Thursday 30 April 1987

…My illness is now so bad that I had the afternoon off school.
Mum and I went to the doctor’s surgery but luckily we didn’t see the horrible one.
Instead it was Dr Matthews, who told us that I had a chest infection and would
need to have some antibiotics.
But after this, because I was off school, I had to go with Mum to Sainsbury’s while
she did the shopping.
I sat in the car and felt poorly.
Suddenly two fire engines, one police car and one police van arrived on the
scene because a fire had started in one of the Sainsbury’s kitchens.
However it was all under control when they arrived.
After taking Granny and Grandad’s shopping round, I finally got home and
was able to spend the rest of the afternoon watching TV…

1987 was turning into something of a sickly year.

Curiously, but not coincidentally, I’ve suffered nasty bouts of ill-health at eight-yearly intervals ever since, falling prey to one thing or another in 1995, 2003 and 2011.

Note to self: stock up Tupperware box of medicines in December 2018.

Wednesday 29 April 1987

…Today I still feel deadly ill.
My sore throat, my terrible cough – nothing seems to clear.
I keep going all cold and shivery.
To add to all these matters, I think I am going flat-footed.
Apparently the nurse who I had the medical with two months ago said she
thought she could detect signs of flat-footedness.
THAT’S ALL I NEED.
Despite all this I did PE and went to the leisure centre.
Do you remember the last time we had PE – the “sour taste in the mouth” remark?
Well today I got a pain in my head.
A ball was thrown at me at a speed of 120mph.
The whole day was horrible…

I can detect traces of an adolescent-esque “woe is me” strain creeping in here. Nobody wants that. But then I had been hit in the face with a volleyball, having earlier learned that I might have flat feet. And I was clearly still irked by that stupid outburst from my teacher at the end of the previous term.

Harbouring grudges about something that happened weeks ago? That’s definitely adolescent-esque. Oh dear.

Saturday 25 April 1987

…Now that Saturday Superstore has finished, there’s this really useless
programme that is on instead.
It’s called It’s Wicked.
It isn’t: it’s rubbish, it’s stupid and it’s maddening.
I switched it off…

And I never watched it again. It’s Wicked was absolutely appalling and I hated it. Even at the age of 11 I could tell it wasn’t just a terrible format with terrible presenters, but that it was also a lousy production that hadn’t been properly thought through and which made for thunderously alienating and uninspiring entertainment.

Thankfully it lasted one series and never came back. And doubly thankfully, Going Live would take its place in the autumn.

Here’s a particularly ghastly clip, during which it is revealed that kids are in charge of today’s programme (goodness my sides have split), thereby ensuring that which had previously been thought impossible – the show could get any worse – duly comes to pass.

Elsewhere in today’s entry I did note some more positive TV-related news, which was that I had been told I’d be allowed to stay up until 10.20pm tomorrow night to watch something.

Before you get too carried away in your speculation (Spitting Image! A saucy drama! Heart of the Matter with Joan Bakewell!), the programme in question was a repeat of the family-friendly – though dazzlingly brilliant – ‘Party Games’ episode of Yes, Minister.

Thursday 23 April 1987

…My 14th visit to London.
We got on a train at 10.09 after 10 minutes of waiting.
It was completely full so we all had to sit in separate seats all around the carriage.
When Mum and I went to get some drinks from the buffet car, it was like
walking on an Underground train, swaying from side to side.
It didn’t help that the coffee cups had no lids on.
We arrived at London St Pancras at about 12ish.
We had some lunch in St James’s Park then went to the House of Commons
where we watched Prime Minister’s Question Time.
Our seats were rubbish.
We couldn’t see the Prime Minister at all, but we could certainly hear her…

Couldn’t we all?

I’m not sure if we’d arranged to watch prime minister’s questions before the trip, or whether we queued up outside parliament in the hope of being let in. This was back when you could actually see right into the chamber, before the big perspex barriers were put up to stop demonstrators throwing stuff thereby subtracting all credibility from their campaign and undermining their own cause.

I do remember one fusty old Tory clambering to his feet and urging the prime minister that, seeing as it was St George’s Day, she should hold an impromptu debate on how great England is under a Conservative government. How the Commons roared with that kind of laughter you don’t hear ANYWHERE ELSE in the country.

But who’s laughing now?*

"Reverse gear? I've no need for that!"

*I don’t know.

Tuesday 21 April 1987

…Went to the cinema to watch Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home.
All I can say is that it was funnier than the other three films…

I remember laughing loud and long at the “colourful metaphor” scenes. The phrase entered my vocabulary for a while. How my schoolmates wept with hilarity* whenever I suggested that “perhaps now is the time for a colourful metaphor” or when I warned that “you better not let the teacher hear you using that colourful metaphor”.

I also remember enjoying the scene on the bus where Spock kills a punk rocker for playing his music too loud, after which all the other passengers applaud politely.

Whenever I’ve happened to see the film again I’m reminded that it makes no sense whatsoever. By flying around the sun you can go back in time? Wouldn’t robbing two whales from the 20th century and tossing them into the sea several hundreds of years later cause immense disruption to both ecosystems? And as for the bit where Kirk sells his spectacles for a quick bit of cash, then reassures Spock that he’ll get them again because they were given to him in the future… Dear oh dear.

It’s enough to make you reach for a colourful metaphor.

*They did not.

Monday 20 April 1987 (Easter Monday)

…Went to the post office to post a letter.
Mum said that if the shop was open, we could buy a lolly – and it was!
Ever wondered what I have for lunch on days like these?
It is as follows: a roll with butter in, some cucumber slices, coleslaw, a water biscuit,
some cold meat, and a United chocolate biscuit.
After lunch from 2.10 until 4.40 I watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Long. Very long.
Later we went and counted traffic on the motorway.
In five minutes I counted 330 going south and 203 going north.
Best of all, I watched 45 minutes of From Russia With Love…

A spot of correspondence, a United biscuit, an audit of the M1 and three-quarters-of-an-hour of 007. Sounds to me nigh on the perfect bank holiday*.

From this angle, things are shaping up nicely
*Take or leave two-and-a-half hours of Captain Kirk *baldly* going (do you see?) on the interstellar equivalent of a bank holiday drive in the country.