Flares, France and Serious Fashion Crimes – My 1975 Diary by Bev Mattocks

Flares, France and Serious Fashion Crimes – My 1975 Diary by Bev Mattocks

I recently discovered (via an internet trawl I think) that someone else has published their diaries – what a thing! This time it’s 16 year old Bev Mattocks from Yorkshire who chronicles her year (most of it anyway).

Here’s what I thought of it:

This is the diary 16 year old Bev Mattocks kept in 1975, between February and September, with one final entry on 7th November. She mainly chronicles a romance with ‘manly, masculine, tall, thin but strong’ Michael Heslop and a holiday to stay with her French penfriend in Provence – thinking in “English with a French accent!”.

Although not written everyday her entries are often long, indulgent and hilarious – just as they should be! I found I was frequently laughing out loud and some of my favourite quotes include:

“When I arrived home I went to my room and cried desperately. I searched through my Jackie magazines to find an article on mending broken hearts”

“Mike’s taking me to another disco tomorrow. I’m tired after this one. One disco at a time is OK, but two, two days running is a bit much”

“Mike says he can’t dance so we jogged around for about two minutes”

But best of all was the paragraph that started, “French table manners” – I won’t reveal it all as it’s well worth £5.99 for you to discover this yourself!!

You get what you’d expect from a 16 year old, desperate for a boyfriend, to feel popular and wanted, studying for O-Levels and only allowed out twice a week, with plenty of time to pour out her insecurities and private thoughts into an exercise book. They’re nostalgic, melancholy, hilarious yet poignant, frank and candid.

I loved reading this and there is a second volume ‘That Summer Changed Everything: My Real-Life 1976 Teenage Diary’ which I’m really looking forward to! It’s a joy that Bev’s decided to publish these – I just wish there was more!

And here’s her hilarious take on French table manners!!

I definitely recommend it if you’re into your true-life teenage diaries! I’m starting volume 2 now and will let you know what it’s like. You can get the diaries here.

Monday 25th December 1989 Christmas Day

To mark the return of 1983 diary, and because it’s Christmas, here’s my diary from Christmas Day 1989!

It is only 45 minutes into Christmas Day. I have just opened my presents from Cathy and Alistair. I didn’t really have the first idea about what they were but they were:-


I mean they were just so good! I mean everything about them is just so good. Alistair got me a little metal type tiny hip flask. In his note he said it was not to be associated with any alcoholic beverage (which is what I first thought of) but filled with patchouli oil. Bloody fucking ace. Then the next thing I just couldn’t think what it could be, but it was in fact two photograph albums to fill “only with pictures of me, him and Cathy having a good time.”

            Cathy got me a funny little brass thing which I think is from ID Aromatics. I think it’s to put incense in. For “2” there was a “2a” and “2b”. 2a was a little key so my guess for what 2b was, was correct. I thought it was going to be one of those strong hold boxes, but I couldn’t believe it when it was filled with packets of Orbit! So good! Then the last present was unbelievably good. It was a facecloth embroidered with the words ‘Jamie – friends forever love Cathy’. There was a little present that she had bought both me and Alistair so that must be it.

Well here I am in the middle of Christmas Day. Everything was really good until some ‘old’ family friends called Mary and Les turned up and Mary’s 163 year old mother. It’s so shit. I ducked out by saying I was going to the toilet. I couldn’t take it downstairs any longer. I rang Alistair earlier on, his Christmas seemed pretty normal, his mum talked to me for a bit. I think that she really likes me. Last night when I saw her I thanked her for doing all the washing up and clearing away on Friday. She seemed really pleased that I did. When they played the trick on Alistair (pretending that the dog had eaten our turkey on Friday) and he rang to tell me, I was really cool and was like – oh we can easily get another. His mum said that she thought I was a really good friend because I didn’t get mad.

            Anyway Mary and Mary’s mother and Les have come and totally ruined my Christmas Day. They’ve also upset Auntie C and Uncle R because they talked about Pudding, that’s Auntie C and Uncle R’s cat which got run over. I know they didn’t mean to do it but I wish they’d piss off back to where they came from. Hopefully they’ll go after Brookside and then Christmas Day will start again.

            I rang Cathy. I didn’t really get chance to talk to her. She said that they were leaving for Long Ashes in about half an hour. She’s going to ring me later when they get there. She sounded really upset because she doesn’t want to go. I wish she wasn’t going too. So does Alistair. We’re not going to see each other for ages. I won’t see Alistair until Wednesday at the earliest. Sometimes I feel that it is dangerous because we are all such good friends. That may sound silly but I think that we all get depressed when we’re not together. It’s because when we are together we are all so happy that when we are apart things feel really low. I really can’t wait until New Year’s Eve because it will be so good I’m sure. We’re all going to get totally rat arsed I bet. God that will be so good. I wish we could all go away somewhere for a long time with nobody else around, it would be so cool. We should definitely go on holiday sometime. I’d love that.

