Diary of an 80s teenager part 4: Tony drama, and Alec’s van breaks down

Diary of an 80s teenager part 4: Tony drama, and Alec’s van breaks down

Welcome back to our tale of teenage life, which so far seems to include going to Bangor and sort-of-phoning-Tony-but-not-really. As usual, comments by me are in italics.

Since this part is quite text-heavy, I’ve included an 80s photo of my sister. She won’t mind because I didn’t ask her.



“Woke up 8.30. Andrea came. Got double Welsh. Had General Science with Tony. Came home, played records. Watched Coronation Street, Let There Be Love. Watched Last Of The Summer Wine. Started to take sandwiches.”

If you’re interested, the plot of Coronation Street that day was as follows (thanks to Coronation Street Wikia):

“Annie is invited to the 200th anniversary banquet of Newton & Ridley. Alec’s van breaks down. Margaret Swain calls on Emily and she tells Emily how Arnold ran out on her after their honeymoon. Emily is appalled that all Arnold told her about his unhappy marriage was lies and that he took her on honeymoon to the same hotel where he took Margaret. Annie has difficulty in finding an escort to the party. Margaret Swain tells Emily that Arnold left her nothing in his will and thinks it unfair that Emily inherited £2,000. Emily feels sorry for her. Betty takes pity on Alec and takes him in as a lodger.”


“Woke up 8.30, had double Sociology, Mr Black wasn’t in school so we got free lesson. Andrea asked me to go to her house on Friday. Watched Jim Davidson, Don’t Rock The Boat, Solo, Muck & Brass.”


“Woke up 8.30. Had film in Computer Studies. Had Maths test, got 8/8. (I’d be worried if she’d said ‘Got 9/8’.) After came home played records with Maggie. Watched Grange Hill. Went to M.B. Disco, only Lawrence was there. (Sounds like Lawrence is A) friendzoned or B) your relation. The important thing is that Tony wasn’t there. I don’t know, could Lawrence be an outside shot?) Rhian was there.”


“Woke up 8.35, Andrea came. She asked my mother if I could sleep in her house. I don’t want to though. (Come on S, stand up for yourself. If her house smells of wee and she smells of wee too, just say ‘No, I’m busy that month.’ Now I’m obsessed with ‘does Andrea’s house smell of wee?’) Mandy came, had cake and oven crusties. (Eeew.) Lended her Beach Boys album. Started to get tonsillitis.”

(Sorry, what? You’re being very casual about that.)


“Woke up 8.30, feeling terrible. Didn’t go to school till 10.30. Went to Andrea’s. Mam phoned 8.00 clock. Stayed the night. Watched Gentle Touch. Played 3 Little Words in bed.”

(So you went to Andrea’s even though you didn’t want to because her house smells of wee, and even though you’ve got tonsillitis? Seriously, I cannot help you now. Not least because I wasn’t born until a year later.)


“Read comics in bed with Andy. (What? Who is Andy? Is this now a love pentagon? I’ve lost count.) Went home after Dallas.”


“Stayed in bed till 3.30. Went downstairs, watched Grange Hill.”

(And then presumably fell into a coma until the next day.)



“Woke up 12.20, went downstairs, had oxtail soup. Watched film – Spirits Blythe, it was a brilliant film. Watched Coronation Street, Let There Be Love, Last Of The Summer Wine, Police. (Police?) Dad got me jigsaw.”


“Woke up 12.20, went downstairs, felt a bit better. (I can’t believe that bitch Andrea made you stay over when you were at death’s door. The bitch.) Had tomato soup. Nothing much on telly, except Born And Bred. Watched The Waltons, Jim Davidson, Don’t Rock the Boat, and Muck & Brass.”


“Woke up 12.20, went downstairs, had dinner, watched telly. Maggie came after school, she told me about Valentine disco. Watched Coronation Street and Minder. Tony was in Menai Bridge disco.


(Unless you did go.)


“Woke up 8.30, was in agony, because of periods. My bladder was numb, it was very painful. Mrs Vaughn came to see how I was. Watched Top Of The Pops.”


