Children growing up during the 1970s remember!
“I remember when we first got an automatic washing machine. We all sat on the floor and watched it go round for one full load. It was better than watching t.v. We had only three channels and no way of recording programmes. You watched live or not at all. The audience for the most popular programmes was enormous, in a way that’s inconceivable now except for things like the Olympics and state funerals/weddings.Taping things off the radio when they played the charts on a Sunday night, trying not to get the D.J. talking over the intro.I was trying to explain to my son that there were no mobile phones, no internet, no iPods or iPads, no computers when I was a child. TV only had 3 channels and closed down half the day and all night, and we didn’t have videos in any homes that I knew of, either. He couldn’t begin to get his head around it. With such limited entertainment available, people developed a real fondness for what was on offer. We had lots of good adverts on TV – The Milk Tray man and the man sneaking down in the middle of the night to get R. White’s lemonade out of the fridge.
Those weird foreign children’s serials the BBC put on (although that may have been more in the 60s) – Belle and Sebastian,White Horses and the daddy of them all – The Singing Ringing Tree. I think they dubbed them, as you couldn’t really expect tiny children to read subtitles. But somehow you could still hear the original dialogue underneath – is that right?!”
Calling Swap Shop on 01 811 8055. Or, in reality, watching “Swap Shop” and being really envious of those children that were actually allowed to use the phone.
And where were your Parents?
Parenting methods were more laissez-faire. My mum and dad used to drive to the pub and leave me in the car with a bottle of pop and a packet of crisps whilst they sat inside.I always travelled alone on flights, mum and dad went straight down the back to smoke and drink in the rear seats. I saw them at take off and landing.
“And no-one had a clue when it came to health and safety. Sitting on my mum’s lap in the front seat of the car. No seat belts. Ever. Standing up in the car with head out the sunroof. Or sitting in the back of the car close to the rear window. Our local play park was a death trap. The slide was very, very, very high and there was no padded stuff or even grass – just rock hard concrete or tarmac. The climbing frame looked like it had been constructed using scaffolding poles. Also, 1970s style had a certain ‘je ne sais quoi‘ about it. Dad wore medallions and drove a Firebird Trans Am with an eagle on the bonnet. Mum said you could hear it coming five minutes before arrival. Flicked-out hair-dos done with curling-tongs and before any sort of gel or mousse had been invented. People describe the 70s as the decade that taste forgot. Au contraire. It was massively stuffed with taste. Just not, well…the best.”
It was a time of simple pleasures such as The Blue Peter Christmas lantern that was a tinsel-covered pair of wire hangers with actual candles. Jackie posters that came in 3 parts so you got David Cassidy’s legs one week, torso the next and his head the next! Queueing up to watch Star Wars (Matinee) aged 7 in Manchester with my brother and parents was a real treat! British gastronomy attained truly dizzying heights.
I remember making my Mum breakfast for her birthday with an orange juice that came in a packet and you added water to it. I thought it the height of sophistication. I can remember the awful orange juice we had that used to stick to the bottle. I’m sure this was not good for us. Rice paper at 1p per sheet – it was a novelty to have paper you were allowed to eat.”Ice Magic” (went stiff when you put it on the ice cream).
The Bad Things:
“Of course, that’s not to say it didn’t have its bad points Those terrifying public safety films they used to show you in schools. Phone boxes – always smelled of pee (you didn’t dare stand on the floor if there was water on it) and the receiver always smelled of ciggies. Buses regularly on strike and having to walk home six miles from school all alone in the rain. I remember getting REALLY horribly burnt in the summer. Kids didn’t really wear sun cream back then. Even the tarmac bubbled up in the 1976 heatwave.”