Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 38

Tuesday 7th February 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.00. Drew two pictures for Ozzie and at 9.30 I went to school. First I did a piece of writing on Switzerland with Ozzie. The we read the Guardian. Then I mixed some green paint for Doug and at 12.00 I had dinner.

After dinner I finished my Topic work on Switzerland. Then me and Ozzie did some more of the flowchart for Iceworld Adventure. At 3.15 I came home and typed some of the kingdom of karden. Then I went outside and played football in the side garden.

At 4.45 I had tea and at 5.5 I watched Grange Hill. At 5.40 I typed again and at 6.40 I watched Tucker’s Luck. At 7.15 I went to sleep on the setee and at 8.35 I played Chess with my dad. At 8.45 I watched Alas, Smith and Jones. 9.30 Went to bed.

OK, a little recap and reboot for the growing numbers of you gravitating towards this nonsense when you should be working!

When I say that my friend Ozzie and I ‘read the Guardian’, we weren’t cultivating a right-on mid-1980s political consciousness. Our knowledge of British current affairs extended to a) Mrs ‘Fatcher was funny because she talked weird and had a handbag b) ‘Neil Pillock’ (as my Dad invariably called him) was funny because he was ginger and Welsh, and c) it was normal for people (especially in the North) to be unemployed and penniless and genetically predisposed to strangle kestrels and headbutt DHSS operatives. We knew this because we’d seen it on the telly.


No, ‘the Guardian’ was The Guardian Of Goblin Grotto, a ‘Fighting Fantasy gamebook’ that my friend Ozzie and I had decided to write ourselves from scratch. Oh, and Iceworld Adventure was another one, a second opus that we’d just started to write despite not having yet finished The Guardian Of Goblin Grotto first. Oh, and The Kingdom Of Karden was the THIRD in our mighty trilogy, an adventure that we’d already begun planning despite not having yet finished The Guardian Of Goblin Grotto or even really started writing Iceworld Adventure.

Keeping up with this? I needed to mix that green paint, just to keep me grounded and sane. No idea why Doug couldn’t mix his own green paint, by the way… unless – of course – I’d now reasserted my authority as THE ARTY ONE in our school year, and convinced him that nobody else could whistle up a mug of snot-coloured glop from powder paint and tapwater like I could.


I remember the school sinks vividly… huge white basins surrounded by the sludgy remains of blue paper towels and stained by years of powder paint abuse, the surrounding white tiles covered in multi-coloured splodges where valiant attempts to flick a blinding arc of bright yellow or red over Karen Tweddle had ended vainly.

The sink nearest the end of the corridor was also the place I was standing where I heard a splendidly 1980s vulgarism for the very first time. Namely Dean Lewis shouting to Stuart Hayes ‘WHY ARE YOU HIDING DOWN THERE, HAVE YOU GOT A BONK ON?’ 

He’d clearly been reading my Children’s Encylopaedia, Pages 34-35, when I wasn’t looking.

OK, when I say I ‘typed some of the Kingdom of Karden’, I don’t – of course – mean I using anything as sophisticated as a computer. The only computer in our house was a ZX81, and you might as well attempt to type on a Scrabble board. No, I actually had a typewriter. And not even an electric one, a huge, old-fashioned green Hermes affair that made a noise like First World War machine gun fire when I really got going on it.

And this was it… this was absolutely the model we had, even down to the colour…


It was also around this time that I was introduced to the wonders of Tippex… the psychedelically smelly liquid version primarily, but also the fabulous little paper strips that you had to dangle over your typing error before hammering down the same incorrect key with Geoff Capesian force to wipe over your cock-up with a layer of flimsy white dust.  


I loved typing, and would do it all night given half a chance. Unless, of course, I was slowly working up to a day off sick… which I clearly was on this occasion when I ‘went to sleep on the setee’ for an hour and a half. There had been rumours sweeping school of a dreaded ‘bug going round’, and with that in mind I made a very conscious decision that I would have the full-blown illness by Thursday night at the very latest, although naturally by Saturday morning I’d have made a miraculous recovery.

More on that as the week progresses…


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