Happy Days – 19th January 2022

A couple of quotes from Samuel Beckett’s ‘Happy Days’. As I was reading the bizarre scenario of the play I had, perhaps, a false reminiscence of seeing this play on TV when I was young, being intrigued and excited by it. Whether I did or not is beside the point. In my mind, it now happened. I found an old dodgy video online of the play and it is almost exactly as I imagined. I didn’t watch it all as I don’t want it to spoil the idea of it in my head. I will watch his other plays that I found though – unless I end up finding the books first.

Can’t be helped, just one of those old things. Another of those old things.

Resigned

Sigh away all of your expectation
Lost in your thought of resignation
Accepting as a gift, a pleasure
Here is now, and made to measure

Ah yes, so little to say, so little to do, and the fear so great, certain days, of finding oneself.

There is so little one can say, one says it all, and no truth in it anywhere.

In My Hole

So little to say, so little to do
A mindless curiosity within
So afraid of being found out
Who am I? What do I bring?
Words were spoken that said it all
Tho’ not a single truth was divulged
Here, in my whole, with my bag
I am henceforth forever indulged


We’re going up the staircase to our best work.

Billy Oppenheimer

The Diary That Was – 31st December 1979

29th Sep 2022 – And so we are here, at the mysterious back pages of the diary.

Record of the week: The Greedies – Merry Jingle

29th Sep 2022 – Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy and Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols were the Greedies and this song is a fun, romping Christmas song but as with most Christmas songs, won’t hold up at any other time of year. I wonder what it is that makes people think to write a Christmas song? If it’s your last resort maybe it’s time to give up?

29th Sept 2022 – Paul Mariner, Mick Mills, Mick(?) Lambert, Bobby Robson, Trevor Whymark, Roger Osbourne, John Wark, George Burley, Paul Cooper, Kevin Beattie…the other faces are familiar but names stuck somewhere deep in the noggin. I’m going to go search the rest of the names as a reminder.

Frm Fidy tety sx nw cod i sudrtkn

29th Sept 2022 – Any codebreakers got this one? I reckon ‘From Friday Twenty Six…….” – any significance to the missing letters? Children and their warped minds.

Andrew said “I don’t think the FONZ is very interesting.”

29th Sep 2022 – It was all downhill from here.

Lief
Leif

29th Sept 2022 – Me trying to work out how to spell Leif Garrett, and yes, I had to look it up again just now.

Me —— Them
Golf
-8 —— -2
-2 —— -2
-3 —— -6
-4 —— -10

29th Sep 2022 – In my childlike imagination my bedroom was a golf course. Using one of our eating knives as a club and a marble as a ball, I devised a course around the bed, chair, floor, drawers etc.

I remember the knife well, it was one that was least favoured to be used at the table, it was the odd one out in the cutlery drawer. It had a cream handle, some kind of imitation ivory, bakelite maybe? Where the blade joined the handle had a small piece missing that added to its devious charm. The tip of the knife was an industrial semi-circle shape, with no pointed end as with our other knives. It was ugly. So it became my mini golf club and I loved it for that.

Of course, I just played against myself, labelling the scores Me and Them and generally always favouring Me, naturally.

When you chatted up the girl with the great big boobs
I don’t make a fuss, I just kept me cool

29th Sept 2022 – The genesis of getting into writing lyrics and trying to make them outrageous as per my idols. I didn’t yet have the vocabulary and ability but genius (haha!) must start somewhere!

Bed (curtains) 2p
Bricks 102p
Make own tea 2p
Make both teas 5p
Make tea to drink 1p
Collect coal 1p
Collect wood 1p
Extra jobs… 1p
Depending how hard… 2p
It is 3p and so on

29th Sep 2022 – Keeping track of potential earnings. No matter, I would always spend more than I earned, well into my late 20s. Some lessons take a long time.

