My Favourite People & Me: 1978-1988
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Alan Davies was always a hoarder. Pages from Smash Hits, rolled up gig posters, Cup Final ticket stubs, Woody Allen paperbacks, NME covers and Blondie calendars filled boxes once used to ferry shopping home from supermarkets (back when supermarkets would leave boxes out for the ferrying of shopping). Not much that came down from Alan's bedroom wall made it into the bin, never mind the uninvented bin-liner.
Growing up is not easy. So many decisions: Who to revere, Sheene or McEnroe? Who to imitate, Starsky or Hutch? Who to dislike overnight in an effort to show maturity, Thatcher or Scargill? How to decide which pin-ups to unpin when a batch of Animal Rights leaflets or a satirical poster of Ronald Reagan demand wallspace?
The Impressionable Age of a young man lasts around a decade and the idols and icons of that period can reveal much of the time and of the impressed subject.
Nostalgic, warm and laugh-out-loud funny My Favourite People and Me 1978-1988 is an affectionate trip through a suburban childhood in Essex and an eighties education in Kent. As Alan says, 'an attempt to remember who and what I liked as a boy/youth/idiot and to work out why. There are also some pictures.'
down to Finsbury Town Hall for afternoon tea dances. They moved to Chingford and had two children. Hazel, the youngest, was married first, to Geoff, and had a son, who was eighteen months old when the family boarded a ship to Australia in 1963. Hazel said she walked to Australia since her little boy wouldn’t stay in one place for the entire six-week sailing. They settled in Mount Gambier and later moved to Adelaide. Soon after they emigrated, my mum and dad were married, having delayed so long
and cut the word ‘SUPERSTAR’ from a newspaper to stick underneath it. 1978. I’m second from the left at the front. The tallest kid at the back became my stepbrother, Tony, four years later. They never built a skate park. 1978. Barry Sheene. Look at that smile, he was irresistible, everyone loved him. 1979. Liam Brady, like Bjorn Borg, had eyes that were close together, which some people in the 70s believed was a boon to sportsmen. He was my idol and was regarded as Arsenal’s greatest
without putting the cylinder head back on. The piston shot up and out of the engine before crashing into it on the down stroke and breaking. I was below competent as a mechanic but I really wanted more speed. The big bore kit took top end up to a mind-blowing 42 mph. The engine did run a little hot and I would have to make sure I didn’t touch my jeans against it as there was a clear fire risk. If I went through a puddle a cloud of steam would billlow around me as the water hit the engine.
too slow and was a fan of the German autobahns with their limitless freedom. That summer, we watched on TV as Nigel Mansell pursued Nelson Piquet, in an identical Williams, at Silver-stone in the British Grand Prix. He made up twenty seconds in twenty laps, before passing with a spectacular feinting, swerving manoeuvre. He won the race and was then unable to finish his parade lap as thousands of celebrating fans covered the track. Murray Walker was jubilant: ‘Amazing! What an absolutely
Silver Jubilee, ‘God Save the Queen’. Botham was not channelling Johnny Rotten though, as he bashed his way around England’s cricket fields. His rebelliousness didn’t appear to be a calculated thing. He seemed to have more energy, vitality and gusto than anyone else. The relatively sedate pastime of cricket was too frail to hold him. There is just too much time, with too little to do, at a cricket ground. Too much time for Botham’s inner rubber band to wind and wind itself taut, before spinning