“Woke up 8.30, went to school, everyone said why did I bother coming on a Friday. Got a lot of copying up to do, didn’t do Gym. Mam went to lecture (I swear that says ‘8.70’. 70 minutes past 8?), Dad went to bowls meeting, had house to myself.”


“Went to Bangor, bought blouse. Went to Deiniolen.”


“Went to church, saw Mini Marathon, went to Auntie Joan’s.”



I’ve always had all kinds of questions about this photo.




“Woke up 8.35, went to school. More copying up to do. Had General Science with Tony. I still like him. Watched Coronation Street, Let There Be Love, Last Of The Summer Wine and Police.”

(“I still like him.”)

i like him


“Woke up 8.30, went to school. Got Human League L.P. back from Mandy. Chips nicked it from me in Commerce. I hope I get it back tomorrow. (If you don’t, I suggest shoving his head down the loo and flushing it. I don’t like the sound of this ‘Chips’.) Studied Biol for test tomorrow.”


“Woke up 8.35, went to school. Got L.P. back from Chips in one piece, thank God. Didn’t get biol test, having it on Friday. Went to Menai Bridge disco, Andrea came, had lift home with her.”


“Woke up 8.35, went to school, had double General Science, with Tony. He called me a “fuckin’ horror”. It really hit me hard. Had Sociology in 6th form block. Watched Top Of The Pops, Shoestring.”

(Tony why do that? Why?)



“Woke up 9.00, was late for school. Maggie didn’t do Gym, because she had a cold. Had English and Biol test, did quite well in Biol. Watched Fall Guy, Shine On Harvey Moon & Gentle Touch.”


“Went to Bangor. Went swimming with Andrea.”


“Went to church. Cleaned Maggie’s car. (I think. Could be ‘ear’.) Lent John’s L.P. Foreigner 4.”



“Woke up 8.35, went to school. Sarah decided to come to the disco in school. Tony was absent, I didn’t get General Science with him. Went for a walk after C. Street, watched man putting steam roller on lorry.”

(That’s the spirit.)


“Woke up 8.35, had double Sociology. Had R.E. with Mr. Rogers, student, again, he was a heck of a laugh. After school, went to Bangor, bought green blouse for disco. Went to see HMS Pinafore, with Auntie Ann, Uncle Tom, Auntie Enid and Dad. Maggie also came.”


“Woke up 8.40, was not late for school though. Had computer programme on telly. Had Biol test paper back, I had 26 ½/50, which is 53%. Watched Coronation Street, Benny Hill, and Minder.”


“Woke up 8.30, had double General Science with Tony. Mandy lent me her make up, experimented when I got home. Had 50p off Mrs Vaughn. Watched Shoestring.”


Valentine Disco

“Woke up 8.30. Went to school (FFS look, can you just make a note of it if for some reason you didn’t go to school? Otherwise I’ll just assume you did.), did Cross Country in rain, had to run through the vill. in shorts. (Annie Agro is such a bitch.) Went to Valentine disco at 8 o’clock. Rhys Parry was there, but Tony wasn’t. (Rhys Parry? I make that a love hexagon now.) Andrea and Sarah came.”


“Phoned Tony. Went to Bangor. Watched O.T.T. and Dallas.”

(I have a feeling Tony’s phone call consisted of teenage breathing and not much else. I’m still mad at Tony though.)


“Had no cards. Went to church. Saw Wood & Walters (In church?).”

(‘Had no cards’. Mate. Once again you’ve reduced me to a blubbering mess. As soon as they invent time travel I’ll come back and take you out on the lash.)

cry 2

Oh well, let’s leave S here for now. You know what? I’m not entirely sure I’m on Team Tony any more. Maybe I’ll switch my allegiance to Team Mrs. Vaughn.

Diary of an 80s teenager part 3: Let’s phone Tony!

Diary of an 80s teenager part 3: Let’s phone Tony!

