The Week That Was – 29th April 1979

Record of the week: The Members – Offshore Banking Business Genghis Khan – Genghis Khan
Highest entry: Abba – Does Your Mother Know

18th Mar 2022 – Revisiting Genghis Khan cracked me up. I can understand its appeal to an eleven-year-old. Abba were riding their wave but I don’t remember this song at all. Though I can enjoy some of their music now, because it was everywhere, non-stop, at the time, it symbolised the generic pop junk that was to be rebelled against.

29th April 1979
Forgotten (30th April)
2p 2p

30th April 1979
Quite good today suppose

18th Mar 2022 – I was trying to make sure I filled in every entry in my diary – even if there was nothing to say.

1st May 1979
Almost forgot about charts
Brought wrong book home so wrote on paper
Find out results tomorrow
2p 2p 148p*

2nd May 1979
Mum got magazines today
About yesterday – s,a’right
* = in debt

18th Mar 2022 – I think it’s interesting that I was keeping track of my finances or lack of them. I didn’t seem to learn anything from this. When I started working I always spent all my money before the next payday came around. Perhaps that is what I learned. So I can blame my mother for allowing me to go into debt and that becoming the norm.

I am happy to say that from my thirties onwards I have been able to manage my money much better and I have managed to never use a credit card and never had any debt. I think this has led to less stress in my life. At least, around that issue.

3rd May 1979
1. Art Garfunkel – Bright Eyes
2. Racey – Some Girls
3. M – Pop Muzik
4. Boney M – Holiday
5. Wings – Goodnight Tonight

4th May 1979
Not a lot happened today
2p 142p*

5th May 1979
sr 5.26 ss 8.29
Rangers 1-0 Celtic – at Hampden
Chelsea 2-3 Ipswich

18th Mar 2022 – One of the few things I miss about living in England are the long summer days. And on the opposite spectrum, I do not miss the long winter nights. Although sometimes I feel like I want to endure them again just to get a balance. Wrapping up in layers of clothes, enjoying entry into a heated room. I have memories of walking home from the football club after a few beers and a joint, listening to the Ozric Tentacles and trying not to slip on the icy roads. The air was white with cold.

But I don’t even enjoy the cool winter nights in Thailand now. I’m acclimatised or getting old. Let’s say acclimatised.

The Week That Was – 22nd April 1979

Record of the week: M – Pop Musik
Highest Entry – Boney M – Holiday – 19

15th Mar 2022 – Hooray! Hooray! It’s a Holi-holiday! Boney M were goofy and likeable. I saw an interesting documentary about them the other day. I don’t think they even sang their own songs. Was this cynically released during the school holiday? I think so! I was so obsessed with M’s Pop Musik.

22nd April 1979
Was able to watch That’s Life

23rd April 1979
Not much happened today

24th April 1979
First day at school was all right
2p 2p

25th April 1979
Forgot to get charts yesterday so I got them today
European Cup Semi-Final (2nd Leg)
FC Cologne 0-1 Forest

26th April 1979
1. Art Garfunkel – Bright Eyes
2. Racey – Some Girls
3. Squeeze – Cool For Cats
4. Jacksons – Shake Your Body
5. M – Pop Muzik
2p 2p

27th April 1979
Matthew came down
2p 2p

28th April 1979
Do bricks
No six-a-side again
Ipswich 2-1 Spurs

15th Mar 2022 – I would have been in the second year (of four) in middle school, 11 years old. I don’t remember playing six-a-side but the main football team would be comprised of first and second years for the junior team and third and fourth years for the senior team. So, being a second-year and a prolific striker I was looked up to quite a lot. But then in the next year, I would be looked down upon again. The English class system ensured the hierarchies were maintained in school, though I imagine it’s similar everywhere else.

Digging around for pictures online I found this drone view video and it doesn’t look like much has changed in 40 years or more. I even recognise pictures in the assembly/gym hall with its gym-climbing frames, entrance to the changing room and the sports storage room, to which I was consigned when I was in the fourth year because I was too shy to go swimming and begged my mum not to make me go since they started charging a minimal fee for it. Save your money, mum!

All I had to do was tidy it up, which took a boy 5 minutes. At the end of term, I asked the PE teacher if I could keep a book I had found there. It was a tennis umpires scorebook and I was fascinated with its layout, tables and use. I guess I had already been interested in tables, charts and scores with keeping track of my car races, football leagues and music charts.

The Week That Was – 15th April 1979

Record of the week; Supertramp – The Logical Song
Highest Entry: Bee Gees – Love You Inside Out – 25

7th Mar 2022 – The twisty bendy Logical Song shows my early interest in prog-ish music. The sound of this song made me happy. I like music that challenges but that also makes me laugh with excitement. So, not much into the Bee Gees at the time. I do have their early albums to check out as they were apparently much different to their popular hits around this time.

15th April 1979
Going up North today

7th Mar 2022 – I don’t recall driving back up North with Jean at any time and can only think we took the National Express, though I don’t have any memory of travelling with her on the bus either.

