Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 121

Monday 30th April 1984

BACK TO SCHOOL

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.10. At 8.30 I got the bus to school, and first it was assembly. Then I did my news about last Wednesday, when Ozzie came. After that I had a read, and at 12.00 I had dinner. After dinner we were allowed on the field so everybody had a geedy muck on.

When we came in (all good things come to an end) we had to get droned on about some sports day. Then we had a supposedly choice between playing rounders or cricket. Poo! All 4th year boys had to play cricket. Thankfully the game ended and I came home at 3.15.

Then Doug came and we started to make a box for the disco lights. He left at 5.30 and I had tea. Then I did a rough copy of the school safety sign and at 8.00 I watched the kit Curran radio show. Poo! Had to go to bed at 9.30. Ho-Hum…

Did everyone else have to write their ‘news’ at school on a regular basis? This strange practice was a constant for us throughout our seven years at Levendale Primary School, especially on the first day back after a holiday.

‘…and then Ian Oswald came round and then Doug said we should go for a ride and then we went for a ride and then we came back and then Ian Oswald went home and then I had my tea…’

It must have driven our teachers half mad. I do remember, while I was writing this particular day’s news, Doug complimenting me on the previous night’s haircut and saying (his exact words) ‘It’s good, you’re getting it cut shorter every time’. This was of note because, a year earlier, I’d had not only the longest lads’ hair in Levendale Primary School, but probably the longest lads’ hair in… well, the country. I just refused to get it cut, and as a result earned the nickname ‘Hippy’, a word we’d only EVER heard in connection to Neil from The Young Ones.

neilyoungones

By 1984 it was pretty much gone though, and I was sporting a scruffy, post-punk look ideally suited to having my Mum chop away at it with the kitchen scissors in front of Last Of The Summer Wine.

And a ‘geedy’ muck on! I’d completely forgotten about this word. It just meant ‘good’. I’ve absolutely no idea where it came from or where it went, but it was in widespread use for about six months in 1984, then vanished forever. Did we invent it ourselves, or did kids from other schools use it? I don’t know. It’s wonderful proof that the English language remains as thrilling and elusive a mistress as ever.

creature

YAY!!! SCHOOL FIELD!!! It must have been a hot and sunny day if we were allowed on here at dinnertime. It was out of bounds during the winter (presumably to prevent 100 grotty oiks traipsing through the school looking like miniature Creatures From The Black Lagoon and leaving trails of mud, snot and dogshit all over the Third Years Ancient Egyptian Display in the school library) but the first day that we allowed back on it was a time for great celebration, and a sure-fire sign that summer was on its way.

And if the grass had recently been cut as well, then that was an added bonus – we could roll around in the piles of musty, sunbaked cuttings, and shove it down Christopher Herbert’s shorts in an attempt to flare up his allergies and send him running to the school secretary for his inhaler and anti-histamines.

grass

It’s odd that I was desperate to play rounders on this day, as rounders was a game that blighted my life throughout most of my primary school career. For two main reasons… a) I was crap at it, and b) I didn’t understand the rules. At all. I had a complete mental blank when it came to this (let’s face it) INCREDIBLY SIMPLE GAME and was constantly being caught out dithering between bases (bases? Or were they called posts?) while my clued-up classmates (and Mrs Keasey) fell around laughing.

I think by 1984 I’d just about cottoned onto the rules, and also had developed the winning technique of ABSOLUTELY LEATHERING the ball thirty yards over the top of big shiny kitchen chimney so I could get all the way round in one go without worrying about anything more fiddly.

clevelandtransit

And aaaaaah… the school safety sign. Our local schools authorities were, amazingly, keen to avoid us being constantly run over by Cleveland Transit buses and Ford Cortinas, and had decided to launch a road safety campaign. The simple and easy way to go about this would have been to pin posters proclaiming ‘STOP BUGGERING AROUND ON THE ROADS YOU NUTCASES’ all over our respective classrooms, but the powers-that-be had opted for a more subtle approach, and as such the ‘school safety sign’ competition was duly launched. 

Basically, we all had to design an advert to promote road safety, and the winning entry from our school would be judged by the PTA (who I always saw in a similar light to The Empire from Star Wars, especially the scene in Episode IV when Darth Vader throttles Admiral Motti in the Death Star conference suite) and forwarded to a regional inter-school competition.

motti

I know exactly what I drew because I have a photo of it from a few weeks after these events, but I’ll hold it back for the time being to create a tantalising air of tension…

Ho-Hum…

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