In last week’s gripping instalment, we discovered that S failed to write in her diary for several months, because she was in such a state of catatonic lust over Tony. We now join S in the run up to Christmas, and find her being visited by 37,000 different relatives, and opening her Christmas presents. Plus, stay tuned for a shock development with Tony…

(spoiler alert – it’s not a shock development if you’ve read the title)

Notes: Comments by me are in italics as usual. This part has been a bastard for indecipherable words, so feel free to chime in and correct me. For obvious reasons, I’ve censored all phone numbers (cough *Tony* cough).



“Woke up 8.30. Went to school. Had Story of Wil (I think), in Welsh, it was very funny. Forgot my dinner money, had to lend from G.T. After tea, went to Andrew’s house. (Does Paul/Tony/the millions of other guys you’ve got going on know about this?) Had five pounds off Auntie Gracie. Last part Gwen Tomas. (I think this is what this is – if I’m wrong please correct me.) Dad brought Xmas drinks home.”


“Woke up 8.30. Went to school. Donna brought me Adam + The Ants L.P. Had lovely school dinner, pizza, beetroot, chips, doughnut. (Beetroot?) Watched Jim Davidson show, Starburst, and Brideshead Revisited (last part).”


“Woke up 10.00. Cooked mince pies, watched Pinocchio. Also cooked jam tarts. After dinner, which was mashed pilchards, watched film, Man In The Iron Mask. At 9.00pm watched White Christmas film.”

(Is it me, or has S’s prose become erratic and disjointed thanks to the flame of love burning for Tony? Also, she’s changed pens, the hussy.)


“Woke up 8.45. Went to Kwiks and travel agent. Then went to Nain’s. Came home. Had prawn curry for dinner. Auntie Gena came. (Well, it looks like ‘Gena’, but apparently the name ‘Gena’ means “the lateral part of the head of an insect or other arthropod below the level of the eyes.” So I guess not. Also, no Kwik Save flaps yet.)


“Woke up 8.00. Opened presents, got record player, albums, record case, socks, chocolates. Had Christmas dinner, watched Tom Thumb, and Top Of The Pops, And Doctor No. Watched Last Of The Summer Wine.”



“Woke up 10.15. Watched Tiswas. Nain stayed for tea.”


“Woke up 9.15. Went to church. Auntie Enid came to tea and dinner.”

(Dear diary, sorry can’t write much in you. Too in love with Tony/Paul. See October/November for further details.)


“Woke up 9.30. Went to get Maggie to go Bangor. There were sales everywhere. Mam bought a pair of shoes. I bought cookery book, 2 biros, marker, bag, writing pad. Watched Slipper + The Rose. And Close Encounters.”


“Woke up 9.45. Auntie Eleri, Uncle John, Nain and Dafydd came for me, to go to (either Bryn Goleu or Bryngolau, not sure which). Elfryn was there. Elfryn went hunting pheasants. Had a lovely dinner there. Watched Jack Lemmon film.”

(Please God don’t let Elfryn be Tony part 3. I can’t keep up. And at least I can spell ‘Tony’.)


“Woke up 10.30, went to make hairdressing appointment. Watched Nancy Drew Mysteries. Played records till 2.45. then went to hairdressers. Got a nice style. I went to Llansadwrn, got lovely supper. Watched Jack Lemmon film.”

(Someone likes Jack Lemmon. And considering you had about one channel back then, you were spoilt for choice.)


“Went to Bangor. Bought mod parka, and cords. Went to Nain’s, Mam went home, had party. (Wait, this reads like your mum went home and had a party because you were out.) Elfryn and Alan sleeping in Nain’s. (I can’t keep up with all these men.) I also slept in Nain’s.”


“Woke up 9.30, went to wake up Elfryn and Alan. Went down to (Kan-Mor? Ran-Mor? Any help here?) with Elfryn and Alan. Came back to Nain’s, had dinner. Fixed Auntie (Aena’s? Oena’s? This must be what I thought was ‘Gena’) car. Elfryn showed me how to shoot. He promised to pass his driving test.” (Or what?)


“Woke up 11.30. Went to Bangor. Bought Gosh It’s Bad Manners.”


