Wednesday, 13 December 2017

WHERE WERE YOU IN 1982? DID YOU TAKE A NOTE?



Long ago and far away, in another age to the one in which we all now live, I was a different kind of chappie.  Happy, content, optimistic, and with a feeling of eternity in my grasp.  I knew one day I would die (or so I'd been told, though I was looking for a clause in the contract), but that day was so far off as to appear unimaginable.  Now, of course, with less time in front of me than I have behind me, it's a different story (though I'm still searching for that clause), and I often find myself looking back on earlier years to when I was young, and fit, and handsome(ish), and master of all I surveyed.  (In my imagination anyway.)

So for today's exercise in nostalgia, we're returning to 1982 (though we'll bob around a bit).  If you're around my age, that date will trip off the tongue as if it were only a fairly recent period (isn't it?) - but no, it's an astonishing 35 years ago and counting.  Wow, 35 years.  I have friends who died long before they ever reached that age, yet it only feels like a few short years - months even - since I last saw and spoke with them.  But I digress.  The book at the top of this post was given to me by a friend in December of 1980, when he was back in our home town on a brief visit up from Portsmouth, where he then lived as he was in the Navy.

In the interests of full disclosure, he's no longer my friend and hasn't been since April of 1981, but that's another story.  The Reader's Digest account is that he was a compulsive liar and inveterate fantasist, and when I went down to Portsmouth to visit him (at his invitation) in '81, he studiously avoided me - and the only time he came to visit was when I was out and to question my landlady as to whether I'd returned to Scotland yet.  You see, so worried was he that I'd meet his new band of acquaintances and perhaps inadvertently expose some of the ludicrous fantasies he'd regaled them with, he gave me a wide body-swerve for the entire time (three or four months) I was there.  It was then that I decided I didn't need friends like that.

The book was one of the two last things he ever gave me the last time I saw him in the town we'd grown up in.  The other was his old brown wallet, which he no longer required as his sister had given him a new one for Christmas, which was then fast approaching.  I still have both items, and the notebook is filled (by me) with notes, scraps, sayings, quotations and pictures.  (The wallet remains empty.)  One of those pictures is a very poor quality 110mm photo of the time I appeared on TV in early 1982.  To be more precise, I didn't appear in person, it was a photo of me taken  in my room by a photographer (no surprise there then) for a consumer segment on a news and current affairs programme on Scottish Television.


The reason for my involvement?  I'd purchased some comics (at no small cost) from a mail order dealer at the end of 1980 or the beginning of '81, and he'd failed to send one of the issues.  (SMCW #1 in case you were wondering.)  After many fruitless letters, one of them from a lawyer, I got in touch with the programme (Scotland Today perhaps, can't quite recall) and they contacted him.  The comic was soon forthcoming, and the details were broadcast on the programme, hence a picture of my good self being required.  I wasn't supplied with a copy, so had to snap a couple of photos of the TV screen from a video recording of the programme made by a woman whose flat I was decorating at the time.  Both pictures had a dark bar across them, one along the top-middle of one image, one along the lower-middle of the other.  I cut the two of them in half, thereby moving most of the bar, joined the good halves together (with no great finesse as you can see above) and then glued the result inside the notebook.

Anyway, I was browsing through the book in the early hours of this morning, saw the photo and was appalled by how awful it looked.  I scanned it into my computer and set to work in trying to improve it by the use of digital technology (and perseverance), and though the finished result (below) is far from perfect, I'd say it's a wee bit better than the original.  At least it now looks like one photo as opposed to two halves taped together (which it was).

Incidentally, I still own that TV in the pic (though it's now in the loft) and the items on top of it, and the poster you can faintly see on the right of the photo still resides on that same spot (more or less) on my bedroom wall.  It's a The Wind In The Willows poster that I acquired from the Westwood Library in 1979, when I was there on a visit from Central Library, where I worked at the time.  As I used to live across the street from the Westwood Library when I was a boy (though not in '79), it has a particular significance to me. 

Well, that's today's nostalgic reminiscence out of the way and you're all now free to return to your normal lives.  At the back of your minds though, a seed has been planted, and you'll probably find yourselves, without really meaning to, thinking back on your own youth and what you were up to in the early '80s.  I trust all your memories are pleasant ones.

"Here's looking at you, Kid!"

20 comments:

Colin Jones said...

In June 1982 I sat my O Levels and then entered the 6th Form in September.

-3- said...

Damn.
No, apparently there were no notes taken. Because i'm sitting here thinking hard on it, and i can tell you that i was in California, and i'm pretty sure of what city. Pretty sure, but not certain.
Beyond that? I'm not sure where i was working, what i was doing, or much of anything that i can pin down in that year. I never had more than a nodding acquaintance with Time, and that was in between major events like birth of my children and the serious start of my art career.

Now i'm going to be poking around in my head, trying to sort when was what.
Hmm....

I might have been servicing that big grey rat about that time.

Kid said...

And what comics were you buying at the time, CJ, if any? Details, details - don't forget the details.

******

Duh? Okay, 3, I'll bite. What's the big grey rat when it's at home? (Noticed the British spelling - well done, that man!)

Colin Jones said...

Mostly John Byrne's Fantastic Four, Kid.

