Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More About Alison Trowsdale And BBC Misinformation Regarding Brighton Nudist Beach...

The saga of "Year You Were Born" birthday cards listing the opening of Brighton Nudist Beach as 1979 due to the BBC's unclear information on the subject, continues. A new range of such cards came to my attention today: "1979: Brighton introduces Britain's first nudist beach", read the card for that year.

When contacted, the card company, as always, cited their source of information as the BBC's "On This Day" site. So, thank you to the horribly arrogant Alison Trowsdale for allowing this nonsense to continue.

In point of fact, Brighton Nudist Beach was "introduced" on 1st April 1980. It's simple to record, isn't it? Why can't the BBC simply commemorate the Beach's opening date - 1st April 1980 in it's "On This Day" section, rather than clouding the issue and confusing web-skimming researchers?

Read the background story to Alison Trowsdale, the BBC and On This Day Versus The Licence Payers (from March this year)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alison Trowsdale: BBC Nonsense: Skewed Information On Brighton Nudist Beach

It's ridiculous to see how the BBC with its flawed "On This Day Section" is still misleading web surfers. "Brighton Bares All" it declares on 9 August 1979. But that was only the day the beach was given the green light by the local council. It opened on 1 April 1980. "Brighton Bares All" is highly misleading - baring anything naughty on Brighton beach in 1979 was an offence!

I entered into long and wearisome correspondence with the BBC on this subject - surely it's far more usual to commemorate the opening date of any particular institution? But the BBC adores hyping the 1970s and hates the 1980s.

The BBC does not belong to the public. It is an arrogant, PC, biased organisation, with a bizarre 1970s fixation. And "journalists" like Alison Trowsdale should not be salaried by our licence fees, which we are FORCED to pay. After my correspondence with Ms Trowsdale, who was responsible for the article, she IGNORED me! Brighton was still "baring all" in 1979, according to her headline, when in fact it bared NOTHING!

And so it remains.

The BBC is being run by a clique.

And clear and accurate reporting matters not.

Apparently, Ms Trowsdale and a team of journalists trawled the BBC archives for news footage for their "ON THIS DAY" on-line features, found the April 1st Brighton Nudist Beach opening footage from 1980, but then decided to backdate it to the decision to give the beach the go-ahead the previous August because it fitted in better with Ms Trowsdale's bizarre view of the free-loving, free living '70s. She was absolutely loath to allow its opening in 1980 to take the headline. The reality simply did not agree with her view on how the 1980s should be represented.

Confusingly though, the news coverage accompanying the feature is not from 1979. It's not from the council meeting which made the decision. It's from the 1 April 1980 - the beach's opening day.

And so, from then on, various "Year You Were Born" birthday card manufacturers, TV and radio shows and web sites have been echoing the BBC - and Alison Trowsdale's - inaccurate information.

They go to "ON THIS DAY", they see a headline entitled "1979: BRIGHTON BARES ALL", they don't bother to read the small print blurb, they look at the beach's opening footage on the same page and they wrongly assume that it opened in 1979.

I really resent contributing to the salaries of the BBC's "journalistic staff" at times like this.

But I don't have a choice.

And yet what arrogant, inaccurate so-and-so's many of them are!

Rumour has it that the BBC is about to build a new complex to house its journalists' self importance. Complete with hi-tec Ego Massage. May I suggest "The Alison Trowsdale Brighton Bares All Wing" as the name?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

House Music Began In The Early 1980s...

History is continually being rewritten with a '70s slant and the latest item to be transformed is House music. Now, I don't particularly like House music, I prefer Disco, but the fact is that House music began to come into being in the early 1980s. It doesn't matter if punters at Frankie Knuckles's club, The Warehouse, were asking for the latest "house" records at their local record purveyor's shop, they were talking about Disco records played at The Warehouse.

House music, of course, was heavily influenced by Disco, as Disco was heavily influenced by soul, pop and funk and so on, but the House Music era, and the House music sound, began in the early 1980s, not in the late 1970s as online 70s fantasists are trying to make out.

Fact is fact.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

RetroWow - My Review

RetroWow is an interesting site, with some terrific insights. But, in my opinion, it falls down by occasionally relying on secondhand research and voicing highly subjective opinions.

We all know that the recent '70s revival was based on a heap of inaccuracies. '70s rewriting appears to have begun in the mid-1990s, and then to have blossomed ridiculously with the BBC's I Love The 1970s. Sadly, RetroWow appears to echo these errors at times. Not always though. There are times when RetroWow bucks the trend and gets something right, despite mass inaccurate reporting of the subject elsewhere. Take the space hopper - 1971 according to the BBC (later echoed by the Toy Retailers). 1968 and 1969 according to toy shop ads in UK newspaper archives. Refreshingly, RetroWow gets this fact right - placing the hopper, quite rightly, in 1968!

But then...

Flared trousers - 1970s, according to the BBC, Old Uncle Tom Cobbley and all. 1970s according to RetroWow. At least as early as 1969 according to fashion shop ads in UK newspaper archives.

Cambridge Evening News, 1969.

Cambridge Evening News, 1969.

And then there's the 1980s. Of course, the 1980s get a bad press - the scapegoat decade for all known ills. RetroWow does quite well in avoiding the instinctive priggish stance of '80s haters, but falls down when it comes to 1980s decor and fashion. There is absolutely no doubt that the 1980s plundered the past for fashion inspiration, just as the 1970s did and, to some degree, the 1960s. Even the original 1950s Teddy Boys were thus named for wearing Edwardian style suits.

But RetroWow mistakenly negates all 1980s fashion as past plundering (following the lead of the notoriously inaccurate Wikipedia?). But what about the shell suits? The bulldog hair grips? The strange lycra outfits? The distinctive colour schemes and patterns? The horrendously large shoulder pads? The jelly shoes? The leggings, pixie boots and ra ra skirts combinations? The deelyboppers? The bizarre hairstyles? Doorknocker earrings? The leg warmers fad? I could go on.

I really cannot believe that the 1980s were any more "retro" than the 1970s.

RetroWow slips up on shoulder pads. Originating in the 1940s, the massive beasts of the 1980s did not appear until midway through that decade. Study any '80s era American soap (Dallas in 1978/1979 had no evident pads and exhibited a curiously late 1960s flavour in fashion and decor - Lucy's orange flares being a case in point) and watch the pads appear and grow, reaching hideous proportions circa 1985. These are the fondly remembered (or otherwise) shoulder pads of the 1980s.

As far as we can see, the RetroWow shoulder pad misinformation originated with the good folk at Dallas, eager to claim credit for all things 1980s. But really it was Dynasty which led the '80s "pump up the shoulder pads" movement - as anybody studying early Dallas/Dynasty seasons would quickly discover.

RetroWow also claims that all '80s interior decorating was retro - but for those of us that remember the black ash/futuristic schemes, this seems absurd. Retro was highly prevalent. This trend first appeared around the late 1960s, as a desire to return to something that was not plastic and formica kicked in, and flourished in the Laura Ashley '70s.

But in the 1980s, retro interiors were not the whole story, far from it.

RetroWow also illogically states that the 1982 PhoenixPhone "screams 1970s"! What?! Its design echoed the 1960s trimphone which still seemed very modern and cutting edge even by the early 1980s. RetroWow is guilty of '70s hype. It is not good enough to say that Life On Mars used a 1982 Phoenix Phone so it must "Scream 1970s" - we all know the modern agenda to colour up the 1970s. Those of us there in the 1980s remember the new phone models released when BT was formed and began to sell phones for the very first time, and the explosion in colourful and interesting models then available. This is well reflected in TV series like Howards' Way.

UPDATE: One of the things which first interested me in RetroWow was the statement:

"Flares were derived from the hippy fashion for loon pants of the late 60s. ....."

Not accurate, of course. Flares were derived from the hippy fashion for flares in the late 60s.

But RetroWow has now updated its information.

Excellent. I'm looking forward to further developments.

