TIMELINE
TERM 1 (Sept - Dec 1979) Week 0 (Aug 25 - Sep 2, 1979) Week 1 (Sep 3 - Sep 9, 1979) Week 2 (Sep 10 - Sep 16, 1979) Week 3 (Sep 17 - Sep 23, 1979) Week 4 (Sep 24 - Sep 30, 1979) Week 5 (Oct 1 - Oct 7, 1979) Week 6 (Oct 8 - Oct 14, 1979) Week 7 (Oct 15 - Oct 21, 1979) Half Term (Oct 22 - Oct 28, 1979) Week 8 (Oct 29 - Nov 4, 1979) Week 9 (Nov 5 - Nov 11, 1979) Week 10 (Nov 12 - Nov 18, 1979) Week 11 (Nov 19 - Nov 25, 1979) Week 12 (Nov 26 - Dec 2, 1979) Week 13 (Dec 3 - Dec 9, 1979) Week 14 (Dec 10 - Dec 16, 1979) Week 15 (Dec 17 - Dec 23, 1979) Christmas (Dec 24 - Dec 30, 1979) New Year’s Eve (Dec 31, 1979)
What this is and why A few years ago, while I was exploring the books I wrote in Fairburn, I started to create a timeline, partly to jog my memory of contemporary events but also to work out what order everything came in. Now that I’ve started to post the books online, it seems like a good idea to share the timeline, so anyone who reads them might be able to place themselves in the same context. Hopefully this will serve as a handy resource for anyone who wants to explore the time period, wallow in nostalgia or just marvel at how I could possibly find the time to do all this. Basically I started with Wikipedia, cross-referencing events where I could. Then I added my own work to the timeline, adding the English work first, which usually included dates. Then I filled in other info which might have been relevant to me, such as which Doctor Who episode was on that week and what was at No 1 in the UK pop charts, plus any other info I came across about TV show debuts and which comics I might have bought that week (some of which I still have). I’ve usually left out things which weren’t relevant to me at the time. So if you’re looking for a description of what was on Polish television on August 31, 1980, you won’t find it. Well, OK, you might. But the essential idea is to recreate the life of a little boy growing up in 1980s Yorkshire. I may have included a few news stories (and albums, and film releases) which didn’t enter my childish consciousness back then, but they would have been there for me if I’d been listening and/or allowed to engage with them. Naturally, I don’t control the internet. So any and/or all of the pages I link to from the timeline might suddenly disappear without warning. Especially on sites like YouTube, where copyright strikes delete accounts on a regular basis. I’m trying to keep on top of all that, but it’s not always immediately possible. It’s also worth saying that I haven’t finished it yet. Uploading this all to the web, complete with pictures and fancy layout (which now has to be two completely different fancy layouts because it has to look totally different to work on both a desktop PC and a smartphone), is going to take time. But I’m determined to do it, so please bear with me while I try. Fact Checking & Comic Dating Since I started working out this timeline over a decade ago and was only doing it for my own benefit, I didn’t always save hyperlinks to some of the websites I used for research. Some of the sites I did save links for may have disappeared in that time. Some of the info in the timeline also came from contemporary comics or magazines which don’t exist on the internet. What I’m saying is, some of the evidence for my timeline claims could be missing. But I’m working on it, and have included links to the source material wherever possible. A note about comic dating: the common practice was always to place next week’s date on the front of the magazine. I never understood why as a child, but they did. So if a comic is dated 09 Jun 1980, it was probably in the shops on June 2nd. 2000 AD, however, is a special case. I remember buying it every Saturday when I went to visit my Gran, and my memory tells me that it really was published and in the shops on Saturday. The cover however clearly states it was “In orbit every Monday”. Still, my memory tells me I queried this at the time - “Why does it say it’s out every Monday when it’s actually out on Saturday?” I thought, and then forgot about it and just read the damn thing instead. To further complicate matters, the dates on the covers are actually Saturdays - so I assume the comic did come out every Saturday and the date on the cover is, as with the Marvel comics I bought, next week’s date. If you know some of the information in this timeline to be absolutely false, please don’t hesitate to tell me and, if you’re right, I’ll sort it out. Advanced Stuff About Comic Dating (feel free to skip this if you don’t care about comic dating) It’s actually harder than you think trying to work out when the Marvel weeklies came out. At first it seemed pretty straightforward - Doctor Who Weekly says every Thursday, so the cover date must be next Thursday’s date. Star Wars says every Wednesday. All fine until I remember they all usually came out on the same day. Oh and even when it says Every Thursday, the date on the cover is a Wednesday. And it’s also a Wednesday when it says Every Wednesday. So they’re all out on Wednesday then? No, because some ad in Blah Blah No 243 says they’re always out on a Thursday. And then No 118 comes out and finally it says “Every Thursday” on the cover, but you look at No 120 and it’s back to saying “Every Wednesday” - like one week it’s a special edition, so they’ve got an enthusiastic new guy - or maybe even just some kind of editor - to design the new-look cover and he notices the mistake and changes the template. But the following week the grumpy