Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 55

Friday 24th February 1984

Woke up at 9.00 and got up at 9.45. At 10.00 I rang Doug and then I went down to Doug’s house and painted K9’s face red. Then Doug touched up the grey and I put the stickers on the control box. Then we went to my house and typed in a ZX81 program called Fire.

After a few games on that I read a letter that Richard Moxham had sent. Then we had bacon and egg and after that we went on Conyers field and played football. When we came back we had a muck about and about threeish we went on the field again.

We lost the ball twice in a garden and just climbed over the hedge.

After a while we came back and at 5.5 We watched Grange Hill and at 5.40 Doug went home. At 6.40 I watched Doctor Who and at 7.00 I watched the A Team. At 8.00 I Watched That’s my boy and at 8.45 I watched Points of view.

Can ASBOs be awarded retrospectively? Look – I’m being naughty!!!


Alright, so climbing over a hedge to retrieve our football from somebody’s garden is hardly up there with the Baader-Meinhof gang. In fact it’s not even up there with Dennis The Menace’s gang (I always wanted to be Pieface) but it’s something that – even two months earlier than this – I really wouldn’t have dared attempt.

I didn’t have a strict upbringing at all, my parents were lovely, but for the first eleven years of my life I was very meek and polite and well-behaved, and until 1984 my preferred approach to the football/garden dilemma would undoubtedly have been to traipse around to the front door of the house, knock gently and politely ask if I could ‘possibly have mai footh’ball back, plahse’ in an accent that would have made Little Lord Fauntleroy scratch his britches and say ‘Blimey, he’s a bit of a toff, isn’t he?’


All of which implies that I was letting my standards slip a bit, but I don’t see it like that at all. I was just – as my Mum would no doubt say – ‘coming out of myself a bit’ and it was probably long overdue. And having Doug as my best friend was the main contributing factor, because – like all the bestest of best friends – he brought out the bestest in me. Doug was far more outgoing and streetwise than me, and I don’t think it was a bad thing that a little bit of that was starting to rub off.

Anyway, the garden was sandwiched between Conyers comprehensive school field (a delightful mudbath with the occasional football post stuck in it at a janty angle) and the big, Edwardian-style houses on the main road between my house and Doug’s. It was only a little hedge, the ball was a matter of feet away, and the garden was a bloody tip, so we didn’t see any harm.

Besides, the bloke who lived in it was – in Doug’s words – an ‘auld feller’, so what was he going to do about it? These thoughts were foremost in my mind as I clambered over the hedge and – oh, the shame – JUMPED INTO SOMEBODY ELSE’S GARDEN WITHOUT BEING INVITED.


I can remember my heart racing and even feeling a little bit faint. What if the curtains twitched, and the ‘auld feller’ with his piercing eyes caught sight of me? What if he was a wizard, like the one in The Forest Of Doom, and tangled me in a web of dastardly magic before running my football through with a two-handed broadsword? Or – even worse – what if he knew who I was, and went to tell my parents?

These myriad thoughts collided together in my over-sensitive head as I plucked our football from a nest of laburnum bushes. I threw it back to Doug, clambered over the hedge, and swore never to fall foul of the law EVER AGAIN.

Until ten minutes later, when another of my ambitious free kicks soared over the capsizing crossbar, and I had to go back.

Good to see K9 reaching completion anyway, and another letter from Richard Moxham (my earlier bestest friend, remember – he emigrated to Canada when we were eight) arriving on the doormat that morning. We used to write voraciously to each other – all about The A-Team and Star Wars and TJ Hooker – although I remember being very aware of our differing cultural upbringings when he sent me a letter coated in the spiky, alien-looking logos of Van Halen and Twisted Sister.


I was always more of a Frankie Goes To Hollywood man. 

Nice to see a namecheck for Points Of View as well, still presented at this stage by the mighty Barry Took, and no doubt packed with letters complaining about the treatment of Bonnie Langford by The Adventure Game’s hungry vortex…

By the way, I think everyone should say hello to Gaz ‘Gazzie’ Jones, Hilton resident, Philips Videopac G7000 owner and a man who knows a lot about the location of mid-1980s bus stops. He’s posted on Volumes 28 and 37, making him the first star of the actual 1984 diary to make a personal appearance on here!


(He’ll never speak to me again now… ;-))


  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

A warm and wholly scientific “Hello!” to Gaz ‘Gazzie’ Jones!
I can only hope he does not share your own frankly shocking criminal tendencies, young Fischer. What a pity it is that DS Mallon’s renowned ‘zero tolerance’ policy did not take root some years earlier: illicit straddlers of hedges and furtive prowlers of laurel bushes such as yourself might have been diverted onto a more wholesome path. The path of Science, for instance.
Still, I’m truly grateful for the clip of Tooky-era “Points Of View” and its faultless diction!

  PJEUK wrote @

Re: The POV clip. What on earth is this “Monkey Business” show that the GBP are getting so worked up about. It must have been absolutely terrible considering it was sharing the (presumably) mid-80s BBC prime time schedule with Odd One Out, I’ve Got A Secret and Les and Dustin’s Laughter Show.

  bobfischer wrote @

You’ll never take me alive, Parcel.

I’m sure Barry Took was renowned for his impressive diction throughout the BBC. I think ‘Monkey Business’ was a celebrity quiz centred around animals and their crrrrazy antics… lots of funny clips of gnus falling over accompanied by Johnny Morris voiceovers, and two teams of celebs answering questions in the studio. I can’t remember who the presenter was, but I know that Floella Benjamin was one of the team captains!

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