Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 314

Friday 9th November 1984

NON-UNIFORM DAY!

I got up at 7.30, and put on my gegs, black shirt, white tie, black trousers, white jacket, green sock and orange sock. At 8.30 Doug and Gaz came and we went to school. First was Gym, then French, followed by Geog. At 12.00 I had dinner*, then we played tennis without rackets.

Next was maths, then music, then science. At 3.40 I came home, then at 5.00 I had tea. At 5.10 I watched Crackerjack, then I played Destroy Death Star. At 7.00 I watched Blankety Blank, at 7.00 I watched What a carry on, at 8.00 I watched Play your cards right, and at 9.00 I went to bed.

*At this point Conyers had raised £875 for Ethiopia, including £28.00 from our class!

We did a lot of work for charity, but we didn’t like to talk about it…

Yep, the repercussions of Michael Buerk’s heart-rending news report on the Ethiopian famine were continuing to sweep the country. Including Conyers School, where – amazingly – I’ve an inkling that the idea for a fund-raising non-uniform day (translation: come to school dressed like a knob, and pay for the privelege) had actually come about as the result of (yay!) PUPIL POWER!!!

I’ve very vague memories of a polite, neatly-written petition being handed into some school dignitary or other, and the idea being quickly approved.  And so, barely a fortnight after I’d first seen that devastating news report (on Wed 24th October), I found myself, erm, dressing up like Shakin’ Stevens and throwing a pound coin into a Flora margerine tub passed around our form class by the lovely Miss Wilson.

Impressively our youthful form teacher had, like most of the rest of the staff, thrown herself into the spirit of Non-Uniform Day by dressing IN a Conyers school uniform. I imagine more than a few adolescent fantasies were kindled 25 years ago today. Rumours quickly swept the school that one of our sexiest, most curvaceous teachers had bent down to retrieve a dropped board rubber and given the fevered classroom more than just a flash of stocking top. But enough about Mr Harrison for the moment…

Anyway, a few scattered memories from the day:

1. I’m pretty sure I’d come to a tacit agreement with Doug and Gareth ‘Gazzie’ Jones the previous day that we’d ALL dress up in vaguely ludicrous gear – black shirts, white ties, luminous socks, and so on. Only to discover, in the morning, that they’d stitched me up completely and turned up in their normal, regulation sweatshirts and jeans. I like to think I got the last laugh, though… we walked to school with them looking like my roadies.

2. Marc ‘Thompson’ Thompson nicking my mirror glasses (or ‘gegs’ in case you were wondering) just before we entered our form groups and using them for a devastatingly funny ‘New York Cop’ routine, slamming small boys up against the wall and giving them the ‘Hey Buster, what’s da big idea…’ treatment in a breathy, Brooklyn accent. When he gave them back to me, he told me I looked like a ‘mod’, which I took as a rather spiffy compliment. Not sure if it was intended as one, though.

3.  The same glasses were borrowed by the lovely Susan Hindley during our science lesson, who promptly dropped them on the tiled floor and knacked them. I got them back with one arm hanging off (from the glasses, not from Susan Hindley), which Jo Spayne found hilarious. I walked home in a sullen sulk, which isn’t easy to do when you’re wearing one green and one orange luminous sock.
socks

When I got home, my Mum was doing something unpleasant to fishfingers at the kitchen sink, and I had a minor grumble about my glasses before she started to tell me a tale of even greater woe about a fellow family member. It’s to my eternal discredit that I can’t remember the details at all (‘Auntie Ivy’s had all her teeth removed, and a new fireplace put in…’, that kind of thing) but I do recall the conclusion to the conversation which was… (brace yourself…)

THE FIRST TIME I SWORE IN FRONT OF MY MOTHER!

I appreciate today’s urinal-mouthed generation might find this difficult to appreciate, but back in 1984 – although we cussed like navvies in each others company – we sneaky children of ‘Fatcher’s Britain fawned around our parents in a permanent state of butter-wouldn’t-meltdom. I had definitely never let slip a single swear word in either of my parents’ company before this. However – as my Mum concluded her story – I raised my eyebrows to the dining room ceiling and began to utter the immortal phrase ‘Bloody hell’. 

I say BEGAN to utter it, because I didn’t actually finish it! I got as far as ‘Bloody’ before a cold wash of fear descended over my body, and I realised what I’d done. So I concluded the phrase by switching clumsily into one of my acknowledged kiddie-friendly experessions of surprise. So what I actually said was, pathetically, ‘Bloody… erm, Gordon Bennett!!!!’

At which point my mother laughed uproariously. ‘GOT YOU!’ she grinned. ‘You were going to say “bloody hell” there, then realised who you were talking to!!!’ 

destroydeathstar
I was so embarrassed, I spent the rest of the evening hiding beneath a cushion on the sofa. ‘Do you swear at school?’ she asked, as I made a rare foray into the open to play ‘Destroy Death Star’, a Star Wars board game that I’d received for Christmas in 1978 and kept on top of the wardrobe ever since. 

‘No,’ I mumbled, lying shamelessly through my teeth. With the benefit of 25 years of hindsight, I should have brazened it out, winked, and said ‘Do I f***, you cheeky bugger’. It was another six years before I started swearing in front of my parents regularly, and after that there was no turning back.

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3 Comments»

  Chris Orton wrote @

I’ve NEVER, EVER sworn in front of my parents. I can’t quite believe it, as I can swear like a trooper when I am at work or driving. I don’t think that I ever heard my Mam or Dad swear when I was growing up so never got into the habit of being a potty mouth at home. It still applies today – I can be swearing like mad (although I do try not to), in the car on the way to my parents house, but as soon as I cross the threshold there the swear filter somehow switches on and I am physically unable to cuss.

  bobfischer wrote @

I subconsciously tend not to use f-words in front of my parents (although I have done, on special occasions… birthdays, Christmas, that kind of thing) but anything else is fair game.

I think I slipped a couple of ‘bloody’s into conversations when I was about 17, realised neither of my parents batted an eyelid, and have never worried about swearing in front of them ever since.

  Fiona Tims wrote @

I swear a lot in front of my folks. It’s awful because we’re not at all chavvy but I’ll def use the f and c word if I’m pissed off (usually driving). Sometimes I have to tell my dad off for swearing too much-quite funny really!

We had non uniform day and if you went in fancy dress, you didn’t have to pay. My friend and I dressed up-her as a french maid and me as a clown (proper outfit from a fancy dress shop). I think we were the only 2 people in the whole school in fancy dress-somewhat embarrassing haha!


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