The Week That Was – 25th February 1979

23rd Nov 2021 – Trevor Brooking – I hated Trevor Brooking!

Record of the Week: Just a Gigolo – The Village People
Highest Entry: Gary’s Gang – Keep On Dancin’ – 23

23rd Nov 2021 – The Village People! I had not converted completely to punk rock just yet. Perhaps my attraction to them was the happy, fuck-you attitude they projected. Well, their upbeat gay anthems were (and still are) part of the western zeitgeist.

Tracy Pew R.I.P. – Haha

25th February 1979
The other lot came round today. All four of them.

23rd Nov 2021 – Hmm, so now I’m confused about the ‘first lot’ I mentioned and ‘this lot’, ‘the other lot’! If there were four of them…..perhaps my Aunt Shirley, Uncle John, my cousin Sharon and her husband Ken. It’s possible though I think my Uncle John may have already passed away by this time and maybe Sharon and Ken’s first son, Mungo, was already born. My uncle John was a competent carpenter, or at least that is in my memory bank somehow. Perhaps just some weird association with fresh-cut wood? I know I liked him.

I was ambivalent to my Aunt Shirley as she always seemed so strict but I really came to dislike her over the next few years as she would often tell my mum that she was doing a bad job at raising me. I tried to avoid her as much as possible, which wasn’t that difficult really.

I wasn’t very family-oriented really, possibly due to the fact that I never had a father around as he had passed when I was too small to even have any memory of him, and even though we were living with my grandparents I think I resented that in some ways, as other families of friends were just the more traditional family unit of parents and one, two or three children living together. There were times when I wished for my mum to remarry. I was always hopeful whenever some man or other came into our lives but I appreciate that my mum was happily self-sufficient.

By calling my extended relations, that lot and the other lot I’d already made my mind up about certain things.

26th February 1979
Didn’t see the eclipse today
Da! Da!
Ipswich 6-1 Bristol Rovers

23rd Nov 2021 – February in England. Well, it’s no real surprise that I didn’t see any eclipse.

27th February 1979
Had five pancakes
Did games today!
Even though my foot hurt

23rd Nov 2021 – My foot is hurting right now. I can still poke into the arch of my left foot and feel something isn’t quite right. But it’s mainly the joint of my big toe that is painful now. I’m considering going to get it checked out. I’m not sure what to expect from the Thai medical system here in Chiang Rai. It feels like we are a long way from where folks with real expertise might be. I’m sure whoever I see will give it their best shot though. At least I could get an x-ray done that might give a better idea of managing it.

By fuck, did I love my mum’s pancakes, covered in sugar and lemon juice. What a treat. I could never replicate them though.

28th February 1979
Went to orchestra at school

23rd Nov 2021 – I guess I was playing the clarinet. Mr Broadway was my science teacher and music teacher. He had curly brown hair and was quite fun to be around. But I gave up the clarinet when it started to get more tricky. This was quite a common behaviour through my teenage years. Too hard? Give up. Sometimes I still do this. And I see Hayden do this too. What is it that makes us give up so easily when things become more difficult? When I get stuck learning to play the guitar now, I just keep trying until I finally get it. I don’t put the kind of pressure on myself that I used to.

1st March 1979
1. Bee Gees – Tragedy (2)(1)
2. Blondie – Heart of Glass (1)(3)
3. Elvis Costello – Oliver’s Army (5)(2)
4. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive (7) (-)
5. Abba – Chiquitita (3) (4)

24th Nov 2021 – Oliver’s Army was great as were some other early Elvis Costello tunes but I stopped listening after listening to the “Carry On Sex Pistols” album where Steve Jones continually shits on him, so I thought I should too. I’ve more recently bought his first two or three albums as they are often revered in certain circles but I haven’t given them a listen yet. It’s only been about 5 years….one day, one day.

Writing this post is making me want to go home and listen to this and the Birthday Party (Mr. Clarinet). Not the Village People though.

2nd March 1979
Get REV homework
Soap was on at 11:40
Only my second whole week at school

3rd March 1979
Do bricks 2p
Didn’t do them?
X – Ipswich 1-1 Forest

24th Nov 2021 – Outside our back door was a small bricked patio area that needed to be cleaned every week or two as it would get a little mouldy and slippery. I hated cleaning them, although I can imagine the first time I did it I was really trying to do my best but after a while, I just resented the time I had to spend doing it and I would attempt to do it as quickly as possible and sometimes I would be made to do it again because I had been too careless, which of course meant losing more precious time.

I’m curious about the X, and various other codes that appear more often throughout the year. I’m thinking that this was some secret indication of my masturbatory habits as it would have been around this time I discovered the pleasures of touching my dick. More on that later.

The Week That Was – 18th February 1979

18th February 1979
No 5th Round Matches on yesterday
Them lot came round today

12th Nov 2021 – I believe “them lot” was my Aunt Lorna, her husband Jim and daughter Elise. When my mum and I first moved to Forest Cottage they actually lived next door, on the other side of the field I mention here. The house looks huge when I check on Google Maps and I think I only ever went inside once or twice. I then couldn’t understand why they moved to a much smaller council house in Ferndown soon after we got there in 1976.

