Archive for the ‘70s’ Category

My first regular wage came from my awesomely awesome Saturday/three evenings a week job in a sweet shop in Elm Park – Hollicks if memory serves me. It was awesomely awesome for four reasons:-

  • I could nick loads of fags and not get caught (or so I thought until I got sacked)
  • I could eat endless sweets and not get caught (ahhhhh ….. /facepalm/)
  • The overall (blue, zip up nylon with large pockets for …. well pocketing things, which in my case, was mainly Mars Bars, 1/4 of rhubard and custards or chocolate chewing nuts
  • I could read all my favourite magazines without having to buy them – faves were: Jackie, Bunty, Smash Hits.

Apart from that, the perks and promotion opportunities were limited!

Doll Toilet Roll Cover

oh the inhumanity!

That job allowed me to save up tons of cash a few quid to spend on mum and dad at Xmas rather than the usual; mum buying the presents and giving them to me to wrap up. These were usually

  • mum – peg bag/amusing apron/tights or a new knitted doll thing that you put over toilet rolls
  • dad – bath salts/monogrammed hankies/cossack hair spray or possibly Brut/Old Spice aftershave

Hey, come on! It was the 70’s!

Anyhooooo …. I decided to ask what they wanted so I could get each of them something meaningful and from the heart.

Me (to mum): What do you think dad would like for Christmas?
Mum: I don’t know dear. Why don’t you get him some hankies?
Me: No I don’t want to get hankies, I want to get him something special, something he really wants
Mum: Oh, all right dear, whatever you think is best
Me: So, what about tickets to a concert in London (dad was a huge classical music fan)?
Mum: Well, probably not dear. Why don’t you get him some cigarettes?
Me: /stomps off/

Me (to dad): What do you think mum would like for Christmas?
Dad: Hankies?
Me: No I don’t want to get hankies, I want to get hersomething special, something she really wants
Dad: Monogrammed hankies?
Me: She wants monogrammed hankies? I was thinking of getting her tickets to see an opera (mum loved opera, in particularly Puccini)
Dad: I doubt it. Why don’t you get her some cigarettes?
Me: /stomps off take 2/

So, I got dad tickets to see John Lill play Beethoven’s 9th at The Royal Festival Hall. I got mum tickets to see Madame Butterfly.

Oh and of course, a carton of cigarettes each! Players No 6 was their cigarette of choice.


SF out


I need to laugh more. I’ve noticed I’m watching things on TV or listening to programmes on the radio that make me feel miserable, depressed, angry or scared. Why on earth am I doing that? I’m not really sure but last night I decided to change that and am determined to watch or listen to nothing but comedy or music.

I am so glad I did, as on Gold last night I watched Bring Me Morecambe & Wise. This is a documentary series with rare and never seen before sketches and routines along with comments from famous fans. I was guffawing my little socks off last night, particularly when they showed this great sketch with Andre Preview Previn ;).


I ‘d forgotten how much I loved Morecambe & Wise. I miss watching their shows so much. My dad based most of his comedy routines on Eric Morecambe which is probably why I hold them so dear in my heart. We never missed a Christmas special either!

Favourite line: I’m playing all the right notes, just not necessarily in the right order

A guy at work got married recently and mentioned that at his wedding reception they hired a load of spacehoppers for kids to mess around on. I’m guessing the reception was somewhere quite roomy, possibly even outdoors.

His tale immediately bounced (see what I did there) me back to happy memories of my spacehopper period – a bit like Picasso during his blue period I shouldn’t wonder.

I bloody loved my spacehopper and went everywhere I could on it. I truly believed that the future was in spacehoppers. You know that way you are as a kid? When you believe with your heart and soul that what you are doing at that moment in time is something you’ll do forever and ever and ever. You’ll never get bored with it, never never never.  Well that was me and my spacehopper. We were inseparable. I even used to take it to bed with me  (not in the bed of course, that would be weird, no?)

I told my mum and dad that my aim was to hop all the way to Romford from where we lived (about 3 miles). My dad, unsurprisingly, said maybe I should set my sights a little lower and practice hopping about the garden a bit first. Pfftttt, what did he know? Quite a lot it turns out ;).

