Sunday, May 27, 2007


Yesterday, the GrAUniAD Weekend magazine published the definitive critical overview of every decade since the 1950's, with contributions from distinguished writers who came of age during each decade.

If you didn't read it, don't worry. I've precised every thoughtful and original insight here. None of which have ever been written about before, ever. Honestly. No, really.

THE 1950'S

Tommy Steele - wild man of the coffee houses

Decade began with shadow of postwar austerity hanging over Britain like giant albatross. Rationing until mid '50s. Sir Edmund Hillary climbs Everest. Roger Bannister runs four minute mile. Coronation ushers in exciting REAL 1950's and attracts millions to watch television for first time. Young people cast aside shackles of postwar austerity by slashing seats at West Bromwich Trocadero during performance of Little White Bull by Tommy Steele. Hallellujah!!! Rock And Roll is born!!!

THE 1960'S


Space race begins. Cold War. Bay Of Pigs. The Quarrymen play at Herr Flick's Knocking Shop And Massage Parlour, The High Strasse, Hamburg. Social revolution! Mary Quant. Skirt hemlines rise. Twiggy. Carnaby Street. Flower children. The Pill! Women are free at last to be shagged by sweaty hippies at festivals. Patrick Moore takes acid live on television and really sees the stars at night. Vietnam. Student protests. Matt Monro records song about the flower children and how we should all get hip to the exciting young generation because they've got something to say. First man on moon.

THE 1970'S


Jackie magazine. Big platform shoes. Hostess trolleys. Black Forest gateau. Swingers parties. Endless strikes. Power cuts. Mike Yarwood. More strikes. OPEC. Sheikh Yamani. More strikes. People reduced to setting fire to disgusting Brutus brushed denim elephant flares as way of keeping warm. Rubbish piles up on streets. Angry young new wave sounds of The Boomtown Rats, Pleaser, Rachel Sweet, Tonight and The Rich Kids kick down the doors of the establishment and stop rubbish piling up on the streets.

THE 1980'S


M. Thatcher's Thousand Year Reich. Arrival of the yuppie. Unemployment levels rise and rise. Rioting on inner city streets. Falklands War. Boys From The Black Stuff. Boy George. Duran fucking Duran. Miami Vice. Dallas. Shoulder pads. Mobile phones. City boys. Stock market crash. Matt black furnishings. Michael Fish sez "some bint reckons there's a hurricane on the way! Silly moo!". Danny Rampling, Paul Oakenfold and that other bloke invent "Acid Drop" music. Berlin Wall comes down.

THE 1990'S

Top one, nice one, get sauteed

Young folk are all "on one", standing around in fields and waving their arms about to the exciting "rave" sounds of Jesus Jones and Candy Flip. New age of former yuppies being nice to each other and discovering healing powers of crystal. Thatcher booted out at last. Traffic Cones Hotline. Edwina Currie has torrid affair with "big blue man in big blue y-fronts" John Major. This Life. Friends. Rise of New Labour coincides with rise of Britpop, therefore ensuring that John Harris (that bloke who looks like a woman) can go on and on about the era forever. Bootleg trousers. Rachel off of Friends haircuts. People getting wooden flooring (indoors) and decking (outdoors) after watching makeover shows.

There you have it. I'm thinking of flogging this "retro" idea to some papers and television programmes. After all, it's never been done before and I think I could be on to an earner!!

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ah, the seventies. the decade that taste forgot. they should just show "abigail's party" in schools to neatly sum up the entire awful, brown-hued period.

We will surely see you on one of those 'I love the 70s/80s/90s' clip shows v soon on the strength of this, Betty...

Surly Girl, have you read the Rotter's Club? It brings it all back in startling & vivid detail. (The follow-up The Closed Circle was not so good on the 2000s though...)
Brilliant summary!

I though Tommy Steele was the inspiration for post war architectural triumph "Little White Bullring"?

Is the picture the IMF setting fire to overseas aid millions?
You missed out 'No Doctor Who' on the 90's bit.....

Not that I'm pedantic mind....
Surly Girl - I'm inspired to go over to watch Demis Roussos on YouTube in a few minutes now. You think I'm joking?

Annie - I'm a bottomless well of inane observation, so why shouldn't I be as famous as, er, Paul Ross?

Sky Plus managed to lose our recording of the tv adaptation of The Rotter's Club - twice!

Murph - Tommy Steele was also the inspiration for Sheffield's postwar industrial success. No stains on his reputation, boom boom.

Doppelganger - how oould I have forgotten? Mind you, so did the Guardian - best blame them ...
.....or, put another way:
1. Dad got the horn.
2. Nappy rash and Tinger and Tucker.
3. Puberty, Scooby Doo and the discovery of beer.
4. College, Channel 4, unemployment, more beer and spiritual death.
5. Must have been on holiday because I don't remember them - and beer.
6. My lobster died! Pass the beer.
Nicely summarised Bettster. Did you know that the 70's are the most nostalgically referred to age? I stayed in bed reading the weekend Guardian until 11:30 on Sat morning. First lay in for years and I chose to spend it reading rather than catching up on sleep. Oh well.
I will shortly die of deja vu. And it's all your fault.

