Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Extracts from Bob’s 1984 Diary… Volume 334

Thursday 29th November 1984

I GOT UP AT 8.00 and at 8.30 DOUG AND BURTON CAME. FIRST AT SCHOOL WAS A SCIENCE TEST, AND THEN MUSIC AND GEOG. AT 12.00 I HAD DINNER THEN IT WAS DT, RE and HISTORY.

AT 3.40 I CAME HOME AND LOOKED FOR SOME PHOTOS THEN I HAD TEA. AFTER THAT I DID HOMEWORK AND AT 7.30 I WATCHED TOP OF THE POPS –

FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD –

NUMBER 3 – POWER OF LOVE

AT 8.00 I MADE A POGGY’S LIB POSTER AND AT 8.30 I WATCHED ZOO 2000 . AT 9.00 I WENT TO BED.

I really was getting a bit bored with writing a diary wasn’t I? At one point during 1984 I was certain that I would be a life-long diary writer, and I even remember Doug trying to convince me that I should never, ever give up the habit. ‘You have to keep that going for the rest of your life…’ he nodded, sagely, as we climbed the stairs to our Geography lesson (only to have Mr Flynn point us silently back down again, as we’d contravened the Block 2 one-way system for the umpteenth week in a row, and had to go all the way round to the back stairs)

By the end of November, though, the novelty was clearly wearing thin and I was resorting to all manner of desperate ‘playing with the format’ measures to make it (yawn) more (yawn) interesting for my(yawn)self. Hence the capital letters. What next, I wonder? I’ll probably be writing in blood before Christmas. In capital letters. BIG BLOOD-SOAKED CAPITAL LETTERS IN ITALICS, ALL UNDERLINED.

(Sits down to catch breath and allow wave of giddy excitement to pass)

Anyway, the ‘science test’ marked the end of our month-experimentation with protozoa and worms (probably the best 80s synth-pop duo never to have hit the charts), and – in the rest of my lessons – I seem to have decided to tinker with even more established formats by expressing all of the day’s schoolwork in cartoon form…


This is from my Geography lesson. I’m sure that, somewhere along the line, I had a serious point to make about air pollution, but naturally it could go on the (filthy, carbon-heavy) back burner while I spent the entire lesson drawing the ‘KLEENIT LAUNDRY’ van spouting ‘lead hydrocarbons’ all over a thinly veiled self-portrait of me and my (titter!) prized Chopper. And, in RE, Mrs Mainwaring-Taylor was talking us gently through the private life of the Egyptian sun god, Ra…


I was pretty interested in the night-time adventures (stop it) of Ra, as it seemed to involved him travelling through something called the ‘Underworld’, which I knew full well was a late 1970s Doctor Who adventure. Although oddly enough, sun worship never really caught on in Teesside. Can’t imagine why.

(Mind you, Squelch, the God of Drizzle, goes a bundle up here)

Great to see me still getting excited about the continuing chart success of my favourite band, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. And I’ve just discovered that this evening’s edition of Top of the Pops was preceded by a special screening of the freshly-recorded Band Aid single, introduced by a fabulous-looking David Bowie…

TV in the 1980s was so rigid and staid and fussy that it always sent a tiny frisson of excitement through me when the schedules were interrupted for a little nugget like this.  Anyway, here’s the full Top of the Pops rundown, as presented by uber-perky 80s tag team Janice Long and Peter Powell…

• Alvin Stardust – I Won’t Run Away [Performance]
• Black Lace – Agadoo (&Credits) [Performance]
• Eurythmics – Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty Four) [Promo Video]
• Frankie Goes To Hollywood – The Power Of Love [Promo Video]
• Jim Diamond – I Should Have Known Better [Performance]
• Kool & The Gang – Fresh [Performance]
• Madonna – Like A Virgin [Promo Video]
• Nik Kershaw – The Riddle [Performance]
• Slade – All Join Hands [Repeat Performance]
• Tina Turner – Private Dancer [Promo Video]

It’s the Frankie Goes To Hollywood Nativity Play! I loved, and love, this song… it has a purity and a sincerity that I’ve always found touching, and if I’m allowed to be even soppier… it just reminds me of Doug and me. Best mates in the world, wrapped up in our parkas against the freezing Teesside winter of 1984, and impervious to the rest of the world. 

Although admittedly the line ‘I’ll protect you from the Hooded Claw’ never fails to make me think of Penelope Pitstop’s mortal enemy, the dreaded alter-ego of her sinister guardian Sylvester Sneekly. No idea whether that’s deliberate or not…

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5 Comments»

  Thing wrote @

You could have tried writing your diary backwards, or from right to left, or with words going up and down in columns rather than across the page in sentences. Or diagonally. Lots of potential!

  Mark Hirst wrote @

My hero – David Bowie

You could try borrowing Bowie’s idea that he borrowed from the likes of William Burroughs et al. Get your diary posting, cut out individual phrases and sentences and then re-arrange them in a random/different order. This will trigger new ideas and threads, that the reader will find both compelling and intriguing.

There again, it will probably make less sense than it does already!

  bobfischer wrote @

1.00 Wham bar and then Hi-De-hi 7.00. At Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Doug came round. 3.00 Blankety Blank mud track. Mr Hirst 2.30 dangled off the edge of a waterfall.

All yours! 🙂

  Mark Hirst wrote @

“Hollywood Doug and Mudtrack Frankie dangled Hirst off the edge of a waterfall, then came round to the Wham 230 Bar.”

Makes me want to read the rest of the Yarm Crime Trilogy!

Christ, how bored must I be tonight!!

  bobfischer wrote @

3/10 See me. 😉


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