Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 192

Tuesday 10th July 1984

Woke up at 7.50 and got up at 8.10. At 8.30 I went to school and first it was assembly, then we did Topic. After that I had a read, then at 12.00 I had dinner. We also played cricket and I caught two people out.

When we came in we did some maths, then at 3.15 I came home and tidied my room. At 5.00 I had tea, then I went out till 6.40, when I watched Star Trek.

At 7.30 I watched Little and Large, and at 8.00 I watched Now get out of that. At 9.00 I watched Film buff of the year and at 9.30 I went to bed.

Caught two people out? CAUGHT TWO PEOPLE OUT? When did that ever happen? I struggled to catch my breath whenever we went out to play cricket, so the two deliveries that I snapped up must have been such limp-wristed, lily-livered floaters that I barely had to move a muscle* for them to drop casually into my cupped palms. And I’ll have adopted my customary ‘catching stance’ for this… chin tucked into right shoulder, face trapped in a wincing grimace, eyes tightly shut, hands held limply in front of my face.

It’s the same position that I’ve always adopted for heading the ball during football kickabouts, although I started to feel a lot better about this when Middlesbrough spent £8.15million on the Italian international striker Massimo Maccarone, and he used to do EXACTLY THE SAME whenever the ball went anywhere near him (as did I, up at the back of the North Stand)

fishfingers

(*Not that I had muscles when I was 11. My body was constructed entirely from bones, fishfingers, and skin the colour of Gold Top milk)

I was clearly so excited by this proud sporting achievement that I decided to come in and (yikes!) TIDY MY BEDROOM. This will have consisted of…

1. Filing all comics, magazines, books etc into chronological order and piling them neatly along the far wall. I absolutely LOVED doing this, and the prospect of having five years worth of Whizzer and Chipses placed neatly into order of publication (with the oldest ones at the bottom) and then stored away made me feel UNBELIEVABLY good about the world, even if the resulting pile of comics would lean hopelessly to one side like some tiny, garishly-coloured Tower of Pisa. See, everyone – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be FUN!!!

whizzerandchips

2. Arranging my Star Wars figures into little scenes and static dramas, although at this stage in my life I could never resist depicting Han Solo doing something obscene to a Jawa.

jawa

3. Getting bored and/or hungry and shoving everything else in the room under the bed in a huge, unruly pile, before repeating the whole process in three months time. By the time I was fifteen, the bed was only six inches from the ceiling.  

I have to say huge thanks to our regular contributor Thing, who has done some sterling research and come up with the definitive list of BBC2’s Star Trek repeats throughout 1984! So I can reveal that the episode I watched exactly 25 years ago today was called ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’… it’s an extremely early episode, in which Kirk and the gang are troubled by two hapless crew members (both, no doubt, wearing red shirts) developing terrifying psychic powers and glowing silver eyes, in that order.

Here’s a little clip…

Spock is a legend, isn’t he? He still never fails to remind me of Alan Hansen.

Thanks to Thing as well for pointing out a little fact about this evening’s Little and Large Show. I loved Syd and Eddie of course, and still occasionally slip into a breathless Deputy Dawg impersonation, but this show in particular had – as a guest star – a performer who became a bona fide cult comedy legend throughout 1984.

littleandlarge

I can’t remember where I first saw Roy ‘Spook!’ Jay on TV, but whenever it was, I was captivated. He was, essentially, a fortysomething club comedian, but he’d managed to make his act so unique and downright bizarre that he became a figure of playgroud adoration within nanoseconds. 

It was one of the strangest things I’d ever seen. He sported black eyeliner, a towering quiff, a Beano-style prison outfit (complete with arrows), white gloves, and would shuffle around the stage with a strange, slow, round-shouldered boogie movement to a loping, ultra-cool jazz backing. Sometimes he’d tell a joke, and then – just after the punchline – he’d quickly jump back a yard and say ‘Spook!’ for no apparent reason. Sometimes he’d stare down the camera and say ‘Slitherrrrrr…’ for, erm… no apparent reason either. But he was brilliant, and unique, and I loved him to bits. He’s the ONLY bit of footage I can find anywhere, on a Schweppes advert from 1985…

Amazingly, I don’t think he ever had his own show – he made his impact with a series of utterly bizarre guest appearances on other peoples’ variety shows. I think he made a couple of singles (one possibly called ‘It’s Weird’ – or was that another advert? I definitely DO remember a song called ‘Spooky Love’, though…) and then vanished forever.

I tried, a little while back, to trace him for a radio interview, but he seems he spent most of the last 20 years living in Spain and then – sadly – died a couple of years ago. But I’m sure he’d be proud of the fact that, for at least six months of 1984, he managed to get fifty 11-year-old idiots regularly loping around their playgrounds telling rubbish jokes amidst regular, high-pitched cries of ‘Slitherrrr…..’

SPOOK!

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3 Comments»

  Thing wrote @

Glad the information was useful to you.

“You’ll all be doing it tomorrow…”

I sometimes wonder if he might have done better, which is to say, lasted longer, if he’d been around in a different era. It was a bit out of phase with the alternative scene, whereas I could imagine him guesting on something like The Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer and not seeming too out of place.

  Justin wrote @

Sad to say allegedly (this is what I’ve heard, if it’s wrong and libellous I apologise!) Roy Jay had an alcohol problem which is one of the reasons he suddenly disappeared from TV.

He was great at the time though; yep we were “all doing it tomorrow”!

  bobfischer wrote @

Blimey, I’d never thought of it like that, but yes – he would have made a perfect Big Night Out guest. Vic and Bob built careers on combining mind-addling surrealism with old-school club comedy and lashings of dressing up, and that was Roy all over.

What a shame. I think he spent many years performing out on the Spanish club circuits, I hope he found a bit of success and happiness out there.

SPOOK!!!


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