At one point I used to like playing hide and seek in our garden with Jim but he would be off the scene sometime over these few years as they got divorced. I never became friendly with Elise, even though she was my cousin and maybe only one or two years younger. It seems that by this time I was in no mood for extended family and dubbed them “them lot”! It probably meant me having to join in with eating, talking and games with them and granny and grandad. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my Sundays.

19th February 1979
No Monty Python but Fawlty Towers. Boo!
Boring Day!
But then it would be with no MONTY PYTHON

20th February 1979
Ipswich P-P Bristol Rovers

21st February 1979
Back at school today!
Not going to match tomorrow because of my foot!
H. First Leg 1-5
Second Leg 0-4

22nd February 1979
1. Blondie (1) (4)
2. Bee Gees – Tragedy (7) (3)
3. Abba – Chiquitita (2) (1)
4. Three Degrees (3) (2)
5. Elvis Costello – Oliver’s Army (13) (-)

23rd February 1979
Soap’s on tonight. Great.
Da! Da!

12th Nov 2021 – 11pm Friday nights and I was allowed to stay up to experience the joy of Soap. Classic soap opera parody that cracked us up with its absurdity. I have downloaded episodes even now and watched a few of them a couple of years ago. My humour has become a little more sophisticated but it still tickled the 12-year-old funny bone in my nostalgia brain.

24th February 1979
Everton 0-1 Ipswich
First time we’ve beat Everton in 13 years
Top: Liverpool

The Week That Was – 11th February 1979

Highest Entry – Tragedy – Bee Gees (7)

11th Nov 2021 – I think I hated this song at the time and I’m not sure about it now either. I can hear their high pitched voices screaming the title. I probably wouldn’t turn off the radio if it started playing but would be anticipating its end. I read positive things about earlier Bee Gees work and downloaded some to check out a couple of years ago. I don’t think I’ve heard it yet though (maybe one track on a Chiang Rai Alternative Hour podcast…)

11th February 1979
FONZ Great!
School tomorrow

11th Nov 2021 – That Sunday feeling. Sunday was bath day. I still have dreams in that bathroom. It’s weird now to imagine only bathing once a week! At some point, I tried to make bath time more interesting by getting undressed whilst balancing on the edge of the bath, walking back and forth. For every rotation, I would take off an item of clothing and being visible naked in the window gave me an odd thrill. The window overlooked a field so I don’t think anyone ever saw me or would’ve even noticed my weird game. I have distinct memories of the smells around the bathroom too. Some kind of soft floral perfume, Gardenia, perhaps. Gardenia was a favourite smell in 1998, that defined a period in my life, and probably was a reminder of this time in the late 70s.

12th February 1979
Boring day but
Monty Python’s Flying Circus will change that

13th February 1979
Went to rugger club for the first time

11th Nov 2021 – I was a sporting wannabe for sure. I did very well at most sports and as I was bigger than a lot of other kids teachers wanted me to try out for everything. I never enjoyed rugby though. I thought I was a tough nut, but I really wasn’t. I enjoyed the competition but rugby got too brutal for my skinny frame. I also didn’t know all the rules and one time Sean McDonnell took great advantage of this when I was preparing to run up to kick a try conversion. I had mistimed my run and turned around to start again. I didn’t know that there was no second chance with this and Sean ran and stole the ball for a try at the other end as I stood perplexed and whinging!

14th February 1979 (St Valentine)
Nothing much happened today so I’m not going to say anything!
Didn’t get any did I! Heyy!

11th Nov 2021 – Was I ugly? I didn’t know really. I thought of myself as well-liked by others but I think I was already starting to break out from the norm. Kids generally tolerate each other at this age (11-13) but apparently, I didn’t endear myself to anyone.

15th February 1979
1. Blondie (1) (3)
2. Abba (2) (1)
3. 3 Degrees (3) (2)
4. Leif Garrett (7) (-)

11th Nov 2021 – Fred was my mum’s boss. My mum was a machine knitter for hire and he ran some sort of clothing business selling guernseys. My mum was busy night and day doing this with two machines set up in our rooms, wool stored in every spare nook and cranny. A quick search found this site and this piece of information which tickles me – “The sweater of choice for fishermen, servicemen and criminals.”

16th February 1979
Half term
Matthew came down today
Had x-rays of my feet
Top: Liverpool

11th Nov 2021 – Matthew lived in a big house about half a mile away and I was a little envious and shy of his family at first. Along with the big house, they also had a classic Mercedes Benz (probably just a normal Benz at the time but I would consider a classic now) and a tennis court at the bottom of their garden. They felt to me to be a different class, well-spoken, well dressed and well behaved. At first, Matthew came to my house, where I was more comfortable, and we designed and discussed the big castles that we would live in when we grew up.

Sometime in the early oughts, Matthew sent me a message via Friends Reunited, a website where you could add your name to your school and the year you finished and reconnect with your old schoolmates. I had never really kept up with anyone, even immediately after leaving school but put my name down, perhaps in the hope of reconnecting with Julie Roberts, Leslie English or Tina Park, all of whom I had had crushes on!