Here's something I recall from 1982 that always makes me smile:
On December 14th 1982 I and my schoolfriend, Kevin, were listening to the new Top 40 rundown on his transistor radio during the dinner-hour ( in those days the Top 40 came out on Tuesdays). The new No.1 was "Save Your Love" by Renee & Renato. After dinner one of the girls in the 6th Form, Alison-Jane Price, who lived near the school and went home during the dinner-hour, came rushing in and declared to all and sundry "You'll never guess what's No.1" and then burst into a rendition of Save Your Love in a mock Italian accent. Of course, I already knew the identity of the new chart-topper. All that happened 35 years ago tomorrow. Sadly, Kevin died from cancer in 1999.

Kid said...

I was getting JB's FF as well, CJ, along With the Marvel Tales reprints of Ditko's Spidey stories and a few other comics. Loads of 'em in fact. (Still got 'em too.)

Shame about Kevin. Guess what? I bought that single in 1982 - and still have the original record bought all those years back. Sure doesn't seem to me to be as long ago as it actually is.

TC said...

1982 was a pretty good time for me. I served out my term of enlistment and got out of the Army. After that, almost everything was an improvement.

-3- said...

Chuck E. Cheese (Before i went full time artist, i was an electronics tech)
Didn't realize it was the British spelling, merely thought of it as the correct spelling. Unless talking about Mr. Morrow.

Kid said...

How long were you in the army for, TC? And why did you join in the first place?

******

I'm still none the wiser, 3? What's Chuck E. Cheese? Apparently, Americans spell 'grey' as 'gray'. Of course, Some people's surnames are 'Gray', but the colour is spelt both ways (grey and gray) depending on what side of the pond you're on.

-3- said...

Nolan Bushnell, one of the original Atari founders, created Chuck E. Cheese - a large, animatronic*, pizza-hawking rat. He hosted Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater, a combination Pizza joint, arcade, and kid's birthday venue. Chuck had a gathering of animatronic friends set in bandstands throughout the pizza time theaters that would periodically kick on and perform a show. Meanwhile, there were also employees in suits portraying the characters and hosting birthday parties.
They started in San Jose, California, but were headquartered in Texas, last i knew. It spread pretty far in the last 40 years. (The first one opened double natural in '77)

At some point in the early-to-mid-80s i used to service the animatronics (called "cyberamics" in house) as well as keep the video games running on a shoe-string budget.

*(If an unfamiliar term, animatronics are the limited robotic systems Disney uses for attractions like the Country Bear Jamboree and the Hall Of Presidents)

Kid said...

Knew what animatronics meant, but as far as I remember, it's the first time I've heard of Chuck E. Cheese. Unless I saw ads in US comicbooks and just forgot them.

Dave S said...

I was disappointed a few years ago to discover you can't get the old navy-blue hardback science notebooks that they gave out in school in the 80s. Woolworths used to sell them, I had a few that I used for writing stories in and making lists of books and comics I had read.

Kid said...

Don't they make them anymore, DS? That's a shame. Someone told me that you can't get Woolworths anymore either, but I refuse to believe it. They'll be telling me that Santa doesn't exist next.

TC said...

Three years full time active duty.

It was a dirty job, but somebody had to do it. I still consider the military to be a necessary evil. It's just that the unit that I was in was more evil than necessary. The company commander was so incompetent, even the other officers noticed it.

Also, I wanted to prove I had the guts.

Old army saying: more guts than brains.

Chuck E. Cheese is sort of an institution over here. It's traditional to have kids' birthday parties there, and it's also a common custom for parents to take their kids there as a reward when they get good grades in school.

Kid said...

Thing about guts though is, in the army, there's more of a chance of seeing them splattered over foreign soil. I'd never join the army - I couldn't bear sharing quarters with other soldiers as I like my solitude too much. But good for you for having the spuds to do it.

I always though McDonald's was the place for parents to take their kids to. I wonder if there's a Chuck E Cheese in Britain?

cerebus660 said...

This day in 1982 ( 14/12 ) was my 16th birthday... but I didn't go to Chuck E Cheese ;-)
My diary from the time informs me it was the day of the school swimming gala at the local leisure centre and I "had to sit by the pool-side for over an hour just to swim in the relay which was the last race." Exciting times!
I was also given my first ever stereo record-player, which was nice...

Kid said...

Happy 51st Birthday, old yin. I wish I'd kept an actual diary now (I bought one a couple or so times, but never wrote anything in them), but I suppose my toys and comics are a sort of diary because of the memories they conjure up. Still got that stereo record player?

cerebus660 said...

Thanks Kid. The diary wasn't something I kept religiously but I've got a few years' worth of ramblings on paper. It's always interesting to look back at what I was doing and thinking years ago. It's come in handy for the blog too :-)
I had the stereo for many years until it conked out. My father-in-law had it to fix and then it ended up in his garage...

Kid said...

And what happened to it after it ended up in his garage? I need to know or I won't be able to sleep.

-3- said...

An Odd, semi-related bit:
They arrested a man in New York City who has made over $1,000,000 by selling Chuck E. Cheese gaming tokens as "Bit Coins"
So, i guess Chuck made it to the East coast.

Kid said...

At least he'd be able to afford a good lawyer, eh?

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