Tough guys in the 80s and 90s: for whatever reason it was important that we looked and acted like Mr. T, Chuck Norris, and the criminals of the day, despite being eight years old and the owner of a My Little Pony lunchbox.
At our school, it was imperative that we gave the impression of A) not giving a fuck what anyone thought of us (especially teachers) and B) being able to roundhouse kick anyone in the school into the middle of next week. It also helped if we could project the aura of someone who carried guns, and who had the Hell’s Angels on speed-dial (assuming our mums let us use the phone).
Because we were all idiots, we used to take our cues from the popular tv shows and movies of the day, thinking that if we just copied whatever punk, tough guy or shit gang member (I’m looking at you Los Locos) was on the screen at the time, then their street cred would rub off on us. If we acted like them and did the following things, then our enemies would run and hide in a bin when they saw us coming.
It never worked. All that happened was that we either got laughed at or told off by grown ups.
1. Dyeing your hair
Where we lived, only troublemakers and yobbos dyed their hair. Any colour that wasn’t the regulation black, brown, blonde or ginger marked you out as the sort of person that shoplifted and had run-ins with the fuzz. In reality, the yobbos were more likely to sit around listening to vinyl and looking all sad, but we weren’t to know that. Continue reading “12 things that made you look hard as a kid”
The other night I was reading the 1979 Whizzer and Chips annual, when a story called “Whizz Wheels” caught my eye.
Normally I don’t read the ‘action’ stories, preferring to skip straight to more light hearted fare like Fuss Pot and Beat Your Neighbour. But something about this story told me to stop and read it. I’m glad I did, because now I’m obsessed with it. Naturally I had to share it with you guys, and I think you will all be better people for it.
So join me, intrepid reader, for a tale of crime, intrigue, and penny farthings…
“This is Tommy Wheels, known as ‘Whizz’ to his pals”. Really? Tommy Wheels? This is the biggest load of nominative determinism since I changed my name to ‘Sitting On The Settee Scratching Myself’.
I like to think Tommy Wheels secretly really hates bikes, but he’s under enormous pressure from his friends and family to be some kind of bike nut. Maybe Tommy would really like a horse, but he can’t have a horse because horses don’t have wheels. Also – “Your dad rode bikes, and I’m fucked if you’re going to shame this family by not riding bikes.” Continue reading “Twat On A Bike: the best Whizzer and Chips story ever”
I love 2p machines, I always have. Nothing beats the thrill of seeing an almost worthless coin inching its way forward, before finally dropping down that hole that means you haven’t won it. The only thing that comes close to beating it is the thrill of winning something you have absolutely no use for after the first ten seconds of owning it.
Some absolute BASTARDS (I’m looking at you Butlins in Skegness) have done away with 2p machine prizes altogether, instead saving their cheap useless crap for the 10p machines. This, as you know, goes against the natural order of things. Expect Skegness to have a plague of locusts or something soon, thanks to those money grabbing, fun hating pricks.
As far as I know, no one else has gone along with this evil, so let’s get back to normal 2p machines, where it is entirely possible to spend a lucky 20p brightening up your day by winning a ‘fashion comb’ or an eraser that looks like a £50 note. Continue reading “The shit you can win on a 2p machine”
Did I ever tell you about the time I got ill on holiday, and ended up being sick all over the doctor’s office, including up his sleeves? That’s the kind of kid I was.
This tendency towards chicken pox, mysterious childhood snots, and trying to wangle time off school led me to be familiar with the toys in the doctor’s waiting room. These toys were invariably covered in germs and various bodily fluids, but this didn’t deter me.
These days, whenever I have to go to the doctor’s I am generally to be found scrolling through my phone with all the other anti-social automatons in there, but when I was a kid, a trip to the doctor’s was an excuse to go crazy with the communal bits of plastic and soiled books. Obviously I couldn’t go too crazy, as I was either ill or pretending to be ill.
