Thursday 7 May 1987

…At the moment I am listening to an Election Special on Radio Leicester,
because today is local elections day.
Everyone knows that the results of today will decide whether Mrs Thatcher
calls a general election next month or next year.
But enough about that.
Everybody at our school, not just me, had the day off because it was being
used as a polling station.
So I had another day to recover.
But when I went to see the doctor this morning, he said my chest infection had
gone yet MY EARS ARE STILL BLOCKED UP…

Don’t worry, I shut up about my ears within the next few days. I think I got tired with being so angry at having to write about how they were no better.

Plus there were other obsessions to cultivate instead, like the general election – something that I knew even then to be not the sort of thing likely to win friends at school, and therefore something about which I ought to remain very tight-lipped.

You wouldn’t have local elections and a general election held on different dates nowadays. It would be considered “too much” – as if there’s such a thing as “too much” democracy.

Sunday 12 October 1986

…After half-term we are doing, or rather I am doing, a project on parliament
so what I am doing is writing out all the results of the 1983 Election
and doing a map showing which constituencies belong to who
well in advance because it is going to take ages…

Give me the child until he is seven (and 44 months) and I will show you the man.

Back then I remember this sort of activity as being explained away as “showing an interest”. Would it now be classed as some kind of behavioural disorder? Because, seriously, what sort of person would choose to spend their free time WRITING OUT 650 ELECTION RESULTS BY CHOICE? And then plotting EACH AND EVERY ONE ON A MAP?

Well, you have the answer. In my defence, I would like to cite the fact that later on this day I had my tea while watching 20 Years of The Two Ronnies, and signed off with the statement: “One week till half-term. Can’t go soon enough.”

Monday 1 September 1986

…Back to school.
I am now in the 4th year juniors and I have one primary school year left.
This diary covers that year.
We did a maths test first to revise our brains,
then it was morning playtime,
then we wrote an autobiography on ourselves.
Lunch was as usual cheese pie, potatoes and tomatoes
followed by a milkshake…

And here is an extract from that “autobiography”:

I never wrote as neat as this again in my life

My disinclination towards cheese pie, recorded so pointedly above, would only have been compounded when I found myself staring at a plate of the stuff an hour or so later. Euucchh.

Perhaps I should make clear that the 10-year-old me did not solely wear clothes entirely made of wool. This was a reference to the numerous jumpers, hats, scarves and gloves knitted for me chiefly by my gran, who loved nothing more than to busy herself with one of those pull-out knitting patterns that came free with Woman’s Weekly.

I’m quite surprised actually by how many things I claim to “hate”, from new shoes to shopping to semolina.

Oh dear: so full of hatred at such a young age. Clearly this is where it all began to go wrong.

But as for what I want to be when I grow up… nothing’s changed.

Saturday 16 August 1986

…More BBC stuff this morning.
On Thursday I’d got a catalogue of BBC clothes, pens, badges etc.
of which I’ve ordered things.
Today I got a catalogue of wallcharts and a timetable.
This afternoon we went to Birmingham Airport to look round.
We saw a man off Central TV…

Of the BBC-branded merchandise that I ordered and ultimately received, the only ones I can remember (and this is embarrassment enough) are car window stickers displaying the logos of the Six and the Nine O’clock News.

I stuck them – proudly – on the car window by which I always sat. And they stayed there for months.

Dear God, what had I become?

Cue the filing cabinetCue the fish fingers

Sunday 3 August 1986

The Commonwealth Games finished yesterday with England heading the medals table with 58, or was it 52, golds.
This afternoon I breathed and I ate things…

Not even this attempt at a bit of deprecation makes up for the special self-typed, carefully-stapled pull-out that also accompanies today’s entry in my 1986 diary.

For it seems I was more obsessed with the Commonwealth Games than previously thought.

Not only did I watch hours of it on TV, not only did I add all the results to the official BBC Commonwealth Games handbook, not only was I saving up to buy the signature tune on BBC Records… but I also took it upon myself to do this:

Listing precariously

My very own list of all the results. Page after page after page.

There’s no point pretending I didn’t take a lot of care over this. Look: I’ve even recreated the official Games logo in pencil. Several times.

Sigh.

Here was my fondness for annotation and commemoration in full, giddy effect.

“What did you do during the holidays?” my classmates would ask when school resumed in the autumn. “Nothing much,” I lied.