The Week That Was – 16th September 1979

Record of the week: Madness – The Prince
Chart entries: Dickies 40, Michael Jackson, The Police – Message in a Bottle

26th Jun 2022 – I was really taken with The Prince by Madness and there wasn’t the hype around the whole 2-Tone thing yet, at least not out in the sticks where I was; that really took off over the following 12 months.

Not being cool enough to own a leather jacket (ultimately, I have never actually owned a real leather jacket) I had to make do with my denim jacket and then not being cool enough to own any patches to sew onto it, I just sewed the words ‘The Prince’ across the back as best I could.

The Prince was to be my nom-de-plume for a week or so (and pretty much just in my head) until I got too confused about whether Madness were punk or not and if it was ok to like them. To be honest, they were impossible not to like.

And so it was on one weekend Market Day, my mum took me with her to go bargain and thrift shopping and I could proudly sport my denim jacket for all to admire and maybe it did or didn’t but what did draw attention to some critics was the fact that this little punky looking kid was still wearing flares. I didn’t know that us punks weren’t supposed to wear flares! What a faux pas! I begged my mum to fix that as quickly as possible after getting home somewhat humiliated.

16th September 1979
Nothing
2p 2p 284p*

17th September 1979
Nothing
2p 282p*

18th September 1979
A bit more than yesterday
Homework
2p 2p 278p*

19th September 1979
Dunno
2p 276p*

20th September 1979
1. Cars
2. Cliffie
3. ELO
4. Bellamy Brothers
5. Dollar
6. Crusaders
7. BA Robertson
8. Police
9. Randy Van
10. Roxy Music
2p 274p*

21st September 1979
Dunno
2p 1p

22nd September 1979
Ipswich 1-1 Everton
2p 1p

26th Jun 2022 – Wimborne Market was a treasure trove for weird punk records for a while in the early 80s. I picked up Restricted Code’s ‘First Night On’ which I had been hunting for ages after hearing it just once on John Peel’s show. A classic tune. I picked up an album by the Sods from Denmark and a weird compilation of Scandinavian bands and Captain Sensible songs. The Big Balls and the Great White Idiot album and Eu’s Arse 7″. It was so weird to find these already odd things in amongst all the dross and crap of typical second-hand record stalls at the time.

Another good stall there had huge piles of old 2000AD back issues in varying states of decay. I did attempt a full collection for a while but the first 30 or so issues were impossible to find at reasonable prices. Moving to Australia in 1994 saw me sell 98% of the comics I owned including all my 2000ADs. There’s something special about finding piles of old comics in shops. A random collection of oddities that beg a story of the person who might’ve owned them. Who were they and where are they now?

Of course, as time went on the pickings got slimmer and when I visited again around 2015 or so there wasn’t even a record stall to speak of, just batches of CDs piled next to piles of books. Zero comic content. However, the candy man was still there and I spent an unreasonable amount of pounds on good old British sweets that would last me the holiday at the time.

The Week That Was – 9th September 1979

Record of the week: Charlie Daniels – The Devil Went Down To Georgia
Highest entry: Ruts – Something That I Said

23rd Jun 2022 – Never heard the Charlie Daniels tune on the radio much beyond this time but it’s a classic story-type song that holds up well I think. The Ruts as the highest entry? These were the days.

9th September 1979
Er-m
Dunno
2p 2p

23rd Jun 2022 – Keeping a diary was getting more taxing….

10th September 1979
New member to group
2p

11th September 1979
Chuck a member from the group
2p

23rd Jun 2022 – Now were the formative thoughts of being in a band. I’m guessing this would have been me, Graeme and Chris, and as the Sex Pistols were a four-piece we must be too. I don’t think we (and by we, I mostly mean ‘I’) ever got to a four-piece and these entries were probably about Chris as I couldn’t decide if he was punk enough to be part of the group. His still going to church with his parents on Sunday didn’t quite gel with my ideas of a punk identity! But ultimately it looks like there was no one else to be a part of it.

At some point, I named our band Punks Unlimited, borrowing words from the punk cultural zeitgeist. My mum’s boss Fred had brought some notepad/scrapbooks for me when they visited and I set about making designs for album and single covers, coming up with song titles etc. All of this without any of us owning an instrument or writing any songs and lyrics. But this is where it started.

I threw those books out a long time ago but I can still remember them well. They were rubbish, typical 11-year-old attempts at replicating a minimal understanding of the world that was interesting.

A fad during this time was small cards of stickers (similar to the main photo here) that took off quickly and spread like wildfire throughout the school and I got right into it, begging my mum to get as many as possible from the local shop. It became a fun game to put stickers around the school in odd places without getting caught by the teachers. After a while of this, the headmasters got jack of having to clean them all up all the time and banned them. My first fight with authority!

Tied in with this time was my first and only experience with student death. Phillip Brown was a sickly kid with albino hair and a slow brain. I never got friendly with him really but had nothing against him. He went MIA for a few days and eventually we were told he had died. I don’t recall being shocked or upset as such, perhaps just a weird feeling of never seeing someone again. The school installed a bench outside the main entrance with a plaque of remembrance for him. Soon, it was covered in our little stickers.

