Sunday, August 28, 2005

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.