I do believe it was on this bus journey that, on the way to London, there was a mouthy brat further up the bus, a boy probably around my age. He was leaning over the back of his seat, retelling a movie he saw recently about a skydiver whose parachute had failed. People found him standing upright in a field, held upright by his bones having split through his feet and shoved like stakes into the ground.

I also believe it was on this trip that we were waiting at Victoria Bus Station in the evening and I bravely went off for a walk around the outside of the building and coming towards me in the opposite direction was the spitting image of Sid Vicious, in a grey woollen poncho. I guess many punks at the time copied his image and I’m not certain if I was aware that he had already died.

16th April 1979
Playing cards with Paul til 2:30am

7th Mar 2022 – Paul had lodged in our house in Whitehaven for as long as I can remember. He probably lived there right up until mum sold it a few years later. It was a four-bedroom, three-storey, end-of-terrace house with a garden. Maybe I mentioned it already. 20 Hugh Street, Bransty. I asked mum how much she sold it for and I couldn’t believe it was only 13,000 pounds! The north of England was definitely in a different freaking financial hemisphere compared with the south.

Anyway, Paul (and George, a canny Scot) entertained me despite our age difference, he was probably around his early to mid-twenties at this time. Our card game of choice was Hunt The Cunt, more commonly known as something like Chase The Queen, I forget now because we always just called it by its nastier name.

This was the hill my mum had to drag me up a couple times a week when she went shopping in town where the only supermarket was.
The typical back alley of British terraced houses where kids could and would get up to as much mischief as possible. It was quite daring to go into allies where we didn’t live or know anyone. This particular alley was where I first tried and failed to ride a pushbike that was far too big for me.
20 Hugh Street as it is now (2022). They’ve got a new door and have walled off the garden. The path also looks like it has been tarmacked whereas in my time it was just dirt and perfect for games of marbles. And gone is the old traditional green lamp post that used to have arms near the top. Was it just to stop kids from throwing tyres over it? Cos it didn’t work!

17th April 1979
Quite good day!

7th Mar 2022 – I had lost pretty much all traces of my northern accent by now but it was a kind of comforting sound to me, like a return to home, to something far away but familiar. I think these days were quite good because there was no school and I probably badgered my mum into generously buying things that I wanted.

18th April 1979
Quite good day again!

19th April 1979
1. Art Garfunkel – Bright Eyes
2. Racey – Some Girls
3. Squeeze – Cool for Cats
4. Jacksons – Shake Your Body
5. Milk and Honey – Hallelujah

7th Mar 2022 – The Squeeze song is classic, they had some great singles, I should probably check out their albums. I dig the Jacksons early stuff these days too. Not into any Michael Jackson though. Ever.

20th April 1979
Hi! Mum
Gave mum a tape measure

7th Mar 2022 – Mum’s birthday and no doubt she had to give me the money to buy her her own present! She probably had to go and buy it too! Well, at least she got what she wanted

21st April 1979
Bolton 2-3 Ipswich
2p 2p

7th Mar 2022 – 2 – more long-forgotten secret codes.

The Week That Was – 8th April 1979

Record of the week: The Members – Offshore Banking Business
Highest Entry: Wings – Goodnight Tonight – 25

3rd Mar 2022 – The Members were knocking out classic singles and Offshore Banking Business was even surpassed by its b-side Solitary Confinement. The lyrics summed up what I assumed was in store for me as an English teenager in the forthcoming decade. I didn’t know it at the time but I spent all of the eighties avoiding it to some degree.

Coincidentally, The Members vocalist Nicky Tesco passed away this week. One day all my idols will be dead. As you, as I.

I’m sure some folks remember and enjoy the Wings tune. I have no recollection though.

8th April 1979
Would be able to stay up to watch That’s Life but it’s not on

3rd Mar 2022 – That’s Life was actually a good introduction to the cruelties and absurdity of being alive. It was funny but in a typically dry English way. I used to enjoy the Last of the Summer Wine which was on Sunday nights too I think. Though I ended up so fucking annoyed at the miserable characters in that show even though they did overcome their weekly dramatic obstacles. But why were these shows on a Sunday night, priming people for the misery and absurdity of a working week!? So typically English. Is it any wonder we are fucking miserable people!

I didn’t get everything that was featured on That’s Life but knew that it was funny. I would laugh along with my mum even if I didn’t understand why something was funny. My mum influenced me quite a bit as she enjoyed absurd humour such as Spike Milligan, Michael Bentine and Monty Python etc Even kids’ programs were pretty out there, influenced by the drugs, excesses and changes of the sixites, not that I knew it at the time. The Americanisation of kids’ TV is disappointing.

I remember my grandmother as being quite Victorian, though it would have been her parents that lived during that time. By contrast, my mother seemed to be a fifties and sixties girl, growing out of the post-war grind. It was only when I was in my twenties or thirties that she told me that my dad was her second husband! It wasn’t something that she hid from me but she didn’t think it was that an important thing to tell me.

On one hand, I can understand her thinking, though I’m curious now. At the time she told me I only asked her a few questions and didn’t investigate further and of course, now it’s too late to ask. I wonder if there are things I don’t think are important for Hayden to know that might surprise him in the future when and if he finds them out?

