Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 318

Tuesday 13th November 1984

Woke up at 8.00, and at 8.55 I went to school. First was English, then RE, then English. Next was Drama, and at 12.00 I had dinner, then it was French.

Next was maths and at break I met mam and got my cooking stuff. In HE me and Burton made Blancmange and at 3.40 I came home and had tea.

At 5.10 I watched Star Trek, then Doug came and we went to Youthy. Me, Dug, Potter and Faz played Badminton, then at 8.30 I came home and went to bed.

I wonder why Doug didn’t call at my house on his way to school? I can only guess that he was (ahem) ‘ill’ on this day, although you’ll notice he managed to overcome his sniffles and roll out of bed for two hours worth of arsing about at Youth Club later in the evening. We were wild, we were free, we were mavericks… but we got results (even if those results were just playing Badminton in a freezing school gym – ie, exactly the kind of thing Doug would have been doing if he’d gone to school anyway)

There’s an interesting bit of conjecture in my RE exercise book from 25 years ago today…


A Simple Quesion

Today, answers to two different types of questions are provided by scientists and religious thinkers. Scientists generally try to find out HOW things happen, and religious thinkers try to find out WHY they happen.

Why do people live good or bad lives? – RELIGION
How do crops grow? – SCIENCE
How do birds fly? – SCIENCE
Why do some people tell lies? – RELIGION
Why do people die? – RELIGION
How was the world made? – SCIENCE

I think, even as an 11-year-old, I was aware that there were plenty of religious thinkers all too eager to provide answers to the question ‘How was the world made?’, but I didn’t dare express this objection to Mrs Mainwairing-Taylor in case I was struck by a bolt of lightning, crashing down from heaven through the ceiling of Room 4B.

Besides which, the main theological question that crossed our young minds on the way in and out of RE lessons tended to be ‘Which sixth former can we take the piss out of today?’ Accessing Room 4B required passage through the hallowed open plan common room of Conyers Sixth Form, where we were guaranteed to see at least one of the following languid 17-year-olds lounging about thinking idly about Clare Grogan…

1. Hector The Hedgehog: A sporty-looking youth with a surgically-attached yellow T-shirt and a seemingly-permanent weeks’ growth of uneven stubble, from whence his nickname came. I’ve got vague memories of him snapping one breaktime (after six months of having ‘HECTOR!!! YOU W**KER!!!’ shouted at him from across fields and school quads) and getting Ian Farrage in a clumsy headlock, but I’m happy for Mr Farrage to correct this…

2. Dozy Duncan. Oh God, how we tortured him. I think he WAS actually called Duncan, and – despite no evidence whatsoever that he was remotely dozy – the name just stuck. He had jet black hair, wore a brown leather jacket, and rode a farty little motorbike with ‘L’ plates on it. Just like poor Hector, he spent his entire year in Upper Sixth being tortured by the noted wits of Class 1CW, who would shout ‘DOZY DUNCAN!!! WHERE’S YOUR BOYFRIEND?’ at him at least ten times a day. If he’s spent the ensuing 25 years in therapy, then I can only apologise. NB There was no evidence that he was gay either, but since when did that stop 11-year-old boys?

3. Boris Becker: The skinniest, lankiest, palest, gingeriest, freckliest youth imaginable. Predictably enough, he gained his nickname in the early weeks of July 1985.

And that Blancmange!!! Bloody hell. My poor mother was indeed dragged out of the house at 2.10pm on a freezing afternoon to deliver a Presto carrier bag containing a carton of milk, half a bag of sugar, a tupperware jar of cornflour and a bar of Walter Wilson’s cooking chocolate to the school gate. I’d asked if she could do it ‘so the milk doesn’t go off in RE’. (Which would be, obviously, a problem for scientists to deal with)

Myself and Alistair Burton then spent the final 1 hour and 10 minutes of our school day carefully assessing the ingredients and recipe before making an ABSOLUTE HORSE’S ARSE OF IT ALL. We created two gigantic saucepans of this foul, sugary glop and flicked the stuff relentlessly over each other with wooden spoons while singing THIS contemporary chart hit…

I can’t find the clip anywhere, but a performance of this song on Top of the Pops had caused even my Dad to suspiciously lower the Evening Gazette Late Final and muse ‘Bloody hell… I’ve seen thinner tree trunks than those thighs…’ And, indeed, myself and Mr Burton spent the entire lesson debating the merits of Ms Khan’s impressive physique, accompanied by some appropriately frank hand gestures. (‘PHWOOOOOAR!!!!’)

As a result, our blancmange went a bit by the wayside, although I’ve fond memories of the brazen Burton directing a violent, snotty sneeze into his saucepan and continuing to stir this novel new ingredient into the vile mixture with a cheeky, mischievous grin. 

It’s a good job Swine Fever was only invented in 2008.


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