Friday, 22 January 2016

Signed by "Clive Whitehall"? - Jan 22 1977

Until I started uploading these teenage diary pages very recently, nobody had seen them since they were written, and as far as I know nobody saw them at the time. Though this entry suggests I showed it around, and to grown ups, occasionally. I've joked that no-one reads my diary, and asked anyone in the future who does read it to sign in the box. Lo, just the following month, it's been signed by someone who appears to be called Clive Whitehall. I have no memory of a Clive Whitehall. Maybe my diary was read by a ghost?

The illustrations aren't showing any great improvement. You can see what I'm trying to do with my superhero figure drawing - that's The Sensational Sta-Lite you're looking at there, by the way - but paying any attention to learning what bodies actually look like clearly wasn't high on my agenda. Life drawing, kids, concentrate on your life drawing.

The Records For The Day suggest I also wasn't paying that close attention to the music I was hearing either. "Play That Don't Ya Know" by Black Cherry can only be Play That Funky Music White Boy, heard for the first time.

I can't find Steely Dan doing Haitian Divorce anywhere, so here's a covers band. It's what they would have wanted.

UPDATE: Clive Mitchell. It was family friend Clive Mitchell. Thanks Mum for filling me in with that detail.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Black Beauty + me talking like Alan Patridge - Jan 15 1977

I'm usually too embarrassed to find amusing the cringeworthy nonsense my fifteen year old self writes in these diaries, but even I was driven to laugh out loud at this pitch-perfect Alan Partridge impersonation from January 1977.

"Fore and aft the execution of my paper delivery, yea verily did we produce punk rock sweet to the ears, and did we truly satirise the songs of yore in style hilarious". I hope I was being ironic, but I fear this may be an example of #AccidentalPartridge 35 years ahead of its time.

The Records For The Day were hardly "punk rock sweet to the ears", coming from Mr Big and Al "listen to the production on that" Stewart.

See this page and others on the BBC's Peoples History Of Pop

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Elvis, Nixon, Jim'll Fix It - January 9th 1977

In my teenage diary I show incredible dedication to completing a fully-detailed decorated diary, even when there is less than nothing to report. So it is that we see the TV I watched, and some nicely eclectic Records For The Day; we see the results of my desecration of my Look-In collection (I still have the shards left behind once I'd stripped the best pictures out of the comic strips); and we see me stripping odd little themed items across the days, as if I'm inserting features into a local radio show, in this case little boxes commemorating famous birthdays. Elvis and Nixon? Have I mentioned I was fifteen years old?

My Records For The Day are Mae, a track from a David Cassidy album that I have to this day, though haven't played for a while (I bought a turntable a few years ago, but it went back on a shelf not long afterwards); and Don't Be A Do-Badder from Robin And The Seven Hoods. Like I say, eclectic.

See this collection on the BBC's Peoples History Of Pop.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Happy New Year - Dec 31 1976/ Jan 1 1977

As I write this, the Doctor Who story The Face Of Evil has just been repeated on BBC 4 (apropos of nothing, it wasn't promoted, it's not part of a series of repeats, we just found it on iPlayer. What's that about?). And lo, here we have me watching it for the very first time on January 1st 1977, captured in a double page spread which shows what was on TV, what music I'd been listening to, and how bad my figure drawing was. 

Bruce's Choice, shown on New Year's Eve 1976, seems to have been remade by the BBC this past New Year too (though Bruce was too ill to host it, so Alexander Armstrong stepped in), and there's a Ronnie Corbett solo special, just like was on the BBC earlier last year. Is there anything on TV in 1977 that they won't remake today? *Spots new series of Jim'll Fix It, steps away from the subject*

And check out me DJ-ing till 2.30 in the morning. That's right, you heard me. Kev F was on the decks aged 14, rocking Hogmanay using our school drama teacher's cassette tape deck. Rock & Roll.

My Records For The Day were Come Together and "Honk Tonk Angels", aka Wild Side Of Life.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Sensational Sta-Lite - July 9th 1977

The Sensational Sta-Lite was co-created by my New Zealander friend Anthony Robinson and I in the third year (year 9 in new money) when we tried making comics together. I seem to remember we used to produce alternate pages in a sort of relay system. He'd take my page home and add his, making the plot up as we went along, then I'd do the same. If any of the strips have survived, I don't have any. So this version of Sta-Lite, who was one part Green Lantern, one part Warlock, and many parts made-up nonsense that probably stretched to half a dozen pages at the most, is all posterity has to go on.

The content of my day to day diary was as unremarkable as you must be getting used to. In a slightly meta-textual moment, it makes mention of the letter I was sending to my old school friend Steve (Noble) who'd moved away to Bristol at the start of the year. Our letters, as heavily illustrated as these diaries, and which went on to include cassette tape recording that were the podcasts of the day, were very much a sister publication to the diary. I wonder if they survive?

And look, horror of horror, at the two empty panels on the right hand page? Quite why I failed to finish the page, illustrating the other two TV shows I'd clearly left room for, we will never know.

