Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 286

Friday 12th October 1984

Woke up at 8.15 and at 8.30 Doug came and on the way to school we met Gazzie. First lesson was Basketball, then French. Next was Geography, and at 12.00 I had dinner.

After that was Maths, then music, and last of all it was double science. At 3.40 I came home and played out till 4.30, when Doug came and we did Geography homework.

At 5.00 I had tea, then Doug and I went outside and played Bike Bomb. At 6.00 Doug went and I started writing a Fighting Fantasy called Labyrinth of Death. At 8.30 I watched We Love TV, at 9.00 I watched Tell the Truth, and at 9.30 I went to bed.

Great mysteries of our time: The Loch Ness Monster. Bigfoot. The Tunguskan explosion of 1908. Spandau Ballet’s voracious female following. And the reason why (oh why oh why oh why*), 25 years ago today, I spent my entire Geography lesson (and after-school homework session) drawing a map of Shrewsbury and its surrounding areas…

(*standard opening to a letter to Points Of View, circa 1984. A pastel-jumpered Barry Took would respond with a raised eyebrow and a puckered, pursed lip)

There’s no menton of Shrewsbury in any of the scribblings in my exercise book before or after this rather fetching little map. I don’t know of any special geographical significance to Shrewsbury. It’s 176 miles from Yarm, and – although I’m sure it’s a lovely place, both aesthetically and spiritually – I’ve never been there. If anyone has any idea why I might have been drawing the above map of a small, rural corner of Shropshire on this strange, cold, Autumnal day, then please write to: Barry Took, Points Of View, BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, London W1 8QT.


And to maintain the mysterious theme of the day… BIKE BOMB?!? Google reveals nothing whatsoever, so I’m guessing this must have been a garden-based game created by Doug and myself. We were incredibly literally-minded, so it’s a safe bet that the noble, gentlemanly sport of Bike Bomb involved both a) at least one bike, and b) an act of wilful destruction. I’ve got a vague memory of cycling at speed into various shoddily-assembled piles of housebricks, and points being awarded to the competitor with the least bruises, grazes and artifical limbs at the sounding of the final hooter (‘STOP BEING SO BLOODY STUPID AND GET INSIDE, THE PAIR OF YOUUUUUU!!!’)

And I can’t remember anything about The Labyrinth Of Death, either. Should we write this day off for the time being, and look forward to tomorrow instead? October 13th was Doug’s birthday, and we ate fish and chips and went conkering. Wooo.



  Justin wrote @

Talking of Fighting Fantasy books have you seen this recent publication – Enemy of Chaos?… I am already attracted by the blurb:

…a facetious fantasy gamebook for adults, …
Are you up to the challenge? Are you brave enough to dump a vampire? Will you get stuck in The Traffic Jam of Eternity? Can you overcome your neuroses to save the world from the evil Madame Tussaud’s and her inexplicable obsession with stillness?

… and there’s even a version you can download to an iPhone as an app!

  bobfischer wrote @

Fantastic! And, erm, bugger. For about the last three years I’d been toying with the idea of writing pretty much exactly that book, and never got round to it!

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