Yearbook Yourself

These are photos of me as I would have looked if I was leaving high school in the Seventies. I got these from the site yearbookyourself.com.

1970 In this one I look like my Uncle Bill 1970 You gotta love those pearls

1972 Prefer the checked suit 1972 Think I remember one of my aunties looking like this

1974 I’d rather not talk about this one

1976 omg it’s lady Dianna! (this is actually a bloke pic) 1976 Fluffy bunny hair, lady Dianna again

1978 I did have a jumper like that 1978 this is the best one – love the afro

Yes, I am getting a bit bored and desperate and it would be really good if some of you lot would contribute to Pop&Crisps. No pressure.


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

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Kevin Keegan

KK in Hamburg kit, late SevenitesKevin Keegan was my first star footballer. I was too young for George Best and Bobby Charlton. Kevin was the sudden football celebrity when I was becoming aware of such things.

In my home village, which is located in North Warwickshire, most children (most boys as girls didn’t tend to see the point in football back then) would either support Wolves or the Villa as these were the local teams. It wasn’t really done to support a team which you weren’t related to somehow, like now many children support Man U when they have no connection to Manchester simply because it is a high-scoring team. When Kevin Keegan became popular, boys who’d never been north of Cannock in their lives would announce that they supported Liverpool.

I never understood the concept of ‘supporting’ a team actually, and my mum had a phrase that she would use when asked ‘who do you support?’ I support my legs and my legs support me, was something that I would repeat. However, Kevin Keegan was on the news and on the back page of the paper, so even my mum would have to notice him.

There were a lot of boys named Kevin born in the Seventies. A big deal was made of Kevin’s hair and a lot of boys would style their hair as a poodle perm and wear track suits to mimic him. The Liverpool accent, previously only heard on The Liver Birds, became less exotic. A glut of TV shows featuring Liverpool appeared in the early Eighties such as Brookside and Bread, which may be due to Carla Lane ’s success as much as Kevin Keegan being an ambassador for Liverpool. Before he was bought by Hamburg, that is.


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

The Generation Game

Bruce and co-host Anthea RedfernBruce Forsyth on the Generation Game was our standard Saturday night viewing during the Seventies. How we laughed at the incompetence of the contestants as they attempted to perform various tasks that had been demonstrated.

Bruce’s co-host was Anthea Redfern who was a dancer and model. I don’t remember whether they knew each other before the show began in 1971, but it was quite the showbiz gossip when they married in 1973.

All sorts of skills were showcased on the program, from dancing to pottery, to making an icing-sugar rose to eating a sugar donut without licking your lips. The demonstrators would be a person or group of people who either did this for a living or were famous for it somehow and it would be fascinating to see how dextrous a person can be after they have performed a task thousands of times. When it came to the contestants, they would be sweating under cameras and time pressure and often collapsing in laughter, and the end result would bear little resemblance to the demonstration model.

Didn't he do well? Bruce’s catchphrase ‘didn’t she do well?’ would be used to signify someone who have indeed done well and would achieve a good score, but could also be said in an ironic way. Although Bruce was never downright nasty to contestants, he could be quite cutting to get a laugh. One of the things that always made me laugh was the way that he would smile at the contestant and then hold up the item they’d made with a frozen smile or horrified and disgusted expression at the camera. Then he would say something like ‘never mind, dear’. And the audience would cheer. The expert who’d done the demonstration would be brought back in to give out scores.

Brucie's distinctive pose - well no-one else would look that idioticThe reason that the show was called Generation Game was because it would involve eight teams of family members, generally mother-son or father-daughter. The team who won in the tasks round would compete with the team who won in a quiz round in the final game which would be a performance of a show. This usually meant getting dressed up in silly costume and singing a short solo as part of a larger show which involved professional performers. Bruce was an all-round entertainer himself and would sing the opening music, dance and would also do this silly pose in silhouette at the beginning of the show, which looked a bit butch and camp at the same time. Another catchphrase was “Nice to see you, to see you, nice!” and all the audience would shout on the last ‘nice’.