Mind you, someone missed Morecombe and Wise yah-boo caught you out there didn't I?
I must stop this skim reading - I thought you said 'Coronation Street attracts millions to television for the first time'.

That's daft cos we all know it was the Stanley Matthews cup final when my dad was the only Bolton Wanderers fan in the village.

Of course, for some of us every decade was wall-to-wall austerity.

Now, where's that Marguerite Patten cook book?
What would the supplements do without retro?
Am I the only one who is depressed that the 90s are already retro? Seems like yesterday etc etc
Reg - or perhaps it could be summed up as "life's hard, then you die". Or "birth, school, work, death".

RoMo - yeah, why did I end up using up valuable time reading all that stuff? What has it added to my life apart from telling me stuff I already know? To make things worse, I did a blog post about it. Oh dear.

Mark - in the Guardian Weekend I found out that Morecambe And Wise were at a Conservative Party rally in the mid '80's. Really depressed me, that did.

Kaz - skim reading? Note to self - "must stop writing long, rambling posts. Brevity is the soul of wit". I can remember my parents mentioning seeing that final on the telly, but I think they would've had to travel a bit to find anyone with a television set!

Maximum Bob - newspaper supplements and tv programmes tend not to mention austerity, or only in passing anyway. I suppose it's presumed that poor people can't afford to buy newspapers or televisions so what's the point in trying to relate to them!

Realdoc - when you get to about 35 all the decades tend to blur into one another and years go by at lightening speed. I can't come to terms with the fact that we're not in the '90's any more.
I'd like to see decades combined, for example rubbish piling up on the streets with miniskirts and brick sized mobile phones. With rationing. Oh yes, rationing.
if we'd all just agree never to mention the Seventies maybe they'd finally fade completely out of general remembrance and die, like the year 435 did. or 645 or whatever.
Billy - funny thing is, that's exactly how things are in Bexleyheath today. When will there be an end to rationing, eh?

FN - a good idea, but if I make a vow never to mention the seventies again, I'll have to delete about eighty per cent of my blog and will be bereft of ideas for future posts ... which may be a good thing.
Phew, Phew, Barley Magrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, and Grub.

Who needs social historians when Betty's in the room.
ahh the 1970's . . .I yearned for an afghan coat and learned to make a prawn cocktail in domestic science.
Garfer - hmm, I wonder if the exposure to Trumpton at an early age led to so many middle aged women having a thing for firemen?

Ziggi - didn't Afghan coats smell of death? Being the opposite of the hippy persuasion, they weren't really my sort of thing. As for domestic science, one of my major triumphs was getting a whole term off from having to bake cakes because I had chiropodist appointments!
After reading that, Billy & I ended up looking at retro clothing on Portobello Road.
Llewtrah - the all pervading influence of the Grauniad! No chance of doing the same here, unless sifting through racks of '90's frocks from Next in the British Heart Foundation shop is your thing. Not retro enough to be kitsch yet.
Tommy Steele is one of the things I had to "explain" to the American Husband. Not easy.
Goodness - I've suddenly got a hankering to rustle up a grapefruit and tinned salmon souffle ring with glace cherry garnish from my Fanny and Johnny Cookbook (publ. Pan Books 1969)
I think you should sell the idea. It would be fun.
The thing I remember from the seventies is sitting out on the deck at my parents' house trying to get a suntan on my dead fish underbelly white body. I was listening to that song "Afternoon Delight." You know, I was 41 years old before one of my friends explained to me how overtly sexual that song is? I can really be very thick sometimes!
Arabella - he was a whirling dervish of energy Tommy, wasn't he? That's one thing the Americans can't take away from us - we had Tommy Steele and they didn't!

Rockmother - yummers! I'm trying to get my doughnuts to go like Fanny's, har har. Mind you, in what way would doughnuts ever resemble Fanny's ... unless she had a yeast infection?

Cheesemeister - oh yes, I remember that one. "Sky rockets in flight". That was a big radio hit in the same era that the likes of the Sex Pistols were being banned from getting airplay because they were saying unflattering things about the Queen. Ho hum.
After the next instalment (Pink Floyd and all that) Billy switched on his lava lamp :)
Llewtrah - what, the Seven Ages Of Rock thing? The next ones's punk so make sure he doesn't start gobbing everywhere or getting into fights with rockers.
My favorite Decade is the one that I am presently decaying in. Why? Quite simply because I am so happy to be here! Woohoo!

Nothing beat the 70s for 'good' decadence because I was in high school and old enough to enjoy it.
Luckily no gobbing after the punk episode. No impromptu piercings either. Gach! Americans couldn't even do punk properly could they?
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