Sunday 27 September 1987

…I’ve got to hurry because on tonight is a 007 FILM!
It is Never Say Never Again, the one that got its premiere last Christmas.
ITV clearly think it is a good one, or else why would they show it again so soon?…

Well, quite.

I continue to enjoy defending this film as one of the best Bonds of the 80s, although admittedly the competition is not stiff. In fact, it’s only really beaten by Octopussy, which came out in the same year (1983). Give me witty, sarcastic Connery over the grumpy, uptight 1960s version any day.

Here is one of the best sequences. Bond runs down some steps to the sound of freeform jazz. Fatima Blush laughs maniacally. Bond rides a motorbike that has big buttons coloured red, yellow and blue. He slides under a lorry like Frank Spencer, only better. And so on. There is NOTHING not to like here:

Saturday 26 September 1987

…BBC1 has replaced the useless It’s Wicked with something called Saturday
Starts Here, but it’s not a programme, just a line-up that starts with Corners at
8.25, then Chucklevision at 8.40, then Muppet Babies at 9.00, then Going Live
at 9.30 which lasts until 12.15pm…

Oh for heaven’s sake, someone give this boy some fresh air.

Wednesday 23 September 1987

…In RE we had to draw a picture of what we thought God looked like.
Mine was really something.
Something useless, that is…

This judgement was not an admission of humility in the face of some kind of spiritual epiphany, but rather an admission of being crap at drawing.

Thankfully no trace of this ecclesiastical nonsense exists, but I’ll bet it involved:
a) a long white beard
b) a long white cloak
c) lots and lots of Simpsons-esque clouds

If I’d known better, I should have just submitted a piece of blank paper.

Tuesday 22 September 1987

…This day in 1955 must have been exciting to people with TVs because having
advertisements in programmes was just about to start.
Now we all get terribly bored with The Man From Del Monte who keeps on saying
“Yes!” and cat foods and dog foods and pet foods and soon no doubt cow foods…

In other words, today was the anniversary of the birth of ITV: something I would take a bit more seriously many years later, but which for now was just an excuse for some clumsy social commentary on the commercialisation of popular culture. Well, a joke about Del Monte.

But I was right, adverts were more exciting in 1955. What’s not to like about this graph?

And that's the tooth

And that’s the tooth.

Monday 21 September 1987

…I had hoped that PE would be cancelled today because they were repainting
all the lines in the gym, but we just did it outside instead.
They don’t give up easily.
I am helping to clean up one of the school ponds…

Here I am, establishing a role in life for being the “oh, just give it to him, he’ll enjoy doing it” person.

Call it glutton for punishment, call it being easy to please, this position was one that clung to me, or perhaps one to which I clung, throughout most of my remaining years at school.

Granted, spending my lunchtimes fishing dead leaves, weeds and indeed fish out of a pit of putrid water didn’t really outrank standing on the side of the playing fields watching everyone else kicking and petting each other. But at least it was constructive time-filling. At least, that was I told myself back then – not least to help fill the time.

Wednesday 16 September 1987

…RE was first at school and the subject was beliefs.
I BELIEVE I was by myself until breaktime because Eddie had to go to the doctors.
I was all on my own.
The Design lesson was just writing out all the letters of the alphabet in different
styles, both capital letters and normal.
I don’t see the point…

More new subjects. RE was actually RS: religious studies. There was no indoctrination involved. We were being educated – quite properly – on all of the world’s big religions: how they began, what they believed and how they continued to shape history.

All good, enlightened stuff. And it was just as well, because in my class there were Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and a Jehovah’s Witness. Yes, it was the equivalent of a 1970s advert for Coca-Cola – and in a state-run, mixed-ability secondary school.

Take that, Michael Gove!

Tuesday 15 September 1987

…We had our first Dance lesson, and had to do a really silly workout.
First of all we had to twiddle our hands, then swing our arms, then waggle our
elbows, then swing our heads round, then wiggle our hips, waggle our knees
and finally kick our feet, before repeating the whole thing over and over again.

Welcome to the “performing arts”, late-80s style.

We had two lessons of this every week, alternating in a ramshackle fashion between dance, drama and music.

The only time I ever enjoyed dance was when the teacher brought in her tape of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Greatest Hits and got us to do a routine to the theme to the South Bank Show.

This would happen roughly once a year, and on each occasion she would ask us if anyone knew the name of the piece of music. I was always first to put my hand up.

Well, it was the one time I could actually show sincere interest in the subject at hand. Sadly it was also one of many times I would find myself edging closer to peer-led ostracisation. Why couldn’t I just keep this sort of knowledge to myself?