The team who won that game would then at the end of the show play the conveyor belt game. They would sit and watch a series of prizes pass by on a conveyor belt and then after it had all gone, they would have a minute to list the prizes. Those that they could remember would be the ones they went home with. Bruce often helped with this if the contestant seemed like they weren’t going to remember many. There was always a cuddly toy, and even now if I’m listing a series of items, I’ll say ‘canteen of cutlery, cuddly toy’ as a joke. Sadly, as time goes on, fewer people laugh. Heartbreaking really, considering The Generation Game could well be a national treasure.

After Bruce left, The Generation Game continued through the Eighties with Larry Grayson hosting. He added his own unique stamp on the show and it became even more popular. The Generation Game has continually reinvented itself and Bruce recently hosted a ‘Generation Game Now and Then’ clips show. There is also talk of Harry Hill presenting a new Generation Game.


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

Survivors TV Series

DVD cover for Survivors first seriesIn 1975 a British TV series from Terry Nation and the BBC tackled the issue of the collapse of society after a worldwide virus. Survivors became a cult classic and is still available now on DVD, having been reissued in 2003-2005. It was also adapted into a book. Alys my partner loved it in repeats, but I’d never heard of it until a year ago. We borrowed the DVD set from a friend and became addicted to it when the Lost season was over.

Survivors screen shots showing initial plague laboratory

The initial premise is that Abby, the lead character – a woman forsooth! How modern are we? – is travelling the English-Welsh border looking for her son who has been in a boarding school. She meets people along the way and some come with her (most notably Greg) and some try to keep her with them, either by persuasion or force. There are some harrowing scenes of the destruction and what is left after most people are dead, but the nature of the drama is psychological, suspense and leaving things to the viewer’s imagination. There is little reliance on gore for horror. The introduction to the program every episode shows how the plague started by accidental infection in a laboratory.

I have for a long time been attracted to stories with ‘everyone else is dead, only us left’ storylines, more technically referred to as apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and have started writing several novels in this genre. There are plenty of films and books to draw inspiration from, and the Seventies Survivors is one of the better.

DVD cover for Survivors first seriesNow it transpires that Survivors is being remade, thank goodness still British or it would reek of American sentimentalism (it might still, I have yet to see). Early reports suggest that there is a lesbian storyline (hurrah!) but that the character in question dies (boo). Also pleased to note that the actor who plays Martha Jones in Dr Who will be in this new Survivors. I wonder if the Beeb are hoping for the same level of success with Survivors as they had in resurrecting The Doctor (Terry Nation was the creator of the Daleks after all). As far as I can tell, only the name, the virus and some of the character profiles are the same as the original. It will be an interesting comparison to make.

One shift in attitude to note is that the Seventies series focussed on the despair and the various pockets of survivors were often quite dysfunctional. According to Wikipedia the new series will focus on hope and humanity and will be more optimistic. So perhaps we will see some sickly American influence in our hard-hitting British drama after all. “This is in an attempt to make it less depressing to watch as the kind of disaster depicted has moved out of the realm of pure science fiction.” Interesting to note that people think that we are more likely to have a global event now than before – considering we’ve been under the nuclear threat for decades. What else do they know that we don’t? I don’t think it ever was ‘pure science fiction’ as these stories have often been about a very real, immediate danger.

I wonder if they’re going to bring back Blake’s 7?


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

Des O’Connor

Des O'Connor in 2008Des O’Connor is like the king of showbiz. I heard him on the radio yesterday plugging his new album and it took me right back to the Seventies. He did this talk show which preceded the likes of Wogan and Russell Harty. Of course, Parkinson was already on then and I’m sure I’ll be blogging about Parky soon enough.