Racing
Kempton 1.30pm 10p stake
1. Be Better 8-1 80p
Kempton 2.00pm
Catechism 7-1

29th Sep 2022 – A minor interest in Maths, betting and odds developing. I soon realised what a con gambling is, though when I say soon, it probably took another ten years as I did usually put some money through the fruit machines of pubs I attended for a while.

29th Sep 2022 – Artistic skills don’t look particularly promising but that never stopped me from trying.

I want Sex Pistols book, LPs and Clash ‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’, dartboard

29th Sep 2022 – I ended up with all these except the Clash album which I curiously never owned on vinyl and even now when I listen to it it still sounds fresh and new as many of those songs are not so familiar to me. Weirdly, I think I only ever owned the first album and Sandanista on vinyl and I’m not sure why I missed out on London Calling, which is also a little less familiar to these ears.

Friggin’ in the Riggin’
Ch.
Friggin’ in the riggin’
(repeat two more times)
Cos there’s fuck all else to do
Stick glass up your arse
(repeat thrice)
Cos there’s fuck all else to do

The captain’s wife is Mable
And when she’s fully able
She’ll give the crew the daily screw
Upon the mess room table
The captain’s name is Dodo
And he’s a lazy bugger
He isn’t fit to shovel shit
From one place to another

29th Sep 2022 – As Graeme Gray introduced me to the Sex Pistols through this song I would ask him to repeat these lyrics for me until I could remember them and write them down. Not accurate as expected but filthy enough to warp the precious minds of eleven and twelve-year-old potential brat-punks.

75m – 11.2

29th Sep 2022 – I was obviously pleased with myself for being a fast runner.

Chorus to Pretty Vacant
We’re so pretty, oh so pretty -ow
– Vacant
(repeat)
And now, we don’t careeeee!

Second verse and chorus to Silly Thing
People here, people there
People around you everywhere
What you gonna say
What you gonna do
Now you’ve missed out once again
But I thought you knew
Ch.
Oh, you silly thing
You’ve really gone and done it now
(repeat)

More songs
Bodies
There’s a girl from Birmingham
She’s had an aboushtion
She looks a screaming mess
Screaming mess
Fuck this, fuck that
Fuck that fucking little brat
She don’t want a baby like that
I don’t want a baby like that
She looks a screaming mess
Screaming mess

29th Sep 2022 – More outrageous Sex Pistols lyrics. It’s really hard to comprehend what an impact this band had at the time. For folks like me, it has been a lifelong inspiration and influence that I am proud to be a part of. It all looks old-fashioned and pointless now so I’m forgiving of anything that kids are into these days and forgiving of those who were consumed within their own subcultures that were at pinnacles in the past. We don’t have to understand what they like but we can understand the feelings that it gives them.

RAD DID IT
GRANDAD DID IT

29th Sep 2022 – I had an irrational dislike for my grandparents. Being a snotty kid around Victorian/Edwardian grandparents was never going to be easy. I did like them when I was smaller but perhaps they were more forgiving then too. I would soon be driving them crazy with super loud music and friends visiting for drinking parties. I never really reconciled with my granny (as I called her and my mum wished to be called by Hayden) before she passed but I was more sympathetic to my grandad as I got to my late teenage years. I was surprised to find out at one point that they were actually quite liberal and were members of CND. They weren’t quite so impressed when I showed them the lyrics to Crass’s What The Fuck but they did seem to get the sentiment.

This fucking’ little bastard
Was a fuckin’ little burk
He didn’t know what to do
When he went to work

29th Sep 2022 – Prophetic!

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
BLURP!

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
1

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.

The Week That Was – 28th January 1979

Highest Entry – Abba – Chiquitita #8

28th January 1979
Did homework
YUKK

2nd Nov 2021 – I think this term would have been my first introduction to homework and it probably wasn’t too hard but I already knew how I felt about it. I think there wasn’t much I was really interested in that I would want to study even longer than being at school. In my primary school years I was quite a good student and I can remember the exact time when that changed.

