Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 240

Monday 27th August 1984

Woke up at 9.15 and got up at 10.30. Doug came and we mucked on like till 12.30, when we went for some paper for Ozzie’s record. Came back at 1.30 and had dinner, then we went to Carlton. We went to a forest, through another forest, and came back through Faceby plantation (see 1st April 1984)

Then we climbed over six fences till we got to the car and went home. Doug and I ran the mutts round the field, then at 5.30 Doug went home and I had tea. At 6.00 I watched King Kong, at 8.15 I watched only Fools and horses and at 8.45 I went to bed.

Yay! There can’t be many more typically Teesside phrases in existance than ‘we mucked on like’. At least not without chucking in a few f-words and a token ‘swear down’. I think I ended 33.7% of my spoken utterances with the word ‘like’ until the age of fifteen, by which point I was virtually living in Middle Earth and making a conscious effort to talk like a medieval wizard at all times. I was the only teenager on the Ayresome Park terraces who used to precede his abuse of the opposition players with the word ‘forsooth’.

Anyway, all of this rambling and preambling can’t detract from the fact that – I think for the first time so far this year – I’ll have to admit complete defeat for this diary entry. I have no recollection whatsoever of heading out to the North Yorkshire Moors with Doug on this particular day! Which is really, really odd, as I used to get unduly excited about such expeditions, and it’s usually these gorgeous, summery countryside ramblings that stick in my head. But nope… I can only assume that my Dad – having been just as pissed off as me by yesterday’s scrambler bike invasion – decided to give climbing Carlton Bank a second go.

It was a Bank Holiday Monday, so doubtless it’ll have been tanking down, but even that hasn’t made any impression on my normally razor-sharp psyche. Instead, I’ll whistle innocently and attempt to fob you off with the information that the ‘paper for Ozzie’s record’ was some luridly-coloured wrapping paper for the 12″ version of Frankie Goes To Hollywood ‘Two Tribes’ that we’d bought for Ian Oswald’s forthcoming 11th birthday.

But then you knew that, anyway. I have a vague inkling that we wrapped it at my house over dinner (which will have been cheese-on-toast, as my Mum seemed to have a constant supply of luridly orange cheddar breezeblocks in the fridge) and made a bloody awful mess of it, with sellotape and jagged lumps of paper hacked about all over the place. Poor Ozzie’s beloved present looked like it had been wrapped by a bloke wearing boxing gloves (and doubtless we had one last, mucky-fingered listen to the single itself before it vanished into the ether forever) 

Anyone know which version of King Kong we would have watched? My natural leaning is towards the 1976 remake with Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange, as I’ve definite memories of watching that from the comfort of the fireside rug around this time… bizarrely, the only scene that sticks in my memory is from early in the film, when Bridges’ character takes a series of photos of a pouting Jessica Lange, and the shutter on his camera clicks and whirrs at an amazing speed. It was the first time I’d ever heard a camera do this, and I decided there and then that I wanted to be a photographer when I grew up (this particular fantasy lasted for approximately ten minutes, after which I reverted to my usual childhood ambition of becoming a fully-qualified Time Lord when I left school)

Anyway, happy birthday regardless to the film’s legendary producer Dino De Laurentiis, who I noticed passed the ripe old age of 90 a couple of weeks ago. A cracking innings, although – as Paul Merton once said – I’ve no idea what he’s doing playing cricket at that age.

Just a little heartwarming addendum to finish, as well… any former Levendale schoolers out there might be interested to note that, in the space of the last week, I’ve seen two legendary figures from my childhood!

1. Our old swimming tutor Mrs Marlowe, queen of the pre-25m swimming certificate pep talk, and a woman who has probably seen more verrucas in her working life than anybody else on Teesside. She was standing in the queue behind me at the express checkout in the Eaglescliffe branch of Tesco less than a week ago. I tried to catch a sneaky glimpse of the contents of her basket, but she started to look at me with a degree of hostile suspicion.

2. Our old dinner nanny Mrs Holgate, in Middlesbrough last Saturday afternoon. I almost didn’t recognise her without the yellow overcoat, but she was walking across Sainsbury’s car park as I cut through on my way to the match. It was just starting to rain, so I hid behind a line of trolleys in case she blew her whistle and made me go indoors.

I was too shy to say hello to either of them, but they both looked fit and healthy and… well, exactly the same as they did 25 years ago, really. Which is more than I can say for myself.


  Chris Orton wrote @

Hmm… I reckon that the King Kong showing might well have been the original version you know. I can clearly remember being carried to bed crying by my Dad after watching the original version of King Kong and being very upset when Kong was killed at the end of the film. I would have been about six or seven at the time, so this could well be it.

We need David Brunt to check.

  bobfischer wrote @

Thinking about it, I’ve got vague memories of BBC2 showing the original King Kong and similar stuff like Mighty Joe Young on weekday early evenings around this time… so it could easily be one of those, yeah.

Can we shine a Bruntsignal into the night sky?

  David Brunt wrote @

Yes, it was the 1976 remake. On BBC1.

The Fools and Horses episode that followed was the decorating one with the dead “yellow canary”.

The BBC2 1933 screening was 1982 I think.

  bobfischer wrote @

Thanks Mr B… I knew you wouldn’t let us down. Classic 1980s Bank Holiday fayre on BBC1.

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