…COMIC RELIEF DAY.
The entire country donned their red noses, all except me, who didn’t have a proper one.
Mum had tried to make me a homemade one, but it was absolutely rubbish and
kept falling off, so I quickly got rid of it.
[My form tutor] had also made one himself, out of an eggbox which he had then coloured red with a felt-tip pen, and which looked hilariously bad.
They had been selling them at school but there were none left.
There was a special assembly which was based around all the teachers having
to do forfeits if they didn’t know the answer to a general knowledge question.
They could either have a forfeit done to them or pay 10p to Comic Relief.
It was a bit of a flop because some of the teachers didn’t understand the rules and
the forfeits were hardly that bad: popping a balloon, for example.
All day people were wandering around in funny clothes and make-up, and they
all looked UTTERLY STUPID.
There was nothing funny about PE, which was football outside in the mud, and I
hated it from start to finish…
I was allowed to watch some, but nowhere near all, of the telethon on BBC1 later.
A good deal of it is currently on YouTube, from almost near the start. What a bizarre choice from “Radio One listeners” for the 10th best comedy sketch of all time.
And what a ponderously-paced, refreshingly low-key affair the whole programme now seems. The “here’s what this evening is all about” bits last a good 10 minutes or so. Look, there’s Jimmy Perry sitting in front of a black screen introducing AN ENTIRE EPISODE of Dad’s Army. At one point almost all of BT’s London exchanges fall over. Michael Palin does a great bit of Vercotti, which his diary suggests he only thought up a few hours earlier. Then you’ve all those mini-sketches, including Philip Schofield and Andy Crane acting (!) at a drinks party (!), plus Valerie Singleton and Geoffrey Palmer – together at last.
It all left a mighty impression on a jaded 11-year old. As it still does on a still jaded 36-year old.
This time it happened last night.
King’s Cross Undergrond station caught fire and 30 people were killed.
It began when an old wooden escalator was set ablaze and
everything went up in flames.
I have used this escalator when we have visited London!
This morning we began by looking at the Dewey Decimal system…
I think I already sensed that the theme of 1987’s end-of-year retrospectives on TV and in the papers was to be, as I put it, DISASTER!
And yet this latest tragedy didn’t leave that much of a mark on either me or my diary. The same went for the other calamities of the past 12 months, from Zeebrugge to the storm. I recorded them carefully, even coldly; noted a bit of reaction; then moved on – in this instance, to Melvil Dewey.
I’d definitely reached the “bottle it all up” phase.
…Remembrance Sunday was ruined by the IRA who planted a bomb in Northern Ireland
during a big remembrance service.
On a lighter note, we finished our tour of the Peak District…”
Ouch. What was I thinking? Not much, clearly. And certainly not: “I wonder how this will read in 25 years’ time?”
We’d spent the weekend in Buxton. The word “tour” makes it sound like some motoring holiday or a quasi-regal procession. In fact we’d spent one night in a hotel, had our lunches sitting in the car and our tea in a Little Chef.
It was a bit of novelty going away during term-time, even for one night. This might even have been the first occasion we’d ever done so. I found it incredibly daring and not a little risky. I actually wrote of how relieved I was at seeing the house “intact” on our return. What had I expected to find? That it had blown away?
Hurricane winds have been battering London and the south-east, causing damage,
deaths and some injuries.
A trail of destruction has been left across the country.
But not here.
Although we did get to do PE inside instead of outside, because of the weather…
Truth be told, the hurricane barely grazed the east Midlands. There was a disappointing absence of carnage outside my bedroom window and certainly nowhere near enough disruption to mean a day off school. However I was up early enough to enjoy tour de forces from Anne Diamond (well-versed in hosting TV-am in besieged circumstances) and also from Nicholas Witchell, anchoring BBC1 from the only room in Television Centre with a light bulb that still worked:
NAMEDROP ALERT! Many years later I got to interview Nicholas Witchell about this very incident.
“It produced one of the most gratifying responses from people that I can remember in all my years of broadcasting,” he recalled. “I had dozens of letters from people, many of them elderly and on their own, who’d spent a very frightening night, and who had switched on in the morning and found a face which I hope was friendly, if a little bemused, and reassuring.
“It was certainly one of the oddest situations I’ve found myself in, but also – looking back – one of the most satisfying because it was a moment when people wanted and needed information, and we were able to give some of it, even if it was from the ‘Broom Cupboard’!”
…Ten years ago today Elvis Presley died, overweight and very ill indeed.
He looked like a fat chicken…
Take that, Chris Morris.