Carry On Films

Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams in Carry On CampingThe Carry On team worked at Pinewood Studios and consisted of the same core actors over a huge series of films (26 according to Wikipedia, with several more unmade). They were the filmic equivalent of those cheeky seaside postcards you get with the fat women showing their cleavage and red-nosed randy skinny blokes dropping their ice-cream. I loved them.

My favourite were the historical ones with Dick Turpin and Henry the Eighth, but I also liked Carry On Camping because I come from a scouting family and we used to camp a lot.

Babs and Sid camping it upIn every favourite film Barbara Windsor would lose her bra and Sid James would do his dirty laugh, neither of which happened in my real life, sadly.

The jokes were either double-entendres that mostly passed me by unless accompanied by some very obvious woo-woo type music, or they were the slapstick variety with people falling over into cake or mud. British Humour is one of our greatest exports, apparently.

It became politically incorrect to enjoy making/watching the sort of sexist humour on which the Carry On comedy was based. The original actors started to get a bit old to be capering about, and the new actors seemed to try too hard at the mugging. There was a bit of a revival in the early nineties with Julian Clary (perfect saucy humour character) but nothing like the output of the Seventies. There is a rumour that there will be a new Carry On film soon but don’t go holding your breath.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Isle of Wight Festival 1970

Festival banner

Kim P Moody

I must be the only person never to have been to an Isle of Wight Festival, and the one I should’ve gone to was the 1970 festival held at Afton Down, near Freshwater Bay on the western end of the Island. I was 17 and single.

The Festival ran for three consecutive years, the last from 26 to 31 August 1970, and was at the time, the largest musical event ever staged. The Guinness Book of Records reckoned that 600,000 people attended. This was not beaten until the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, USA in 1973.

The organisers were determined to create a legendary event and once they had secured Jimi Hendrix, the other major artists signed up to be there, too. The Who, The Doors, Free, Jethro Tull, Ten Years After and Joan Baez were just a few of the famous artists that turned up.

The promoters had no real problems hiring a site for the first two festivals, but in 1970, the locals had organised their objections, and Afton Down was the only site available. Let’s face it, the Islanders were outnumbered by more than 6:1, it’s no wonder they were miffed.

Due to the poor location many festival goers got a free show. The fenced off area that was controlled and you needed a ticket to get into, was overlooked by an area that became known as Desolation Hill. Many said that the view was better from there than in some parts of the arena. A secondary performance area, called Canvas City, gave paying guests a choice of music.

Festival Panorama at

Although the biggest festival, it was not regarded as the best. Some who went say that Hendrix was not at his best, and other groups were mediocre. The Who were well received, as ever, and surprisingly, Tiny Tim was a hit with the crowds. Tiny Tim was an American ukelele player who sang in a high, falsetto voice, songs like, ‘There’ll always be an England’ and ‘Tiptoe through the tulips’.

Financially the festival failed; it was poorly organised and was infiltrated by underground elements that tried to make it a free festival. Ron Foulk, a promoter is reported to have said, “This is the last festival, enough is enough, it began as a beautiful dream but has got out of control and become a monster.”

It was 32 years before another festival was held on the Island, by that time … well it didn’t appeal, much.

Red Squirrels

cute looking red squirrel at www.rspp.orgIn the mid-seventies, when I was about four or five, I went to Canon Hill Park in Birmingham with my Gran to feed the squirrels. My Gran lived in Edgbaston so we were quite near and it was only a short bus ride on the blue and cream bus which I loved travelling on when I visited her.

We had bags of peanuts and had to whisper when the squirrels came up to get them. My Gran told me that there weren’t many red squirrels left so I was lucky to see them. I’ll always remember how darling beautiful they looked with their bushy tails, tufty ears and bright eyes. I wanted to stroke them but she held me back because they were wild animals.

Another cute looking red squirrel at www.rspp.orgGran said the red squirrel was becoming rarer because the grey squirrel was vicious, though smaller, and would fight the gentle red squirrel. Also the grey squirrel was dirty and rooted in bins and was foreign (which I think was the biggest crime for my xenophobic Gran).

I haven’t seen a red squirrel for years except on TV, though I see plenty of grey ones. They are almost completely wiped out of Britain. The Red Squirrel Protection Partnership (where you can report sightings of the red) have launched a campaign for pest control of the grey squirrel in Northumberland. The only way to enable the red squirrel species to survive, they say, is to control the spread of the grey squirrel. See the recent BBC video.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Blue Peter

Blue Peter badgeBlue Peter was the best program to watch if you were a family as it catered for most tastes. It was like a variety show with presenters who would go off on adventures or meet people in the studio, or demonstrate how to do something. I loved the craft part. You could make everything out of a washing up liquid bottle and ‘sticky-back plastic’ (they weren’t allowed to use brand names so couldn’t say sellotape).

John, Peter and Lesley on the cover of a Blue Peter annualThe program ran from the fifties, and still runs today – reinventing itself with new presenters every time there is a new generation of kids. It’s an interesting TV phenomenon, probably similar to Top of the Pops, that when it changes, the kids who loved it suddenly think it’s naff but the kids of the agegroup it’s directed at think it’s fab.

Lesley Judd was my favourite presenter, though I did love Valerie Singleton as she made me feel grown up because she was like a newsreader. I only saw Valerie in old clips as she was off the show by the time I was two. John Noakes was also cool but I thought Peter Purvis a bit strange. There were also the animals, cats who kept disappearing and a dog called Goldie who was lovely.

