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.