The site is definitely worth a visit.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life On Mars And Ashes To Ashes: Philip Glenister - Politically Correct Twit Who Doesn't Know His 70s From His '80s...'

Being a good middle class boy of a certain age and background, Philip Glenister, of Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, abhors the 1980s - his version of them - and adores the 1970s - which he apparently pretends were the 1960s.

He appears to be the type who imagines that any kind words about the 1980s will immediately label him a selfish, yuppie-type git. Perish the thought, Philip, dear, nobody could be more giving than you, I'm sure.

But when he decides to insult the 1980s, Mr G should at least get his facts straight. In this week's Radio Times, he burbles about the '80s being all brown and hessian in colour. No, dear, that was the '70s, as we all know.

The '80s were more nauseating neons and pastels.

What a wally Mr Glenister seems. He also tells us that his character, Gene Hunt, is very much a "seventies copper". Wrong again, dear. He's a parody of a '70s TV copper. That is all.

I shan't watch Ashes To Ashes 2, which moves to what is supposedly 1982 this season. The pop culture errors in the last series - and in Life On Mars - put me right off.

And Mr Glenister's priggish posturings don't endear me either.

Who needs it when you can watch real 1980s cop dramas The Gentle Touch and Juliet Bravo on DVD? And who needs Life On Mars when you can watch The Sweeney?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The British Film Institute (BFI) Screenonline Site - More 1970s Untruths!

I looked at the BFI Screen Online site with horror. For instance, did you know that Angels, the nursing saga of the mid 1970s to early 1980s, completed the evolution of British hospital soap? Yep, the daring political grittiness of Casualty counts for nothing. Angels was the same as Casualty, according to Anthony Clark of the BFI. This is despite TV critic Hilary Kingsley describing Casualty as being "aggressively different to Angels" and also as being akin to American 1980s hospital soap St Elsewhere. Casualty had us gasping. But Angels often had us yawning.

Angels started out as a boring but worthy series about fictional student nurses in 1975 - before developing into a slightly grittier soap opera format from 1979-1983. Angels, according to Anthony Clark, was when medical soap went "modern".

This statement does the 1980s Casualty era a grave injustice. Casualty pushed the penny much, much further.

Anthony Clark clearly does not know his subject.

Other clonkers abound. The 1980s drama Edge Of Darkness, inspired by the Thatcher/Reagan/Greenham Common/Nuclear State era of the early-to-mid 1980s, according to the show's author on the Magnox: The Secrets Of Edge Of Darkness documentary, was taking shape before Thatcher and Reagan came to power according to the BFI. Ridiculous!!


Oh, but I can't read any more! The BFI claims its Screen Online guide is "definitive" - but it seems they must have got some of their information and opinions from the likes of Wikipedia. The BFI should hang its head in shame!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Proof That The Spacehopper Was Being Distributed By Mettoy In The UK In The Late 1960s...

An advertisement from the "Cambridge Evening News", England, November 1969.

Now, you already know what I think of the BBC's 1970s rewriting exercises. And particularly regarding things like the spacehopper - released in the UK around 1968, but according to the Beeb in "1971":

Space Hoppers - also known as Hoppity Hops, Hop Ball, and Kangaroo Balls - bounced into the UK during the Summer of ’71 and served absolutely no useful purpose whatsoever.

Below is pictured some details from a British Toy Fair brochure from January 1969 - and amongst other jolly things attending was the SPACEHOPPER!

The British Toy Fair At Brighton, 26-30 January 1969 - and (left) a page from the brochure. Mettoy was the original Space hopper distributor. Below the word "Mettoy" on the brochure page, to the left, you'll see that the spacehopper itself was present at the show.

Meanwhile, back in our own world of pathetic 70s hype, the BBC's lies about the spacehopper have infected the Toy Retailers Association and just about everything else.

And so we exalt in the radiant light of another (false) 70s-debuting object.

Why don't I simply tell the Beeb? I've tried. I even tried to get a researcher to come and look through my local newspaper archive at some of the evidence. But nobody can be bothered. And meanwhile our licence fee goes towards the BBC leaving false information mothballed online.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Philip Glenister - "Shut Up You 70s Hyping Twit!"

Or would Jack Regan have said "shart up!" No matter. Stood in WH Smith's in Cambridge yesterday, I had the grave misfortune to riffle through Things Ain't What They Used To Be - a book by Philip Glenister - apparently if you're going on a nostalgia trip you couldn't ask for a better guide.

Well, perhaps not if he was writing about the 1990s or something, but Mr Glenister's knowledge of the '70s and '80s is (completely in tune with the production team on Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes) somewhat muddled - and he has, you guessed it, an alarming tendency to hype the '70s. They become GASP - almost 60s! Jason King - "a dandy for the 1970s" says Mr G - but didn't he originate in the 1960s series Department S? Were we all using fancy burbling coffee machines in the UK in the 1950s? No. But Mr Glenister infers that we were.

Yes, it's good to get steamed up about Thatcher - but why don't you make your voice known in modern day politics, Mr Glenister? After all, New Labour is far from Old Labour, far from Socialist - what about the scandal of nursing and care staff forced to sign secrecy clauses? If they speak up about the HUGE cutbacks imposed by UK Government organisations like Supporting People and the Primary Care Trusts, they get the sack. What about looking into something like that, which is so typical of the sleight of hand politics happening under New Labour?

But no, Mr Glenister, that's too much like hard work, isn't it? Finding out what's going on today and going into battle? Better to sound off about the 1980s, eh? And if the governing party has "Labour" in its title, then all's well - regardless of the fact that the party bears no resemblance to Old Labour and are creating a country which make the 1980s look like happy valley?

Sadly Mr Glenister's book is a load of cobblers. He rants on politically at times like it's 1982 or 1984 and at other times doesn't know 1967 from 1973 or 1978 from 1983.

His politics are out of touch, lost in the '80s, dead and gone left wing. Completely irrelevant to the modern day. And pop culturally he seems to believe "I Love The 1970s", which hugely raided the 1960s and 1980s. And what about Life On Mars itself, set in 1973, and featuring a two-tone red trimphone which was not available until 1982? Ridiculous. More here.

Buy the book if you're a Glenister fan. But remember it's a personal view and if it's an accurate and objective view of the '70s and '80s you want, avoid.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Matthew Lee At Zeta Minor - 70s Hyper...

Here's some 1970s hyping by Matthew Lee at Zeta Minor, concerning the late actor Maurice Colbourne of Howards' Way:

However, whilst he was entirely fulfilled in his ambitions, it would prove to be his television work during the 1970s which would elevate his presence in the public's mind.

Colbourne soon secured top billing in two series of Philip Martin's gritty BBC Television serial, Gangsters, which spawned from a Play For Today. Such was the impact this series made on British television that Colbourne enjoyed a regular stream of work thereafter, and whilst not in an entirely leading capacity, he enjoyed appearances in Van Der Valk (Everybody Does It), Return of The Saint (Duel in Venice), The Day of The Triffids and Johnny Jarvis, to name three stand-out productions, before landing the role of Tom Howard.

Note that two of the series mentioned - The Day of The Triffids (1981) and Johnny Jarvis (1983) are 1980s series, not 1970s. And as a regular TV viewer in the 1970s and 1980s I can honestly say it was the splendid Howards' Way series which "elevated his (Mr Colbourne's) presence" in my mind. In fact I adored the show.

Basically, Matthew Lee, it's just another totally unneccessary mention of the 1970s, isn't it, dear? Does writing those digits comfort you in some way?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What's It All About, Alfie?

Yes, I know Alfie was actually a 60s film - but that wouldn't bother a lot of "70s" researchers...

Hi, folks! My name is Maria Mitchell. I'm 50 years old, and live in Cambridgeshire, England.

What's this 'ere blog about, then?

Basically, over the last ten years or so, I've been hearing youngsters (including my own children) spouting rather a lot of hot air about a certain decade sandwiched between the 1960s and 1980s - yes, you know the one!

