Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 35

Saturday 4th February 1984

Woke up at 7.30 and got up at 8.00. At 8.20 We got the bus into Middlesbrough. First we went into Smiths, Then I got a black shirt at Littlewoods. After that we went into Woolies to see if they had any mirror glasses but they didn’t so I got some red trainers and a denim jacket.

Then we went to Grandma’s and I wrote some more of the Guardian. At 12.15 I had a bacon sandwich and got some After shave and hair lacquer from grandma for the disco. At 2.15 we had to go and pick my dad up because the car had broken down and at 3.00 I came home.

3.05 Had a bath, then put all my stuff (Black shirt and trousers, Black tie, Denim jacket, After shave and lacquer) on. At 5.00 I went to Kerry’s disco and first we all had a piggy back fight, then we danced, then played Postman’s knock, Then had dinner. At 8.00 I came home and then at 11.30 I went to bed.

Woah! Go, Fischer!


OK, the ‘disco’ was a birthday party thrown by our school friend Kerry Lewis in the decadent surroundings of Hilton Village Hall. Think Studio 54, but with Womens Institute memos pinned to the notice board and a wilting aspidistra by the DJ’s booth. Although sadly not a growling aspidistra, like the one in The Adventure Game. (I can still do an impression of that by the way… if any of you ever see me in the street, please stop me and ask – I NEVER REFUSE)

Given these glamorous surroundings, it was only natural that I wanted to spend the morning embarking on a Paris Hilton-esque spending spree around the designer boutiques (Littlewoods, Woolies) of Middlesbrough, and then… erm… smother myself in my Gran’s hair lacquer. The after shave, by the way, belonged to my Uncle Trevor, and will UNDOUBTEDLY have been Brut 33…

…and yes, I splashed it on all over. I’m pretty sure I even lashed a small bucketload of the stuff into my bathwater, so by the time my Dad had dragged his wheezing Reliant Scimitar through the ten-minute drive from Yarm to Hilton, he probably had tears streaming down his face and third-degree ammonia burns on any areas of exposed flesh.


The black shirt-black-trousers-denim jacket-trainers ensemble seemed to be de rigeur formal wear for 11-year-olds in early 1984, although ultra-cool farmer’s son Paul Frank gained extra brownie points for sporting (gasp) a WHITE TIE to round off a sensational look. I’ve tried hard to avoid saying this so far, but… well… it’s all a bit Shakin’ Stevens, isn’t it?

Not that that’s a bad thing, of course. I can’t find a picture of the whole outfit, but this is me later in 1984 sporting the red trainers…


I believe Paris Hilton does a lot of wheelbarrow shots as well. Actually, that sounds a bit ruder than I intended it to…

OK, things I can remember about Kerry’s party:

1. As I walked into Hilton Village Hall (to the strains of the Flying Pickets’ ‘Only You’) I tried to casually flick Kerry’s birthday card through the air to land on a table full of presents and cards, but hopelessly miscalculated and only narrowly avoided removing Gemma Hamlin’s left eye.

2.  I think Gareth Jones had come straight to the party from a severe bout of dental surgery, and spent all night with his face twisted around like Quasimodo and the occasional fleck of blood dripping down the front of his denim jacket.

3. The ‘piggy back fights’ were conducted to the strains of Joe Fagin’s ‘That’s Livin’ Alright’ and I was the piggy to Doug’s back.

4. ‘Dinner’ consisted of the usual fabulous kiddie’s buffet… paper bowls filled with Hula Hoops; random lumps of marshmallow; fizzy luminous Fine Fare orangeade containing enough tartrazine to reanimate the dead; and cocktail sausages on deliciously pointy sticks that you knew, sooner or later, were going to end up being stuck into Christopher Herbert’s arse.

5. Returning to our wooden bench from the buffet, I was carrying a paper plate piled so high with this glorious gloop that Paul Frank called me a ‘greedy bloody sod’ within earshot of Kerry’s Mum, who flashed him a distinctly frosty glare from behind the wilting aspidistra.


A succesful evening all round I think, and although I’m still not 100% sure what ‘Postman’s Knock’ is, I’m sure it involved being in the broom cupboard at some point. Is (gasp) actually kissing girls part of this strange charade? If so, I’d have avoided it like the plague. Unless I actually had the plague, in which case I’d have breathed it all over them. 

Good to see I was back home at the perfectly respectable hour of 8pm, and I know that my Gran stayed over at our house that night, because I remember her being there when I came back, and showing her my tie while she downed endless glasses of my Dad’s home-made wine (made from parsnips, vinegar and clouds) to try and blot out the still-overpowering stench of Brut 33. 

25 years later, I still catch the occasional whiff of the stuff when I sit up too quickly.  Which admittedly isn’t very often.

Anyway, since my Gran’s bungalow is mentioned in this entry, I thought it was about time I made a little pilgrimage there to get some footage. So I did, yesterday, in the snow! It was lovely. Sorry if this seems a little rushed and garbled, I could see a few of the elderly neighbours watching me suspiciously out of their windows. Five minutes later I was pulling away in the car when a police ‘ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR SQUAD’ van came haring around the corner. I’m not making this up, honest… 



  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

For one horrible moment I thought the street sign next to the bungalow read “Boothby Close” which would have been slightly unfortunate. Common sense should have told me this would not be the case but common sense is generally scarce mere days after the self-assessment deadline.

Being a scientist I am of course most interested in the determination of eleven-year-olds a quarter of a century ago to wear sunglasses indoors after dark. It suggests a nervousness about the potentially harmful effects of ultraviolet light/food colouring; a justified nervousness that would vanish within four years as lightshows, whistles and MDMA brought what the handbooks refer to as ‘The Rave Scene’ to even the village halls. Who knows – your laudable eye caution and that of your young chums might just have saved you from the kind of orbital damage that slightly younger teenagers would later resort to disguising with kohl and flick fringes.

I have no memory of the Brut commercial that you have selected but the score is an intriguing one. It sounds rather like the tuneful Swedes Abba undergoing vocal rehabilitation in which they are permitted to trill only one syllable at a time before being required to breathe again. Almost like remedial burping-speech. Fascinating! In addition, please rest assured that your kindness in NOT posting the more familiar Brut-related sights of Messrs Cooper and Keegan wearing nobbut towels in the steam is greatly appreciated by the scientific community of Finchley and Frognal.

  bobfischer wrote @

I don’t think ‘The Rave Scene’ ever came to Hilton Village Hall. That sounds more like a Hutton Rudby event, or – at a push – Seamer.

I did toy with Henry Cooper and Kevin Keegan, but that’s a story for a different blog. It’s always reassuring, however, to find a man that you can certain isn’t going to infect you with the flu virus.

  Drew Smith wrote @

Let’s club together as suggested and give Middlesborough its first protected historical building!

  bobfischer wrote @

Last I checked, it was on the market for £119,500. I’ve just had a glance at my current financial predicament, and I’m £121,500 away from reaching that target…

I’ll do it if we can have a Blue Peter Totaliser.

  illegibleme wrote @

  bobfischer wrote @



  Drew Smith wrote @

I may be a nutter but you’ve made a commitment now. Get that piggy bank filled.

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