Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 246

Sunday 2nd September 1984

Woke up at 9.00 and got up at 9.30. I gave Doug a ring but he was going out so I went outside and played football till 12.00, when I had dinner.

After that I went and inked my entry for the Doctor Who Exhibition competition, then I played football till 4.30, when Dad and I took the dogs round the field.

Came back at 5.15 and had tea, then we went brambling. At 7.15 I got back and watched Child’s play. At 7.45 I watched Moonraker and at 10.00 I went to bed.

Another day, another unfinished entry to a competition! Yes, two days earlier I’d been to Blackpool’s delightfully homely Doctor Who Exhibition, and the TARDIS materialisation noise (VWORP! VWORP!) had sounded in my head as the pound signs lit up in my eyes. I’ve no idea exactly what I was required to do (or the nature of the prize that I’d be cruelly robbed of), but the ‘inking’ suggests some sort of picture was in order.

In which case, time to dust off the 3,547 Doctor Who pictures that I’d attempted since Tom Baker’s regeneration had captured my imagination in March 1981, and see if any of them could be adapted to win me a fortnight’s holiday for two, digging for Davros in the windswept quarries of Skaro. Or just going back to Blackpool, whichever was preferable (I have my opinions)

Other than that, clearly a fairly quiet day… the penultimate day of the summer holidays, so there was no point in beginning any great adventures or grand schemes. Just another sl-o-o-o-w Sunday, with a little more poignancy than most. As the clock ticked in the alcove in our giant stone chimney (titter) breast, I knew full well that every second took me a little closer to Conyers School. At some point during this drizzly Sunday afternoon, I’ll have worked out that there were 43 hours left until 9am on Tuesday morning, and then counted back to see how far into my past that took me.

‘So… (scrunches up face, counts on fingers) 43 hours ago takes me to… (nnnnghhhh) 8pm on Friday night, when I was…. yikes, playing football in the garden after watching Candid Camera. Oh bloody hell, that seems like NOTHING. No, it doesn’t. It seems like forever… ages. I can pack loads into that sort of time again. Like… erm… watching the James Bond film on ITV…’

I used to do this backwards-counting technique a lot to convince myself that Good Things (Christmas, my birthday, new episodes of Doctor Who) weren’t as far away as they seemed, and that Bad Things (school, dental extractions, agreed bedroom-tidying times) were distant, forgettable points in the infinite future. By this time in 1984, I’ll have already been doing it for Christmas Day, knowing full well that a ZX Spectrum was almost certainly going to be wrapped up under the tree in lurid, blue paper with dancing snowmen and jolly, red-faced Santas.  

(And, just in case you’re wondering, Christmas Day was 114 days away at this point, and 114 days earlier was Friday 11th May, when I ‘mucked about with Sug in the library when Mr Hirst wasn’t looking’. That’s nothing! A heartbeat! Woop! Woop! Christmas is coming!!!! Pass the Toblerone!!! Did you get me Jet Set Willy as well?!?!??!)

Anyway, a Sunday evening Bond film on ITV… clearly God was in his heaven, and all was right with the world. Being an avowed science fiction-obsessed nutter, Moonraker was probably the Bond film that interested me the most, and I think – for the first time ever – I actually ‘got’ the staggeringly bad double entendres that pepper those latter Roger Moore epics. ‘He’s about to attempt re-entry’ indeed.

I watched this slumped in the armchair next to the big bay window (with the long, fawn curtains closed – the nights were drawing in, you know) and my Dad sat in the chair opposite, his legs crossed like a nervous snooker player, occasionally tutting and rolling his eyes and making comments like ‘This is bloody awful. He’s not a patch on Sean Connery’ while glugging on a gigantic beige cup of coffee and occasionally nibbling at a Viennese Whirl.

And as if Moonraker wasn’t disjointed enough, ITV will have peppered it with entirely inappropriate commercial breaks, flogging Sugar Puffs and Um Bongo to a nation of armchair, knife-edge wannabe secret agents. Is it another strange, false memory, or did ITV go through a stage of not actually stopping the film running when they cut to the adverts? I’m sure I remember films stopping and resuming in the middle of sentences around this time, but I could just be imagining thi

ngs again.



  Chris Byers wrote @

Just thought you might like to know that as I write this by my calculation it has been approximately 219104 hours (including an extra 144 hours for leap years) since we started Conyers.

It feels like yesterday.

  bobfischer wrote @

You just made me laugh out loud for a scarily long time. I was in the middle of a cheese sandwich as well, you swine. 🙂

Lol, as this year’s intake would no doubt put it.

  Stuart Downing wrote @

I just love those adverts – the idea that you had to advertise milk. What was going on in the 80s? Did people stop using milk in tea, coffee and on cereal? What were they using instead, Marvel on their cornflakes?

  bobfischer wrote @

I bet it got shown during the ad breaks in ‘Bottle Boys’. Good to see a traditional saucy, semi-naked woman being employed by the Milk Marketing Board as well. Phwoar, eh lads??!??!?? Bet you wouldn’t mind this on your doorstep!!! Look at the thick creamy top on this one… etc.

I’m only amazed a goggle-eyed Robin Askwith doesn’t pop up at the end, say ‘Phwooarrrrr!’ to camera, and follow her into the shower. In full milkman’s uniform.

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