Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 212

Monday 30th July 1984

Woke up at 7.30 and got up at 8.20. At 9.00 I went to the dentist and had two teeth out, then I got a Mad Super Special from Smiths. At 11.30 I came home and Doug came down and we went and played on the swings down the mud track.

When we came back we played on the computer then at 1.30 Doug went home and I wrote some Fighting Fantasy. Then I went out and played football, then I came in and made a moosse. I read Mad till tea, and after tea I went out and played football.

At 7.10 I watched Star Trek, and at 8.00 I watched Only Fools and Horses. At 8.30 I went out and at 9.00 I went to bed.

‘I came in and made a moosse’ Ha! Ha! Ha! Yes, I started with the hooves and by 3am I was still on a stepladder in the kitchen putting the finishing touches to his antlers.

moose

I suspect what I actually made was, of course, one of these…

angeldelight

M-mmmmmmmm! Don’t listen to a word that them modern foodies tell you, Butterscotch Angel Delight is the single most erotic taste experience it’s possible to have. Throughout my childhood, whenever I was asked ‘what I wanted for tea’, I would repeatedly demand to eat TWO Butterscotch Angel Delights in one sitting, and absolutely nothing else. Naturally, this entirely reasonably request was always refused by my cold-hearted mother, who kept banging on insanely about ‘vitamins’, ‘proteins’ and ‘nutrition’ (before, ironically, serving me up a plate of lurid orange fishfingers, luminous green mushy peas and chips the size of breezeblocks)

I’d forgotten all about this until about three years ago, when I was sitting in front of Countdown one leisurely afternoon (I lead a busy life – I think I even had a notepad on my knee), and realised that my girlfriend was away, my Mum lived in France, and there was NOTHING IN THE WORLD stopping me from finally fulfilling my childhood ambition. So I drove to the miniscule ’70s food you thought had long since died out’ section of my local Tesco (it’s in Aisle 5) and grabbed myself two lightweight packets of beige powder.

angeldelight2

An hour later, I was lying sideways on the settee experiencing the most amazing combination of utter contentment, wistful nostalgia and excruciating nausea. I don’t think I moved until the end of Newsnight.   

Other great childhood puddings that seem to have fallen out of favour…

1. Blancmange. Angel Delight’s slightlier classier cousin, served at the temperature of molten lava* and – if not eaten within 20 nanoseconds of production – quickly developing a thick, rubbery skin that required industrial drilling equipment to penetrate. My Dad would always gleefully eat the skin from his blancmange, I would have to leave mine on the edge of the Soreen Malt Loaf saucer as the closing credits to Blue Peter rolled.

(*Is there any other kind of lava? Or is saying ‘molten lava’ the volcanic equivalent of ‘frozen ice’?’)

blancmange

2. Arctic Roll. A cylinder of solid, taste-free ice cream wrapped in a condom-like protective layer of fluorescent red jam (with no discernable fruit involved) and the most solid, spoon-resistant sponge imaginable. ‘If it’s still frozen, put it in front of the fire for two minutes,’ my Mum would say, as the music to The Magic Roundabout tootled out of the TV.

So I would. And two minutes later I’d eat the resultant liquid glop, now flavoured slightly by the addition of a couple of smoky cinders that had spat onto the hearth from the fire.

arcticroll

Given this sterling vitamin and protein-packed diet, it’s no wonder that I had to make yet another journey to Keith Herren’s dental surgery on Yarm Road, Stockton, to have two more baby teeth removed. I was down to my last handful now, and their adult replacements were still growing in a slightly higgledy-piggledy fashion, so much so that Mr Herren had decided to forcibly remove a couple of stubborn infant tussy-pegs so he could fit a brace to their slightly wonky sucessors.

And bloody hell, it was hard work. My abiding memory of this visit is hearing my Mum going ‘Sssssssssssss….’ and wincing, as Keith put one grey-trousered knee onto my chest to allow him to extra leverage to remove the offending teeth with a pair of pliers. Naturally I was anaestheticed up to the eyeballs (quite literally) by that stage, and so – twenty minutes later – I left the surgery with one side of my face hanging limp like the Elephant Man, and a blood-soaked Kleenex Mansize Tissue clutched to my drooling mouth.

elephantman

‘What do you want for tea tonight?’ asked my Mum as we walked back to the bus stop.

‘Mfffh Mffffh Mf MfffMfffMfff MfffMfff MffffMfffff’ I replied.

‘Oh no you won’t,’ she sniffed. ‘It’s eating rubbish like that that got you into this state in the first place. You need vitamins and protein and nutrition inside you. How about fishfingers, chips and peas?’

I would have offered a sarcastic comment back, but I’d been kidnapped by a Victorian Sideshow owner and paraded around Stockton High Street as ‘Bobby, The Human Heffalump’.

madsuperspecial

You’ll notice the downsizing in my consolation present, as well! I’ve mentioned before that when I was six and had a few teeth removed, I regained consciousness in my Dad’s Triumph Toledo to discover a brand new Palitoy TIE Fighter from Leslie Brown’s toy shop lying next to me on the back seat. Five years on, all I got for my troubles was the ‘Mad Super Special’ from WH Smiths… a little compilation of comic strips from the famous American satirical magazine.  That’s ‘Fatcher’s Britain for you.

The feeling in my face started return while I was on the swings with Doug, who found the whole thing utterly hilarious, and kept trying to prod me in the face to ‘see if it hurts yet’… (these are the very swings, by the way… I’m determined to get some good, repeated use out of these films!)

And the episode of Star Trek that my Dad and I watched on this very evening was ‘Mudd’s Women’… in which the rogueish Harcourt Fenton Mudd is beamed aboard the Enterprise from his destroyed spaceship, alongside three gorgeeeeous female passengers who are – get this – not quite what they seem…

Great stuff, and I was becoming slowly obsessed by the series at this point in my life, aided and abetted by my Dad, who rarely made much of a point of watching science fiction with me, but always seemed happy to make an exception for Star Trek. Particularly if it meant he could escape from washing up the empty blancmange and Arctic Roll dishes.

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4 Comments»

  Chris Byers wrote @

I used to love Angel Delight but I am starting to think that I must have been a deprived child. In our house all we had was plain old Strawberry. We certainly didn’t have anything as exotic as Butterscotch. Your Mum was probably right though to stop you eating two packets as they probably contained enough additives to turn any mild-mannered 11yr old into a hyperactive juvenile delinquent.

  bobfischer wrote @

We had strawberry as well, but Butterscotch was definitely my favourite. I’ve long since held the theory that Werthers Original sweets are made from solidified bits of Butterscotch Angel Delight.

If 1980s Angel Delight was full of E Numbers then they must have phased them out by now. I ate two bowls and couldn’t move for about six hours. If it made me hyperactive then I’d be eating the stuff for breakfast so I could get all my work done before lunch.

  Fiona Tims wrote @

I had Angel Delight about 2 months ago. I was in the supermarket and just had a mad craving, having not eaten the stuff for years. I chose Chocolate and Strawberry flavour!

When I told one of my friends later that I was having Angel Delight, it awakened something in him (ooer) and he too went out to buy some :O)

  bobfischer wrote @

It’s a slippery slope… I bet he’s in pudding rehab by now!


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