March 1976

03-01

Had to hand in my HW Record today but I forgot to get it signed. Only got maths HW. Peacock gave up Biology and does Physics with us now. When got in report had arrived and Big Boy came in. Went Badminton in the evening. Came home at 9.25. Bed at 10.45 feeling ill.


So, Big Boy (the formerly stray dog, if you remember) came in. I wonder if he was on his own, or accompanied by someone?

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03-02

Got He and She today off Burton in RE. Took it home. Went back to class at 3.20 because of Parent’s evening. Handed in HW Record. Smith missed out the mark on my report. He gave me a ‘B’. In the evening had pancakes. Very Nice. Didn’t go out at all in the evening. Finished Horror Book. Started reading The Taking of Pelham 123.


There are some things here I need to explain, and some things I have to look up because I don’t know what they are either.

Mr. Burton was our RE – Religious Education – teacher. He was quite modern, one of those 70s teachers full of liberal zeal and not bogged down by classical teaching ideas, and who taught us a lot about different religions. We liked him, and called him the Funky Bishop.

But what was He and She? I’ve Googled and Googled, but can’t find it. The closest I get is a 1970s book about the workings of a lesbian commune. I don’t think that was it. Well, if it was, I wouldn’t have forgotten it.

And then pancakes in the evening; Shrove Tuesday, the one day of the year that English people used to eat pancakes (or is it still like that?). Burned to the frying pan, smothered in sugar and lemon juice. Lovely!

I seemed to read quite a lot, late at night when I went to bed. The novel, The Taking of Pelham 123 by John Godey was very good. The 1974 film version was good, but not as good as the book. The 2010 film effort with Denzel Washington and John Travolta was dreadful.

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03-03

 Went up Harbinger with Honky after school, on bikes to get Motorcycle News – 12p. Went out for a while at 7 o’clock on bike. Tore arm of Black Roll-Neck jumper. Went over club at 7.30. Charlie Peake came in for a while at 9.00pm. He stitched up his trousers. He went in at 10.10 pm. Mum came in at 10.15 pm.


From what I remember, Honky was Keith Ayres, a few years older than me and living in Billson St. I think we 14 year olds looked up to his coolness. Here he is on Stebondale St, in a photo taken by Linda Hutchinson. Cool or what?

Wonder what Charlie Peake had done to his trousers that required him to come up to our house to sew them up. Good thing my mum hadn’t turned up 6 minutes earlier to catch him at it. She might have started worrying about me.

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Charlie Peake

And why did I time everything to the minute? Why did I also just do that in the previous paragraph?

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03-04

 Bought NMM in the morning. Got 3 HW. Went round Ricky’s brother’s with him in the evening. Got back at about 10.30. Had cross country for PE. Came 2nd with 2 min 23. Was beat by Tony Rose. Had a bit of a dispute with Hearnden about a bike having Telescopic or Hydraulic suspension. (It’s Tele…..).

Get –> NMM


My school was almost completely middle-class kids from comfortable families in SE London. Tony Rose and myself were not. We came from East London, and we were used to playing and running around for hours on the street. That sounds corny, but I think it can not have been coincidence that we were the best cross country runners in the school for our age group. It was not unusual for us to be numbers 1 and 2 in a race against other schools. Tony (aka Rolo) was always first, grrr, I never beat him

In one race we were so far ahead we caught up with the longer-distance senior race which had left 15 mins earlier – the stewards didn’t notice it, and directed us so we ended up running the senior race. The romantic in me wants me to write that we did well in the senior race, but I think – once we’d sussed out the mistake – we stopped for a fag and walked back to the start.

I remember very clearly the Greenwich Park cross country course.

cc

We’d start at the top of the hill (not far from the school on Maze Hill, which is visible on the right in the satellite photo), down the hill, along the flat below the Royal Observatory, up the hill, round the reservoir, down again and along the flat before climbing up to the start point.

A 1.6 mile course (I even remember the distance) with some very steep and long hill climbs. The 2 min 23 secs mentioned in the diary has got to be an error. 12:23 would be closer to the truth.

And…if you’re reading this R. Hearnden……I was right – it’s Telescopic!

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03-05

 Get NMM

Went got Home from school had a go on Fairmo’s NSU. Not very good. Had a fire Alarm in school. When club finished walked up with Colleen Williams etc. Boo Boo gave M. Battley “Turn On” which he then gave to me, Tried to kick start Micky Trew’s Honda 125. But couldn’t.