Fuelled by pop culture shows like I Love The 1970s, these youngsters live in a world of fantasy - a 70s of no tears, no trouble - with all the fads and fun of the 1967-1985 era crammed in.

I find this slightly worrying. In my day, kids were interested in politics, the current day - out there spouting opinions on anything and everything. Nowadays, youngsters live in a retro wonderland of nonsense, created by the likes of the BBC.

This blog is intended to be fun. I find 70s adoration amusing as well as worrying and the decade certainly had its funny side, but it's mainly designed to prick the 70s bubble and, hopefully, get youngsters and the youngsters of the 70s to think a little about what that decade was REALLY like and perhaps take a look at how things are now.

Friday, January 18, 2008

CORRIEBLOG - More 70's Nonsense

Corrieblog is fine, but like so many sites guilty of 70s hyping trash. For instance, it states that the 1970s were the "heyday" of slow burning character development. Didn't that happen in the '80s, too (Audrey, Alma?) didn't it happen in the 90s (Raquel?).

The development of Ivy and Vera as characters was not planned!

Corrieblog stop it. The Street was in serious trouble for over half the 70s, with the ratings dropping disasterously and the Street limping along on a diet of romantic Barbara Cartland style twaddle or thoroughly miserable, unwatchable storylines. It wasn't until the arrival of Bill Podmore in 1976 that things began to pick up and the Street began to regain some of its magic, so tragically lost after the 60s.

I'll wager the majority of Corrieblog writers don't even remember the 70s - or were just little kids at the time!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Shake N Vac Ad Debut - 1980, NOT 1979!

At last I have discovered the truth about the lovely Jenny Logan Shake N Vac TV ad launch year. For 70s hypists, it's bad news... the ad was first broadcast in 1980. The product was on sale in 1979, but the ITV strike struck, delaying the advertising launch until 1980. The World Advertising Center has all the facts -

Shake n' Vac: A New Product Launch

Hilary Rose, Mike Stefan and Carol Reay, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, IPA Effectiveness Awards, 1980

Launch of a new powder carpet and room freshener. Sold in 1979, but advertising delayed to 1980 by ITV strike. TV only used. Results: consistent sales growth (Nielsen Food Index); sales growth linked to advertising; awareness, brand recall, levels of trial, all satisfactory. Regional variations on ad weight relate positively to sales and share (Nielsen). Contribution to profit and overheads in first year claimed, though not substantiated.

And so yet another thing we apparently enjoyed in the 1970s is revealed to have first met our gaze in another decade...

The funny thing is, at least SOME of the pop culture researchers (including those from ITV, Channel Four and the Daily Telegraph) who have researched the Shake N' Vac ad MUST have become aware of the true facts about its debut year. So why didn't they reveal them? Was the justification simply more 70s hype?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ace of Wands: Network DVD Talking Rot About The 70s...

"As quintessentially 70s as Spangles, the Chopper bike and massive flares," say Network DVD about Ace of Wands. Well, Spangles actually pre-date the 70s by several decades, the Chopper Bike was released in America in 1968, Britain in 1969, and massive flares were all the go in the late 1960s "Summer of Love" era.

Our old friend Andrew Pixley was involved in writing a booklet to accompany the DVD. Hmm. Wonder if he wrote the above blurb as well?

So, what could really be thought of as "quintessentially 70s"? How about strikes and power cuts, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s nostalgia, and Punk?

Take a look at some real 1960s nostalgia here and some real 1970s nostalgia here.

UPDATE - 10/10/2007:

Andrew Pixley has been in touch and did NOT write the blurb for the Ace of Wands DVD on the Network site. Thanks for that, Andrew. I wasn't sure anyway, but apologies for dragging your name in!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ant And Dec And Their 1980s Childhoods - Transferred To The 1970s By Bryan Appleyard, Times Online

One of the strangest and most obvious 70s-hyping articles I have ever seen has just fallen into my delighted mits. It concerns the two young TV celebrities Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, Ant and Dec to their audience.

Both these lads were born in late 1975 but, according to Bryan Appleyard, Times writer, they were watching TV as soon as they were born and had a 1970s childhood watching "1970s heroes" like Bruce Forsyth on The Generation Game (actually, Brucie had been a TV favourite since the 1960s) and Terry Wogan (who was far more on screen in the 1980s).

The Generation Game with Mr Forsyth as host ended in 1977. When Ant and Dec were two years old.

Quote Mr Appleyard:

In their 1970s childhoods, they watched the smart funny guys in suits – Bruce Forsyth, Des O’Connor, Terry Wogan and, of course, Morecambe and Wise. These were the old MC types, still linked to the music hall rather than rock’n’roll. And those were the days of three channels, when the big shows were national events with colossal ratings. Above all, there was the Saturday-night ritual of the big show like Forsyth’s The Generation Game when the family gathered round, just as they did the next day for roast dinner. These were the long-forgotten days of TV as socially cohesive good.

Surely, the days of multi-channel TV really started in 1989 when British Sky Broadcasting began? But Mr Appleyard hasn't finished yet:

Simple really. What you see is what you get, and what you get is Ant and Dec. But actually, there is something more. There is the 1970s. It’s no accident that Life on Mars, the greatest British TV drama series for some years, was nostalgic for the tough certainties of that decade. It was the last gasp of an old conception of modernity before our own multi-channelled, hyper-connected, broadbanded, globalised, virtualised, terrorist-infested reality took over.

In the 1970s people could still think they were “a people” and gather round their televisions on Saturday night and feel everybody else was watching the big show. It was that moment of popular belonging that produced Ant and Dec. And it is nostalgia for belonging that keeps them at the top. Ant and Dec are – is – the two-in-one, the bringing together.

No terrorism? In the 1970s? Please, what an ignorant and tasteless comment! And people were gathered around their sets not having much choice of what to watch in the 1950s, 1960s and 1980s, too. Life certainly didn't rev into modern day overdrive in the 1980s.

And is the current day really so dreadful?

But Mr Appleyard still hasn't finished:

But television introduced them to new possibilities. Their parents’ generation may have felt the same about cinema, but the big difference was the intimacy. Glamour and colour – colour TV began on BBC2 in 1967 – really came into the living room in the 1970s. This was not, like the movies, a distant dream. This was recognisably British, usually working-class people, doing wonderful things… and being loved for it.

But surely Ant and Dec wouldn't be taking much of it in until the 1980s, and as colour was introduced in the 1960s, Mr Appleyard's desperation to hype the 70s shines through and becomes blindingly obvious. We rented a colour TV set in 1978 and I was thrilled. But I was twenty-years-old. I remember it. And I still don't number "colour" as a 70s "thing". I know it preceded the 70s. Ant and Dec were only fully into TV in the 1980s. They would surely take colour for granted?

On with Mr Appleyard's article:

But the naughtiness has to be there, it is an aspect of their legacy. When they were doing children’s shows, they had the anarchic Tiswas – the show that made Chris Tarrant – to look back on and, from 1992 on The Big Breakfast, Chris Evans was doing his brilliant deconstructions of TV convention. The new style was to be naughty, not only with the audience, but also with the crew, the cameramen, anybody who happened to pass by. We all know it’s TV, was the message, so let’s play TV. The pretences of professionalism were to be replaced by the professionalisation of play. It was taking on this tradition that made Ant and Dec different from their 1970s heroes. But they never took it as far as Evans. If Evans was John Lennon, Ant and Dec were definitely Paul McCartney, or perhaps, more accurately, Cilla Black. They were the ones who made the revolution nice – nice enough for Edna in Wigan and Beryl in Birkenhead.

Firstly Tiswas. Ant and Dec would be six or seven when it ended. In 1982. And when did their ITV region first take the show? Secondly, "1970s heroes". Lennon and McCartney? 1960s icons. Cilla Black? Ditto.

