Sunday, October 15, 2006

The 1970s: What the BBC Says and the Truth...

A recent e-mail came winging my way from Gaynor in Brighton. She said: "I always prefer recalling pop culture as it actually happened. What fads we were in to in which decades. As the BBC and 70s fans spend so much time telling lies about 1970s pop culture, please can you prepare an accurate list of fads of the 60s, 70s and early 80s as I am trying to get a clear picture?"

The BBC, Wikipedia and others certainly have spread a lot of nonsense about the 70s - although I don't think most of it has been intentional fib-telling! People are just desperate to be nostalgic, and as the 60s are a little way behind us now, and the 80s are tarred as totally greedy, a lot of 60s and 80s pop culture has been wrongly celebrated as "70s".

I will do my best to unmuddy the waters and spread some 1960s fun and information on this blog -

I recommend that 1970s fans do not take too much notice of the BBC's "I Love..." TV programmes or websites, which have been responsible for a great deal of misinformation, or the Toy Retailers Association, which has sadly followed the BBC's lead and altered accurate information on its website to inaccurate! When last I looked, Clackers had been replaced as the craze of 1971 by the spacehopper. The Toy Retailers site states that the hopper arrived in 1971, which is in line with nonsense on the BBC's "I Love..." site. The fact is, our orange friend was featured as a trend in British newspaper advertisements as far back as the late 1960s!

The spacehopper, the Chopper bike, the Stylophone and flared trousers did NOT first become part of British pop culture in the 1970s.

Whilst we're at it, certain other items vaunted as 70s pop culture were actually 80s pop culture! See my 80s blog for accurate 80s info -

At the end of the day, nostalgia should be fun, but I can't help thinking that the fantasy 1970s recently created is not a healthy thing at all, as so many youngsters seem to be living in an era that actually did not exist.

This blog aims to celebrate and bemoan the 1970s as they actually were - in England primarily (I have access to a large archive of English provincial newspapers of the era), but people in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and beyond, will hopefully find that many memories are stirred for them, too.

This is not a boring anorak blog (hopefully), it will be fun as well as informative. But I do aim to be tediously nitpicking about facts and dates. I'm fond of the 1970s - the decade saw me grow from four to fourteen, and whilst it was no picnic, it certainly had its moments.

But the fantasy 21st Century version of the 1970s has outstayed its welcome and should be put to rest.

So, Gaynor, and anybody else who would like a glimpse of the real 1970s, please keep reading - and I'll do my very best!