Fairmo’s NSU was the German, NSU Quickly. They didn’t come more uncool and clunky than this, and it is not surprising to learn that NSU stands for Neckarsulm Strickmaschinen Union, a company that manufactured knitting machines (Strickmaschinen).  Indeed…..Not very good.

I haven’t a clue what walking up with Colleen Williams etc means. Who were the other people, and where did we walk up? I am afraid this is going to remain a mystery.

Boo Boo was Raymond Subohon, and I am sure Turn On was another one of the many soft porn mags that seemed to be doing the rounds. I never bought a porn mag, I don’t know anyone who ever (admitted to) buying one. So where were they all coming from?

This was Boo Boo then:

14

I wanted to post the cover of Turn On (suitably censored of course), so I Googled “1970s soft porn mag Turn On”. That was a very stupid thing to do, and now I’ve got a whole load of browser cookies and history to delete 😦

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03-6

 Went out at 12.30. Was very cold. Went in Rickys house with G.Langton M. Battley eventually. Played cards. I went home at 3.00 pm. Went out after 7.00 pm Went up Ricky’s house again. Played cards and watched Hawaii-5-0 film on TV. Went out for a while. Then went in. Mum + Dad went out for a while in the eve.


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03-07

 Went over the muddy on the motorbike all morning. Was really going fast. Went over George Green for a while after. Went to see Rollerball  with M. Fairweather after. good film. Bought Curry + Chips on the way home. Mark lent me his Penthouse.


Suddenly, I (or we) seem to have a motorbike. Where did that come from? Probably, like many of the bikes we rode over the muddy, it had been stolen and abandoned by someone, and we’d managed to get it going again – a definite benefit of attending motorcycle maintenance classes at George Green’s.

Curry and chips was great. A bag of fat, greasy chips accompanied by a polystyrene beaker full of luminescent curry sauce.

curry

My favourite was from the Chinese takeaway “up Tiller” as we used to call it – i.e. opposite the Barkantine Estate, New Friends.

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Ricky and Joey outside New Friends (a couple of years later than the diary entry)

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03-08

 Got two books today. Stag and Penthouse. Went down Woolwich by coach. After school went over the muddy on the motorbike. Mullock set it alight. Put it out though. Bike is a bit of a mess. Didn’t go out in the evening. Had Bath. Couldn’t do Maths HW


I seemed to have been very matter-of-fact about Mullock setting the motorbike on fire. And who was Mullock? Was his name Chris?

It’s surprising to read that I couldn’t do my maths HW. That was one of my stronger subjects at school. I managed to get O-levels in Maths and in Statistics, and A-levels in Applied Maths and Pure Maths. A mind sharply trained by the hectic trading of soft porn mags and bicycle parts.

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03-09

 Gave Playbirds back to Fairmo. Mark Rose had a fight with a Charlton kid on the way to school and knocked him through a shop window. Actually got TD HW today. Had to make a pyramid using oblique planes. Got another book Men on the way home.


Charlton was one of the closest schools to our own school. It was a lot rougher, and Charlton kids would often pick on us, we easily identifiable in our school uniforms. It was quite unusual for a Roan kid to get the better of a Charlton kid. Knocking him through a shop window was a bit radical, though (unless it was a smash and grab in a newsagents, and he had his eyes on the top shelf).

TD was Technical Drawing, a very practical lesson requiring use of the drawing equipment and boards at school. Hence my surprise at getting homework.

I can only assume that Men was a mag for men, and not full of men.

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03-10

Went Dentist at 9.30 this morning. Had 4 fillings and 1 tooth pulled out. Bought Big Boy some dog meat today. Went over the muddy with Ricky to a dumped Triumph. Took the Hooter off it. Picked up Angie. Bought Motorcycle News. Had photography in the evening.


4 fillings and 1 tooth pulled out! Oh dear, I don’t think I looked after my teeth very well. The dentist’s surgery was downstairs in our flats, in this row. I can’t remember which one though.

Photo: Mike Seaborne
Photo: Mike Seaborne

The dumped Triumph was a Bonneville. It was on its side over the muddy, on the site of the cafe of the present-day Mudchute Farm. We couldn’t even lift it up, so we just removed what looked interesting or useful.

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03-11

James was away for Physics today, but work was set. Got no HW. Lost 15p playing Penny-Up over the club. Some one nicked Pat Spark’s lighter. Mucking about with Ian Phillips I managed to run into a telephone Box. Got a bad bump on my head.