Des O'Connor with Morcambe and Wise in the SeventiesThe thing with Des was that he never seemed to take himself too seriously. He’s been doing stand up performances since the Fifties and brought singing into the act almost as a joke. Due to the irreverent behaviour of Morcambe and Wise (who again, I’m sure I’ll be blogging about) Des’s singing career took off and hasn’t stopped. His new album is out this month, in fact. He said in the interview that he worried if Eric Morcambe (who was a good friend) kept on making fun of him then it would be the end of his career as a singer, however it seemed to have the opposite effect.

Des has been privileged to interview some great stars, and many of them he met before they achieved stardom and were just starting out. What a career! He mentioned Freddie Starr and Barbara Streisand, but according to Wikipedia there are a huge number of celebrities, including royals and politicians, that he’s interviewed. I’m so glad I listened to the interview because I was starting to flag with inspiration for PopandCrisps and now I’m bubbling with ideas again.


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

Jaws

Poster for JawsI wasn’t allowed to watch Jaws as it was too scary. In fact I don’t like to watch it now for the same reason. Yes I’m a wimp, I’m scared of Scooby Doo. The thing about Jaws was that it stopped you wanting to swim in the sea, which we often did when on holiday in North Wales. (God forbid I would ever swim up there now, I think that I must have been immune to the cold as a child.) Even the posters and trailers for Jaws had me quaking.

I have watched the film several times in the last decade, since it’s been on the TV quite a bit. I’m interested in the cinematography and I like Richard Dreyfuss as an actor (loved him in Close Encounters which I’m sure I’ll be discussing it here at some point). However I do have to admit that although I know the narrative very well there are certain scenes that are more fuzzy in my memory due to my face being in a cushion at the time that they’re shown. There is the bit where the man is in the cage underwater and the other bit on the boat where someone has his leg bitten off.

Jaws is a great film for Film Studies students as it marks a transition in cinematography and special effects. I am especially interested in the way tension is built up and the music. Though it might be seen as quite clunky now with our cgi stuff that we have, the use of the mechanical shark was cutting edge in the Seventies. And the actors had to actually act to make it all believable. I think that’s why it’s such a good film compared to some of the action films you get today, and so popular still.

We used to play Jaws in the playground at school, which consisted of holding your hand above your head to represent the fin and imitating the music. The unmusical among us would do this by going ‘duh-duh… duh-duh… de-de-de-de-de-de-de-de-DUH-DUH!!!’ And then you would run around after other children trying to catch them.

In 2005, the Jaws 30th Anniversary DVD was released. Apparently Jaws 2 was really crap. I shouldn’t imagine there’ll be a 30th Anniversary edition of that this year.


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

The Kinks

The Kinks on Top of the PopsThe Kinks had hits through the Sixties and Seventies and into the Eighties and are apparently preparing now for a comeback. Some of their major hits are still played on ‘classic’ radio and have been covered by other artists, for instance You Really Got Me Going, Sunny Afternoon, Waterloo Sunset. My favourite song of theirs was Lola.

As a child I knew that The Kinks had their name because they were supposed to be kinky. Though I didn’t know exactly what ‘kinky’ was supposed to mean, I knew it was something a bit naughty and worth a giggle. So although to say you liked The Kinks wasn’t quite as shocking as saying you liked the Sex Pistols, it still got a raised eyebrow.

The Kinks' single cover for LolaMy mum had an album with the ‘Greatest Hits’ of the Sixties and Seventies on it which I used to play a lot as a child. I’m sure that this was in the Seventies, which is ironic but not unusual. Lola was one of the songs on this album. I played it over and again trying to work out the lyrics.

It seemed to me to be a story about a man who went to a bar and danced with someone who he thought was a woman but who turned out to be a man dressed as a woman. Pretty shocking for 1970, though it seems quite tame today. Robbie Williams has covered the song for a special BBC thing, and I’m sure that’s actually a woman in the video snogging him.

I changed the lyrics slightly in my head to make it about a woman dressed as a man, as I usually did. But my favourite bit wasn’t the insinuation of kinky sex, but the mention of cherry cola which I loved but which wasn’t readily available then.


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