“Went to church. Watched Carry On Doctor. Nain came. Elfryn left for Cottesmore 12.45.”

(Jesus Christ can you please just write ‘went for lunch with John’ just once so I don’t have a headache?)



“Woke up 8.30, went to school, in parka. Had double General Science, with Tony. (TONY!) Auntie (could it be Rena?) and Auntie Maggie were here. Watched Maggie programme (presumably about Thatcher, not about your auntie). New Dr Who started, also watched dancing girls.”


“Woke up 8.35, went to school. Had Sociology. After, came home, played records, watched Jim Davidson. Pulled down decorations after Christmas. (As you know.) Watched dancing girls.”


“Woke up 8.30, Andrea came. Had double C-Studies. Came home, played records, had tea. Watched Grange Hill, went to Menai Bridge disco, the (f) was in Menai Bridge. Little Chef got robbed.”

(I don’t know where to start here. Little Chef got robbed? Or what the hell is the (f)? I don’t know where to start, so I won’t bother, and will just eat Twiglets instead.)


“Woke up 8.25. Andrea came. Went to school. Had double General Science. (No Tony?) After school went to Andrea’s house. Got chile con carne for tea. Came home, Aunty Hilda was here.”

(Just how many fucking relatives does she have?)


“Went to school but in Computer Studies we got sent home, because of the snow. Watched film, (Ok, this really looks like ‘Arsenal Arena Mystery’. Is this a film? If not, why not? It should be.) Watched Sherlock Holmes, and Play Your Cards Right, and Gentle Touch.”

(Seriously, it is ‘Arsenal Arena Mystery’.)

EDIT: Thanks to Joe (see comments), it’s The Arsenal Stadium Mystery.


“Woke up 10.30. Didn’t go to Bangor. Watched Dallas.”


“Didn’t go to church. Cooked tea. Salmon pancakes.”

(Didn’t go to Bangor? Didn’t go to church? Sounds like ennui setting in.)



“Woke up 8.30. Went to school. Wore trousers instead of skirt. Had General Science with Tony. Came home, went out to play in snow. Watched Coronation Street. Had Prawn Cocktail.”


“Woke up 8.30. Went to school. Had Sociology. In the afternoon, got Double Commerce, came home. Watched television, new programme started, Muck And Brass, with man from Not The 9 o’clock News in it.”


“Woke up 8.30, went to school. Tried Basic on computer. Tried to get John to come to disco in Menai Bridge. Came home. (What did John say? Who even is John?) Had tea, went to Menai Bridge disco. (With John?) Barnie and Lawrence were there. Barnie did mod dance to Human League. Had good laugh.”

(Me too.)


“Woke up 8.30, Andrea came, had double General Science with Tony. (Wait, is Tony a teacher or something?) He smiled at me, I nearly fainted. Then Andrea came for tea, cooked rice and fish. Made trifle. Watched Barbara Streisand film.”


“Woke up 8.30, Andrea came. In Gym, walked round Trem Eryri, with Annie Agro. Came home. Went out to play with Maggie. Came in, watched Sherlock Holmes and Play Your Cards Right, Fall Guy, Gentle Touch. The Virgin & The Gypsy was on.”


“Went to Bangor. Bought Human L. L.P. Saw Tony in Bangor. Bought 4 singles.”


“Went to church, by 10.30. Went to listen to records after dinner. Maggie going to see her new house. (See notes.)


“Found out Tony’s phone number, but I don’t know if it’s true or not.”

(Maggie might be moving, but then isn’t moving, thank fuck.)

(The magic kingdom of Disneyworld, starring those guys in costumes. Love this, it’s very Alton Towers circa 198-whenever.)

“Phoned Tony, he said ‘Haya’.”

(Was that the whole conversation? I assume you hung up as soon as Tony answered. Don’t worry, I would have done the same. R.I.P. my sides though.)

(NB: My dad keeps offering to phone the number to see if it’s still Tony. I politely declined.)


