Thursday, February 18, 2016

Back In Time For The Weekend With The Ashby Hawkins - History Without Tears - Stretching A Concept...



The Ashby Hawkins family travel back to the 1970s (that looks like our lounge in the late 1960s - it's fabulous!), and do things like playing golf by candle light to show what fun power cuts were. We didn't. Nobody we knew did. This is sick! The BBC and Ma and Pa Ashby Hawkins want to hector us about how nasty modern gadgetry is when it comes to being together as a family. And, once again, the real 1970s vanishes into fiction. Heavens, isn't that Clint Eastwood in his heyday being macho man in the photograph there? Oh, no, sorry - it's only Giles Coren - old Mr "I Love Myself, Who Do You Love?" as we used to say about people like him back in the 1970s. All is well then. The show must be perfectly accurate. NOT. As we said in the 1980s.

Back In Time For Dinner was something we enjoyed. Back In Time For Christmas was... well... OK... but Back In Time For The Weekend is stretching a thin concept until it snaps.

A middle class London family, the Ashby Hawkins, have just spent their fake 1970s doing things that nobody in my neighbourhood ever did - going camping, playing golf indoors in a power cut, having space hopper races... um, just how prevelant were these things to your average family? And what seems "such fun" in the hi-tec 21st Century often seemed very naff and a way of simply being less bored even back in the 1970s.

Roller discos? They were a 1980s UK fad, dearies. They didn't even peak in their native America until the early 1980s.

And where was the misery of rampant inflation, spiralling unemployment and industrial strife? The IRA threat, increasing hooliganism and the continuing Cold War threat?

Apparently, the programme makers gave them "such enjoyable" things to do. But that's not to say real people were doing those things - or if they were, in any great numbers - back then. It's all out of context. You cannot judge a decade on a series of bits and bobs fished up by 21st Century TV luvvies.

And all "underpinned" by some survey or other from way back.

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Rob Ashby Hawkins states that many surveys have proved that the 1970s were the best time to live in. Really, Rob? Various surveys say various things, and who was answering those surveys? People who were there in the 1970s, or people brought up on early 21st Century skewed 1970s "nostalgia"? And where are those surveys?

Personally, I wouldn't swap my sh*t rough 1970s childhood and early teens for anything. But that's because they taught me what it's like to live through hard times and to appreciate the good.

And prevented me from being smug and totally 21st Century - like the Ashby Hawkins tribe.

After all, we don't even have a car or a washing machine, let alone an ipod or ipad. And because we were short on so much in the 1970s, we don't miss 'em.

Sorry, Back In Time For The Weekend, but "what a load of rubbish!" - as we so often chorused in my 1970s school playground. Next week, we get the Cold War threat with the 1980s, apparently. The decade when the Cold War ice melted good and proper. Whatever happened to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962?

Why is the 1980s the only decade to feature news-related fears?

As for us in the 1970s, my own (thoroughly working class) family that is - do you know what our main shared activity was during that decade?

Watching the telly. In  fact, my grandmother and many older people I knew back in the 1970s said that television had killed family life, "we used to make our own amusement," they said.

But me, my parents and siblings and our friends and neighbours still spent most of our leisure hours in front of the "goggle box". When there wasn't a power cut.

And then my parents lit candles and sat and smoked fags and moaned ("I'm missing Crossroads!", etc, etc) and I sat and read. Of course, Mr and Mrs Ashby Hawkins would never light up a ciggie. Back in the real 1970s, many kids as young as ten or eleven were doing it. A taste of the real 1970s for little Ms and Master Ashby Hawkins? My goodness, what an awful thought.

However, the Ashby Hawkins apparently think the 1970s lovely.

So, send 'em back. Let 'em experience the real thing.

If only we could.

But back to telly: the theme tune to Crossroads is etched on my mind forever thanks to my childhood and early teens.

As are so many other naff TV theme tunes and advert jingles.

Thank you, 1970s.

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