Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 45

Tuesday 14th February 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.15. First at school I finished some Topic research, and started my story about a house in the future. Then me and Ozzie took the Guardian of Goblin Grotto to Mr Chalkley, but he wasn’t in, so we waited ten minutes then showed it to him. He gave us a binder for it and at 12.00 I had dinner.

After dinner I finished my story and did some fractions off the blackboard. After that we put the Guardian in the binder and read it. 3.15 Came home and started to colour the cover for the Guardian. Then I went down and met Doug, and we came to my house and played on the ZX81. Then we went outside and played cricket in the fog.

At 5.5 We watched Grange hill and at 5.40 Doug went home. 5.45 Had tea and after tea. At 6.40 I watched Tucker’s luck and at 7.15 I played the Guardian. Then I played on the videopac and at 9.15 I watched Alas Smith and Jones. 9.45 Went to bed.

Ah, St Valentine’s Day! The most romantic day of the year. And how did we 11-year-olds choose to celebrate this centuries-old festival of all things mushy? Why, by going ‘Eeeeeurggghhhhh! Yyyyyyyyyuch! Yer JOKIN’!!! Yuuuurchhh!’, of course.

We didn’t do romance. Aside from the mystery billet-doux that Paul Frank recieved outside the papier mache Egyptian sarcophagus in Middle Band in 1981, I don’t recall seeing a single Valentine’s card in all my years at Levendale Primary School. And this wasn’t solely down to the fact that I was an ugly, grubby little sod with a penchant for Doctor Who continuity and Fighting Fantasy books.


I suspect that no modern 11-year-olds are ever this coy, but there was an unspoken rule around the place that it was deeply inappropriate to mention fancying ANYONE, even a celebrity. After all, we all remembered the wave of scandal that had swept across the school when Steven Foster had declared his undying love for Kim Wilde, and attempted to stencil her face on his pencil case.

Although it looked more like Howard Jones, to be honest. We can only hope that the associated stigma didn’t lead to poor Steven throwing off his mental chains. Ooooh-hoo-hooo.

Anyway, good to see Ozzie and me finally gaining recognition for The Guardian Of Goblin Grotto. Entering into the headmaster’s office was always a terrifying ordeal, especially as my only previous experiences in there consisted of staring intently at my shoes and almost inaudibly mumbling ‘no’ to a series of questions to which the truthful answer was almost always, actually, ‘yes’.

(‘Would you do that at home?’ being the textbook example, applied to everything from putting muddy feet up on Mr Millward’s special chair to drawing nudey pictures in blocky pixels on the school ZX81).

Thankfully, the amazingly hairy Mr Chalkley was utterly lovely, and wrote on the inside page of The Guardian Of Goblin Grotto a little tribute that I still recall in its entirety… ‘Well done, can’t wait to see the next step!’.

I was always tempted to write ‘To see the next step, turn to 327’ underneath, but I didn’t dare.

The binder he gave us, by the way, was just a standard slidey plastic thing, one of these…


…but it’s a sign of my incredibly sheltered existance that I’d honestly never seen one before. I was fascinated by it, and spent the rest of the afternoon dreaming wistfully about the opportunities for stationary storage revolution that this development had brought into my life. No wonder I wasn’t yet quite ready to admit my love for Sarah Greene to the world.

Good to see a bit of Fog Cricket going on… we were wild, we were reckless and we knew how to slug an impressive pull shot to the coal bunker in the middle of a Teesside pea-souper. And a strange memory of Alas Smith and Jones has just come to me, which I know was from the first series, so it could well be this episode. It was a sketch about a spoof wartime poet, who wrote the following charming stanza… (from memory this, so it might be vaguely wrong. You’ll need to do it in a rubbish German accent as well…)

There was a young girl from Berlin,
Who liked to have sexual intercourse,
And when she’d finished,
She’d get out of bed,
And break wind like a German anti-tank gun.

I only remember this because, as I lay sprawled in front of the fire with my head rest on Poggy Doggy’s shaggy trunk, it gave me a horrendous fit of the giggles that even my parents seemed to find charmingly amusing. Before they sent me to bed with the words ‘Would you do that at school?’ ringing around my head.

Anyone know if I’ve remembered this right?



  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

I regret to say I can offer neither affirmation or negation of the veracity of your rhyme-memory sir. I can tell you that your Superstore picture is almost indescribably sinister though.
Merely looking at it gives me the shudders.
John Craven is the only one who has realised the terror of the occasion and he is trying very hard not to look at the tip of Read’s curved banana. Icke is telepathically summoning reptiles in sportswear to come scuttling through the portal that will open as soon as read tilts his fruit to ninety degrees.
Sarah Greene is oblivious to what’s coming, hearing only her name being whispered by a chilling voice. She is attempting to drown out this creepy sound by pretending to be Nena – an approved BBC procedure in 1984 for presenters wishing to fend off a panic attack whilst live on air. I have no idea whether the Nena Gambit is still listed in BBC staff guidelines today – over to you?

  bobfischer wrote @

I wondered if anyone would mention that picture, and I’m relieved it fell to a man of science to state the obvious. I’m not sure how Mike Read had the audacity to pose for such an erotically-charged picture given his record for moral point-scoring re: Frankie Goes To Hollywood. If I was Holly Johnson, I’d have been calling for Saturday Superstore to be stricken from the airwaves. I bet he didn’t wave his banana in front of Cliff Richard in such a provocative fashion.

Sarah Greene has never looked more gorgeous than in this mid-period Superstore years, although sadly The Nena Gambit has long since been removed from BBC Guidelines. In the current climate, etc.

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