(Yeah yeah, I love Tony, I love Tony. We know you love Tony. I love Tony, I love… wait… Paul again? Paul is ace again? Double wait… Brock? BROCK? Who the fuck is Brock? I can’t cope with this any more. I don’t think Brock is the guy on the left, who is not called Brock. Anyway, no one’s called Brock in real life.)

Join me in part 4, for being ill off school, Cross Country in the rain, and more phoning Tony…

Seriously, Brock?

Diary of an 80s teenager part 2: Who the hell is Tony?

Diary of an 80s teenager part 2: Who the hell is Tony?

If you missed Part 1, here it is.

Welcome back to S’s diary. In part 1 we learned that S has seen the seminal work ‘Herbie Goes Bananas’ at the cinema, and that she likes Paul Bateman. On the last page, however, some young upstart called Tony made an appearance:


What we know about Tony so far:

1: He’s called Tony

2: He probably looks like this:

ac slater

He seems to have successfully seen off the competition anyway.

Let’s crack on.


Oh I’m so fucking surprised. Poor Paul Bateman. On the next couple of pages we have an article about how you should turn the lights off and sit in the dark, or something. Possibly ok to skip.


A crossword! I suspect S had better things to do than come up with the answer to “Norman’s wine”. Print it out and fill it in if you’re bored of reading this.

On the next page we have Steve Strange, and Mrs Strange, I assume. S has done a good job of making them look stranger.


Mini posters of C.H.I.P.S. And the Harlem Globetrotters, and S’s Christmas-present-getting list. She likes Maggie enough to buy her 2 singles, but not enough to buy her 3 singles. Mum is getting tapes and refills (?) while Dad is getting… hankies? And… shavers? Slavs?



“Sian Roberts was not in school. (Who?) Went to Christmas fair in school. Bought three books. Mr Grinwalds collected money by door. Walked home with Darren and Neil (And what do Paul Bateman and/or Tony have to say about this?) Wrapped Xmas presents.”

I can only assume that S spent the whole of October and November in a state of catatonic lust over Tony, thankfully getting her shit together in time for the Anglesey art group dinner.


“Went to Bangor, bought two singles.”

No idea which singles she bought. Looking at the charts for that week, I’m having a punt on “Cambodia” by Kim Wilde, and “Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour)” by Dollar.


“Went out to play in thick snow, after putting trimmings up.”



“Woke up 8.30. Went to school. Water ran out, we had no water all day, and it will probably be like this for a long time. (the water RAN OUT? Are you sure? I reckon there was probably some water somewhere in Wales.) Dad told me that Mam was going to hospital. Watched film, ‘A Star Is Born!’.”


“Woke up 8.25. Went to school. After I came home, helped Mam with tea. After tea, finished off Christmas magazine for English. Watched Disco championships and Cowboys.”

I feel kind of cheated that we don’t get to watch Disco championships on TV now.


“Woke up 8.30, went to school. Mam going to hospital today. She will be home on Friday hopefully. Went to free disco in Menai Bridge. Barnie and Laurence were there. Got Christmas present off Andrea, and Joanne.”

Get well soon Mam.


“Woke up 11.30, no school today, because there was no water. Cooked mince pies. Dad brought fish and chips for tea. Went to Kwiks. Saw Mam after, in hospital.”

‘Kwiks’? Please be Kwik Save. Please start talking about the Kwik Save flaps. I love those. Since you didn’t get shit-faced at the Menai Bridge disco like you promised last time, this is the least you can do.


“Woke up 8.30, went to school. (Guess they found some water then.) Had volleyball in Gym. Mam came to school dinner-time to say she was home. That really made my day. (This makes my heart happy.) Went to (NO IDEA, SEE BELOW), it was fantastic. Tony was there.”

Oh, Tony would we? Anyway, I have no fucking clue where she went. Here’s the word:


Seriously, we’ve tried everything. Answers on a postcard I guess. If you can decipher it, let me know.


“Went to Bangor. Went to Bethan’s Christmas party.”


“Went to church. Put Xmas tree up. Watched half of David Bowie film.”

Which film? And which half? Probably whichever half had Tony in it.