A classic Micky Lemons accident – running into a telephone box. Small things, not very colourful, easy to miss….

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03-12

Someone was taking photographs in assembly today. Got into dinner early today by making out I lost my signed ticket. Took register in Hall. Played Table football over the club. Angie Stewart beat up Kim Oshman. Dawn Fuller started crying. Sheila Hutchinson got drunk. She started crying too.


I can’t stop laughing at this diary entry, and can add no words to improve upon it.

One of the photos I took in the youth club around that time. Someone playing table football is just visible in the small room off the main room (a small room which also housed the pinball machine).

1977 youth club 5

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03-13

Ice Speedway was on TV a lot today. Got bike out with Ricky. Went up Ricky’s house for a lot of the day. Went for a Bus Ride up Mile End with Ricky + Micky. Karen’s mate from school – Lorraine – slept with us. Had to sleep on settee. Kept clothes on because had no sheets.


The whole point of going up Mile End on the bus was just to do something. There was nothing we needed to do there, nobody to see, nothing to buy. We must have been bored.

woohooo!

How come Karen had a friend to stay and I had to sleep on the settee? Surely there was something wrong with this arrangement. Karen and Angie shared a bedroom, so I suppose Angie had my room that night. And nobody got me any sheets? (Hey, I was a teenager, you don’t think I was going to get them, do you?)

Scan0011 (3)

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03-14

 Woke up and went out straight away in the morning. Went round Ricky’s. He eventually came out and we went on bikes. Karen’s friend went home after dinner. Went in at 6 o’clock and stayed in for the rest of the evening. Good film When Eight Bells Toll was on. Bed at 11.30. Started reading Rosebud.


I didn’t even have to get dressed. Just stand up from the settee and I’m out of there. I do hope I cleaned my teeth, but experiences at the dentist hinted at a less than perfect dental hygiene.

I don’t know what Rosebud was. A novel, yes, but more I don’t know.

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03-15

 Jacko gave me a Race of Champions program which he got at Brands Hatch yesterday. Didn’t go games. Made out I forgot my kit. Had no HW. Played Badminton for over an hour over the club tonight. Used foreign coin to play Table Football. Went home at 9.00. Mum + Dad came in from club at 10.00.


40p that program cost. Why was Jacko (Gavin Jackson) giving it to me? Or was it a trade…..

Look how dishonest I was, lying to the PE teacher (or is lying too strong a word?) using foreign coins in the youth club table football. Tut tut.

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03-16

 At dinner time went over the Standard with Blackman etc. Was flicking pellets at each other during German. Chased J. Blowes all over the school with one at 3.35. Went over the club in the evening. Did motorcycling mechanics. Was good. Had power cut in the evening. Don’t know when lights returned.


The Standard was the Royal Standard, a large pub in Blackheath. I can remember going in the place at dinner times, but when I was so young? I was only 14, probably in school uniform. Surely not? Maybe we just hung around outside, a meeting place for the local yoof?

The power cut was because this was the time of economic woes, industrial disputes and the 3-day week. I really enjoyed the power cuts, playing outside in the darkness, kids scaring each other, boiling water for tea for neighbours who had no gas, lighting candles indoors. It was less fun on the occasion that we got stuck in a Galleon House lift for 2 hours during a power cut, but other than that: Brilliant!

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03-17

 Rained in the morning. Nearly wore kagal. Went over the club. Had photography. Took many photos of each other using only light from the slide projector. Are going to have an exhibition of our own work in two or three weeks. Gave all car mags + leaflet(s) to Mark Oshman.


Kagal? What I meant to write was:

cagoule

A piece of clothing that was very important to me, acquired as it was for school trips to the Lake District. You see such jackets all over the place now, but in 1976 you’d only have seen them being worn in the countryside, on the fells, and not in Poplar. I got it from Millett’s in Lewisham and it had the rain protection capabilities of a wet hanky, but it looked the part.

And I had left my car days behind me by giving all my mags and leaflets to Mark Oshman. Wonder if he’s still go them? Wonder if he even remembers them? Or me, come to that.

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03-18

 Got Sponsor Form for Cross the Bridges walk on April 4th off R. Hearnden this morning. Had to stay behind for a while after because of wearing the wrong coloured shirt. Nearly sold cow-horn handle bars to R. Vella for £1. Get money Friday. After club wrote out two Bus Stop sheets but one of football of race horses.


