Saturday 6 February 1988

…Ronald Reagan was 76 or 77 years old today.
And I was 12.
I got some clothes, £10, a notepad, a mini stationery set, two films for my camera,
a board game, a writing set and something else that I’ve forgotten.
I have a grand total of six cards.
I’m not having any sort of party, as I don’t want one,
and nobody would have come anyway.
But I’m writing this early in the evening, because there is a 007 film on in a bit.
It is one I haven’t seen: The Man With the Golden Gun.
I wonder if it will be any good…


Today, exactly two years on from when I started this blog, seems a good time to bring things to a close.

Anyone looking in even semi-regularly will have felt the last few months’ extracts turn increasingly, not to say noxiously, adolescent. Despite my best efforts to undercut everything with latterday flippancy, there’s no disguising the hastening of great gales of self-obsession, sulks and, worse of all, self-pity.

I’ve also been omitting more and more bits of the original text, and sometimes not reproducing anything from the diary for days on end, which completely undermines the whole point of this blog.

So it’s time to throw a damp towel over proceedings before the smouldering gets too much to bear.

Thanks to everyone who has left comments and been in touch. It’s been nice to know some of what I’ve published has struck a chord or prompted other memories that people have been willing to share.

The newly-12-year-old me would continue his diary, starting with impressions of yet another keenly-anticipated James Bond film.

But that, and everything else to follow, is best left unsaid, on his behalf let alone that of everyone else.

Instead, let’s leave him here, in blissful ignorance at how the next few hours, along with the next few years, will turn out.

Happy birthday to me

12 years young

Saturday 30 January 1988

…This evening I went to Luke’s birthday party.
All the way through I kept trying to get us to watch Octopussy on the TV,
which was getting its premiere, instead of the film which Luke had rented,
which was called Stand by Me.
There were only about five of us there.
By the time the party finished – well, you couldn’t really call it a party – Octopussy
was halfway through and I rushed home to try and watch some more…

Ouch. What awful behaviour. And I never said sorry.

Here we see my foothold slipping on the edge of the ravine that is full-on, selfish, nauseating adolescence.

You wouldn’t think it from this, but:
a) Stand by Me is now one of my all-time favourite films
b) I knew Luke for another 10 years or so, but neither of us ever mentioned this party or what I did.

I’m not sure what’s worse: never apologising, or going for so many years not thinking I needed to apologise.

Damn you Roger Moore and your horsebox-sized jet plane!

Sounds like a load of bull

Sunday 15 November 1987

…This afternoon I watched a silly James Bond film that went wrong because
they made it too funny…

WHAT AM I SAYING?! The 11-year-old me could not have been more wrong. I have come to fully and sincerely love Casino Royale, which I’m happy to argue is one hundred times more fresh, imaginative and downright entertaining than the Daniel Craig remake.

In 1987 I was still struggling to tell good Bond from bad Bond, not having fully recovered from reading three Ian Fleming novels and discovering none of the best bits from the films were in them. But nonetheless I was lapping up every trace of 007 I could see and hear, including a Sunday afternoon airing for, among others, these exceptionally fine two minutes of cinema:

Tuesday 6 October 1987

…In Expressive Arts things have got worse.
It was Dance and it was pretty ridiculous.
We were greeting people using movements, and having to walk in funny ways.
There was no dancing at all!
Raiders of the Lost Ark was on this evening but I only got to watch half of it…

Or rather, I was only allowed to watch half of it. I’m not sure my parents were aware that I’d already seen this film – moreover, had watched it AT SCHOOL, and over a year ago.

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:

Monday 31 August 1987 (Bank Holiday)

…Today, as you might have guessed, was a Bank Holiday.
I am getting more and more nervous as there is only one day left until I start at
Woodbrook – one single 24-hour day until I have to face the terrors of a new school.
There was a treat in store this afternoon, however, when we went to Beaumont
Leys Swimming Centre.
I’ve been there before, but still enjoyed the water chutes, the slides, the wave
machines and the fountains.
But why no Bond films, even though it was a Bank Holiday?

I’ve certainly got my priorities right here. Less verruca plasters, more bazooka masters!

Tuesday 28 July 1987

…I bought a book called The Official James Bond Movie Poster Book which is
enormous, much bigger than A4, possibly A3 in size, and which is brilliant…

Indeed it was, and indeed it is:

Dalton in Kingsland (a reference purely for Londoners)
I scoured its pages with obsessive attention to detail, inhaling every possible piece of information about a series of films the majority of which I still hadn’t seen. The posters I was less interested in, at least from a design point of view. This was perhaps just as well, as some of them are dreadful:

Dear oh dear

Others, meanwhile, appear to feature actors who have to my knowledge never played James Bond. Who, for instance, is this?

Roger Moore not pictured

This poster for A View to a Kill manages to defy all rules of aesthetics by flattering both Roger Moore and Grace Jones:

What a view...

The answer to the poster’s tagline being, naturally, “no”.

The book also contains some outrageous claims for The Living Daylights. The reader is told: “Dalton tackles a very contemporary role.” In other words, the film is set in the present day. Get away! The blurb continues: “He likes to think of Bond as a man who always lives life on the edge – revelling in fast cars, involved with beautiful women and threatening situations. Dalton’s Bond, with its ever-present threat of danger, looks set to write another chapter in the history of 007 at the cinema.” Yes – one of the worst, but thankfully one of the most short-lived.

The less said about the next 10 years, the better

And for the next eight years, nobody would do it worse.