Where does Bryan Appleyard get his 70s fixation from? Perhaps it's partly from Ant and Dec - for their generation, the 70s have been hyped beyond belief. But that cannot be the whole story. The article simply doesn't make sense, it's sloppy and childish, illustrating the illogical fixation of its writer with a decade already hyped out of all recognition.

Mr Appleyard, face the truth: Ant and Dec were children in the 1980s. Yes THE 1980s - WAAAHHH!! And many of their heroes had been onscreen since the 1960s.

The 1970s did not really come into the equation when it came to what Ant and Dec viewed, and what society in general viewed, when they were children - it was merely the decade the two lads were born in.

Read the full article here -

Andy writes:

I don't always agree with you, but on this occasion you are right: the writer of this article falls over himself to go on about the 70s. And yeah, it's inappropriate. I was born in 1965. I had a 1970s childhood. My only 60s memories are vague, foggy, disjointed and few, dating back to when I was about four. Ant and Dec's memories of the 70s must be similar as they were born ten years later than me.

The article is potty. Brucie and co were not even distinctively 70s performers - they were traditional entertainers, and seemed kind of timeless in the 70s and 80s.

Good point you're making. Keep it up. A virtual 70s rewrite I can do without. Quit fawning over that grotty ten years and talking a load of cr*p, Mr Appleyard!


The boys are plainly a bit daft to allow this, but Bryan Appleyard must have an ego the size of a house to stuff his fixation down our throats at the expense of logic. Don't they have editors at the Times?




I was born in February 1975, so I'm older than Ant & Dec. I didn't really pick up on '70s telly, just pre-schooler stuff - "Bod", things like that. I also remember being sick in my uncle's slipper after mixing cheese and onion crisps with Polos. But not much else.

Tommy Wang

Apparently "John, Brighton" was born in the same year and remembers all the programmes and the repeats! And yet Brucie left the Generation Game when John was about two! Dude saw the repeats on UK Gold in the 1990s if truth be known. And Appleyard wasn't talking about repeats - he was waxing nonsense about the social cohesiveness of the 1970s. When Britain was "a people". BARF!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Let's Be Fair...

An e-mail from Dick Mansfield:

Robin Carmody spends quite a lot of time going around calling things "1970s". He is not alone. Do you think it is fair to deny him and his pals that pleasure? After all, you may have seen British newspapers ads for the space hopper from 1969, despite what the BBC and Toy Retailers Association say, know that many telly advertisements were actually very 1960s in the 1970s, and not believe that the 1980s hullabaloo should be written out of history, but Robin and co do no harm. People have been having a right old bitch about you.

Well, I've declared the subject closed, Dick. But no, I'm sorry, I find it irritating that people who do not even remember an era should go around making "definitive" comments about it and I think that 70s hype is doing a great deal of damage: youngsters living in a fantasy past are doing nothing about the present.


I can only judge by UK standards, but you're right - TV ads were pretty much sorted as far as formats go by the end of the 1960s. Although 70s/80s ads did have a few changes in style, basically the template was set before the end of the 60s.

Some do like to hold onto the 1970s though, even though they don't remember them and would probably feel very different if they did. It's become the new 1960s, but also stuffed full of 1960s and 1980s pop culture. Call EVERYTHING 70s. It's been going on for a while now.

Still, one thing about 60s/70s/80s/early 90s ads: they beat today's hollow!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Robin Carmody 2

Robin Carmody has been in touch. Apparently, he merely meant to say that the 1987 YouTube ad was "old fashioned" not 1970s. Odd.

Ignoring the great number of ad series which began in the 1950s and 60s and continued through the 1970s, Mr Carmody writes: "Very few 1970s ads have the particular style I would associate with the 1960s". Milk tray man? Beanz Meanz Heinz? Vesta Curries? No, they didn't just have the particular style, they WERE the same.

Mr Carmody then moves on to politics, believing the 1970s to be: "the time of an *ideological shoot-out* between collectivism and individualism."

I thought that was mainly in the 1980s? The time of the miners strike, Red Wedge, etc? As an old-style socialist (though I AM NOT a New Labour supporter), I certainly found the 1980s to be a challenging and invigorating time, where many battles were fought. And sadly many lost.

Anyway, here is the correspondence. And my thanks to Mr Carmody for taking the time to answer and to share his thoughts:

Mr Carmody writes:

Don't know what to make of it, really ...

I tend to regard all generalised *pro* or *anti* any era rhetoric as narrow and restrictive, and I will make no apology for regarding the 1970s as an important time in British history: the time of an *ideological shoot-out* between collectivism and individualism.

I suppose I could have said "pure Anglia". But I was merely commenting on how old-fashioned the ad was for its time (there's an even more old-fashioned ad from the West Country shown at almost the exact same time, though - )

Very few 1970s ads have the particular style I would associate with the 1960s, as opposed to the timeless naffness of the Colchester ad - that style stopped very abruptly around 1970, if not even slightly earlier. Of course there are fewer ads to be seen from that era because it's before offair recordings became commonplace.

But I still regard a blog such as yours as a curiously point-missed idea. Nobody pretends the 1970s were heaven on earth. Most people acknowledge that there was racism, homophobia etc., while those who think racism and homophobia are good things (the Daily Mail and its ilk) don't think it was long *enough* ago because left-wing educational theories etc. had already taken root, and continue to yearn for the 1950s.

Even the most fervent Thatcher-bashers acknowledge that the unions went too far, in my experience (OK, those who write for the Morning Star rather than the more widely-distributed left-leaning publications probably don't, but they have such a narrow audience as to be irrelevant).


I reply:

I believe that the "ideological shoot out between collectivism and individualism" continued well into the 1980s. You were not here in the 1970s, Mr Carmody. My point of view may be personal, but it is based on experience of actually living through that decade, not on what I've seen or read since. And if you really believe that the 1970s were as important as the 1960s or that the Thatcher era would have been anything like as long-lived or note worthy without the arrival of President Reagan in America in the early 1980s, I despair.

I really find this current generation's desire to see the 70s as wonderful completely puzzling, narrow-minded, present-avoiding and ridiculous.

Quite a lot of us older folk find it endlessly irritating that young people spend so much valuable time hyping the 1970s, in a similar way that the 1950s and 1960s were hyped in the 1970s, although the people hyping back then at least remembered the decades in question. The 1970s were not nearly as causative and are, in my very humble opinion as somebody who lived through them and has studied them since, completely unworthy of such adoration. There has been a reply to my original blog post -

My blog does not set out to misrepresent the 1970s - simply to bring some balance, particularly to the "pop culture" hype surrounding the decade.



The major ideological battles took place in the 1980s. Voting Thatcher in was not decisive. Labour and Conservative were in and out like the fiddler's elbow back then. The 1980s were the crunch time, but priggish youngsters nowadays hate to acknowledge that decade existed. EVERYTHING has to have happened in the 1970s.

Does Mr Carmody really think "Daily Mail" readers are racists and homophobes? What a generalisation!

Old Stager writes:

Does Robin Carmody believe that everything can be catogorised in terms of decades? Does he believe we should have taken off our flared trousers on New Year's Day 1970 - after all, we'd been wearing them since the Summer of Love of 1967?

Time is a constant stream, it is impossible to fit things rigidly into ten year spans. The trouble with the youngsters now is that they have tick box minds.

Also, does young Carmody believe that people are right-wing if they don't like the 1970s? I was as left wing as they came, and hated the 70s. Does he believe that the following decade must be called "70s" for fear of being accused of being right-wing if he expresses an interest in the 1980s? Shouldn't be at all surprised. When the lad speaks of politics, he is talking current day BBC/Guardian imposed nonsense.

Left-wing media is now smug, lying, irresponsible, hypocritical, completely unobjective. Young Carmody should be taking a look at issues like UK health apartheid and the closure of NHS hospitals in a landscape that Thatcher may have dreamed of but could never have achieved back in the 80s. Because people got off their backsides and PROTESTED.

Better doing that than thinking New Labour is Old Labour and talking crap about the 1970s.



