Double Life - PT

"I lived a kind of schizoid existence because I was a schoolteacher and I was well aware of my ethical and moral responsibilities as a schoolteacher, which kind of left many of us with a split personality. During the day, one had to be very proper and professional. Yet at night in our free time, we were clearly wanting to party. I found Skewjack the best place to do that because it was self-contained. It was its own social world. Some would call it a bubble.

"You went in there and as long as you didn't cause too much trouble, you just got into the partying and you were deemed 'local', it was almost encouraged. You had to be a surfer and you had to be local or you had to know surfers, to feel comfortable. There was no-one checking your surfers' pass at the door, but your face needed to be known. You needed to be prepared to join in the fun and not try to interfere in any way or try to demand that they do things differently, or upset the 'punters' as we called them. So we didn't, we just enjoyed it.

"I was just struck by the wonderful bohemian image of the place. This was not the Savoy! This was a wooden floor, a grotty army bed which you threw your sleeping bag over, a kettle and a couple of pots and pans. It was a wonderful kind of 'heroic individual existence'. It was very much about being masculine as well. It was about a sense of identity with surfers; this is what surfers do. This is good, honest, sex, drugs and rock and roll. That's what we want to do, that's what I wanted to do, that's what everyone else wanted to do. We wanted to party. So that drew me to the place. I didn't have much to do with it other than that, I couldn't because I lived out at Zennor which was quite a long way away.

"But, I used to play the guitar a bit and busk. Chris Tyler saw me performing in a pub one day and he came up and said 'Pete would you like a job at Skewjack?' I said 'Chris – does a seagull want to shit? Of course I do!' As it happened, not that he knew, my employers were looking to shed a few teachers. So, I suggested to Cornwall County Council they get rid of me and in order for me to be released from my contract, they pay for my three years to do another degree. It worked out brilliantly. So from 1978 to 1981, every summer, I worked at Skewjack."

Skewjack Lifeguard and 'Dr Fun' PT judges the Fancy Dress Competition. 1981.