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Monday January 1, 1996

The horrible year is over. It is 1:05 A.M. and I've just hit the sack after coming back from the stroke of midnight at Trafalgar: I've never in my life seen such extraordinary, marvelous, superb crowd control. Britain is still a power in this world, when it can tread the very very thin line between individual freedom and giving rein to human nature such as it is — and it is not, not pretty — and public order. Very very impressive.

Since yesterday: we did in fact go to St. Martin's, an OK concert from an OK place — the viewless upper pews in the balcony: Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, Corelli, Torelli — but not so very well performed except for the cellos, who stole the show from violin soloists and trumpet soloist too — Interior of St. Martin's cozy but very ugly — dirty ugly dark bisque ceilings — Dinner at La Tavernetta afterwards, then home — at least the music effaced the Chekhov —

Today, walked up to Charing Cross Road, a couple of bookstores but no dice with the books I was looking for, then James brought me to a clothing store at 19 Shelton St., "Key Largo" and I bought £530 of skating clothes, and I found out about a dozen terrific things I could wear on the ice, rather sexy but acceptable unitards —

Then I skated at the Palley, the walk up from Wood Green shrouded in mist, hell, fog — throngs of skaters but I did lots of jumps anyway and had a grand time, leaving at last call to clear the ice at 4:30 as they wished us Happy New Year. Back to the hotel, packing — then at 8:40 out to Wheeler's on Old Compton Street, a fish and seafood dinner (Colchester & rock oysters, then steamed oysters with leeks and hollandaise, then cod with spinach and sweet red pepper; then strawberries and honey with ginger ice cream, coffee, and chartreuse — the wine for the meal was a Chablis 1er cru Les Fourchaumes quite good but not memorable; good with the rock oysters but not with the Colchester!)

Then at 11:40 we walked in an ever-densening crowd towards Trafalgar — James left about 80 yards before the square, I forged on, very cautiously; arms crossed in front of chest, minimal wallet and no passport, deep inside my jacket under my coat. Crowd pulsing in spots, I just rode it, anything else is of c. dangerous — Not a pretty crowd — Midnight found me in front of St. Martin's overlooking Trafalgar: just a very dense moving, surging crowd, behaving OK finally. Police strategically placed, statues barricaded and wrapped to protect them from danger — Some places were entrances only, others exit only: mounted police served as flow valves by varying the way their horses faced

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and withal the perfect mix of stern and courteous. Extraordinary.

Was in Charing Cross tube station by 12:20, exited Victoria at about 12:50, met James at Warwick Way, he'd walked home because they hadn't let him enter the tube at Piccadilly or at Green Park. He was sour, but fine. He's asleep now, and I will be soon.

I did my full set of exercises as prescribed by Melvin for the holidays — the first time! altho' 2 times partial — waist was 29⅞ before, 30½ after — Now, after large dinner (and I finished James's food as well), 30¾ —

I've survived Christmas, I've thanked James for his kindness of last year 1995; and this is now a totally fresh new year. [. . .]


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Page updated: 13 Feb 03