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.