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

The Beatles Legacy

The Beatles in 1970 looking very different to their initial clean-cut matching haircut imageThe Beatles broke up in 1970 (announced according to Wikipedia in April 1970 by Paul McCartney). So technically you could say, if you were going to be really pedantic about it, that I shouldn’t discuss them on a Seventies nostalgia blog.

However, considering my mum was a great Beatles fan and for the first ten years of my life I hadn’t even realised they’d actually disbanded before I was born, I think that I’m entitled to discuss the band. They had such a huge impact on the music scene that they did not cease to exist as an entity merely upon disbanding.

So their legacy runs through music and into popular culture, including attitudes to drug taking, psychedelic uniforms, groups of boys with matching haircuts, all sorts of things. What mystified me about them (apart from how on earth could my mother think they were cool) was the duration of their popularity. Their music stayed in the charts throughout the Seventies and Eighties and continues today in cover versions. As solo artists, each one of The Beatles had a successful career and some still do.

There were many boy bands before The Beatles, but they seem to be the ones who are remembered for making the format and achieved worldwide recognition for it.


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

Elkie Brooks

Elkie Brooks with band – look at that fabulous Seventies style!Elkie was a singer with a crooning husky voice, most famous or at least most remembered for Pearl’s A Singer from an album in 1977. Elkie sang Nights in White Satin in 1982. Originally recorded by The Moody Blues, another great band. I remember this as the Seventies, but have been corrected by Wikipedia.

I’m sure I remember the video for Nights in White Satin featuring a herd of white horses galloping in slow motion. Or that might have been something else. Anyway, I mistakenly believed this song to be about knights who wore white satin suits. I imagined these knights in shining armour on white horses galloping to the rescue of Elkie dressed as a princess in distress and letting down her long hair for them to climb up. I was only a child. And obviously very influenced by Disneyfied fairytales.

Years later, I saw the name of the song written down and realised she was singing about sleeping on satin sheets. Ooooh! Right. Now I get it.

Elkie is still doing the circuit as I found out last week when a colleague mentioned that her husband was going to a concert. Apparently she is still amazing.


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

Suzi Quatro

Suzie Quatro on guitarSuzi Quatro was my absolute heartthrob! I loved her for the way she looked, the way she sang, the fact that she did whatever she wanted and didn’t care.

I so wanted to be her when I grew up, probably the only woman during in my childhood I wanted to be like, all my other heroes being male.

In most of the clips of Suzi her face is obscured by a long fringe but this early clip shows that she is in fact totally delicious and my major crush is justified. Still rocking with no adornment or falsity, Suzi is so refreshing compared to other old timer female singers.

Most people think of Can the Can when they think of Suzi Quatro, but my favourite was always Devil Gate Drive.

When I was sweet sixteen I was a juke box queen down in Devil Gate Drive.

Not quite true of me, but I did love discos. I still listen to Devil Gate Drive now and sing it in the car.

Like many Seventies stars, Suzi was extremely talented and is still around now. She is still gorgeous and has fantastic fingerwork. This clip had me sweating.


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

Village Hall Disco

disco lightsIn the village where I grew up there is a hall which can be hired out for events. It was known as the memorial hall, though I don’t remember what it was a memorial to.

When I was a child, I used to spend a fair amount of time at the memorial hall. My mum was very active in the committee and there were always events going on. Discos mainly, any excuse for a disco.

There were hardly any other small children at the discos, only the offspring of the organisers who couldn’t get babysitters. So we were the ones who collected glasses (finishing off the drinks) and had pop and crisps. We got pushed around by older children who were trying to be important and petted by adults who thought it we were funny.

I remember being six years old and crawling behind the speakers to have a rest. I didn’t actually sleep but it was very comfortable. The curtains were a bit dusty and made me sneeze. When we sat on the wooden floor to do the ‘Boots Outside Your Head‘ dance, I would get a dirty bum and dirty hands, but it was fun to do it and be part of the grown up crowd.

We used to go up on stage to make requests and I shocked the DJ once by asking for the Sex Pistols. I didn’t know the name of the song but wanted to prove that I was grown up by saying the band’s name. Some of my favourite disco songs were the ones that spelled things out like YMCA and D-I-S-C-O.

When we were in the hall, dancing to these loud songs and looking at the flashing lights, I would feel like we were somewhere completely different and I could do anything, be anyone. Then the lights would go up and we’d have to wait for mum to help clear up before we could go home. We’d run around the empty hall like children always do. Out in the cold night air, walking through the village to our house, I’d start to feel tired and let down. I wasn’t a disco queen after all but just and ordinary village girl with sore feet.


 

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

Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night

Saturday Night Fever the film based on a journalistic lieThis article appeared in the New York Magazine in 1976 and is the inspiration of the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever.

The article was an exposé of the disco scene. However, according to Wikipedia, it was pure fiction, the author Nik Cohn not having done any research on the disco scene.

This is not just wikipedia being notoriously unreliable. Nik Cohn has admitted himself that the character Vincent, (on whom John Travolta’s Tony is based) “was largely inspired by a Shepherd’s Bush mod whom I’d known in the Sixties.” He got away with it apparently because the mod culture in London was similar to the disco subculture in Brooklyn.

I wonder how much more investigative reporting is fabricated? Perhaps everything on which we base our beliefs and values is a total lie. I’ve always known that you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the newspapers but this one really takes the biscuit!

Tune in next week when I’ll reveal that the Osmonds are my cousins from Darlaston in the West Midlands and Madonna is my gran from Bearwood in Birmingham. Natch.


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