Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back to 1974...

It was a funny year. Except it wasn't, if you see what I mean. We had "streaking" coming across from America and hitting the pop charts ("Here he comes! There he goes! And he ain't wearin' no clothes!"). What was it all about? Search me. It probably came about because of all that 1960s “Be free, Man!” stuff - although people had run amok in public naked for kicks before that. 20th Century Words by John Ayto (Oxford, 1999) records this quote from a 1974 American Runner’s World magazine: “During the winter of 1958-9 a group of us ‘streaked’ all over Berkeley.”

So perhaps it was the rockin’ rollin’ 50s that set the trend in motion?

In 1982, we got our best remembered streaker - remember Erika here.

In April the shopping centre of Armagh was devastated in a fire bomb attack.

Clearing up after the bomb explosions in two Guildford pubs in October which killed five and injured sixty people.

Enoch Powell (of all people!) won South Down for the United Ulster Unionists.

Princess Anne was almost kidnapped on Wednesday, 20 March 1974. She and her husband, Captain Mark Phillips, were being driven to Buckingham Palace. In the Mall, a white car swerved in front of theirs and forced it to stop. 26-year-old Ian Ball, the driver of the white car, shot Inspector Jim Beaton, the Princess' personal detective, in the shoulder. The wounded Beaton managed to fire back, but missed. Then his gun jammed.

Ian Ball tried to drag the Princess from her car, whilst Mark Phillips held her around the waist to prevent it. A police constable happening upon the scene was shot in the stomach, but managed to alert other officers via his personal radio.

Ian Ball was finally apprehended by the police. In court, the man was described as "potentially suicidal and homicidal" and in need of treatment. He had sought to gain a ransome of £3 million, and to draw attention to the "lack of facilities for treating mental illness under the National Health Service".

In the photograph above, Anne is visiting her injured personal detective, Inspector Jim Beaton, in hospital.

Two General Elections this year. Ted Heath, he of the "jolly" laugh and accompanying bouncing shoulders so beloved of impressionist Mike Yarwood, stood down amidst a declared State of Emergency, which included a three day week. The results of the first General Election, held on 28 February, returned no overall majority - Labour 301, Conservatives 296, Liberals 14, and others 24. Mr Heath resigned on Monday, 4 March and Harold Wilson became Prime Minister again. Labour were back in No 10.

The country had its second General Election on 10th October - and this time Labour was returned with a majority of three. The photograph above shows election night in Trafalgar Square, with thousands watching the BBC's coverage on a giant screen.

Rising soccer hooliganism and violence amongst supporters saw clubs like Manchester United penning in their fans.

Here's Uncle Bulgaria meeting fans in 1974. The first Wombles book by Elizabeth Beresford was published in 1968, and the TV series and pop group which it inspired were major successes. The TV series began in 1973 after the book had been read on Jackanory and proved to be highly popular with viewers.

Remember key rubbing, spoon rubbing, and the weird and wonderful world of Uri Gellar? He had us all rubbing away and absolutely delighted if we managed to bend a Yale key or a spoon. Silly sods.

The photographs for this post come from Britain In The Seventies, by Ronald Allison (1980). As far as books go, it's pretty darned good. No '60s or '80s pop culture being shoe-horned in. Just the '70s. You know, the real ones!

Keep an eye on eBay for it...

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