Anyway, here are 10 toys that always made being violently ill fun…
1. Matchbox Activity Bear
This chap lived at the bottom of that plastic toybox that graced the corner of the waiting room. While it was really meant for babies who were too young and stupid to play with the cooler stuff, I did while away some pleasant minutes honking its nose, spinning the things on its foot, and trying to avoid the month-old Ribena stains on its general person. The babies would just have to find something else to do, like pooing. Continue reading “10 toys in every doctor’s waiting room”
These days, children go on four world cruises a year. When I was growing up, we didn’t have such luxuries, and had to make do with a more modest form of holiday.
Most people would trundle off to the seaside for a week or two every summer. Some families stayed in a hotel or a B & B, some families threw themselves on the mercy of Butlins, but the best families stayed in a metal shed on wheels, otherwise known as a caravan.
I have two main memories of caravans – one good, one bad. The bad memory is of being dragged round caravan showrooms on a weekend, endlessly crunching over gravel and staring at wheels and towing frames, since I was too small to actually see into any of the caravans (caraven?). I have no idea why we went to these places so much, and it seemed like we went every week. To my knowledge, we never bought a caravan.
Our modus operandi was to hire a big static caravan at one of the many parks scattered around the East coast, and this was always a cause for great excitement. What would our caravan be like? Where exactly would it be parked? Where would I be sleeping?
Well, the answers to these questions were always as follows –
1. Exactly like all the other hundreds of caravans on the park – sometimes with slightly darker wood panelling, or a different type of chintz on the cushions.
2. Next to a family with a barking dog.
3. On the brilliant double bed that was made out of a table and wizardry. Continue reading “A guide to 80s caravan holidays”
Somewhere along the line, I’ve become middle aged. I’ve suspected it for some time, what with me liking to wear slippers and making a noise when I get out of a chair. However, my rapid descent into old age was proved beyond any doubt the last time me and Alex went to the fair.
Expectation: eat candyfloss and hot dogs until sick, go on all life threatening rides, not really caring if the rides are held together with sellotape. A good time is had by all.
Reality: walk around a windy field for a bit, tutting at things. Shake head at the fact that the rides are held together with sellotape, exclaim that “you wouldn’t get me on that death trap”. Fail to even get excited at prospect of winning copyright infringing knock off toys. Go home for a nice cup of tea.
It never used to be like this. I used to love the fair with a passion bordering on wanting to marry it. It was up there with Christmas and trips to the seaside for excitement value. But somewhere down the line I got old and boring. Since you probably don’t want to read about me having a nice cup of tea and doing the large print puzzles in Chat magazine, instead I’m going to tell you about the best things at the fair.
1. Hook a Duck
Hook a Duck is brilliant because it’s impossible for me to lose at it. Even I can just about manage to hold a stick and point it at a plastic duck. Admittedly, this wasn’t always the case when I was a child. Sometimes the guy running the stall would get so fed up with my clumsy attempts to manipulate the Hook a Duck pole without taking his eye out that he would just grab the end of my pole and attach a duck to it. In my head this was perfectly valid, and in no way made me a loser who failed to even win at a ‘prize every time’ stall. Continue reading “Candyfloss and shat pants: a guide to the fair”
I’ve wanted to write about the video shop for ages, but my flea-bitten memory has refused to sick up the appropriate facts, until now. Thanks to conversations with my parents and sisters, I realise what a brilliant experience the video shop was for me. For my parents and sisters, not so much.
Here are a load of my dredged up memories about the video shop. You’ve read this far, you might as well carry on.
The first thing to do in order to get a trip to the video shop is to be good all week. This consists of not doing the following:
– Calling your sister a “bastard”, a “bustard”, or telling her to “huh off”
– Writing a list of all the swear words you can think of, then accidentally leaving it in a place where your dad will find it
– Using all your mum’s VO5 Hot Oil to make a “magic potion” while playing She-Ra.
Continue reading “Cartoons, haunted tapes and The Lovers’ Guide: Video shop memories”