Hair, Fashion and Metric

Kim P Moody shares his memories of happy times

Lambretta Li150I had hair then! Well, I had only recently left school. I let my collar length locks flow in the wind as I rode my Lambretta Li150 round the streets of Southampton. Crash helmets were not compulsory then. I painted the scooter orange and white, a super custom paint job using Dulux gloss. Don’t laugh, it turned out better than I imagined. Unfortunately the Lambretta was not as reliable as I had hoped and I seemed to push it farther than I rode it. Eventually it was stolen and dumped in the river Itchen.

I never had one of those ex-army parka coats, but I did wear bleached Levi jeans and checked Ben Sherman shirts with button down collars. We would lay out our new jeans on the lawn an sprinkle bleach, straight from the bottle, to ‘age’ them. This was the era of platform shoes, too. Stacked wooden heals made even us blokes teeter around.

Brut aftershaveA quick splash of Brut 33 aftershave from the dark green bottle was all a guy needed before a night out at the Top Rank suite, or occasionally the Royal Pier. Ah! those plastic palm trees! These were called Discotheques or Discos and popular music of the day was by Mungo Jerry, Free and Desmond Dekker and the Aces. Away from the disco my friends and I listened to Motown and Atlantic records with artists like Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, Four Tops, Wilson Pickett and Jr Walker and the All Stars. One of our group was into different music and I remember him playing a lot of Jethro Tull.

On 15 February 1971, Britain went ‘decimal’. All our real money was changed for strange coins and a pound that only had 100 pennies. It was a challenge for my generation to make the switch, there used to be 12 pence to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound, many pensioners never really got to grips with it. Prices seemed to double overnight, a Mars bar went from 3d (three old pennies) to 3p (three new pennies, just over seven old pennies) within months of the change. In 1972 we were ‘metricated’ too. Measurements were changed from yards, feet and inches to metres and millimetres, volume from pints and gallons to litres. What was the world coming to?

Farewell to £SD (pounds, shillings, pence)


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