Well, I'm wearing my 1970s flares. Well, they're 1960s actually, but who's counting? And my 1970s platforms. Okay, they're 1930s but I do have a 1970s space hopper - I bought it in 1968. Still, I can listen to some 1970s ska - a great and original form of pop music. In the 1960s...

I reply...

'Ere, Sylv, didn't your Mum ever tell you - sarcasm's the lowest form of wit (grin).


Darlene writes...

You are mean! Robin has obviously been told pretty stories about the 1970s by older folk who were living in a rosy, pink 1960s afterglow back then. He was also told or convinced by some who were "there" that the 70s were responsible for all of today's trends and politics, and that by the time the 1980s dawned we were nasty little piggies. By the end of 1979, everything had happened. You have to remember, he's very young. On the subject of TV, I must say, I believe that the 1950s and 1960s were mainly responsible for the ad styles of the 1970s and 1980s. Patricia Hayes and Tony Hancock in the 1960s "Go To Work On An Egg" ads really remnd me of Malcolm and his mother in the Vicks 1970s ads and there are a lot of other examples, and that's leaving out the 50s/60s ad series which ran through the 70s - some of them into the 80s.


It's the Generation X (or should that be "Y"?) factor. No generation has been more undermined than the current one, and fed such a load of bullsh*t by their parents and government. Deeming everything to be out of their control, terminally passive, and believing that the major political parties are the same as those carrying those names back in the 70s, they claim the moral high ground for voting Labour, buy the lies about the 1970s, including the BBC's drivel, and a totally virtual reality 70s becomes one of their main reasons for being. The current day? Don't bother them with details.

The oddest thing about the (post) modern day fantasy 70s is that I hear things being said about them which were often wistfully spouted about the 60s back in the 70s!

Astounding reaction to this topic. Thanks to everybody, and especially Robin Carmody, for contributing. This thread is now closed, unless somebody comes up with some fresh angles. Just one final thought from Jason in Leeds...

In the '70s fantasists' universe, a trend begun in December 1979 which comes into its own in the early 1980s, is forever "1970s".

And for the 1970s themselves? Despite wearing 1960s flares and 1940s platforms and reviving the 1950s rock n' roll and 1960s mod scenes, the '70s are ALWAYS the '70s to the '70s fantasist. Never simply retro. Never simply naff. Never simply unoriginal. Never a continuation of something from another decade. And how should we regard any decade later than the '70s? Simply dismiss it as naff revivalist cr*p, deary - or how about "pure 1970s"?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Robin Carmody

An absolute delight on YouTube at the moment is the plethora of classic TV ads from various decades, and the likes of Robin Carmody, a self-styled authority, aged 27, attaching far too much importance to the 1970s in the comments sections.

An ad for the new Colchester Zoo on Anglia TV in 1987 follows the staid, naff pattern of local ads displayed on that channel since the 1960s.

"Extraordinary - pure 1970s" - Robin sighs.

But all of us who lived in the Anglia TV region and are old enough could tell him differently. There was nothing 1970s about it.

It was simply a cheap, regional ad, far from cutting edge, but far from being attributable to the 1970s in style or content.

When will the '70s nonsense stop? Why do people like Robin Carmody feel the need to hype the decade and make inappropriate mention? No disrespect to Mr Carmody, but for heavens sake, he DOES NOT EVEN REMEMBER THE 1970s, HE WAS BORN IN 1980 AND WAS A PRIMARY SCHOOLER IN 1987!

Does he go into similar spiels over '70s ads, labelling them "pure 1960s"?

No, he does not.

What gives?

How long will it be before youngsters with no memory of the 1970s totally rewrite history and that decade ends up being the decade which invented the wheel?


Sylv writes:

The '70s were such a postmodern mish-mash of styles and were so overshadowed by the 1960s it seems like a contradiction in terms to label anything "pure 1970s". And when people who weren't even here back then jump on the bandwagon, I confess myself totally puzzled.
Mr Carmody shares more of his thoughts with us here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Children's TV On Trial - The Director Dictates...

Graham Kibble-White reveals some fascinating facts about the making of the 1980s episode of the BBC4 show Children's TV on Trial:

"... the director then says, "Thank you." I say another bit. "Thank you. Now I just want you to say ..." and she tells me what to say. Phew, the cynical '80s, eh? The '70s weren't quite like this. But we warm up, and while always rather stilted, we get into something that feels a bit more like a conversation. "I want you to say that American shows had a negative impact on British children's programmes in the 1980s". "Well, I don't really think they did," I reply, taking a stand mere minutes after disgracefully parroting back some guff she's fed to me about a Pigeon Street episode I'd never seen (they open a vegetarian café, apparently). But, here, I'm salving some small sense of dignity. I'm not just going to say anything. Although I do then concede that perhaps buying in episodes of He-Man dissuaded British broadcasters from commissioning their own fare. I'm guessing that bit won't make the cut, but my musings on Pigeon Street's eatery probably will."

Fascinating. The programme's director directs the contributor to give a negative view on 1980s children's programming that is not his own.

Meanwhile, the 70's edition was Cloud Cuckoo Land - obviously prepared by smug middle class types who lived in a cosy post 60's afterglow in the 70s - or who weren't even born.

Increasingly, the BBC seeks to mould and dictate our view of the recent past, always with the 70s bathed in loveliness. Pathetic.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Andrew Pixley

Andrew Pixley, apparently a "TV historian", is quite happy to hype the 1970s, as we all know.

In his work on the background to playwright Alan Plater, for Network DVD (who also hype the 70s to death), Mr Pixley claims that a one-off play in October 1969, The Coalhouse Door, was shown "as the 1970s arrived".


I'm sorry, Mr Pixley, but October 1969 did not mark the arrival of the 1970s.

One is led to assume that the apparently drudgy 1960s were giving way to the apparently grand epoch that was the 1970s, and the 70s were somehow foreshadowed.


For the serious researcher, the 1970s are simply a set of numbers. The decade arrives at the beginning of 1970 and leaves at the end of 1979. That's it.

Many people see 1969 as the culmination of the events of the swinging 60s, not as the start of the financially restrictive 70s, but, whatever - that is of no consequence to the professional researcher. If a one-off play is shown in October 1969 the glory or otherwise may influence but does not belong to the following decade.

If Softly Softly became Softly Softly Taskforce in 1969, that's just when it should be reported as happening. There is no "70" in the digits 1969!

Shame that many "factual" writers allow a bizarre 70s fixation to get in the way of producing good, clear work.

I'm tired of reading inappropriate mentions of the 1970s from thumb-sucking geeks, most of whom barely remember the decade.

Andrew Pixley please take note.
An e-mail from Greg, Warrington:

Andrew Pixley is a major embarrassment. Some of his research is good, but he is very much one of the new breed of self styled experts, complete with bizarre retro waistcoats, 1970s obsession, and an ego the size of Lancashire.

He has managed to contribute an awful lot to the mystifying glorification of the 1970s so much in vogue and a pile of fact-based misinformation, too. Read his work by all means, but do not take it to be definitive.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Wikipedia - "Crap Wrapped In A Computer"

I've been having another browse through Wikipedia, and I must say it doesn't improve. Things seem worse than ever: lies and nonsense, aimed at glorifying the 1970s, abound - and why are so many things from the 1980s listed as "70s" or "90s"?

Elsewhere, Wikipedia is really dire, too.

The concept has proven itself unworkable.

Too many agendas, too much ignorance posing as knowledge.

I can't quote things from Wikipedia as they are liable to change within minutes, but don't trust it folks.

The title of this post is a quote from the World Wide Web.

Accurate, I'm sure you'll agree.

Unlike Wiki.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Friends Reunited - More 70s Misinformation...

Reading through the Friends Reunited year-by-year account of what we were doing in the 70s, I can't help seeing the flaws.

Here's one I've picked out for you:

"1978: We were playing Space Invaders." We were not. They were just being invented in Japan and would not even be previewed at a UK trade show until 1979! The Invaders were everywhere in the early 1980s.