Blake's 7 teleporter bracelet, made by Blue Peter with washing up liquid bottle, honest!Classic Blue Peter moments often involve having animals on the set (best clip was John Noakes falling over elephant poo, but I think this was sixties), it being a live show all the gaffes were broadcast. So any fudging of lines or forgetting where we are in the script, it was all on show. The set sometimes fell over, and the children who were guests froze in front of the cameras. It was all good stuff and I loved it. The most memorable for me was the Blake’s 7 teleporter bracelet made from, you guessed it, a washing up liquid bottle. Here’s one I made earlier.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Poem – Silver Jubilee Partying

The first Pop&Crisps poem by Shirley Elmokadem

Silver Jubilee ceremony at The Queen’s Silver Jubilee. June 7th 1977

Everyone went mad that day
I’ve never seen the like since.
Granddad put on his best suit
And Gran had a nice blue rinse.

Streets were decked with bunting,
In the car park a huge marquee,
People made sandwiches and cakes,
And there were endless cups of tea.

Jubilee street party at BBC siteWe danced in the streets all night,
Friends and neighbours, hand in hand.
The sky glittered with fireworks.
There were beacons all over the land.

It was some party, was that one,
To mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
And the sights and sounds of that day
Are forever in my memory.

Shirley is the First Prize Winner of the Swanwick Poetry competition 2008 winning a stay at the summer school as a prize

The Cream Suit

Saturday Night Fever costumeAnother fashion disaster of the Seventies – the cream or white disco suit. Flared trousers (of course), waistcoat and jacket which looked like a suit you might wear to the office except that it was white not grey.

Why was it a disaster? Well because it would get dirty so easily what with the sweat from disco dancing and the possibility of spilt drinks. A stained white suit is not sexy. There was also the open black shirt with white jacket aspect of the cream suit which was totally revolting, especially with all the chest hair. *shudders*

I am so glad that my dad never owned a cream suit. I think if he had then I’d have been so embarrassed I’d have disowned him. But I did sometimes see other people’s dads in cream suits. I had a white jacket myself in the nineties when I was at my butchest, but didn’t wear it for very long as the dirty aspect soon became apparent.

The only thing I can think that would have caused the cream suit phenomenon was Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta looking like your dad at a wedding. Oh dear.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

The Two-and-a-half Pence Piece

Sixpence, which is also known as the two-and-a-half-pence peiceIt seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? I mean what can you get for 2.5p today?! But I do remember clutching my two-and-a-half pence piece in my tiny hand and going into the Co-op near the infant school to buy a pack of sherbet which was exactly 2.5p. The coin was usually referred to as a sixpence in our family (my Mum being the kind of person who resisted going decimal right through the Seventies and still works in feet and inches, pounds and ounces now). But although I called it a sixpence at home, I knew it was worth 2.5p and called it a two-and-a-half pence at school. Way to confuse a child!

The reason for this idiocy of course was the decimal change in 1971, at which time I was very small and wouldn’t have remembered the Old Money being used at all except that many of the coins were still in circulation. Originally a shilling had 12 pennies in it, and then there were twenty shillings to a pound. The idea of decimalisation was to make everything work in tens and hundreds so that the British could fit happily into Europe (and we all know that the British just *love* fitting happily into Europe). In order for this to work, if one hundred pennies were in a pound then a shilling was five pence. (I’ll go into weight and distance some other time because I’m starting to get a headache now).

Rather than minting a whole load of new coins, the original coins were ‘re-denominated’, so shillings became five pence. For me growing up, this mean that what I called the money was something different to what my Mum and Gran called it. A five pence piece had the word ‘shilling’ written on it, and a ten pence had ‘two shillings’. And the old phrases were still in circulation as well, so people would refer to 50p as ‘ten bob’ which meant ten shillings. We also used to sometimes find old pennies and ha’pennies under the floorboards but these were copper and not used so we were allowed to keep them as play money. I loved the thruppeny bit which was slightly gold and had 12 straight sides, we couldn’t spend it but if we had then the value would have been half a two-and-a-half pence, so one-and-a-quarter pence. All the Old Money was chunky compared to the new but the thruppeny was thicker.

The sixpence wasn’t taken out of circulation straight away, as with the shilling and florin (two-shilling) coins, it was re-denominated, but was the first to be phased out. I was nine when the two-and-a-half pence piece was demonitised in June 1980. The shilling was demonitised in 1990 and the florin in 1993 except that by that time new 5p and 10p coins had been introduced so it didn’t seem to matter. But there were never any new 2.5p coins made. I missed the sixpence and I think a lot of others did as well. The only reason it stayed in legal tender for so long was because of the ‘save our sixpence’ campaign launched by the newspapers (no surprise there) to drum up some public angst about the loss of their familiar money, with a bit of anti-Euro in there too, no doubt.

We did have our own half-pence in new money, but this is possibly the denomination that has the shortest circulation in British history, being legal for only 13 years from 1971-1984. By the time the shilling and florin disappeared, there were more worrying things for the anti-Euros to think about.

Chocie sixpences at are traditional in weddings and are still available to buy but not for 2.5p and not to be used as legal tender. You can get sixpence chocolate coins, too! Isn’t google marvellous!! I learn something new every day when I’m writing popandcrisps posts.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room