Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 327

Thursday 22nd November 1984

I got up at 8.00, then Doug and Burton came and we went to school. First was Science, and I got a merit, and next came Music and geog. At 12.00 Oz and I got soaked having dinner, then when we came in it was DT.

After that it was RE, followed by History, and at 3.40 I came home. At 5.00 I had tea, at 5.30 I watched Grange Hill, at 6.00 I waited for 7.00 and at 7.00 I watched Tommorow’s World.

At 7.30 I watched Top of the pops, at 8.00 I watched Don’t wait up, at 8.30 I watched Zoo 2000 and at 9.00 I w e n t    t o        b     e     d    .

Anyone want to see a graph drawing showing how far the parents of 1CW travel to work? That’s handy…

Yep, this is what we did in Geography with Mr Flynn, exactly 25 years ago today… a vital bit of social mobility research that proved conclusively, once and for all, that I was a dab hand at colouring in little boxes with a green pencil. Oh, and that Yarm was a ‘dormitory town’, so presumably one in which Mr Hirst patrolled the streets late at night, telling off small boys for ‘giggling like girls’ and spreading more stories about the Ghost of the Grey Lady.

(Actually, now I’ve written that down,  it sounds more likely than I’d previously thought…)

Yet another outdoor packed lunch as well, so clearly something very odd was going on. It’s starting to ring a vague bell that – for a short period only – pupils bringing packed lunches to school were actually banned from eating them in the dinner hall, such were the numbers of grotty oiks shelling out their parents’ hard-earned cash for proper, sit-down school dinners. So packed lunch rebels like Ian ‘Ozzie’ Oswald and myself (or the ‘Monster Munch Martyrs’ as we became known) were exiled to the frozen tundra of the school tennis courts to snaffle our egg sandwiches from a tupperware box that – throughout the course of the morning – had become so filled with the overpowering, concentrated stench of mashed-up egg that, on opening them, we both looked up to see if Christopher Herbert was walking past.

100 yards away.

Anyway, I clearly remember Ozzie and me chomping away at damp sandwiches in the pissing rain, sheltering under the six-inch overhang round the back of the sports hall and holding our elbows over our faces so our ubiquitous grey ski-jackets acted as a windbreak. And you tell that to the kids of today… they’ll say ‘Urgh! Really? SKI JACKETS???’   

At least a brighter future was being promised to us by Mrs Mainwaring-Taylor in RE…

This, apparently, is the Ancient Babylonian idea of Heaven and Earth, however I’ve clearly drawn it in the style of a level from Manic Miner. I’m only surprised there isn’t a High Score counter at the bottom.

Brilliantly, my RE homework for the evening was – brace yourself – to discover the ultimate answer to Life, The Universe and Everything…  

Manfully resisting the tempation to write ’42’, I came up with…

Many people believe that the world was created. The Babylonians believed that it was made by MARDUK and the Hebrews by God.

I think that the world was created by a huge explosion of gas.

I should have gone the whole hog and added ‘…when a Tupperware container filled with egg sandwiches was opened in a windy tennis court’.

This seems to have been the first time I’d watched Top of the Pops for a while, and what a strangely eclectic episode I chose for my comeback. Especially with lightweight Radio 1 fluffsters Tommy Vance and John Peel presenting…

• Billy Ocean – Caribbean Ocean(No More Love On The Run) [Performance]
• Chaka Khan – I Feel For You [Promo Video]
• Chicago – A Hard Habit To Break [Promo Video]
• Human League – Louise [Promo Video]
• Kane Gang – Respect Yourself [Performance]
• Murray Head – One Night In Bangkok [Performance]
• Nick Heyward – Warning Sign [Performance]
• Shakin Stevens – Teardrops [Performance]

I remember being oddly taken with ‘One Night In Bangkok’… something about Murray Head’s ultra-laid-back delivery (and cool white suit) just appealed to me enormously.

I only found out recently that he’s the elder brother of Anthony ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ Head, gainfully employed back in 1984 as the nation’s favourite ‘smoothie’ in a series of Gold Blend coffee adverts. No idea why this should be of consequence to anybody apart from the Head family, but I thought I’d drop it in casually, as it’s a long Sunday afternoon and I’m trying to avoid my ironing.

Oh, and by the way, that odd bit of lettering at the end of my diary entry is absolutely how I’ve written it…

Well, y’know… I’d solved the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe and Everything, so it was time to kick back and have some fun.


  Rhonda Civic wrote @

Murray Head’s turn in The Family Way earned him cover stardom for The Smiths’ single “I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish”… although not in the UK. We had Avril Angers from the same film. I wonder what made Avril unsuitable for Europe? Or what made Murray unsuitable for the UK? It might have been “One Night In Bangkok” now I come to think about it.

  bobfischer wrote @

I’d forgotten Murray Head was in The Family Way! He’s Hywel Bennett’s brother, isn’t he? Or best mate? Whatever, I seem to recall a lot of leaning on motorbike handlebars looking moody and smouldering.

What a great film that is. A 1966 Paul McCartney score, Hayley Mills’ bare bum and Sir John Mills giving it some full-on Yorkshire ‘Eee Bah Goom’ while attempting to cure Hywel Bennett’s impotence with a string of convoluted ferret metaphors. What’s not to like?

  Rhonda Civic wrote @

He was Hywel Bennett’s younger brother yes and as you say he spent a lot of the film straddling his bike and generally hinting at being up to the job that Hywel didn’t seem up to. Of course he is not Hywel Bennett’s younger brother in real life. That’s Alun Lewis who was Linda Robson’s husband in Birds of a Feather. Murray head’s younger brother, meanwhile, is Anthony Head. I am already getting horribly confused.

  bobfischer wrote @

So is Hywel Bennett’s real brother not Mr Bennett from Take Hart?

Another childhood illusion shattered.

  Rhonda Civic wrote @

No. Mr Bennett from Take Hart is Alan Bennett’s secret lovechild. (Please keep this sensitive information to yourself)

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