I don't want to be too hard on Friends Reunited, but shouldn't they try and get things right if they're going to undertake year-by-year rundowns of our leisure activities?

Of course, Pac-Man (1980), the invention of the World Wide Web (1989) and numerous other 80s events were missing from the 1980s section.

More 70s hype!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Spacehopper - Released In Britain In The Late 1960s, NOT The 1970s...

Here is part of a newspaper advertisement showing a girl on a space hopper...

... here is the whole advertisement...

... and here is the date - Nov 14th, 1969. For the I Love 1970s series, a small caption was inserted in the opening titles, stating that the space hopper was released in 1968 and then "bounced its way through the 70s". Fair enough, but the I Love... website states that the first spacehoppers arrived in this country in 1971. Would you like onions with your tripe?

The spacehopper was an instant hit, very popular from 1968 onwards. It was still going strong in the '70s, yes, but did it really deserve such major billing? Other sites follow the BBC's line, touting the hopper as either new in 1971 or as THE craze of 1971. Popular, yes. New or a sudden craze? Most certainly not.

A willing victim of the BBC's misinformation is the Toy Retailers Association, formerly the British Association of Toy Retailers. Their website informs us that the Space Hopper arrived in 1971 and was "Craze of the Year". But unfortunately, the Association NEVER had a "Craze of the Year" award, and media of 1971 reveals that the Hopper was certainly not newsworthy.

Oddly enough, in the late 1990s, the Toy Retailers Association were listing: "Clackers, otherwise known as Klik Klaks" as the "overwhelming toy mania of 1971".

That information is accurate. So, why hype the spacehopper out of the 1960s and into the 1970s now?

I believe this muddling of facts is due to the BBC having an agenda to hype the 70s in the I love 1970s series.

There is also the fact that people who were children in the 1970s are often pulling the strings now, and the Internet provides a tremendous opportunity for the spreading of untruths and building up or knocking down of various eras. When you consider that the World Wide Web was only invented in 1989, and Internet use has blossomed incredibly since then, you can see the difficulties. Anybody can publish anything on the Web - and, as well as great sites, there are many which tell untruths for their own ends.

Many people invest much time in hyping the 70s - those who want to feel good about their youth, and those young geeks and nerds who do not remember the 70s, but have no present and enjoy "living" in a nice, safe fantasy past.

It is sad and silly.

But the spacehopper did not arrive in this country in 1971, or indeed in the 1970s at all.

And that's a fact.

Friday, August 18, 2006

BBC On This Day - Brighton Nudist Beach, 1980 - NOT 1979

The "We're always right" attitude of the BBC and the Corporation's 70s fixation has been causing one reader a few problems.

My sister-in-law Deborah has been in touch to tell me of a sorry tale involving Brighton Nudist Beach, and Alison Trowsdale and Hanna White, two BBC employees committed to the old maxim "the customer is always wrong".

Deborah is a researcher who specialises in recent pop culture, and was surprised to read on the BBC's "On This Day" site: "August 1979 - Brighton Bares All". There followed an article about Brighton nudist beach, which opened in April 1980. The article referred to a decision made in 1979 to give the beach the go-ahead, but the "Brighton Bares All" title rather suggested that the beach opened in '79 and the only reference to the 1980 opening date was tucked away under a heading entitled "In Context". Odd.

Some months later, Deborah bought a birthday card for a young relative, born in 1979. It featured so-called events of 1979 - a "Year You Were Born" theme card - and announced: "Britain's first nudist beach opened in Brighton". Intrigued, Deborah phoned the manufacturers.

"But it must be true!" she was told: "The BBC says so - August 1979, on this day, 'Brighton Bares All'!" Further investigation proved that the BBC's On This Day article had led quite a lot of others up the garden path. Surely it made more sense to commemorate the anniversary of the beach's opening day - 1st April 1980?

But the BBC doesn't like the 1980s. Bizarrely, a BBC Oxford online article, this time about the World Wide Web, touts 1990 as the pivotal year - and the trivial fact that the web was invented in 1989 is tucked away in the small print!

Anyway Deborah wrote to the BBC about the Brighton nudist beach...

Ridiculous article - it gives the impression that the beach opened in August 1979. There was no nudity on that beach until the opening day in 1980. The BBC really needs to get over its 70s fixation.

And BBC employee Alison Trowsdale replied:

The report "Brighton bares all" was written to coincide with the date the local authority made the decision to designate part of Brighton beach for nudists. It clearly states that the beach officially opened 1 April 1980.

"Officially" opened? Actually, the beach "opened" on 1 April 1980. Deborah wrote again, reasoning:

The Brighton nudists' beach article is headed "August 1979 - Brighton Bares All" and only states some way in that the beach officially opened on 1st April 1980. It did not OFFICIALLY open on 1st April 1980, it OPENED on 1st April 1980 - I was there.

The article is, I'm afraid, misleading and has led to inaccurate information appearing on several websites and a range of "Year You Were Born" greetings cards - all stating that the beach opened in 1979. I have made enquiries, and the BBC has been cited as the source of information on each and every occasion.

Brighton and Hove Council's article on the beach does not even mention 1979...

"On This Day" for 1st April contains no mention of the beach's big opening in 1980.

I do wish that you would not reject my complaint out of hand. The BBC is supposed to serve, not press its bizarre 1970s obsessed view of the past on to the general public. We had quite enough of the warped view with the "I Love 1970s" TV series.

No answer came the stern reply. Deborah wrote again and received this reply from one Hanna White:

Dear Mr [Mr?! Wonderful attention to detail, but then it is only a member of the public]

Your latest email to On This Day is not being ignored at all. Alison Trowsdale works part-time for the BBC and is not currently at work.

Her initial response to you was not dismissive but sought to point out that all the facts of the story were there to be read.

However we have decided to changed one word in the first paragraph of the article from "has" to "will" for greater clarification.


Hanna White

Finally Deborah decided to make a formal complaint.

This was a trivial matter. Deborah had evidence that the article had led to confusion. But the BBC dug its heels in and conceded only to the point of making a grudging, tiny, alteration to the article. The article is still open to misinterpretation. Web surfers are notorious for skimming - we do it ourselves!

BBC information should be clear. The article should be dated 1 April 1980, beginning with the tale of the beach's opening day, and then telling the background story.

Deborah has recently suffered two bereavements, and has handed over the reins to myself and the
80s Actual group. We think it is best to publicise the BBC's attitude - and, although this is a trivial incident, we think it is important. It indicates the BBC's attitude to the public, and also its ridiculous attempts to glorify the 1970s.

We shall be monitoring!

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Shake n Vac TV Ad - 1980s NOT 1979

I have an extensive collection of newspapers, and access to an archive dating back to the nineteenth century. The first reference to Shake n' Vac I've found dates to 1982, when it was a free gift with the new Hoover High Power Junior vacuum cleaner. I am absolutely convinced that the Shake n' Vac ad is later than 1979, and finds like this do nothing to sway my conviction.

Hello, good evening and welcome! Tonight we're going to look at the serious issue of hyping the 1970s. The 1980s, we have decided, are total baddies - full of greed and yuppies. From the first second of 1980 to the last second of 1989 everything was about looking after Number One. The 1960s were total goodies, but they have been overdone. So we must sell the 70s. How do we do it? Well, if something judged by many to be good - a TV programme, toy, fashion, record, etc, came out in the late 1960s, then we'll call it "1970". If a similar item came out in the early (or even mid) 1980s, we'll call it "1979".

1979 is terribly successful - already cropping up an awful lot where it shouldn't, eating up 1980s pop culture faster than Pac-Man ever could. Let's take an example. In the early-to-mid 1980s, there came into being a terrible television advertisement for a product called Shake n Vac carpet freshener. Lord knows when the product itself was launched, the earliest newspaper advertisements I can find date to 1982 when a packet was being given away free with each new Hoover Junior vacuum cleaner purchased.

Free giveaways such as this were a popular gambit with NEW PRODUCTS.