I started off with a pretty low ability level and very weak thigh muscles. My co-ordination was a bit lacking at first and I tended to veer off in all directions. After some pretty hairy moments out on the streets of Elm Park – highlights include bouncing off the pavement into the path of an oncoming bus, hopping into a wall and hopping into a rose bush (ouch) – I decided daily training was required.

My training regime involved me trying to do absolutely everything on my spacehopper. Pop to the shops for mum to get her veg? No problem. Pop upstairs and get dad’s slippers? Errr … a challenge but do-able. Hop to the end of the garden to get mint for the potatoes? Easy. Roller-skating on my spacehopper? Check.

I felt I was ready for my big trip. I had thighs like Xenia Zaragevna Onatopp (aka the bird with the killer thighs in James Bond) and could bounce non-stop for at least 30 minutes.

Feck off – it’s my spacehopper!

So did I make it to Romford on my spacehopper? Did I bollocks! Are you insane? Who could hop 3 miles on one of those things? Oh and FYI –  bus drivers do not like kids on spacehoppers – FACT.

No idea what happened to it but I do sort of have one – albeit a bit smaller than the original. Trouble is I don’t think I’d fit on it and not sure Lex is going to give it up any time soon.

SF out

When I was about 15 I went on and on  at my mum and dad to buy me a leather coat. I absolutely had to have a full length leather coat as I was into heavy metal and hanging out with head-bangers down The Bull, a local pub frequented by metal heads (I’d ditched the bay city rollers look).

I wore them down until they reluctantly agreed to pay half of it, as long as I saved up the other half. I’d already taken a Saturday job in the local newsagents (Hollicks) to pay for the odd pack of ciggies, trips to the cinema and my elicit visits to the pub where I was admired (in my view) for my skill at making a 1/2 pint of cider and a bag of salt and vinegar crisps last me all night.

I managed to increase my hours at the newsagent to Saturday, Sunday mornings and two nights in the week and was bringing home a massive £8.50 a week! After deductions:

  • fags = 60p  (Rothmans)
  • cinema = £1 (with Revels)
  • pub excursions = £1-2
  • magazines, makeup, chips (from Wimpy naturally) = £2

I thought I could save around £2.50 a week. The coat was £45 so I had to get £22.50 saved up and it would only take me 9 weeks! Nice one ;). I duly saved the money and mum and dad were true to their word and the leather coat was purchased. It was truly sublime and I couldn’t wait for Friday night and a trip to The Bull so I could swish into the pub in my new coat, make my way to the tiny mosh pit and head-bang to some heavy metal man, yeah.

As I left the house, my dad asked where I was going (to a friends/cinema/wimpy – that’s what I usually said, anyway one of those) and he asked me if it was a good idea to wear my brand new coat. I scoffed at his concern and mumbled how I wasn’t an idiot (he plainly knew that I was). Well, don’t lose it or ruin it because we won’t get you another one he nagged as I stomped out of the house. Oh Pater really – as if :).

Oh …… an hour later ……..

The Bull mosh pit …

very hot, very sticky, too much hair, take off coat …

put coat on chair nearby. Complete headbanging session …

retrieve coat … don coat … huge fag burn right on the front right boob .. can’t miss it

first thought .. dad is going to kill me

second thought .. I can fix this

I got home and made it to my bedroom without a hitch. I’d taken my coat off before going in and hung it over my arm with the burned side hidden. I examined the hole more closely and formulated a plan to fix it. I decided on a Blue Peter approach and wrote a list of all the things I’d need before starting the job:

  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Hiding place

Saturday morning arrived so I offered to go and get the shopping for mum (dad immediately moves to amber alert) so I could buy my list (didn’t want to risk using anything in the house in case they noticed).

I got home then locked myself in the bathroom with the coat and my tools. I traced out the shape, cut it out and then used my template to cut a bit of leather from the inside of the coat hem (so far so good). I then dabbed glue on the edges of the hole and attempted to glue the leather to the hole from the back.

Oh ……. although it was the right size  I was worried it wouldn’t stay in place if I just held it there. I decided to put it on the floor and press down on it until the glue hardened ….


