Monday, 31 January 2011

The Piley Diary: January 1977

Whilst clearing out an old box of stuff late last year, I came across a diary of mine from the 1970's. I stuck it to one side, and in a shameless rip of Planet Mondo's 'Dear Diary' posts, thought I might blog some of it.

The diary itself is one of those '5 year' jobbies, where you fill in the year manually. I think we'd been doing Samuel Pepys at school around that time, and I'd got all buzzed up on keeping a diary. I guess I dreamt of logging the final years of the seventies, as we went head-first into a brand new decade. I imagined my musings would be studied in years to come as an invaluable historical document of how people lived back then... and with a market shop down the road doing 5 year diaries for 25p (5p a year!), what could possibly go wrong?!

But I think it was a bit of wishful thinking on my part, and far from completing 5 years worth, I didn't get much further than 3 months, and the end of March 1977! the rest of the year (and indeed, the rest of the diary) remains blank.

Also, with the benefit of hindsight, I'm not sure that all of my entries would perhaps have been on a par with 'ol Pepys. Although riveting, I can see now that a book documenting that "mum bought 2 subbuteo floodlights", "I went to Southend, I got Roy of the Rovers" and "Arsenal won 3-1- yesterday" may not have set the literary world on fire.

Still, on the plus side, I do know what I was doing this very day 34 years ago (and oddly, 1977 works the same as 2011, so the 31st of Jan was a Monday too)... yes, I can confirm we had art with Mr Jones, and I watched Batman when I got home. Nuggets like that would be lost if it weren't for the likes of me and Pepys.

I've scanned in a few of the entries. More next month (maybe!)


UPDATE: Have just discovered that this was almost certainly the issue of Roy of the Rovers that I bought on 1st Jan 1977!


Anonymous said...

Arsenal, Swap Shop........nothing's changed!

chocolategirl64 said...

made a model of Big Ben out of matchsticks:
fab find:

Piley said...

don't forget Batman Carl... I still buy the bloody comic!

Chocolategirl - Hmm, I have no recollection of this whatsoever! I note the word is "started", I can only assume I "stopped" the next day! Unless I was able to recreate it with just the one matchstick!


Anonymous said...

That wasn't me P , i always sign my comments chap. I was thinking "does this man throw nothing away?", your whole childhood seems to be preserved in your loft. I'm glad too, i like this stuff. I like the sound of the Arsenal win (who were they playing ?). You were a right creative kid even at King John , you used to make your own badges i remember. A regular Blue Peter you are mate :-)


Piley said...

Wonder who that other 'anon' was then??

Oh yeah, I remember my badge making! Think I used to make em on demand & sell em too!

Have to look up who the arsenal game was against, must be able to find out.


P.S - if anyone wants a badge made up, let me know!

Mondo said...

That's the thing with these diaries - they show you how so many things don't change - buying records by the same bands, reading comics and Noel Edmonds still on the telly

And where was Martins? I was a regular at most of the Hadleigh sweetshops : Hampsons opposite Safeways, the Post Office - now choice, Pontons - still going, even the little place run by what seemed to Godfrey from Dad's Army sisters round the back of the high st - now a tattoo studio. But can't place Martins

Anonymous said... did the piano lessons go?

Anonymous said...

Think Martins was at Vic House Corner.


Piley said...

Mondo - good point. Isn't there a phrase, something like "show me the child, and I'll show you the adult"?? I guess by the age of 10, we are already on the path of knowing what we like.

Mondo\Carl - I was still living in Benfleet at this point, so the Martins refered to is in Manor Road (think it's still there!)

JJ - ah, the piano lessons. I had one a week for about 2 years, and gave up. I clearly remember my mum and day telling me I'd regret it later on, but I was more interested in playing with my mates. Guess what? It's one of my major regrets now. How wonderful it must be to wander up to a keyboard and bang out an imprompu song?


John Medd said...

While you were watching the Sunday Gang(?) The GLC were giving The Stranglers a hard time at their Rainbow gig in Finsbury Park. Hugh Cornwell was wearing his infamous parody of the Ford tee shirt so the GLC turned the power off. All this and more from George Gimarc's Punk Diary 1970-1979, now updated to this: every punk bands' whereabouts accounted for in the decade including gigs, TV appearances, single and album releases and just generally putting punk under the microscope.

word veri: ratica!

Furtheron said...

Come on what did happen with the Big Ben model.... I can't wait to read more :-)

I was going to build a model of the Thunderbirds monorail out of match boxes and drinking straws once I remember. See kids today have no wasted ambition like that to learn from :-)

Kolley Kibber said...

Your observation that 'from today we can have a choice of meal at school' really tickled me. Not a clue as to whether you see this as being a good thing or not, just a solemn observation.

And I'd love to know how far you got with that matchstick model...

Piley said...

JM - yes, well 'the Sunday gang' was my code for going to Finsbury Park to see the Stranglers. Had to keep it secret from prying eyes blah blah.... no idea what the Sunday Gang is either!!

F-Ron - I love the enthusiasm that kids throw into ideas! I'm guessing I found a few dead matchsticks round the house (4?, 5?!) and thought "I know what I'll do with these!!". Of course kids lose that enthusiasm just as quick too, and I guess I got bored of waiting for the next match to be used!

ISBW - Wow! That matchstick Big Ben has really caught the imagination hasn't it?! I feel guilty now, wish I'd stuck at it a bit longer!

As for merely documenting on the school dinner situation, well, that's what us historians do - we document facts. It's important that we don't show any bias, and simply tell it how it is so that future generations can form their own opinions... ;-)

Again, no idea. Guess I was pretty non-plussed by the whole thing eh? Sod lunch, wheres a football??!


Piley said...

PS - for the benefit of Carl, I've looked up the Arsenal game....

It was a 4th round FA cup game, at home to Coventry City. 3-1, get in!

However we got thumped in the next round 4-1 away at Middlesbrough! I wonder if that result turns up in the next installment of the diary?!

Anonymous said...

Yay Red Army......whaddya mean Middlesborough......pants lol.


John Devlin said...

Fascinating stuff Piley - I have a few old diaries which are also fun to read, just wish I'd kept them up more. I also have one from my teens which is a mite more risque!!

Incidentally, I didn't know you were a Roy of the Rovers fan, you might be interested in a little feature on Melchester Rovers' kits on my website:–1973

Piley said...

Cheers John, loved your article! Was a huge fan of Roy's back in the day. And have been picking up all the reprint books released over the last 2 or 3 yrs. Actually the stories are awful when you read them now, but great nostalgia!

I too always wondered why they bothered to have an away kit! Always thought the same about Norwich.. Unless they get drawn.against Brasil in the cup, they are pretty safe!

Does anyone make Melchester tops now? Would be well up for a 70s classic.

You'll have to dig out those diaries John... Especially the cheeky number from your teens!

Simon said...

All your Sunday Gang questions answered here:

I can still recall the theme.

Piley said...

well I'll be! I'm discovering a lot about my diary here!

I have the details of the Arsenal match mentioned, I've found the cover of the Roy of the Rovers comic I bought, I know what the Stranglers were doing whilst I was watching the Sunday Gang, and I now know what The Sunday Gang was! and I have to say I don't remember it at all! Maybe it was on in the background whilst I concentrated on my matchstick replica of Big Ben?!


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