must have been one of the bad periods. Gradually during the month I gained confidence and on the 16th I returned to Harlow - a town I still love. There I met M - one of my old flames again. Soon after leaving college I wrote to her twice but she never answered. At this latest meeting it was more a case of both of us being polite than anything else.
A significant comment about Harlow comes form the March survey and I quote: I would like to go back in a year's time. Perhaps Harlow is now becoming part of my past.
At the time of leaving college it was very difficult to forget Harlow and the people there but now that is all part of my past. Perhaps I will return there in March this year (1974), who knows for that at the moment is in my future.
April, May, June and July provided times of contrast. April, May and July being the most successful months but June the worst one of the year.
Once again a memorable occasion came early in the month of April. I at last felt I was fulfilling a purpose when I found the F----- family a home after their houseboat had sunk. Later in the month after much trouble the husband turned a bit nasty - he was an awkward character.
Spent my one and only day of the year in London on the 7th although I again felt out of place there. So many times over the year the 13th day of the month has been an uninspiring one. In April it was the time of a slightly disastrous party at Loddon. Later in the month I went to see one of John's friends who is a palmist and she gave me a reading. Looking back now at the end of the year it was fairly accurate especially the bit about my gaining in confidence. Football nerves came again this month with Norwich City fighting for first division survival which they achieved with a last minute goal from Stringer against Crystal Palace. By the end of the year, however, the team were in a worse position, actually bottom of the league.
May was another highly satisfactory month and indeed the best one of the year. It started on the very first day when I got my Fiat in exchange for my mini which was falling to bits. Actually it seems as if changing cars will be a yearly thing as this Spring I intend changing once again. John moved on to pastures new and Steve Hardy took his place in the flat. In fact 211 St Margaret's Road was quite an hospitable place with Mike, Jeannette and George all coming round for tea at various times.
Started going to the Yarmouth bowling alley and the pictures and event the Theatre Royal where I saw David Bowie and Monty Python in the same week.
Occasionally in my life (well mainly while at college) I have got drunk and one of these occurrences presented themsleves on May 19th when Tony Slinn held at farewell party at Kessingland at which I made an absolute fool of myself but thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it was from this point that the more extrovert side of my character began to appear.
AS always happens the best month of the year was followed by the worst. June was not a success. I was quite happy on the first when I took Y out for a drink. From there, however, it deteriorated. The bad nature of the month probably had a lot to do with the fact I had flu. Peter Anthony came over for a weekend just when I was better and on the 9th I held a party of my own which, although a success, had its drawbacks when we had to move over to Kessingland. At least there was a good turnout. The 15th was a fateful day when I learned that I would be leaving good old Lowestoft for grotty head office - somewhere I said I never wanted to work. Spent a return weekend with Peter Anthony over at King's Lynn and had a good all night party and on 28th spent the strangest day of the year standing with Andy on the banks of Beccles riverbank. Looking back the month had a number of good points interspersed with bad.
As I said at the time July started off in Lowestoft and ended in Spain. It also saw the end of my association with the Lowestoft Journal.
It was quite a sporty month with plenty of football and tennis. Keeping fit, something that I certainly did not keep up towards the end of the year. Got quite friendly with Steve King a member of the Sparrows Nest cast before saying goodbye to Lowestoft. Then spent the end of the month and the beginning of August on holiday abroad. There seems little point in going through the holiday in detail again but it was quite an experience.
Life in Norwich began and my existence steadied a lot. At first I was quite enjoying it but have got more and more fed up as the year progressed. The prize for the most disastrous party goes to Peter Anthony who held one in King's Lynn which was attended only by me, George, John and Lyndsey. Did my first report of a Norwich City match for the News of the World no less. The 24th was quite a landmark for the year when I took up a job as barman at the Globe. At the end of the year I was still there although nearly all the others there when I started had left.
Throughout the next month I spent all my weekends at the Globe - interesting but bloody hard work. Also played my first football match of the season. Arranged for a birthday bonanza party at Sea Palling. One important thingthat struck me during the month is how nasty some Norwich people are. I no longer hold the view that everybody is good. Perhaps I am getting too suspicious but it is other people that have made me so.
Another date to remember was September 24th when I switched to the Eastern Evening News special reporters and began a path of boring existence to the end of the year.
October was recorded as a very mixed month. It was all overshadowed by my 21st birthday and on the 6th, along with many other brave souls, I ventured in thick fog to Sea Palling for a party which was quite a success but unfortunately a bit lack lustre and boring. Bob came down which was one good point. On my actual birthday I felt really pissed off and depressed. October 15th took over the photographic diary at work and this was to lead to problems in the coming year.
Once again for the second time in the year I had the flu.
I bought a cine outfit from John Wright who works at the Globe. By the end of the year I had taken very few shots, however.
John also had a 21st birthday and his party at Pinebanks was enjoyable. I met a young Danish nurse whom I got on with very well. As I said at the time the last day of the month was more hectic than the rest put together. It is probably quicker ot just list what happened.
I didn't get my car back until November 8th, just in time for another party - this time Lynn Turton's, another goodie. And yet another party that weekend at Georges which I must admit I didn't really enjoy and indeed I missed a good one on the same night at Jack Spencer's.
I said earlier that this was a year of firsts and indeed I went on strike for the first time. I looked on it more as a chance to have a few extra days off work than fighting for the cause. Other highlights of the month were a trip to see Colin White at Caister to play table football and a visit to see a group of young people with a unique outlook on life.
And in the finale to the year - December, Christmas, New Year et al. The month started off slowly with anumber of bad things but gradually picked up again. A concert starring Steeleye Span was unexpectedly enjoyable but the 8th.... oh the 8th.
The day was good although I had a cold. It was spent at Lowestoft. The evening should have been good with Mike holding a special party to celebrate his engagement. Unfortunately I had a car crash before. Luckily it was only small and nobody was injured. It did unnerve me, however, and even at the turn of the year my driving has been much more careful. It still makes me sick to think of the crash.
Had a nice surprise on the 18th when I received a Christmas card from C. It was nice to hear from her again and I wrote back immediately. The EEN Christmas dinner was quite nice and Christmas itself very hectic working at the Globe. Boxing Day spent at Mikes and so the year has come full circle with a final party on New Year's Eve at Jack Spencer's.
365 days gone and another year ahead. One of hope and a chance to better last year which after all wasn't particularly bad but nothing to write home about.