old lazy guy comes back and uses his old template. Except now it says “Every Wednesday” but the actual date’s a Thursday! And none of them are the actual date it came out anyway! At which point you start repeatedly banging your head against the desk going “AAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!” until the blood is literally streaming down your stress-worn face. That’s when you realise you’ve spent way more time thinking about it than the people who made the comics ever did, and that you’ve just got to basically make a decision and stick to it. So I’ve got all the Star Wars Weeklies coming out on Thursdays, the same day as the Doctor Who Weeklies and all the other Marvel comics (which to be honest I haven’t even bothered putting in there yet, but you can probably understand why). I don’t want to hear about it if you think I’m wrong. Can’t wait to get started on the monthlies! The Context It’s 1979. Vietnam invades Cambodia. China invades Vietnam. The Shah is deposed in Iran and Ayatollah Khomeini takes his place, sullying relations with the US (led by President Jimmy Carter) and pushing oil prices to an all- time high. The UK is in political tatters, with inflation at 17% and a series of strikes leaving bins unemptied and bodies unburied. A vote of no confidence in James Callaghan’s Labour Government forces a general election, in which Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female Prime Minister. Former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe is on trial for conspiracy to murder and the Labour party descends into turmoil. But I didn’t care about any of this. I was seven years old. All I cared about was Doctor Who, Star Wars, Marvel Comics and the occasional pop song. I knew who Maggie Thatcher was and what title she held, but I thought it was spelt “priminister” and had no idea what one did. Mum had a part-time job at a sweet factory (making me the envy of my peers) and Dad had just landed an office job at Wheldale Colliery in Castleford. This new dual income meant they could finally afford to buy their first home. They found that home in Fairburn. The cliche dictates that I should remind you we only had three TV channels back in those days, but the truth is that when we moved to Fairburn, there were only two, thanks to a technicians’ strike which kept ITV off the air for three months. Grim days indeed. But in the last week of August 1979, I was having a whale of a time on my annual summer holiday in Blackpool with my Gran (we always went for the August bank holiday), playing Space Invaders, drinking Coca Cola and pressuring her into buying me Star Wars figures.
September 1979 - February 1982
PERIOD DETAIL
ITV Returns Oct 24,1979
Grange Hill Roof Death Feb 26, 1980
Who Shot JR? Mar 21, 1980
Iranian Embassy Siege May 5, 1980
John Lennon Murdered Dec 8, 1980
Tom Baker Regenerates Mar 21, 1981
Birth of the SDP Mar 26, 1981
Ronald Reagan Shot Mar 30, 1981
Space Shuttle Launch Apr 12, 1981
Royal Wedding Jul 29, 1981
Adam Ant on Tiswas Sep 5, 1981
TIMELINE
What this is and why A few years ago, while I was exploring the books I wrote in Fairburn, I started to create a timeline, partly to jog my memory of contemporary events but also to work out what order everything came in. Now that I’ve started to post the books online, it seems like a good idea to share the timeline, so anyone who reads them might be able to place themselves in the same context. Hopefully this will serve as a handy resource for anyone who wants to explore the time period, wallow in nostalgia or just marvel at how I could possibly find the time to do all this. Basically I started with Wikipedia, cross- referencing events where I could. Then I added my own work to the timeline, adding the English work first, which usually included dates. Then I filled in other info which might have been relevant to me, such as which Doctor Who episode was on that week and what was at No 1 in the UK pop charts, plus any other info I came across about TV show debuts and which comics I might have bought that week (many of which I still have).
September 1979 - February 1982
Iranian Embassy Siege May 5, 1980
John Lennon Murdered Dec 8, 1980
Tom Baker Regenerates Mar 21, 1981
Birth of the SDP Mar 26, 1981
Ronald Reagan Shot Mar 30, 1981
Space Shuttle Launch Apr 12, 1981
Royal Wedding Jul 29, 1981
Adam Ant on Tiswas Sep 5, 1981
PERIOD DETAIL
ITV Returns Oct 24,1979
Grange Hill Roof Death Feb 26, 1980
Who Shot JR? Mar 21, 1980
But I didn’t care about any of this. I was seven years old. All I cared about was Doctor Who, Star Wars, Marvel Comics and the occasional pop song. I knew who Maggie Thatcher was and what title she held, but I thought it was spelt priminister” and had no idea what one did. Mum had a part-time job at a sweet factory (making me the envy of my peers) and Dad had just landed an office job at Wheldale Colliery in Castleford. This new dual income meant they could finally afford to buy their first home. They found that home in Fairburn. The cliche dictates that I should remind you we only had three TV channels back in those days, but the truth is that when we moved to Fairburn, there were only two, thanks to a technicians’ strike which kept ITV off the air for three months. Grim days indeed. But in the last week of August 1979, I was having a whale of a time on my annual summer holiday in Blackpool with my Gran (we always went for the August bank holiday), playing Space Invaders, drinking Coca Cola and pressuring her into buying me Star Wars figures.
