Friday 3 October 1986

…After break we did our talk on inventions.
It went down very well with the class and [our teacher]
said it was very good…

My class had been asked to prepare presentations (how that word would come to dominate my life) on a subject that interested us.

I, along with a fellow pupil, had taken our cue from the never-less-than-entertaining BBC children’s programme Eureka, which boasted, among other things, one of the greatest signature tunes of the 1980s.

Naturally, by “taken our cue”, I mean “steal the format outright”. Our “talk” was supposed to reveal the story behind – deep breath – the radio, the TV, the biro, the telephone, the light bulb, chewing gum and the hovercraft. All in a light-hearted and, though nobody would’ve used the word back then, interactive fashion.

My notes from the day imply that we ended with the following spiel:

“They are all inventions of the past,
but now we are going to show you some inventions of the future.
First…the self-emptying dustbin!… Next, the self-serving drink machine!…
Next, the new washing-up-liquid… And finally, the multi-purpose box!”

Presumably each of these, ahem, hilarious creations was accompanied by a Heath Robinson/Vic Reeves-esque sketch, or even a putative model.

I wouldn’t vouch for the accuracy of my notes, however. They go on to suggest that we closed our presentation with the lines:

“And now, if you want to question us, please do so.
If you don’t want to question us, keep your mouth shut.”

Any boost to my ego afforded by all of this nonsense was thoroughly offset by what happened later in the day: the school barn dance.

I describe it as “chaos”, of feeling “sick afterwards”, and mention how “we all did dances and made fools of ourselves”. Why I was even there is a mystery, other than on the grounds of it being another unflattering and undignified compulsory activity.

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