It was 1976 and I had just moved with my mum, from Devon to Dorset, where my mum would take care of my grandparents in exchange for free rent. I started a new school and was one of the ‘top’ students, I guess. I tried my best. At Christmas that year I was chosen to be Joseph, opposite Becky Houldey as Mary in the school nativity.

But as the year came to an end, students worked on their individual ‘big project’. This involved excursions and other types of research as opposed to sitting in classes. I started off with gusto and through working with various other students at points became good friends with Paul Sotheran. I loved his sense of humour and crazy attitude to life. He didn’t give a shit about the project and I soon fell into that mindset too!

29th January 1979
Monty Python’s Flying Circus

8th Nov 2021 – I was allowed to stay up after 9pm to watch this every Tuesday night. I think my mum enjoyed watching it too. We both appreciated this kind of quirky British humour. I know Spike Milligan and Dave Allen were amongst mum’s favourites.

30th January 1979
Blondie 1
Ipswich 2-0 Orient (at Orient)
Mariner 2

31st January 1979
OH HELL
Don’t know!!
Nerds Words

8th Nov 2021 – I thought perhaps Nerds was in reference to the candy but a quick search shows they weren’t introduced until 1983. I think this must have been another Happy Days reference. Looking back I can see the creeping influence and Americanisation (with an s!) of British culture already.

1st February 1979
1 – Blondie
2 – Ian Dury
3 – The Three Degrees
4 – Village People

2nd February 1979
REV
3 times 20
AHHHHH
Doctor 5.05 Miss Happy Days
X

8th Nov 2021 – REV? Revision? Reverse? 3 times 20? 60? I don’t know. Perhaps like the X, and tomorrow’s 1, some sort of code I thought I would never forget again.

3rd February 1979
Hey Nerd!
Bristol City 3-1 Ipswich (Mariner)
BLURP!
1

The Week That Was – 7th January 1979

12th Oct 2021 – Each page of this diary had a small write-up on some important or legendary footballer and re-reading a lot of these names was a trip. Just seeing the name would remind me of the teams I was familiar with them playing for. Players were brutal and ugly in those days, playing on muddy and messy pitches. The sport was highly revered but was without the crazy amount of money that sponsorships and advertising brought once the Premier League began – which is also around the time I lost interest – though there are other reasons involved for that too.

7th January 1979
Granny beat me at Happy Days
But I beat her in Trumps

12th Oct 2021 – Trumps or Top Trumps was really popular around this time, a card-collecting game where you chose your best stat hoping to beat your opponents. Topics may be types of car or military vehicles. Unsurprisingly there is a website for Top Trumps, so possibly it is even popular now for any child who doesn’t have a phone. And come to think of it, many mobile phone games employ similar systems of scoring as TT too.

For Happy Days I had to go search and finding this picture I’m guessing this is what I was playing with my Granny. She was always Granny, never Gran or Grandma. I can’t imagine it but I hope playing this (and winning) gave her some affection for her grandson. The board doesn’t trigger any memories but the jukebox counting design feels familiar. Look at all the American words I was already subjecting myself to. Nerd, cruising, drag. After exposure to Grease last year I was getting to be all about the leather jacket.

8th January 1979
I am able to watch Danger UXB because there’s no school tomorrow
HEEYYYY!

12th Oct 2021 – Again, a quick image search triggers memories of this show. Otherwise, I’m lost. I was particularly anxious at times during this show as the soldiers would race against time to disarm bombs. Hard to imagine how they got so much mileage out this premise. 13 episodes and that was it – something I always liked about many UK TV shows. Concise and well written.

9th January 1979
Return to school postponed
WO!

12th Oct 2021 – Still improving my American language skills, I hadn’t yet learned how to spell Woah!

10th January 1979
Ipswich 3-2 Carlisle
HEYY!

12th Oct 2021 – WOAH and HEY are my attempts at being the coolest cat in deepest Dorset. There was no one to impress except my own maturing ego.