The Records For The Day are wonderfully arcane. You know you're getting eclectic when you've chosen three records that, 40 years later, you've never heard Johnnie Walker play on Sounds Of The Seventies. (Mind you, if Johnnie Walker ever plays anything that's not on The Most Obvious Greatest Hits Of The 70s, we do a celebratory dance, if we haven't already turned over to Radio 6).

Conan & the band - August 2nd 1977

The band, called Rio temporarily over the summer hols, with Jasmine Gamble as lead singer while Nick was away, were rehearsing heavily for a talent contest. And for once in my heavily illustrated diary I find enough to write about with the band's activities to fill a whole page with writing. (The text continues on the next double page spread.)

UPDATE: I've found this long lost photo of the band, Rio, on stage at the talent contest at Kibworth Rugby Club. Left to right: Kev Sutherland, Steve Fletcher, Jasmine Gamble, Kev Moore.

I understand some peoples diaries are all writing, with no pictures to speak of. Me, I couldn't let the day pass without at least reviewing half a dozen comics, copying a picture of John Buscema's Conan, and decorating the pages with typefaces from Mum's Letraset book and elaborate borders coloured with Platignum pens. See this page on Peoples History Of Pop.

A bumper bundle of half a dozen Records For The Day, two of which went on to become punk classic (both by The Stranglers) and the rest moulder in pop's bargain bin of history.

Our name was Rio - August 24 1977

Nice picture of our temporary band Rio, though I see they're not mentioned at all in the diary entries themselves. Elsewhere I'm sure I tell the tale of our summer line-up, while Nick was away on holiday, and the talent show we entered. And our name was Rio. For the record, my chin was never that square, Fletch's face was never that chubby, and Mum helped me with the drawing of Jasmine cos I couldn't draw girls. What did we look like really? This...

(Left to right: Kev Sutherland, Steve Fletcher, Jasmine Gamble, Kev Moore. And this is what photos looked like in the 1970s, taken on a tiny Instamatic camera without through-lens framing, so you could never be sure anyone was central in the photo, and you only ever took one shot because of how much film cost. )

My comic reviews, aka The Wednesday Column, are mostly DC comics this week, my haul from my summer holiday trip to Scotland, where a different distributor clearly gave me a chance to see comics that were harder to get hold of back home. See this page on the Peoples History Of Pop.

Record For The Day was the Carpenters' obscure b-side to Top Of The World.

Comic reviews and rehearsals - Aug 10 1977

Look at that wristwatch. Why don't I wear one like that nowadays I wonder? And, yes, I genuinely wore my watch with the face pointing towards me, inside my wrist, on an oversized leather strap with studs on. I think I thought it was a bit superhero-ey.

My review of the week's comic strips are intriguing. I review the individual strips in the various Marvel UK black and white reprints I got every week, and I seem to hate most of them. But rereading those reviews nearly 40 years later I can remember every strip. Which is more than I can say for Barbara Beattie who, according to this entry, I later shared a car with all the way to Scotland.

My Records For The Day, which I imagine I recorded on their first hearings, all went on to be classics for a change. See this page on Peoples History of Pop.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Walter Tottle's 6th gig - May 11 1977

Walter Tottle And The Expanding Liberals With A Member Of The Royal Family, The Corgis And A Shaggy Dog With Special Guest Star Gertrude Gruntingthuttock was the name of our band. It is astounding we weren't more successful.

In this diary entry from May 11 1977 we play our sixth ever gig, doing (as far as I can tell) one number at a barn dance. We were certainly working slowly and surely towards our inevitable fame. See this page on the Peoples History Of Pop.

Top Of The Pops with Jimmy Savile and an edition of It's A Knockout place this night's telly firmly in the not-to-be-repeated column, unlike the Record For The Day slot, which featured Kenny Rogers' Lucille for the 3rd and 4th times.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Logan Murray & Alison Goldie - The Monkhouse Jan 18 1988

The Monkhouse Comedy Club in Leicester started 1988 with a double bill of Logan Murray and Alison Goldie, supported by the regular line-up of locals, myself and Alan Seaman, Cathi Rae and Norman The Skiver (who will be celebrating his 80th birthday in 2016, I have learned. Let's have a party).

Logan Murray is still going strong on the comedy circuit and is well respected as a teacher of comedy too, having taught everyone from Rhod Gilbert and Kayvan Novak to half the guests on Mock The Week and all of We Are Klang (see his website for details).

Alison Goldie is also big on the teaching front, describing herself as a coach for creativity, work and love.

The figures on the poster, however, are neither Logan nor Alison because, clearly, I didn't have photos of them at the time. Being the days before the internet, unless I was posted a black and white 10 x 8 print through the snail mail which, over the Christmas and New Year period was clearly harder to arrange than usual, then I had to improvise. The characters shown with their faces blanked out are John Dowie and a member of Cliffhanger Theatre (most likely Rebecca Stevens), from their play James Bond Licenced To Look Ill, at Brighton's Zap Club. I can't find the original photo online, but here's another one from that same show.

You can find Logan and Alison on Twitter (as @LoganComedyGuru and @ladyinbed). But don't look for The Monkhouse, it's not there any more.