I'm not saying that the Shake n' Vac ad began in 1982 - I suspect it was a little later. I'm not even suggesting that Shake n' Vac itself was launched in 1982. All I am saying is that the famous TV ad was definitely later than 1979.

In the ad, a woman called Jenny Logan, playing a highly intelligent housewife, sang a retro rock n roll (1950s) style jingle, and did a '50s dance, whilst de-ponging her carpet. In the Year 2000, this advertisement was arousing nostalgic twinges. But it began in the early-to-mid-1980s! Oh dear, that will never do - call it "1979"! Yes, that's it! So, in a Channel Four programme called 100 Greatest British TV Ads, the advert, which came 19th, was listed as "1979". It worked a treat.

The Internet buzzed as young 1970s fantasists marvelled at this newly discovered item of "70s" pop culture. Andrew Collins, who was born in 1965 and perhaps should know better, edited the Friends Reunited book, and, it seemed, simply couldn't wait to list Shake n Vac as a "1970s Television advertisement". I'm not sure how Jenny Logan, the ad's star, viewed all this, but nobody else gave a damn so another piece of non-1970s pop culture was added to that decade by 1970s hype-ists. You can still view the ad on the internet today, marked "1979", together with a companion ad from 1988, implying that the campaign ran, on-and-off, for at least nine years. It didn't. We couldn't have stood it.

It all left me pondering over Box Of Delights - a book by TV writer Hilary Kingsley, published in 1989, which states that the Shake n Vac ad began in 1985. Each telly year covered in the book (from the birth of ITV in 1955 to the book's publication year, 1989) contains a "Commercial Break" section, and I quote from 1985:

... an inane housewife cavorted around the lounge doing the Shake 'n' Vac. Was that what Emmeline Pankhurst fought for?

Actually, I hadn't long moved house when the ad campaign started and that move took place around 1982/83.

So another sucessful coup for the 1970s hypers. And not a mention of power cuts, the Winter of Discontent, the 1979 playground shootings (which led to the Boomtown Rats' chilling hit I Don't Like Mondays) or the 1979 ITV strike, which knocked the channel off the air for 11 weeks. In fact not a mention of anything that was, in reality, 1970s. It's all terribly simple...
Well, as it turns out the ad was first shown earlier than I originally contended, but in the 1980s, not 1979 - 1980, to be precise. The product was launched in 1979, but advertising delayed until 1980 due to the ITV strike of 1979. So, there we have it. At last!
The information comes from the World Advertising Research Center site, which contains a great deal of detail from "back in the day". Here's their Shake n' Vac info:
Shake n' Vac: A New Product Launch
Hilary Rose, Mike Stefan and Carol Reay, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, IPA Effectiveness Awards, 1980

Launch of a new powder carpet and room freshener. Sold in 1979, but advertising delayed to 1980 by ITV strike. TV only used. Results: consistent sales growth (Nielsen Food Index); sales growth linked to advertising; awareness, brand recall, levels of trial, all satisfactory. Regional variations on ad weight relate positively to sales and share (Nielsen). Contribution to profit and overheads in first year claimed, though not substantiated.
So, there we are. I wasn't absolutely right. Hilary Kingsley wasn't at all right. And neither were the 70s hypers. Considering that everybody from Friends Reunited to ITV itself have claimed that this ad debuted in 1979, I wonder why pop culture researchers can't seem to do research? Or is a determination to hype the 70s the reason?
Read the full info here.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wikipedia - Inaccurate 1970's Information

I've never really understood the idea behind Wikipedia. It's an online encyclopedia that anybody can contribute to at the drop of a hat, so facts seem to alter daily, but although it is, no doubt, monitored, it is massively guilty of 1970s hype.

I fear that 1970s revivalist geeks and nerds are rewriting the decade for Wikipedia, just like the researchers for the BBC's I Love 1970s and channel 5's That Was The Decade That Was series did for television in Britain.

Suddenly, the 1960s, a genuine era of rapid change, are unimportant.

Whilst stating that events are often wrongly attributed to the 1960s, Wikipedia then goes and does exactly the same thing with the 1970s. I certainly don't remember the feminist thing being the "be all and end all" of the 70s. It began in the 1960s (indeed media from that era suggests that it was very well advanced before the end of the decade), and was just as prevalent in the 1980s as in the 70s.

Gay rights? True, there were developments there in the 1970s, but the intial impetus came from the 1960s (homosexual acts between consenting adults in private were legalised in England and Wales in 1967) and the developments continued into the 80s and 90s and, indeed, beyond. The impact of AIDS, once touted as a "gay plague", had a huge impact on gay rights campaigns.

According to Wikipedia, everything of import happened in the 1970s.

The UK TV section refers to "innocent" 70s sitcoms. I remember an awful lot of smut. Isn't rosy coloured emotionalism clouding objectivity?

The Wikipedia 1970s section is HUGE, compared to its miniscule 1960s section. How this can be justified, I really cannot begin to imagine.

But then I do not understand the idea behind an online encyclopedia where anybody can write anything anyway.

The "let's glorify the 70s" ethos spills over into Wiki's accounts of adjacent decades and other sections, giving a unique and totally inaccurate account of the importance of the 1970s as a 20th Century decade. What is written is very similar to the (perhaps sometimes rather over-the-top) accounts of the glories of the 1960s in the media of the 1970s and 1980s.

Except that the 1960s were genuinely worthy of note.

There is something extremely amateurish about the 70s hype allowed on Wikipedia. One can smell the reasoning behind a lot of the waffle...

I write good things about the 1970s because it was my youthful era and my generation are special!

I write good things about the 1970s because I'm a nerd with no life in the current day.

If Wiki's 1970s information is anything to go by, then I certainly wouldn't use the site for research purposes. It is simply not of a standard professional enough to be trustworthy.

In fact I can only recommend that serious researchers avoid Wikipedia - or take the whole thing with a large pinch of salt.

Friday, April 07, 2006

1969? Call it 1970!

Ooh that's so 1970s! Not. Oddly enough, I don't recall a huge WOW about Stylophones in the 70s, and this ad is actually from 1969 when Stylophones were being sold as "the greatest craze since the yo yo". Yes, 1969. Not 1970.

Could you play David Bowie's Space Oddity on a Stylophone?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

EBay Buyers - Beware Of 70s hype!

Many eBay sellers have been cuckolded by 70s hype and some, perhaps, are simply dishonest - attempting to sell items as "1970s" when they are not. Chances are, if you have a fairly modern clonking great piece of technology it will have been produced in the 1980s or perhaps even the early 1990s. But some eBay sellers will list these items as "70s" - although they simply didn't exist back then or were only on the drawing board.

Watch yourself if buying "70s" items on eBay. It isn't just "70s" technology such as phones etc that are far more likely to be 1980s. Even some licensed TV and advertising characters often crop up as "70s".

Recently I spotted a badge from a well known TV advertising campaign, featuring a character invented in 1982, but listed as "70s".

Be warned...

And sellers - if you do not know when an item was produced, without any doubt, do not pretend that you do.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The BBC Hypes The 1970s and Youngsters Lap It Up!

The BBC series I Love The 1970s should really have been called I Love 1967 to 1982. Apparently reflecting the pop culture of each 70s year, the things we were "into", the series was often wildly inaccurate, pumping in pop culture from the adjacent decades. I Hype The 1970s would have been a better title. For instance, the Lava Lamp, released in 1964, was featured as a major 70s icon. The reality was that the thing was at the height of its popularity c. 1968/69. In the early 70s, the lamp became deeply naff - so naff Stan and Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street acquired one and proudly placed it on their serving hatch! There was something of a revival midway through the decade, in a post modern tongue-in-cheek style, as Mildred Roper acquired one in the ITV sitcom George & Mildred. But never was the Lava Lamp "cool and cutting edge" in the 70s.