The Context It’s 1979. Vietnam invades Cambodia. China invades Vietnam. The Shah is deposed in Iran and Ayatollah Khomeini takes his place, sullying relations with the US (led by President Jimmy Carter) and pushing oil prices to an all-time high. The UK is in political tatters, with inflation at 17% and a series of strikes leaving bins unemptied and bodies unburied. A vote of no confidence in James Callaghan’s Labour Government forces a general election, in which Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female Prime Minister. Former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe is on trial for conspiracy to murder and the Labour party descends into turmoil.
If you know some of the information in this timeline to be absolutely false, please don’t hesitate to tell me and, if you’re right, I’ll sort it out.
A note about comic dating: the common practice was always to place next week’s date on the front of the magazine. I never understood why as a child, but they did. So if a comic is dated 09 Jun 1980, it was probably in the shops on June 2nd. 2000 AD, however, is a special case. I remember buying it every Saturday when I went to visit my Gran, and my memory tells me that it really was published and in the shops on Saturday. The cover however clearly states it was “In orbit every Monday”. Still, my memory tells me I queried this at the time - “Why does it say it’s out every Monday when it’s actually out on Saturday?” I thought, and then forgot about it and just read the damn thing instead. To further complicate matters, the dates on the covers are actually Saturdays - so I assume the comic did come out every Saturday and the date on the cover is, as with the Marvel comics I bought, next week’s date.
Fact Checking & Comic Dating Since I started working out this timeline over a decade ago and was only doing it for my own benefit, I didn’t always save hyperlinks to some of the websites I used for research. Some of the sites I did save links for may have disappeared in that time. Some of the info in the timeline also came from contemporary comics or magazines which don’t exist on the internet. What I’m saying is, some of the evidence for my timeline claims could be missing. But I’m working on it, and have included links to the source material wherever possible.
Naturally, I don’t control the internet. So any and/or all of the pages I link to from the timeline might suddenly disappear without warning. Especially on sites like YouTube, where copyright strikes delete accounts on a regular basis. I’m trying to keep on top of all that, but it’s not always immediately possible. It’s also worth saying that I haven’t finished it yet. Uploading this all to the web, complete with pictures and fancy layout (which now has to be two completely different fancy layouts because it has to look totally different to work on both a desktop and a smartphone), is going to take time. But I’m determined to do it, so please bear with me while I try.
I’ve usually left out things which weren’t relevant to me at the time. So if you’re looking for a description of what was on Polish television on August 31, 1980, you won’t find it. Well, OK, you might. But the essential idea is to recreate the life of a little boy growing up in 1980s Yorkshire. I may have included a few news stories (and albums, and film releases) which didn’t enter my childish consciousness back then, but they would have been there for me if I’d been listening and/or allowed to engage with them.
Advanced Stuff About Comic Dating (feel free to skip this if you don’t care about comic dating) It’s actually harder than you think trying to work out when the Marvel weeklies came out. At first it seemed pretty straightforward - Doctor Who Weekly says every Thursday, so the cover date must be next Thursday’s date. Star Wars says every Wednesday. All fine until I remember they all usually came out on the same day. Oh and even when it says Every Thursday, the date on the cover is a Wednesday. And it’s also a Wednesday when it says Every Wednesday. So they’re all out on Wednesday then? No, because some ad in Blah Blah No 243 says they’re always out on a Thursday. And then No 118 comes out and finally it says “Every Thursday” on the cover, but you look at No 120 and it’s back to saying “Every Wednesday” - like one week it’s a special edition, so they’ve got an enthusiastic new guy - or maybe even just some kind of editor - to design the new-look cover and he notices the mistake and changes the template. But the following week the grumpy old lazy guy comes back and uses his old template. Except now it says “Every Wednesday” but the actual date’s a Thursday! And none of them are the actual date it came out anyway! At which point you start repeatedly banging your head against the desk going “AAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!” until the blood is literally streaming down your stress-worn face. That’s when you realise you’ve spent way more time thinking about it than the people who made the comics ever did, and that you’ve just got to basically make a decision and stick to it. So I’ve got all the Star Wars Weeklies coming out on Thursdays, the same day as the Doctor Who Weeklies and all the other Marvel comics (which to be honest I haven’t even bothered putting in there yet, but you can probably understand why). I don’t want to hear about it if you think I’m wrong. Can’t wait to get started on the monthlies!