In 2004, the respected and radical think tank The New Economics Foundation devised a new index of national economic, social and environmental well being called the Measure of Domestic Progress (MDP). By this measure the best year in Britain since 1950 turned out to be 1976-the year of the IMF crisis, Harold Wilson’s resignation and the fury and disillusionment of the Sex Pistols and Punk Rock. What, the reader may ask, had 1976 to offer apart from the glorious hot summer? Well, for one the part finished diary of Gary Neil Wernham.
When I began this project I had no idea how absorbing and enjoyable it would be to record my 1976 diary in this format. I found it very interesting to recall some of those memories and even more remarkable that I could actually remember most of them after thirty five years. The diary is not complete and ends on Tuesday, 10th August 1976, a total of 223 days in my life in 1976 as a 15/16 year old teenager. I don’t know if the text is that of a typical teenager because I don’t know what a typical teenager is, moreover, it would be wrong to stereotype teenagers.
The very nature of a diary means that thoughts were recorded as events, behaviour and emotions unfolded at the time and are written verbatim. The only change to the original text are with regards to grammar and the spelling, this is in order that the reader may be able to follow the work in a more fluent manner and in a way that is easier to understand.
Because this is a diary, it was written at the time and at no point are there any exaggerations, lies or anything that may be misleading, it is written with an honest, if naive hand due to the tender age of it’s author. It can be described as funny, a little sad in parts and reflects my thoughts at the time, but most of all it is an honest document that I hope above all will entertain and amuse. For example, the entry for 25th February, reads as follows, Anthony told Catherine I’m drawing a pair of socks like hers in art, Sutch and Joanne were there laughing their heads off, just because I told Anthony I like her socks. similarly, an entry for the day before reads, Spinksy said Alison Platt had Gaz written on her hand, don‘t like her though she looks like a bitch. These diary entries reflect the way I was thinking and behaving at the time and are an historical document that is to be enjoyed by anybody who cares to read it.
Gary Neil Wernham.(August 2011)