The glue? Superglue!! I ended up gluing the coat to the bathroom carpet. Nuts!

Ok don’t panic, don’t panic ..  I used the scissors to snip away the coat from the carpet.

I carefully cut the coat away from the carpet and it came free. My repair now had cream fluff on it and the carpet had a hole! Flippin eck this was not going well. What to do? I waited for my brain to come up with a cunning plan …….

……… *whistles*

……………. *study nails*

………………….. *daydreams of owning a guitar and my own camel*

aha!!! Simple – cut some carpet from behind the loo, stick it with the superglue over the hole, then move the bathroom mat to cover said hole.

It all worked perfectly, apart from the fact that my coat now had a badly-patched, slightly fluffy left boob (not terribly rock and roll). Oh, then mum wanted to know why our bathroom carpet had a big hole in it. When she got round to washing the mat, she found it glued down. She’d pulled it so hard it tore a massive hole in the carpet!

Did I get away with it? Did I bollocks! I confessed …. everything.

The year was 1974 (I was 11) and it was summer. One Friday evening after tea – takeaway fish and chips on Fridays – dad announced that we had a surprise coming the next day. We were getting a colour telly. Finding it almost impossible to sleep after that bombshell, I spent the night daydreaming about all my favourite programmes I’d be watching – in colour!

Colour Telly

1970's Colour Telly

Saturday morning and the TV arrived. It was huge and very modern. It had 5 buttons to press, even though we only had three channels (BBC1, BBC2 and ITV). There were sliders you could move up and down to adjust the colour and volume. I mean – wow!

It had a cable plugged in to the back which went to an aerial on the roof. No more wire coat hangers stuffed in the back of the telly for us. This was the high life. Wahey! Dad was fitting the cable and aerial on the roof as we waited excitedly for the go-ahead to turn it on.

Mum and I admired the handsome wooden surround. Mum was happy. When switched off, it could almost be mistaken for a tall table, she mused. She wasted no time putting a doily and ornament on top of it. You couldn’t move for doilies and ornaments in our house. If there was a flat surface doing nothing, mum would whack a doily and ornament on it faster than you could shin up a drainpipe. I’m sure she kept spares in the cupboard under the stairs she could whip out at a moments notice ;).

I wasn’t too keen on the wood as I knew I would end up having to polish it along with the hundreds of other pointless crap ornaments in the house.

Stinky polishing stuff

Duraglit - horrible stinky polishing stuff

It was my job to polish and vacuum on a Saturday morning. I can smell the Duraglit now and remember having to go round with the carpet sweeper before vacuuming! Mum said it was to pick up the worst of the dirt so that we didn’t wear the vacuum out. Err …….. Hang on, wasn’t picking up dirt the vacuum’s job? What was the point of a carpet sweeper anyway? The bloody thing used to ruck up the carpets and then would turn over of its own accord or pour out all the dirt somewhere else that you’d just swept up. Mum’s mad logic. Oh I cried to myself in 1974, If only someone would invent a vacuum that could actually – oooh let me think – suck up dirt and didn’t need a bag. Imagine that ;).

Back to the TV – you could press buttons to change sides (channel) and although you still had to wait for it to warm up, it was much quicker than our old black and white TV! It even had wheels so we could move it around the room if we decided to re-organise the lounge. Not that we ever did, it was the same set-up for the 21 years I lived there.

Dad had finished the aerial and – even better than that – he was still alive! He turned on the TV as we all stood waiting with bated breath. Hang on… the picture is coming through. This was so exciting. Yes! We had a picture, a colour picture *gasp*.



There was a new show on ITV I wanted to watch. TISWAS. Wonder if it was going to be any good? The TV had arrived just in time for me to watch it.

‘Oh no, not yet’ mum said. ‘You’ve got polishing and vacuuming to do young lady. Besides, they say that too much TV will give you square eyes’. What!!??? Who cares! I’ll take the risk. Square eyes could be kind of cool. They sounded quite cool. So off went the TV and I morosely wandered off to find the Duraglit and dusters, wondering how much TV I would have to watch to get square eyes. Lots and lots I hoped ……….

Did I get square eyes? Did I bollocks!