The Cross the Bridges walk was in aid of the REHAB charity, which I think supported the rehabilitation of ex- drugs and alcohol abusers. I can’t remember, and at the time I think it was only important to me because it was ‘for a good cause’. The precise good cause was not so relevant.

Detention at school for wearing the wrong coloured shirt! The school had lots of rules, including one covering the permitted colour of shirts (white or grey). Or was this because I had committed a fashion faux pas, wearing a purple shirt which clashed awfully with the green, black and white diagonally striped school tie?

I don’t know what Bus Stop sheets were. In fact, I don’t understand that last sentence at all.

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03-19

 Found a little football on the way to school today. Did the Bus Stop game. Dave Hobson (?) won the 40p. Went over the park at dinner time. B. Gerada was there. A. Murphy burnt his face with a home-made bomb. Had to go to hospital in an ambulance. Finished reading Rosebud.


Nonchalantly, I mention Andy Murphy burning his face with a home-made bomb.  This was big news, we even had members of some shady arm of the Old Bill turning up. Hardly surprising….1976, a very active time for the IRA “on the mainland”, and then someone called Murphy, accompanied by someone called McGuinness, manages to challenge his eyebrows and other facial features when a bomb goes off earlier than expected.

The reality is more boring. It was intended as a harmless joke by two jokers, who were going to the “dips” in Blackheath to set it off a homemade firework during the school lunch break. Could have been worse, but thankfully Andy recovered to become a respectable civil servant and valuable member of society.

The Dips in the snow

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03-20

 Went out on a bike for little while in the morning. Went up R. Newark’s house. Kicked around with little football. Arsenal beat West Ham 6-1. Lord Snowdon split up without divorce, for Princess Margaret. Hung around with Gary Blondell in the evening. Pat + Bill came round. Went with Mum + Dad to the pub.


Arsenal beating West Ham 6-1 was hardly news. And what did I care about Lord Snowdon and Princess Margaret. It must have seemed important at the time.

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03-21

 Went out for about an hour on the bike this morning. Saw P. Wright nearly come off his FS1-E over the muddy. Stayed in all day after dinner because had to do some revision for French test on tuesday. Had bath. Mum trimmed my hair at the fringe. Bed at 11-30.


What? Mum trimmed my fringe ?!)*^$)*#!!##

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03-22

 MY BIRTHDAY TODAY

Got £5 off Mum + Dad. £2 off Reg and £1 off Harry. Went down Woolwich College by coach. Had handicap of 3 in badminton. Fairly good. Went out for an hour at 8.00. Got soaked in the club toilets got bad kickings outside. Revised for French verb test tomorrow. Watched last of Take two. bed at 12.45


Aaah, they don’t celebrate birthdays like they used to, getting soaked in the youth club toilets and then bad kickings outside.

8 quid in birthday presents was a result, though. Reg was my uncle (aka Reggie, official name Anthony) as was Harry. My dad also had two other brothers, Tommie (Thomas) and Connie (Conrad), and a sister, Cissie (Mary). They’re all gone now, and I miss them madly.

lemmermans

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03-23

 Bought Motorcycling Mechanics – 30p at dinner time today. Got a free sticker out of it. Had Motorcycle mechanics over the club in the evening. Mum went to a Hen Party at 6.15 at East London Stadium. Don’t know what time she got in. Bought book Indecent Exposure of T. Rose for 2p. Looks like a good book.


A Hen Party at an athletics stadium? The mind boggles.

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03-24

 Bought Motorcycle News today – 12p. Rouncefield was away at Inverliever. Geography HW was set though played football over the park at dinnertime. Had a good match. Went over the club for photography but teacher (D. Kusterd ?) didn’t turn up. Stayed in all evening. Field-Marshal Montgomery died today at the age of 88.


Rouncefield was our Geography teacher. Senior kids at school with a geographical bent used to go on school trips to Interliever in Scotland, surveying things, taking soil samples and other unspeakable acts. I never went, I never got further north than the Lake District.

I am not sure about the spelling of the name of the photography teacher. He was a nice enough bloke, and much of my claim to understanding photography is thanks to what he taught me in 1976.

There is a well-known photo of Montgomery speaking to tens of thousands of dockers at London Docks during WWII, intended to motivate them and reinforce the importance of their work to the war effort. My granddad was probably among the dockers.

