Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 229

Thursday 16th August 1984

Woke up at 9.15 and got up at 10.15. I played Munchkin for a while, then I went to Doug’s and fed the rabbits. At 12.30 I had dinner, then I played on the videopac till 1.30, when we went to Yarm and got some blue paint from Idec.

When we came back I started to paint the bathroom, but soon couldn’t reach so I came down and went out. At 4.45 I watched Starstrider and at 5.15 I had tea. Then I played outside till 6.15, when I watched Doctor Who.

At 6.40 I watched Encounters with animals, then at 7.20 Dad and I took the dogs on the field. Came home at 7.30 and watched Top of the Pops. At 8.30 I watched the paras and at 9.00 I went to bed.

Ah yes, the great bathroom painting had begun! Following the removal of several strata of hideous 1970s floral wallpaper, our bathroom walls were now bare and pristine and ready to be painted with, erm, several strata of hideous 1980s electric blue paint. We’d bought gallons of the stuff from Idec, a swish new DIY store in the middle of Yarm High Street.

The nearest approximation of the colour that I can find online is Berk from the Trap Door…

Clearly my parents were working downstairs with the only stepladder in the house, a rickety metal and wood affair that I can still see from where I’m sitting if I crane my head and look out of the spare room window. It’s propped up against the side of the shed at the bottom of the garden and I still prefer it to the state-of-the-art metal laddery thing that my girlfriend made me buy four months ago. That bloody thing is all clips and joints and foldy bits, and requires a degree in Mechanical Engineering before you can get it up on the landing (chortle, guffaw etc)

As a result, 25 years ago today, I was only able to paint the bathroom walls up to the height of my extended arm’s length! Probably about 5’10”. This day, however, was a bit of a landmark occasion for me. As I painted the corner of the room next to the clicky lightswitch string, I had a huge sneezing fit and – in the midst of this – managed to knock the full pot of electric blue paint over in the corner of the bathroom carpet. This action had two long-lasting repercussions…

1) Despite my Dad’s best efforts with a cloth and a bottle of white spirit, a little light patch remained in that area of the bathroom carpet until we got round to replacing that, two or three years later.

2) 25 years of allergies. Basically, I get mild hay fever symptoms all year round, and have to pump myself full of antihystamines and things to keep myself free of them. And it all started on this particular day, with that sneezing fit. I’d never suffered from hay fever at all before, but – as we decorated the house – the field of crops outside were being harvested by our friendly local farmer Robert Smith, and clearly something in there just got to me. And it’s never gone away. I’m still a bit itchy and sniffy today, and I’ve taken my tablets and everything.

Anyway, on with the telly… ‘Encounters with Animals’ is a book by Gerald Durrell, so I’m guessing the TV show was possibly a nice, worthy, classic BBC adaptation, no doubt containing footage of Zebras that made every kid, mother and granny in the country go ‘Awww….’

Which is certainly more than you can say for the evening’s Top of the Pops presenters (brace yourself) Steve Wright and Andy Peebles. Who, let’s face it, had their work cut out trying to turn this lot into a fun-packed thirty minutes of sexy, poptastic prime-time TV…

A Flock of Seagulls – The More You Live The More You Die [Performance]
Black Lace – Agadoo [Performance]
George Michael – Careless Whisper [Promo Video]
Howard Jones – Like To Get To Know You Well [Promo Video]
Iron Maiden – Two Minutes To Midnight [Promo Video]
Tears for Fears – Mothers Talk [Performance]
Trevor Walters – Stuck On You [Performance]  

Actually, the colour of the sea in the above video is pretty much an exact representation of the shade of our new bathroom walls.



  Chris Orton wrote @

Good god! Andy Peebles looks like some shifty, reprobate half-sibling of Terry Thomas. Was he really what passed for a Radio 1 DJ back in 1984?

Still, I suspect that he’d be a damn sight more entertaining than Chris Moyles.

  bobfischer wrote @

It’s certainly coming to something when the beefy, super-sexy dreamboat half of the Top of the Pops partnership is Steve Wright.

I don’t imagine many current Radio 1 DJs wear tweed, mind you. More’s the pity.

  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

He does have the look of a supporting character from an early 1980s ITV sitcom, it’s true. I can imagine him dogging Oliver Smallbridge for instance – by which I mean complaining once an episode about the extent of his awning or something equally silly. He could easily have had a limp catchphrase like “The Council can come and measure it, you know!”.

That blue looks like ‘Smurf Curtains Blue’ to me. I’ve seen many a strip of litmus paper turn just that colour in the lab, often in the presence of magnesium hydroxide and the like.

  bobfischer wrote @

Indeed, or he could be one of the intense, overly-bookish men that Judi Dench occasionally flirted with in ‘A Fine Romance’ during brief hiatuses* from her relationship with Mike.

*What is the plural of hiatus? Hiatuses? Hiati? Or is that an island in the Caribbean? I’m expecting a man with such extensive experience of Smurf Curtains to be able to quickly furnish me with the answer.

  Dr. Giles Parcel wrote @

The plural of hiatus is hiatuses. A bit more Latin and a bit less crayoning at that school would have equipped you with this knowledge, young man. Laura in ‘A Fine Romance’ could always be wooed with a spot of Latin, I’m sure. Although only during her hiatuses on Haiti.

It’s a great shame that the fifth, Caribbean-set series never went into production because of a personnel change at LWT. Susan Penhaligon’s character was all set to elope with a zombie and Mike’s new gardening business turned out to be a front for something infinitely more sinister.

  Justin wrote @

I suspect that he’d be a damn sight more entertaining than Chris Moyles.

Watching the blue paint dry on those bathroom walls would be more entertaining than Chris Moyles…

  PJE_UK wrote @

I’m just surprised Peebeles got through half an hour of prime time TV without mentioning the fact that he was the last person to interview John Lennon in Dec 80.

The bloke hardly ever mentions it.

  bobfischer wrote @

We don’t know for certain that he didn’t. I reckon he slipped it in somewhere between Agadoo and George Michael.

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