12th September 1979
Got him back
My mum’s a bloody barstard
2p 2p

23rd Jun 2022 – Not sure exactly what prompted this entry but I was starting to get frustrated with my life and what I must have considered injustices committed against me. It would get worse – for both of us.

13th September 1979
1. Cliffie
2. Cars
3. BA Robertson
4. ELO
5. Crusaders
6. Roxy Music
7. Bellamy Brothers
8. Vanwarmer
9. Dollar
10. Money
2p

14th September 1979
Nothing
2p 290p*

15th September 1979
Brighton 2-0 Ipswich
2p 288p*

The Week That Was – 2nd September 1979

Chris’ house on the left and the entrance to the ‘mansion’ opposite.

Record of the week: Secret Affair – Time For Action
Chart entries: 40 – Secret Affair – Time For Action, 38 – Billy Connolly – In The Brownies, 34 – Commodores – Sail On, 32 – Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind

22 Jun 2022 – The Secret Affair song is a great mod tune though it wouldn’t be long until my allegiance to punk had to see me dislike anything that didn’t fit into a strict definition. Billy Connolly making fun of the Village People, there’s the cool disco-funk of the Commodores and the very 70s pop tune from Nick Lowe. Music was good.

2nd September 1979
Part 12 of the Dickies saga
De-ciphered some words from Dickies album
2p 209p*

22 Jun 2022 – The Dickies songs were so fast, the vocals blurred and spasmodic but I really wanted to sing along. I couldn’t wait any longer for the unlikely event of Smash Hits printing lyrics for Dickies album tracks. I’m not sure they ever printed the lyrics for Banana Splits but everyone already knew the words to that from watching the TV show. Having no comprehension of record collecting yet I wrote the lyrics in some spare space on the inner sleeve and wrote on the cover too. I completely ruined the Boomtown Rats ‘Tonic For The Troops’ doing that too. That album had a lyric sheet but there were so many mistakes and missing lyrics that I attempted to fastidiously fix.

3rd September 1979
Oh no
(arrow pointing to tomorrow)
2p 207p+135p = 342p*

22 Jun 2022 – I wonder what I bought this time? I’m guessing it was some 7″ singles or Matchbox cars.

4th September 1979
School
S’arite in fird yer
2p

22 Jun 2022 – Middle school was split into two sections somewhat. Years 1 and 2 did things together as did years 3 and 4. In Year Two you had some sway over the kids in Year One. Moving to Year Three didn’t really give you sway over the two years below, instead, you became the target of attention from the Year Four kids. It was during this year that a bunch of them started calling me Sid as that was the only punk icon name they knew. One tomboy girl, in particular, took umbrage at me being a punk and would punch and kick me at any opportunity.

The main point of contention for me was in the school football team. I was the top player when I was in Year Two but now I struggled to make it into the team with the Year Four kids. I did end up playing a few games though and felt like I got a little respect from some of them.

5th September 1979
Forgot about the charts yesterday so I got it today
2p 338p*

6th September 1979
1. Cliff Richard
2. BA Robertson
3. Gary Numan – Cars
4. Roxy Music
5. Money
6. Specials
7. Street Life
8. Rats
9. Vanwarmer
10. EWF
2p 2p

7th September 1979
Going to I Eye and staying the night and coming back Sat 7.00pm
2p 2p

22 Jun 2022 – The secret code of I Eyes is lost to time though I think it may have been Chris Foote. He, Graeme and I were the only three kids interested in the Sex Pistols and punk at the time. I do recall staying at his place once or twice until I was deemed too unacceptable as a dirty punk by his parents and later him too.

He lived on the corner of one of the hills that led down into Wimborne. We could climb his fence and still atop and shoot peas through a peashooter at cars as they drove by. This was great fun until some guy spotted us and got out and came in and told us off in front of Chris’ parents. Maybe that’s what got me into trouble with them.

Also, opposite his place was a big hidden mansion, or so it seemed to us. Their drive had a little bridge and a dry moat-like area that was hidden from pedestrians and the owners. We adventured through the hedge and down into the ditch in search of treasure, perhaps hoping for a porno mag or…who knows. What we did find on one occasion, under the bridge, was a huge human shit, which was both fascinatingly huge and seriously disgusting. Who was responsible for this!? What kind of massive butthole evacuated it?

The other road of the roundabout outside Chris’ place led down to the chippie which I most remember for having a cigarette vending machine standing by itself on the pavement, like a mailbox. You could buy single cigarettes for tuppence or five pence but we never had any money. We did see if we could get our little hands inside though, which worked occasionally. Of course, the fragility of the device meant that some folks would come along and just bash it until the glass broke and we would take advantage of that if we ever found it in that state.

It was also walking up this hill that one time I actually did find a porno magazine in the bushes which I had to hide in my pants and smuggle home.

8th September 1979
Great at I Eyes
Ipswich 1-0 Bristol
2p

223 Jun 2022 – It would have been around this time that my mum lent me a cheap camera to finish off a roll of film which saw me pretending to take a shit, squatting over some dog poo on the pavement and hungrily pretending to grab at cigarettes on a billboard.