Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 81

Wednesday 21st March 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.00. First at school we went into Topic groups and we had to answer some questions. When we came out we had to do our own holiday brochure cover, and I did that all morning.

Had dinner at 12.00 and in the afternoon I finished my poster and after maths groups I did my maths. At 3.15 I went in for Boy’s games but Doug and Ozzie couldn’t go so my team was Gazzie, me and Tweddal, as it was indoor. We lost two and won one.

At 4.00 I walked home and met Doug, and we played with the CBs at his house. Came home at 5.30 and had tea, then I started a new Fighting Fantasy. At 7.40 I watched Day of the Triffids and at 8.30 I watched Fresh Fields. At 9.00 I watched Minder and at 10.00 I went to bed.

I’ve been holding this back for a while, but it’s probably time to unleash it… here’s a little re-enactment of my daily morning wander into school…

It felt incredibly strange to be standing in that playground again after SO many years away… it actually felt like I was visiting a film location, or somewhere I’d only seen on TV.


And when I looked into the little square of green outside the main body of the school, I was assaulted by an astonishing rush of memories and images… being showered with water during a science experiment with beakers; the luridly bright colours of Star Wars Weekly covers; banging a triangle in an unsuccessful school orchestra try-out; Mrs Keasey in a lilac suit marking our huge, green-backed register in baking sunshine.

And the terrifying, paranoia-inducing rattle of school dinner money in a British Home Stores trouser pocket. Don’t lose it… don’t lost it… don’t lose it…   

Anyway, I like the phrase ‘we went into Topic groups and we had to answer some questions’, which conjures up images of Mr Hirst shining a standard lamp into our faces, setting a breezeblock-sized reel-to-reel tape recorder rolling, and interrogating us with such pertinent inquiries as ‘What the hell do you actually DO all day, Fischer?’


At least I had a ‘poster’ to work on. I’m not sure exactly what this was, but I suspect it was, again, tied into our teaching staff’s forthcoming summer holiday in Tenerife. I was a half-decent artist at school (certainly up there with my closest rival, Stephen Mason, although neither of us could hold a candle to Jo Spayne) so I tended to get seconded into felt tip duties wherever possible.

The holiday brochure we were making was a joint effort between Doug, Ozzie and myself, and I distinctly remember Doug repeatedly nudging me like Eric Idle in the famous Monty Python sketch and whispering ‘Go on… draw a topless woman on the cover… go on…’

We should have never have been allowed near that nuddy calendar, it was clearly leading us into a sleazy web of vice and muck. You watch, within a fortnight we’ll be trudging the streets of Soho in our parkas, drinking Bass Shandy in the Raymond Revue Bar and grunting erotic fiction into our Walkie Talkies.


Speaking of which, you’ll notice our plastic, toy Walkie Talkies (with the 100m range – providing you held them two feet above your head and shouted into them like Windsor Davies’ Sgt Major – SHAAAADDDAPPPPPPP!) have now metamorphosed into the rather grander-sounding ‘CBs’.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Who was I trying to kid? I’d seen ‘Convoy’ on ITV in the Summer of 1983, and it had clearly stuck in my head. And I’ve now just had a terrifying flashback of sitting on Doug’s bed pooling our knowledge of American CB Radio slang and scribbling it down on a piece of lined A4 paper for us to use. Oh, wow! Off the top my head…

’10-4′ – Yes, I can hear you from around the corner of the sweets aisle in Walter Wilson’s.

‘I’m eyeball to eyeball with Smokey’ – PC Bedford is about to tell me off for riding my bike on the pavement.

‘I got my ears on, good buddy’ – I’m standing withy my Walkie Talkie two feet above my head, shouting into it like Windsor Davies’ Sgt Major.

‘I’m puttin’ the pedal to the metal’ – I’ve got to go home for my fishfingers, or my Mam will absolutely knack me when I get in.

I think we both had a handwriting sheet of jargon, and genuinely used to jabber away at each other while reading from it, thirty feet apart in the middle of Yarm High Street.

Anyway, a lovely delve into the TV Times for this day reveals the following nuggets…

1. A sensational double bill of Aussie soap! ‘A Country Practice’ at 2.30pm (‘The town turns out for a funeral, and there is conflict between two brothers’) and ‘The Young Doctors’ at 3.30… ‘Drama is provided by the lives and loves of the staff and patients.’ Pretty vague there, TV Times. Come on, get your act together.

2. ‘Luna’ at 4.20pm. ‘Futuristic children’s series with its own language. Andy is malpurposing all over the ‘viron again and it is time for his Molecular and Orthomechanical Tests (MOT). 8OH is after an egressing legibreach perpetrator and 32C is worried about her laugh lines’.

Why didn’t I watch this?!?! It sounds brilliant! ‘A Clockwork Orange’ for the ZX Spectrum generation…

(By the way, what IS Penny Cook actually doing in this clip?)

3. In ‘Fresh Fields’, ‘William (Anton Rodgers) discovers the true meaning of ‘Jaws’, and in ‘Minder’, ‘Arthur’s sortie into haute couture lacks the glamour he anticipated when he, not Terry, ends up minding the frocks. Oracle sub-titles page 170’.

I also notice that, on weekdays, Channel 4 doesn’t start broadcasting until 5pm. Making them possibly the only people in 1984 doing less during their average working daytimes than me.



  fiona tims wrote @

Stop confusing me with your wrong days ;p

I wouldn’t be able to get into my junior school-the gates are padlocled outside of school hours, indicative of where I live 😦

I have great memories of it though. It;s only 5 mins from here.

  bobfischer wrote @

I did wonder if I should be there, but it was a Sunday afternoon, the gate was open and the only sign I could see said ‘Please Shut The Gate’ so I didn’t think wandering in for two minutes would do any harm. There’ll probably be a police summons on my doormat on Monday morning. 😉

It is a shame that schools seem to be no-go areas now. Lots of my childhood and teenage years were spent messing around in the
various school fields, playing football and whatnot. It was the only exercise I got. Nowadays most of them get locked up outside school hours.

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