And here we leave S to continue with her festive preparations, such as buying Slavs for her dad. Join me for part 3, where we find out what S gets for Christmas.

Diary of an 80s teenager part 1: meet our heroine

Diary of an 80s teenager part 1: meet our heroine

Last week, I found this in a box at a car boot sale:


It’s a 1981/82 diary, and it’s been filled in by a 14 year old girl from North Wales, who we’ll call ‘S’. I’ve decided to share this simple yet heartwarming tale of teenage life with you, if only for the fact that it proves someone, somewhere, once bought a record by Dollar.

A few notes before we begin: I have, to the best of my ability, removed S’s full name from the following pages. Notes by me are in italics. Also, I apologise in advance to any Welsh readers if I’ve spelled things wrong. But, you know, she had bloody terrible handwriting at times.

So join me, dear reader, as we follow S on her journey of buying miniature cans of coke, attempting to phone her crush, and watching Herbie Goes Bananas…


I don’t think you need me to point out that she likes someone called Paul Bateman. 


School timetable for the coming year. Not sure what commerce is. Exemplary penmanship thus far.


S doesn’t much go in for books, preferring instead to trade records with ‘Maggie’, Mandy’, and someone called ‘Chips’.



“Woke up 10.05. Went to get paper in shop, but there were none left. Bought little cans of coke for 12p. After dinner went for a ride in the car, to Mynydd Eilian, and Bull Bay. Got a cup of coffee and a choc ice. Watched Sinbad film, Coronation Street, Benny Hill.”


“Woke up 9.05. Maggie came to call for me. Went to village to cut my hair (Lady Diana style). After dinner went to Auntie Eleri’s, and went to Caernarvon. Got pot noodle for tea, watched ‘Keep It In The Family’, and Morecambe and Wise. Blackie went missing.”

Oh dear, is Blackie a cat? A dog? A deadly but loveable python? Hope he/she is ok. S doesn’t seem that fussed either way.



“Woke up 8.05. Found Blackie by back door. (Wasn’t bloody missing then was he, he was what’s known as ‘outside’.) Went to school, got my timetable. Had present from Newton Abbot, from Nain. (Welsh name for Grandma.) I like Form 4. Watched Coronation Street. My indigestion started.”


“Woke up 8.20. Had breakfast, went to school. Mam went to see headmaster. I am allowed to go to Tech. Watched Top Of The Pops, Ain’t Half Hot Mum finished.



“Woke up 8.15. Went to school. Had double Gym first two lessons, with Annie Agro. (She sounds delightful, I bet she has a hairy chest.) After school went to Margaret’s birthday party. Got hot dog, doughnut, fairy cake, trifle, can of coke. Watched Spider Man film.”


“Woke up 10.00. Patches comic gone up to 18p. (Bloody outrage.) Watched telly.”


“After dinner, went to Auntie Joan’s.”

A good solid first week. Still don’t know what Blackie is, or our heroine’s relationship to ‘Paul’.



“Woke up 8.15. Went to school, had double Welsh. Had school dinners. After I came home from school, went out to play with Maggie. Went to Auntie Eleri’s house to give her birthday present.”


“Woke up 8.20. Went to school. Had school dinners again. After school came home. Did my homework. In the evening went to pictures to see Herbie Goes Bananas. It was good.”


“Woke up 8.15. Went to school. Had nice dinner. After I came home did homework. Went to disco in new club in Menai Bridge. It was great, going again soon, I hope. (Me too. If you could get off your tits next time and write about that, us here in the future would appreciate that. Ta.)


“Woke up 8.30. Had chips for dinner. Had loads of homework.”

So much homework, in fact, that S was too busy to write diary entries for the next three days. I’m guessing Welsh homework. Those vowels won’t take themselves out.


Wait, back up, who the fuck is Tony? I thought Paul was our guy? S, are you cheating on our guy Paul with this upstart Tony? I thought you were different. Victoria Principal clearly approves of this behaviour.

Join me for part 2, where we solve the mystery of ‘Who the fuck is Tony?’ (maybe).