The 11th Topic book I filled at Fairburn School is really quite dazzling. To save money on all the exercise books I was speeding through, Mr Geraghty suggested that I split each page into two halves, in the hope that it would stop me filling whole pages with rubbish and just fill half-pages with rubbish instead. But it only seems to have accelerated my rate of progress, and increased the amount of rubbish I wrote.


A recurring story throughout the book (in between which are various lists of characters, comic strips about Micronauts, reappearances of characters like Moleman and Daft Ada, and occasional flights of utter stupidity like the 'Mess Corner' you can read below) is Flash Harry, which somehow confounds the 'Flash' of Flash Gordon with the idea of a 'flasher' or a 'streaker' at a sporting event and slaps them together to form a body-obsessed nine-year-old's naughty wet dream.


I look back at this and find it staggering what Mr Geraghty let me get away with. The picture of Harry streaking in Part One clearly shows his cock and balls, while a famous cricketer gratuitously shoves his fingers up his backside for no apparent reason. The obsession with bodily functions and smells is probably looked at as quite normal these days for nine- or-ten-year-olds, but in the context of all these stories it seems to come out of nowhere.


Even more interesting perhaps is the sudden appearance of a female character called Awful Andrea. The way she chases him throughout the story seems to be primarily inspired by kiss chase, which at the time would have been quite a traumatic experience. Though I was starting to have feelings for girls and these would blossom over the coming few months, at the time I would have found the idea of being kissed by a girl quite terrifying. So terrifying, it seems, that I would rather write an entire multi-part story about a naked man who likes having Geoff Boycott shove his fingers up his bum, and continually berate a girl for being ugly and obsessive all the way through it.


Sadly, the story remains unfinished. Some time around February 1981 I became involved in a stupid vandalism incident at school and, as part of my punishment, my Topic privileges were taken away. Instead of doing whatever I liked in them, I had to slavishly copy out Ladybird books for the rest of the term. By the time my privileges were restored in the spring, I'd grown out of Flash Harry, so we never found out what happened when they went into outer space. But in all probability, it would have been something remarkably unfunny.


Oh and please forgive me for using the words "Curry Spazzer" in my Star Wars parody at the end. I was only nine.

New Wave Daft Characters (Jan 1981)
Back Up Top
Shoes (Jan 27, 1981)
Flash Harry - Part 1
Flash Harry - Part 2
Flash Harry - Part 3
Flash Harry - Part 4
Flash Harry - Part 5
Flash Harry - Part 6
Flash Harry - Part 7
The Body Bugs
More so-called 'characters'
Dec 1980
New Wave Daft Characters
Just what we needed!
Jan 1981
A violent TV review
Jan 27, 1981
How to Be Nutty
My comedy manifesto
June 11, 1981
Waen Shepherd Foiled
More revealing than it knows
Dec 1980
The glorious personal vision I had on the road to my own Damascus - the Damascus of comedy!
The most effort I've ever put into the most useless shit
Gary Le Strange relaxing in the Comedy Store
The Body Bugs - God, I could have been a millionaire with this lot...
Waen Shepherd attacked by everyone from all sides
A serious turn towards aggression or was I just bored?