Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 141

Sunday 20th May 1984

Doug got me up at 10.30 and we went to the VG. Then we went to the Valley and met Stan, Beadle, Brunskill and Wuckie. When we came back we had dinner, then we went to the mud track and mucked on on the tarzie.

When we came back we mucked on till mam and dad came back, then Doug went home and I typed till tea. After tea I recorded the charts, then I went out and played with my bike.

Came in at 9.00 and had a bath, and at 9.30 I watched That’s life. Went to bed at 10.10.

tuskenraiderHa! I remember the sheer excitment of lying in bed on a Sunday morning, idly watching Sunday Worship on the black and white portable TV and picking the congealed sand from a Tusken Raider action figure, when I heard Doug’s voice at the back door downstairs. I think my Mum was brushing the patio (I often woke up on a Sunday morning to the comforting repeated ‘swoosh’ of the big, wooden-handled brush on dusty paving slabs) when Doug rode up the drive on his bright yellow BMX.

I leapt out of bed, hastily pulled on several layers of acrylic clothing (I’ve probably still got a few friction burns) and within minutes were were haring headlong down to the VG shop next to our school, ready to annoy Jo Spayne’s mum behind the counter with endless requests for liquorice bootlaces and fizzy cola bottles.


Anyone know what ‘VG’ actually stood for, by the way? Sensible grown-ups always told us it was ‘Very Good’ but we kids were naturally more inventive. ‘Very Gory’ was one suggestion (usually made while looking at their selection of frozen sausages), along with the probably-slightly-unfair ‘Viruses Galore’. There was also, at one point, an attractive young blonde called Vicky working behind the counter, but I’ll leave it to your own imaginations to deduce the delightful combination of words that she inspired.

Oh, please. That’s disgusting.

Anyway, ‘The Valley’ was another, slightly more boring name for Deadman’s Creek, as discussed in a scary degree of detail in this entry. Good turn-out for a Sunday morning as well… Andrew ‘Stan’ Henry and Wendy Brunskill, together with her friend Joanne Beadle, a dark-haired girl from the same estate. ‘Wuckie’ was just a new nickname for our old pal Jason ‘Tucker’ Tuck, one-time attendee of the lunchtime ZX Spectrum Computer Club that Ozzie and I used to idle our afternoons away with.

No idea where the name ‘Wuckie’ came from, although it might have been inspired by Ollie the Wally’s hilarious antics on the school bus, as detailed in this entry. Nicknames changed like (Christopher Herbert’s) wind at Levendale Primary School, and the more distinctive 11-year-old headcases could get through three or four different monikers throughout the course of an afternoon. I think Ozzie and I considered producing a thrice-daily ‘NICKNAME NEWSLETTER’ at one point, just to keep everyone abreast of the latest developments, but gave up when Andrew Sugden got his fifth nickname of the day (‘Bugden’) twenty minutes before the dinnertime buzzer had sounded.


If we couldn’t manage a nickname for you, then invariably you ended up simply being called by your surname… just as with poor Wendy and Joanne. And me, if I’m honest, despite repeated attempts throughout 1982 to brand myself as ‘Superkid’, on account of my newly-discovered superpowers (the ability to crack a fresh aniseed ball with my teeth and break wind for more than five continuous seconds. Often both at the same time)

Anyway, two bizarre, entirely inconsequential memories from this glorious, sunny afternoon…

1. The first time I ever saw a Sony Walkman. Wendy had it, and was listening to Duran Duran at Deadman’s Creek (which actually sounds like a really good live album). I’d heard of these contraptions, but never seen one before… and she did that fabulous thing of letting me use one of the earphones so we could both listen at the same time. THE FUTURE had arrived, and it sounded like a slightly tinny Simon Le Bon singing in the mud at the bottom of a weed-infested riverbank on Teesside.


2. Cycling away from Deadman’s Creek through the Levendale estate, and as Doug and I swopped filthy suggestions about the nocturnal activities of Vicky from the VG shop, we noticed we were being watched from an upstairs window by a really excited West Highland Terrier. That’s it. There’s no punchline, I just remember that happening on this day. The human mind is a curious beast, isn’t it?

Anyway, good to see me bootlegging another 45 minutes of the day’s new Top 40 onto one side of a battered TDK D90! Duran Duran’s ‘Reflex – flex flex flex flex’ was still at Number 1, with Wham’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ SMASHING straight into the charts at Number 4. 

CHOOSE LIFE! Failing that, watch THAT’S LIFE! Before eating a bowl of Sugar Puffs and going to bed.


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