11th January 1979
Still no school and I ain’t going tomorrow cause it’ll be stupid

12th January 1979
A boring day
Nothing to say
It rhymes It rhymes

12th Oct 2021 – Here I am, already on my poetic journey. I must’ve been bored with the snow already.

13th January 1979
Previous scores 5-2, 6-1
Ipswich P-P Villa
Blurp!

12th Oct 2021 – At this point, football and Ipswich were my primary concern. Something that would change somewhat during the course of this year.

The Week That Was – 31st December 1978

31st December 1978
Snow started falling yesterday
HEYY!

2nd Aug 2021 – My first memory of snow, though it is likely I experienced it previously when I lived in Cumbria. About 4 or 5 feet of snow fell over a few days and hung around for ages as the temperature stayed around freezing. I built huge camps by the garden hedge, reenacting great trench warfare battles with pine cones as grenades. My machine gun also finding the target of the British soldiers. As with football teams, I always sided with the team in blue, obviously not knowing the real history behind the wars. It also made me want to side with the underdog and to try to appreciate the other side of a story. This was probably helped along by a continual stream of British movies celebrating victory against all odds, an attempt to counter the decline of the Empire since the end of the second world war.

My brief research indicates that there was snow around Dorset until February at least. A child’s dreamland!

1st January 1979
Watched the zany goings-on with The Didn’t Quite Make It In Time For Christmas Show

2nd Aug 2021 – That’s Kenny Everett and Rod Stewart – and this is what people looked like in 1979! Other guests were Leo Sayer and Hot Gossip. Punk had definitely not gone mainstream yet!

2nd January 1979
Tried some tricks with rubber bands
HEYY!

2nd Aug 2021 – Not sure what I was doing with rubber bands here but my mum taught me how to tie rubber bands together to make them longer. In summer I would tie four together and shoot dead the flies that had come in through the open windows during the day. Their blood-splattered remains smeared across the walls and ceiling.

3rd January 1979
I rolled a snowball about 3 feet high but later I smashed it with Kung Fu kicks

3rd Aug 2021 – Kung Fu was a pretty popular TV series and I was always in awe of when the guy gripped the molten pot that burned images of a dragon and lion onto his arms. I think I checked out the show again a few years ago and like many things, it’s best left good in the memory of the past. Looking for the attached picture tells me the show has been revived this year. Hmmm….could be good. Could be terrible.

4th January 1979
‘Blue Peter’ were talking about diaries
HEYY!

3rd Aug 2021 – No one who saw it at the time will ever forget Peter Purves exclaiming ‘What a lovely pair of knockers!’ about a couple of door handles. A further search for this has the phrase spoken by Simon Groom – see how fallible our memories can be?

5th January 1979
I found out that Saturday’s match wasn’t on
HEYY
What do you mean Heyy

3rd Aug 2021 – I was writing HEY on most pages of my diary because I loved watching Happy Days and also thought the Fonz was so cool. It was as close as a prepubescent could get to being a potential rebel. It was the nearest we got to seeing punk rock on the TV most weeks. I notice most of my diary this week revolves around TV. At this time we cherished these shows as they mostly were only on once a week and life was planned around things you wanted to watch.

On Saturday’s I would usually play football for the school team – I was centre forward, wishing to emulate my heroes Trever Whymark and Paul Mariner. Talking of which, as previously mentioned I think I also asked the hairdresser to cut my hair like the Fonz – which also never worked out well for me or the hairdresser.

I think in this case the match I was talking about was the Ipswich game as this would have still been school holiday time.

6th January 1979
Ipswich P-P Carlisle
BLURP!

3rd Aug 2021 – Ipswich had won the FA Cup last year and I believe did very well in 1979 too, winning the Cup Winners Cup and possibly the First Division (though that may have been in the following couple of years). These were days before big sponsorship deals and the names of the competition changing every year depending on who provided the money.