9th April 1979
I was buttering up my bedroom wall today – looks fab

3rd Mar 2022 – My guess is I didn’t quite know the meaning of buttering up unless the meaning has changed a little in my short life. I think at this stage I was still just putting up posters and pictures cut out of the music magazines and papers that I was collecting through my mother’s benevolence.

10th April 1979
Got a new pair of trainers. And I got two pads now.

3rd Mar 2022 – The ongoing fucked feet saga. I still haven’t gone to get them checked again. Not that I’ve been waiting since 1979.

11th April 1979
Matthew’s coming down
Went on common
European Cup Semi-Final (1st Leg)
Forest 3-3 Cologne

3rd Mar 2022 – Pre the mega money-spinning sponsorship of football I don’t recall ever seeing European football matches on TV, not even highlights. The scores just appeared occasionally on the news and in the papers, which I would sometimes check out my grandparents’ stash. They got the Guardian and the Observer delivered to our oversized letterbox that sat snugly in the privet hedge by the gate along with the morning milk, twice-weekly bakery goods and the mail.

It’s difficult for people to comprehend these days just how difficult information was to come by. There’s a reason Encyclopedia sets were a popular door-to-door sales item though the one we had we had to sell so that we could live. Food was more important than knowledge at that stage. We were never destitute but it always felt like it wouldn’t take much to push us in that direction.

12th April 1979
1. Art Garfunkel – Bright Eyes
2. Squeeze – Cool For Cats
3. Racey – Some Girls
4. Village People – In The Navy
5. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
2p 10p

13th April 1979
Jean came today

3rd Mar 2022 – Jean was my mum’s school friend. A hard-drinking, hard-smoking lady who always wore too much perfume to hide the fact she might’ve been enjoying whiskey breakfasts. I think it was on a visit to her house back in Carlisle that I stole my first cigarettes from her many packets and took that first step into bad boy teenage smoking rebellion. I don’t remember much about any of the visits, her coming to us or us going back up North. She and mum were always off to the pub. These times were my mum’s only holiday time in the year.

14th April 1979
Do bricks
Norwich 0-1 Ipswich

3rd Mar 2022 – I wasn’t a Liverpool fan but did much prefer Ray Clemence to Peter Shilton. I hated Peter Shilton’s hair!

The Week That Was – 1st April 1979

Record of the week: Generation X – Valley of the Dolls
Highest Entry: Sex Pistols – Silly Thing – 24

28th Feb 2022 – This guitar-based noisy music was grabbing me more fully. The Billy Idol’s on TV intrigued and as kids still do today, were something to aspire to. The dross of mainstream music was made bearable and in hindsight seems far better than today. I don’t know what kids today are rebelling against. It’s all very serious now. Demonstrations and riots are common and no one is shocked. Why don’t you rebel against me? I am the old fogey, the establishment. Fight me!

1st April 1979
Them lot came round

2nd April 1979
It’s alright today I suppose
2p 1p

3rd April 1979
Went down to Matthew’s today. You should see his place, it’s brilliant with a tennis court
Today got English Civil War

28th Feb 2022 – Matthew’s house was huge, maybe three stories high. His dad drove a Mercedes and they had a tennis court. In comparison to our humble place I felt I was in the company of a rich family. They were down-to-earth and friendly though. I got on well with his Mum and Dad and over the next couple of years, Matthew and I would play many long five-set matches of tennis. His brother Toby was a year or two older than us and had bought the Dexy’s Midnight Runners album which we enjoyed listening to.

That English Civil War 7″ by the Clash! The cover was taken from the cartoon version of Animal Farm which I hadn’t read or was even able to comprehend but I knew it was a statement. I was still early in my vinyl-buying days, begging mum to pick up things for me if she could and I had been a good boy. I wonder what would have happened if I’d been a better boy?

4th April 1979
Got mag called Smash Hits today

28th Feb 2022 – Smash Hits, I think, was the magazine that had some light articles about pop music but its main attraction was the printed lyrics to the songs of the time. This was revelatory for me and besides being able to understand the words to the songs and sing-a-long, it wouldn’t be long before I would be trying to imitate writing them, inspired further by the crude and rude lyrics of the punk songs I heard or heard about. Fuck was becoming more common in my vocabulary. I wanted to become a singer and a lyricist, a punk and a poet. But I was only 11 years old.

5th April 1979
1. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
2. Village People – In The Navy
3. Art Garfunkel – Bright Eyes
4. Chic – I Want Your Love
5. Sex Pistols – Something Else

28th Feb 2022 – There it is – 80% dross and 20% intrigue.

6th April 1979
Yesterday I got a Fiat X1/9 and Prototypes Trumps but I swapped them

28th Feb 2022 – Still hanging on to my Matchbox car fixation and my competitive nature of Trumps. I loved playing that game.

7th April 1979
Went to Matthew for 4 hours
Leeds 1-1 Ipswich
2p 2p

28th Feb 2022 – Matthew did come to my house sometimes, or we would mess around in the woods and on the common but I was more enamoured with his new mansion to explore.