CB radio was featured as THE craze of 1976. It wasn't legal, and not available in England. This American 1940s invention began to arrive here in any appreciable numbers c 1979. Illegal breakers rose steeply in numbers in 1980 and, after a mass rally in London, the date for the legalisation of CB radio was set for the 2nd of November 1981, with the American inventor of the gadget, Al Gross, making the first legal call from a Rolls Royce parked in Trafalgar Square. But the BBC vaunted it as THE craze of 1976. In reality there was simply some interest in the terminology and the beginnings of a campaign to get it legalised here because of a hit record and a couple of American films!

The Space Hopper was popular in the 70s, but had been so since 1968; the Stylophone was released in the late 1960s.

In addition, the I Love The 1970s series boldly stole from the 1980s. Of course, some 80s arrivals were invented in the 70s - time is a constant stream and this is how things are with all decades. But the Walkman (invented in 1979) did not arrive here until 1980 (as the Sony Stowaway) and there were several other items, some unnamed and unmanufactured until the 1980s, wrongly sparkling away as 1970s pop culture in I Love The 1970s.

I don't hate the 70s, but surely it's better not to live a lie about them? I have an uneasy feeling that many of today's youngsters have bought the hype and have a very unrealistic view of the recent past. The fact that they might try and live out a fictional 70s, rather than living in the current day, worries me. Virtual reality lives - a virtual 70s which really never existed in the first place. For some years now, I've been hoping to find a Tardis, bundle our 70s loving kids into it, and sentence them to a week in the real 1970s. I could imagine the shock - where are the hippies? Why are there no personal computers? Why have the lights gone out? NOT paste sandwiches again! etc etc. But at least, on their return, today would seem more attractive to them.

There are things that need doing, issues which the young should be addressing. Stuff the fictitious 70s and get on with it, I say!

The 70s - Non Retro? So Modern? Oh Yeah?!

In the 1990s it became fashionable to look at the 70s as a golden era. Young people began living in a decade rewritten and repackaged by cynical marketing types and the BBC. Non greedy! Non retro! Lovely - peace and love all around! Let's look at the reality. Starting with "non-retro" - because the 1980s was the first "retro" decade, wasn't it? In reality, the 1970s matched it pound for pound! The putrid orange and brown colour schemes and platform shoes/wedges were lifted from the 1930s, and disco glitter balls were so 1920s/30s/Come Dancing. 1940s boutiques were a wow.

The 1950s permeated the music and fashion of the 1970s like nobody's business. There were drainpipes and DAs and 50s chords could be heard in pop music from Abba to Punk and beyond. We adored Alvin Stardust, Wizzard, The Rubettes, Showaddywaddy, Elton John, Darts - all of whom had torn pages from the 1950s image and song book. There were many others. At the flicks, we watched That'll Be The Day and Grease. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was in the retro style of a 1950s "B" movie. On Telly, we adored that 50s retro style icon, The Fonz.

The 1970s also adored the 1960s... In the absence of new ideas, the hippie look continued - though if you were to suggest to the majority of housing estate youngsters back in the 70s that they were hippies, you'd probably get a thick lip. Later in the decade, we scanned back further into the 1960s for a Mods & Rockers and Ska revival. The 70s even put Juke Box Jury, The Avengers, The Saint and The Rag Trade back on the telly.

The 1970s went a bundle on programmes about the Second World War - like the doomly A Family At War and Danger UXB. Past recessions were relived (why? The 70s had its own recession!) in Sam, The Stars Look Down and When The Boat Comes In. We ate Upstairs, Downstairs with a big spoon - and thrilled to Royal abdication drama Edward and Mrs Simpson.

Older retro TV was hot with Poldark and The Onedin Line.

In fashion, Victorian style mutton chop sideburns, puffed sleeved blouses and long dresses and smock tops were much in evidence. We stuck fibre glass wood effect beams to our ceilings and adored electric retro aga style stoves and plastic beaten copper effect tables. I have more to write on the 1970s love of retro, but now it's time for a cuppa and a nice Curly Wurly.

Retro Leanings 1971

1970s fantasists believe that the 1970s were a hugely creative, non-retro time. If that's the case, there are fairies at the bottom of my garden. This article from a Cambridge newspaper of December 1971 also paints a different picture. Click on image for closer view.

1979 was not 1985, and what about NOW?

It has been suggested to me that I am a little unkind to shatter people's delusions about the 1970s. Hey, celebrate the 1970s if you want to - we had a great time celebrating the 1950s and 1960s in the 70s, so I wish you the same joy.

The aim of this blog is simply to paint a more realistic picture of the 70s, to point out to people that 1979 was not 1985 and remind people that NOW exists and doesn't need to be based quite so heavily on retro yearnings for an era that wasn't all it's cracked up to be.

The 1970s have become an industry, and it doesn't matter whether the item in question is, in reality, 1967 or 1985 - label it "1970s", and you're on to a winner.

Wouldn't it be better to create some genuine NOW pop culture for 2005?

ITV Teletext hypes the 1970s!

I remember last year reading about the "heyday" of Top of the Pops on ITV's Teletext service. It was said to be, of course, in the 1970s - "viewing figures of up to 19.4 million".

Good heavens - when?! I wondered. A quick check of the TV ratings showed that Teletext was right - TOTP had 19.4 million viewers on one occasion in October 1979.

When the ITV strike was on and viewers had no other option but to watch the BBC!

And as BBC2 was a minority interest channel, guess what BBC channel we were all watching?

Yes, top prize is yours, we were all watching BBC1, home of TOTP!

In fact, BBC1 was the only other option - there was no Channel Four and no Sky back then.

But Teletext didn't mention the strike. Perhaps the article's writer was too young to remember it? Or perhaps it simply didn't go with 70s hype mode?

So, that was the (entirely imaginary) Top of the Pops 1970s heyday. I contacted Teletext, who removed the "heyday" comment, but, it must be said, grudgingly!

Did any decade ever undergo such a lot of tweaking and lies to make it seem enjoyable in retrospect as the 1970s? Was it the same when we were celebrating the 1950s back in the 70s? I doubt it. In one of the online "Off the Telly" reviews - subject the BBC's I Love... series, the reviewer states that the 80s were "a less enjoyable decade". Now, I'm no 80s fan, but bear in mind that this reviewer had just sat through I Love The 1970s, which had contained at least five items of 1980s pop culture! Things unheard of in the 70s, or completely unavailable, sparkling away as fads of that decade.

The 1960s were also raided.

The real 1970s were NOT a time of fast-moving fads. Pop culture moved much slower back then (look at the time we took to shake off the 1960s hippie look).

But people who weren't even there seem happy to believe the lies.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

For the Love of the 1970s... Quote... Misquote...

On the wonderful web (invented by Tim Berners Lee in 1989 - quick, change that!) 70s hype-ists are so "into" boosting the decade, that they are quite happy to misquote people. Andy Allen of Central Television spoke on a programme called Crossroads - 30 Years On in 1994. This show was dedicated to the old-but-fondly-remembered ITV soap opera, Crossroads (1964-1988), home to wonderful Meg Richardson (Noele Gordon), lovely Shughie McFee (Angus Lennie) and dear Valerie Pollard (Heather Chasen).

Mr Allen stated in the 30 Years On broadcast that he believed the show had had its "great days", but was in decline when it was axed. Quoted on a Crossroads fan site, Mr Allen's words are added to - suddenly he believes that the show had had its great days "in the 1970s".

He certainly didn't say that in the broadcast, and there was no evidence of any editing.

Staying with the Crossroads Motel fan sites, it's worth noting information about Elaine Paige, who had a bit part in the King's Oak soap yonks ago. According to one fan site, she went on to great success in the musicals Cats and Chess "in the late 1970s".

In point of fact, Cats was 1981 and Chess appeared around 1985. Very "late 70s indeed". 19711 and 19715 if I'm not mistaken...

Can all these boo boos really be genuine mistakes? Or is my theory of 70s hype correct?

I've been studying the phenomena for long enough to know the answer... and perhaps you are beginning to wonder...