Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 76

Friday 16th March 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.00. First at school we had Topic groups then I went to the toilet and after that I did a Topic sheet. Then we went in for Maths group and at 12.00 I had dinner.

In the afternoon I had a read and then I did some Fractions. At 2.00 We went out for football and got beaten by a bunch of wets lead by Scottie 7-0. Then we came in and had assembly and at 3.15 I came home.

At 3.30 I went to Doug’s and we tidied up the shed and smashed in a heap of junk called ROB-E. Came home at 5.30 and had tea and at 6.40 I watched Doctor Who (regenerated). Then I played on the ZX81 and at 9.30 I went to bed.

Ooookaaaay… can anyone spot the slight change of tone in this diary entry?

My usual 1984 jottings are very precise and detailed, but above all they’re very polite and well-mannered. I don’t usually write about anything nasty or (ahem) icky, and I’m certainly not offensive about anyone. So what prompted the staggering and entirely unprecedented ‘went to the toilet’, ‘bunch of wets’ and ‘heap of junk’ remarks on this particular day?

toilet

Was I drunk on an illicit supply of Harp Lager? High on the noxious fumes of a Presto bag filled with Bostik? The answer is, if anything, slightly more embarrassing than either of these possibilities.

I was showing off.

My diary entry for this day was, in fact, written the following night. I’d started to get ever-s0-slightly slovenly with my regime, and sometimes missed a few nights worth of scribbling before catching up with vaguely sloppy recaps of several days of vintage 1984 action all written in the same session.

So my diary entry for Friday 16th March was actually written on the night of Saturday 17th March, when – wait for it – Doug was staying over at my house. So all of this considerably-cheekier-than-usual guff was written in giggling semi-darkness in my bedroom, sprawled on a portable folding bed with Doug chortling over my shoulder and me playing the wise-cracking cheeky sod.  

Which probably explains why it’s a bit shorter than usual as well. Still a few nice little nuggets in there, though. The ‘bunch of wets’ that hammered my lot at football clearly weren’t ‘wet’ as well, especially as they were being led by Tim ‘Scottie’ Scott, a perfectly nice lad who happened to be bloody good at football. Although we became very good mates in our teenage years, I had a strange, rumbling rivalry with Scottie at primary school, and I think most of it was down to my conviction that I was by far the superior footballer – a giddy mix of Charlie Nicholas and John Barnes – cruelly robbed of my deserved recognition while his skills were unfairly lauded. By Mr Hirst.

Not true at all of course… I could barely knock a ball ten yards in a straight line, while Scottie was a fine 11-year-old midfield general. As the humiliating 7-0 scoreline suggests. I was also, as you might have gathered, an UNBELIEVABLY sore loser as a kid.

I would sulk. I would mutter. I would blame everybody from Doug to Mr Hirst to Joao Havelange for my inadequacies. In later years, of course, I’ve learnt to accept that being one of life’s losers gains me the higher moral ground, and have gone on to revel in a life of perennial underachivement…

And NO!!!! Rest in peace, ROB-E. Having stripped our home-made wooden robots of his vital components, we finally brought about his dignified end. By, erm, smashing him to bits with hammers in Doug’s garage so we could use the resulting bits of wood for our new garden hut. Being a devout Doctor Who fan, I’ll be generous and call it a regeneration.

Except, of course, I had the genuine article to watch! Oh yes, tonight was the night… Part Four of The Caves Of Androzani, and therefore the fateful and historic occasion on which Peter Davison slumps to the TARDIS floor, manfully steers his gaze away from Nicola Bryant’s astonishing cleavage, and collapses into a halo of regenerative energy (with Janet Fielding in it)…

5thregen

I still think this is the best regeneration sequence the show has ever had, and even now I feel a little tingle shoot up my spinal cortex whenever I watch it. When Tom Baker’s Doctor had regenerated in 1981, I was just an eight-year-old viewer… I liked the show, but was no more obsessive about it than I was about, say, Juliet Bravo or The Generation Game or any of the other TV shows I liked watching.

But by 1984 I was an eleven-year-old FAN, and Doctor Who had become my TV raison d’etre. I was fully aware at the time that I was watching HISTORY IN THE MAKING (forget the Miner’s strike and the global nuclear weapons escalation… pffft), and at the end of the show I was filled with a mixture of exhilaration, vague grief and utter, unbridled excitement.

And an almost insatiable desire to watch the WHOLE THING AGAIN NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW but, of course, I couldn’t. We didn’t have a video recorder in the house until Christmas 1987.  

I could probably have tried to encapsulate a little bit more of this in my 1984 Diary, but hey… Doug was watching, and I didn’t want him to think I was a wet…

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7 Comments»

  Andrew T. Smith wrote @

For some reason, as soon as I read it, I imagined the destruction of Rob-e to be a display of violence unheard of until Quentin Tarantino appeared on the scene some years later.

  bobfischer wrote @

Terrifyingly, you’re pretty close to the mark. We definitely took great delight in taking the hammers to him, and if he’d had ears then no doubt we’d have removed one of those first.

All done while dancing to an uber-cool, Tarantino-esque soundtrack of Wang Chung, Van Halen and Alexei Sayle’s ‘Ullo John Got A New Motor’.

  Andrew T. Smith wrote @

I think a well crafted montage set to that final track could be a fantastic piece of cinema!

  bobfischer wrote @

I’ve got the Alexei Sayle single and the hammers if you can bring the camera! Are you free a week on Sunday?

  Andrew T. Smith wrote @

We’d need a robot.

  bobfischer wrote @

TRE-4 and JEF-3 (see ‘Wiffle Lever To Full – The Movie’) are in the loft.

  Andrew T. Smith wrote @

Then let us make Allexi proud…or at least bemused.


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