Friday 13 June 1986

…Practiced Assembly.
Did more computer printing and some Peak 7 pages.
Instead of Art this afternoon we watched the film Clash of the Titans which is the story of Perseus in Greek mythology

There was now just one week to go until the assembly. By my count I’d already endured at least half a dozen rehearsals for something that was only going to be about 15 minutes long. Yet apparently still that wasn’t enough.

Many times in my life I have found myself over-studying and over-refining something to the point where it ceases to be in any way entertaining. I think this was the first of such lumpen occasions.

Clash of the Titans, however, is something that never ceases to be entertaining, chiefly because it’s not meant to be studied, simply enjoyed. It was almost the end of term, indeed the end of the school year, so this would have been sold to me and my class as a treat.

And coming after weeks and weeks of work on our own pathetic attempt at puppets, it most definitely was.

My puppet, yesterday

Thursday 12 June 1986

…Did more computer printing today and watched a programme on Droughts.
Had mince pie, no not the Christmas stuff, pie with mince in.
In Games we did cricket and after that more printing…

Good grief, I was now spending most of my days on the BBC Acorn. There was only one in the entire school, so I can’t have been making my peers very happy. Hopefully somebody was appreciating all this computerised busywork. And I trust my namesake(s) in the following clip would have been proud.

Remember, the interesting line is Line 30:
30 PRINT TAB(PLACE,16) ” ” CHR$224

Tuesday 10 June 1986

…Did some computer printing today.
Got things ready for the Open Evening at school which was tonight.
At the Open Evening there was the old bells and ribbons mob, the Morris dancing team, with parents, children, work, computers and teachers all about the place…

I confess I used to find something intriguing and a little exciting about being in school after hours.

I realise this view places me in a very very small minority of similarly-minded people. Yet I did enjoy those occasions where I could legitimately be in school once everyone else had gone home, such as open evenings or, as would be the case at secondary school, rehearsals for plays and concerts.

I think it was a combination of the impression of feeling privileged and a sense of being trusted. After all, not everyone, in fact not even most people, ever got to see what school was like once the final bell had rung.

Admittedly most people didn’t want to. And for some people being in school after hours only ever equated with punishment.

But I would have quite looked forward to this open evening, despite the presence of “the old bells and ribbons mob” with its reminders of my own humiliating and enforced participation in country dancing.

I’m utterly baffled, however, by the reference to computer printing. My reticence on this point is very annoying. What on earth was I doing – producing worksheets or handouts? Doing a favour for a member of staff? Or just shamelessly if discreetly messing about?

Sunday 8 June 1986

…Had turkey for lunch with potatoes, carrots and gravy.
Read three Asterix books.
Made notes for a competition of a World Cup match, Scotland v West Germany…

The competition in question was one that Des Lynam had launched during a previous day’s edition of World Cup Grandstand (or possibly Bob Wilson on the teatime round-up show World Cup Report).

I forget what the prize was, but to enter you had to send in your own review of a World Cup match. I picked today’s clash between Scotland and, to give it its proper name, the Federal Republic of Germany.

I clearly assumed I could muster enough bluster to pen a review despite not knowing anything about the history of the game, the history of either team, the personalities and skills of the players, the tradition for football in either country, the correct technical footballing terms, indeed any technical footballing terms, and the names of either team’s manager.

That was some bluster.

I did, however, have my Ladybird guide to World Cup 86, so at least I could spell the location of the match: Corregidora Stadium in Querétaro. (Note the correct placing of the accent).

But even if I didn’t really know what I was writing about, I already knew one thing: that the BBC’s coverage of World Cup 86 was better than that of ITV, as this trailer, which includes a plug for the Scotland v West Germany game, neatly if cheaply demonstrated:

Friday 6 June 1986

…We practiced our Assembly which is on June 20th.
In Art, you know proverbs, like “Look before you leap”, well, we had to draw pictures to go with them.
Helped paint a picture of three hags…

I’m at a loss to think of any proverb that revolves around “three hags”. Admittedly I may have misread my own writing… but then a proverb involving “three hogs” seems even less feasible.

I like, however, the way I felt the need to explain to myself just what a proverb is, despite already knowing and despite having spent the whole afternoon visualing them in paint.

And look: just two weeks to go until the assembly. Frustratingly, I didn’t give any clue as to how the puppetry and piano-playing were shaping up. But you’d have thought that, after all these weeks, there was no need for any further rehearsal*.

*I’ve just looked ahead in the diary: oh yes there was.