Anyway, Matthew sent me a brief catch-up email asking how I was. I was in a funny place at the time which I will eventually document and simply replied along the lines of “I’m great! I got just my dick pierced!” I don’t think that this would have been entirely out of character from how he might’ve remembered me but I never heard from him again.

17th February 1979
Ipswich P-P Bristol Rovers or Charlton (FA Cup 5th Round)
Top: Liverpool

The Week That Was – 4th February 1979

10th Nov 2021 – I have no memory of ever seeing George Best play football, he was just a little bit before my time. I only really knew him as a fallen from grace drinker. I think I secretly liked him for that. His name though was slightly lower than some of the classics from England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team. Even more than a decade later those players were legendary. Any post-war successes in England were to be celebrated perpetually as the empire continued to slip away.

4th February 1979
Damn cold’s killing me
Yesterday the sun came out, would you believe it

10th Nov 2021 – This is such an English statement (about the sun). Already 35 days into a new year and it could be the first sighting of direct sunlight. I want to go back to England sometime and suffer this miserable experience again, perhaps just to remind myself how lucky I am. No place is paradise.

5th February 1979
Not feeling well so off school, cos of cold of course

10th Nov 2021 – I seem to have been quite a sickly child and still go through bouts of lethargy even now. Possibly psychological in origin, I have no real explanation sometimes. Maybe my autopsy will reveal the truth, a little too late for me.

6th February 1979
Going to get Plastic Letters
Got it last Friday

10th Nov 2021 – The first entry would have been a planned prediction and somehow I would’ve begged my mum to have brought my satisfaction forward. I was well-practised at that. I can recall a particular failure, perhaps around 1974 or 1975 in Whitehaven, when I was enraptured by a talking Mynah bird outside the pet shop on the pavement. I badgered my mum so much to get this pet but, quite correctly, she didn’t give in. I think I talked my way into getting a child’s snooker table instead, which wasn’t as grand as it sounds, but kept me quiet for a while until the next object of desire made itself known to me.

Blondie’s Plastic Letters is a masterpiece still.

7th February 1979
Yesterday tried get arch supports
Off school again cos of cold

10th Nov 2021 – I had constant pain in my left foot and throughout this year went to the chiropodist often. It was eventually discovered by X-ray that a couple of my joints were growing on top of each other instead of side by side. I eventually ended up having to wear a thick arch support that I was very ashamed of and tried to hide from my friends. I couldn’t be anything less than a perfect specimen human being and this was also a time when I still wanted to fit in and just be normal. I realise the paradox now.

8th February 1979
1. Blondie (1)
2. Abba(8)
3. 3 Degrees (3)
4. Ian Dury and the Blockheads (2)

10th Nov 2021 – Ian Dury and Blondie are still awesome to me and even music that I didn’t like back then such as Abba and 3 Degrees are still part of my psyche. The possibility of hearing something good amongst the drek made listening through the drek worthwhile. The drek stuck too and I would rather listen to ‘bad’ music from this era than ‘bad’ music from now. There is no chance of hearing anything interesting in what might be termed popular music these days. Rock music is dead on the radio. Of course, now anyone can listen to whatever they specifically desire at a moment’s notice. This seems to have taken a little of the fun out of it. We need some balance – we can’t just be enjoying everything all the time. We need to suffer!

I listen to music stored on my computer and it spans many weird and diverse genres – often including music I don’t like! Sometimes I sit through a 30-minute harsh noise piece knowing that coming next could be a classic Buffalo Tom tune or a Trojan dub reggae tune, imitating what it was like to listen to John Peel on the radio, patiently waiting for anything new that piqued interest.

9th February 1979
Part 3 Happy Days
I do like REV actually
Didn’t go to school all last week COLDS!!!

10th Nov 2021 – Multi-part stories of favourite TV shows felt like a new thing and we learned patience by having to wait a whole week to get the next episode. Growing up in these times are now nostalgic memories and wishing for them to return is useless and I refuse to be a grumpy old man complaining about the now. But, obviously, for everyone, at whatever time, things were better then!

REV again? I would guess it may have been Religious Education class but then seems odd that I would mention it when I didn’t go to school this week. Some sleuthing may be required. Is it worth it? As if anything really matters! The things that were once so important are quickly forgotten. Treat it as a fun test, easing out memories from dark recesses.

10th February 1979
Records wanted – Ipaula (?), Sound of the Suburbs, King Rocker
Ipswich 0-0 Southampton
Top: Everton

10th Nov 2021 – Damn, how good was music? Sound of the Suburbs and King Rocker are classic pop tunes. The Sound of the Suburbs in particular feels like the sound of 1979. I wish I had learned guitar back at this time. In 1976, when Andrew Farmer asked me if I wanted to join the guitar classes at school I told him I already knew how to play. When he insisted I show him a chord I held up my fingers in a shape and told him that was A. He said it wasn’t but I told him that that was how I played it. He left, bemused, and I missed my chance. I was a dickhead.