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03-25

 M. Fairweather’s mum came up the school to see chas. Got lift home of his dad. Got home at 4.05. Did Physics HW. Went round Ricky’s brother’s with him. Got home at about 10.50. In the Election to find the new prime minister for Labour, Mr Foot won the first round. Bed at 11.30. (Harold Wilson had retired).


Chas was a teacher. I wonder what he taught, and I wonder what Mark had got up to which required his mum to go up the school. Still, a lift home was an uncommon luxury.

1979 Marbella 03
Mark and his mum Maureen in Marbella, a year or two or three later, when the Fairweathers were kind enough to invite me along on holiday with them.

Formally, Mr. (Michael) Foot was not in an election for the new prime minister, but in an election for new leader of the Labour Party (after the resignation of Harold Wilson). He won the first round, but in the end, after 3 rounds, James Callaghan became the leader of the party and – automatically – Prime Minister. I liked Michael Foot, an intelligent man of principles, but not cut out for Westminster politics (a compliment in my book).

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03-26

 Found a little black lighter. Was no good. Smashed it up on the way home. Went over the club at 8.00 but didn’t go in. Played penny-up. I. Phillips, T. Rose and Fairmo came up my house. Played Stud Poker. Lost 18p. Mum had a doubles badminton match tonight but her partner didn’t turn up. Bed at 11.30.

Get Mother’s day card.


Perhaps the lighter I found was the one that was nicked from Pat Sparks in the youth club a few days ago. At least I can say it wasn’t me who nicked it….OK, Pat?

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03-27

 Went up Chrisp St. in the morning with Mum + K. Ayres. Bought Sweat Shirt. Green with Southern Comfort on the front. Also got Supertramp LP – Crisis, what Crisis? Went pictures at Catford in the evening with schoolmates. Saw To the devil a daughter and Candy Stripe Nurses – X. Got in at 11.15.


Candy Stripe Nurses? Hmmmmm, can’t say I remember the plot.

Candy_stripe_nurses_poster_01

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03-28

Went round for Ricky in the morning. Didn’t do much. Went over the muddy in the afternoon. Had a go on one of the horses. Mucked about on an old set[t]ee around Ricky’s blocks. Went in at 6.00. Had a bath. Stayed in for the rest of the evening watching TV.


Can’t remember “having a go” on one of the Mudchute Farm horses. I remember the settee though.

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03-29

Went to games by coach again today. Went in the Metalwork shop for a while at dinnertime. Wore no kit for Badminton at Woolwich. Got out early got home at 3.45. Went Badminton over the club. Then up cafe. Booked a table tennis table for G. Langton et moi from 8.30 to 9.30. Bed at 11.30.


I assume that wearing no kit meant I was wearing normal clothes, and not no clothes.

Look at me, writing French stuff, even though I managed to misspell moi  at first.

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Table Tennis, George Green’s. Photo: Mike Seaborne

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03-30

On the way home from school priced the Pie + Mash in the Greenwich shop. 25p. Had German revision HW for a test.  Went Motorcycle Mechanics in the evening over the club. Came home at 9.00. Went to bed at 10.30 and revised for German test in Bed.


Pricing Pie n Mash. This sounds serious. Was it some kind of research? Did I plan to eat there if it was cheaper than Kelly’s? No chance, not then. 25p sounds alright to me. That was 1/4 of the price of a pair of cow-horn handle bars that I might have sold to Ricky Vella.

I wouldn’t have eaten there though. Not because it was no good, I wouldn’t have given it a chance, because it was South London. What did people over the water know about Pie n Mash? Plus (and this is an enormous sacrilege), gravy was on the menu! [Shakes head in disbelief]

I am of course talking about Goddard’s. At that time, their shop was close to the corner of Creek Rd and Greenwich Church St.

Now they have bigger premises on King William St, on the edge of Greenwich Market. I got over my prejudices and ate there a few years ago, and they make good Pie n Mash. AND, they sell Fuller’s London Pride. I’m sold.

DSC_1522

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03-31

Played football over the park at dinnertime. Mum went round Rita’s in the evening. Got in at 11.30. Dad went over the club + played badminton. I had Photography. Most of the little kids got chucked out today. Actually brought home a photo of myself. Bed at 12.00
GET NMN.


Most of the little kids got chucked out today? Not entirely sure what that means. I think there were some even younger kids enrolled in photography, too young for the lessons really, and just messing around with the chemicals in the dark room. What a waste of chemicals.

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