12 August 2010

The Secret Diary Of An Adrian Moler (aged 20 and one month)...

The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend was published in October 1982, and the paperback edition in October 1983. The sequel, The Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole, followed in 1984.

Back in the early 1980s, I determinedly donned a donkey jacket. The height of fashion. "It was like it was nailed to your back, even at the height of summer!" said a nasty old relative of mine recently.

This was "dressing down" to the max.

But, slowly but surely, the influence of the New Romantics and posey TV shows of the decade began to impinge upon my dullard brain, and so I got dressy.

And I loved it.

I was the original 1980s fashion victim - and a cerise mesh vest, neon blue jacket with colossal shoulders, and skin tight banana yellow trousers were amongst my very favourite things to combat nakedness.

In the mid-1980s, I became a care worker and there was a chic which went with that - a nice lumberjack shirt, or what I called a "wholemeal" jumper (boring brown, un-startling pattern) and maroon trousers were so suitable for this role.

I looked comforting. Dependable. The right look was so important for everything I did.

And when the optician said I needed glasses, I chose a nice, stylish pair and gloated over how they added to my safe, dependable look for work - and how they also gave me an academic air.

I didn't wear for them nights out, they didn't go with my Miami Vice chic, but for my work/daytime chic they were so fabulous.

In the mid-1980s, there were all kinds of chics.

A slight unease began when I visited my GP to have my ears syringed in late 1985, about three weeks after getting my glasses.

There were two nice old ladies in the waiting room - the sort of old ladies you don't see nowadays - both wearing hats - both reminiscing about the Second World War.

The receptionist indicated that doc was ready to see me, and as I made my way to his consulting room door, one of the old ladies twittered:

"Doesn't he look almost exactly like Adrian Mole?!"

I turned, incredulously, to see both old ladies were looking at me.

"Oh, did you hear me?" asked the one that had spoken.

"Yes!" I was furious, and glowered at her.

Without a word of apology, the old dear turned to her pal, and both tittered.

Reflecting that the elderly were not what they were, I went into the doctor.

A few days later, I emerged from my flat, on the way to the Co-op for Weetabix and spuds. A bloke fixing the exterior light of the flat next door turned to me, grinned broadly, gave me a huge thumbs up, and said:

"Hi, Adrian!"

I gave him an icy glare and swept past him.

I was getting worried. I knew who Adrian Mole was, had seen the books by Sue Townsend, and some of the TV series episodes starring Gian Sammarco, and I knew there was a resemblance between me and this character when I wore my goggles.

But surely not that much?!

Christmas arrived - and a family Christmas party. I went straight from work, knowing that I was safe in my glasses as none of my loving kinfolk would ever take the P.

Two of my cousins stepped forward, with gaily wrapped pressies.

These two cousins had never given me presents before ever - and I'd known them all my life.

I was touched.

I opened the first. It was a book.

It was The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾.

I opened the second.

It was another book - The Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole.

"Thought you might like them, seeing as you wrote them," said one of my dear cousins.

I was startled.

I was stung.

"You bloody little gits!" I spat, and stalked off.

I was growing very unhappy indeed.

In Miami Vice chic night-time mode, without my glasses, I looked nothing like Adrian Mole, but by day...

Things came to a head a few days later, when, strolling down the main street after work, I was suddenly mobbed by a group of about nine lads, who came galloping across the road, looking thrilled to bits, and squawking: "ADRIAN MOLER! ADRIAN MOLER!"

They were big and beefy lads, and I was terrified.

One clapped me ferociously on the back, the others stood around bellowing: "WOTCHA, ADRIAN!" "HI, AIDY!!" "WOT YOU UP TO, ADRIAN?" and other things like that.

Trembling with fear, I moved off, with "der lads" shouting after me: "BYE, AIDY!!" "SEE YA, ADRIAN!!" and "HEY - ADRIAN - GIVE MY LOVE TO PANDORA!"

Back in the safety of my flat, I gathered my wits.

Adrian Moler? Sounded like "Greaser".

Did these lads actually think that I'd set out to look like Adrian Mole? That I was effecting a kind of Adrian Mole chic?

Off came the glasses.

And I never wore them again.

And, not being confident with the contact lens concept, I simply let my eyes go hang.

Something I regret because I now have to wear glasses - it's an absolute necessity.

Anything beyond arm's length is a complete blur.

Of course, these days I'm fond of Adrian. The daft lad with the literary pretensions who started his first diary in January 1981 has grown up and I'm very worried about him - having just read The Prostrate Years.

But there was a time, in the mid-1980s, during my unwitting Adrian Moler period, that I couldn't stick the little prat.

In recent years, I thought that Harry Potter, as portrayed in the films, looked like Adrian Mole as portrayed in the '80s TV series.

But nobody gave him any stick about it.

Life is so unfair.

Read our main Adrian Mole '80s Actual article here.


Kathy Murray said...

I always went for Madonna chic in the mid 80's. I'm glad I never got the response you did from those boys!

Carey said...

Poor you! I bore more than a passing resemblance to Su Pollard from Hi De Hi!

Anonymous said...

I was a snotty little git in the '80's. My nickname at school was Gilbert - after Gilbert the alien!

Drew said...

Oh, that really is bad! LOL!