(11.00pm) Well Christmas Day was pretty shit. I mean can you believe it Mary and Les didn’t leave until 10.20pm when Nana and Grandad left. It turns out that the only reason why Mum invited them is because she wants Nana to be friends with Mary again. I mean for fucks sake.

            Cathy managed to ring me back. It was really nice. She didn’t talk much before because she was so upset that she to go to Long Ashes. Luckily she can come up tomorrow morning for a while. Her dad has to come in to Pickersgill you see. Mum seemed to think it was some big problem that Cathy came – because she wants to tidy up. We wouldn’t be in the way at all but Mum always has to find a problem in everything. I wish Alistair could come tomorrow too but Mum would go ape shit. I’m looking forward to seeing Cathy, we always seem to have a lot to talk about and I feel like I haven’t spoken to her for ages. I’m really looking forward to seeing her.

            I thought Christmas was going to be shit this year. It started off well but as soon as Mary etc. came it plummeted downhill. Let’s hope it rises tomorrow. I suppose today wasn’t all bad but it could have been a million times better. For a start it could have been at the Love Parade, or Love Shack, with Cathy and Alistair.

Christmas Present List 1989

Mum & Dad: Calculator, Madonna book, Malcolm McLaren tape, Madonna calendar, couple of singles, £40

Uncle R/Auntie C: £25

Nana & Grandad: £25, shower gel

Sean: ‘Sign of the Times’ video

Nikki & Mazz: £5 record token

Auntie Tina: £10

Auntie Joan: £5

Katie: ‘Cherish’ picture disc, chocolate digestives

Auntie Dorothy: £5

Auntie Cis: £5

Alistair: Patchouli flask, photo albums

Cathy: Incense holder, strong hold box, 30 Orbits, flannel

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

The latest diaries I’ve read are the Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor. Although brilliant, they’re not strictly diaries, more daily reflections, as I’ve pointed out in my review:

Adam Kay was a Junior Doctor who spent 6½ years working in NHS hospitals in the UK, becoming a Senior Registrar, before quitting to become a television comedy writer and script-editor (Mrs Brown’s Boys, Grandma’s House, Mitchell and Webb…) His ‘Secret Diaries’ are the result of his reflective practice, where he would write down ‘anything remotely interesting that happened that day’. The best of these entries have been collected into this book.

Despite the book’s subtitle they don’t read so much as diaries, rather a collection of anecdotes. There are no mundane, everyday happenings and you don’t get to know much about Adam – other than when he looks back on each stage of his medical career by way of introducing the daily reflections from each position he held. However the stories he shares are laugh-out-loud funny and also deeply moving.

You won’t read Adam’s diary to get to know him, you’ll read it to understand more about what NHS hospitals are actually like, and the politics that surround them, more about the state of human nature and the ridiculousness of people. You’ll get an insight into a job that, unless you’ve actually done it, you could never understand; a job that is interesting enough to write about everyday and interesting enough for others to want to read about it. That’s what makes these diaries special, and the fact that Adam is a brilliantly funny writer, with a dry sense of humour, and a wonderful turn of phrase.

NrnIrnGirl1981 is back!

A few months ago you may remember meeting Bronagh McAtasney, who had kept a diary throughout 1981, capturing ups and downs in the charts, her relationships with boys and the Troubles.

She’s back tweeting daily from her account @NrnIrnGirl1981 and has done a couple of fabulous radio interviews! You can hear her talking about what prompted her to set up the Twitter account, what she thinks about the diaries when she looks back on them and what sort of reaction she’s had to sharing her teenage self online.

Click below for the the Niall Boylan Show from 9th January 2019

niall boylan

Click below for the Ryan Tubridy show from 8th January 2018

ryan t

The Twitter account has just re-started so you can follow it from the beginning here and if you want to know what Bronagh said when we spoke with her in October 2017 you can find the interview here. It’s great to have her back!



My 80s Diary trilogy is complete

For Christmas 1983, when I was 10, my Nana bought me a tiny Grange Hill diary with a space measuring approximately 1″ by 3″ for each day. I started writing it that day and pretty much kept going for three years…

Diary first ever

I’ve been tweeting daily extracts since December 2015 and have discovered other people who’ve done the same. Something I really wished was that their whole diary was available to read, so that’s what I’ve done with mine. Typed, edited for spelling an grammar, and made into books you can get them from Amazon via my author page in paper back or kindle.


Sometimes though, people want that something a little more special and so, if you like, you can get personally signed copies directly from me. The links below will take you to PayPal where you can complete payment. Then I’ll just pop one in the post to you! What could be easier?

1984, 1985 or 1986

1984, 1985 or 1986

Rest of the World
1984, 1985 or 1986

1984  Book 1985 (Actual)  Book 1986 (Actual)



Thank you!