Category Archives: Lifestyle

my 1970s teen-angst diary (part 2)

(Post by Andrea Grace Burn of East Yorkshire – April 2021)

Revisit Part 1 of ‘My 1970s Teen Angst Diary’ here.

INTRODUCTION RE-CAP

First crush, unrequited love, friendships, breaking-up, making-up, chicken in the brick, going to the flicks, grey tights, the disco, ponies, clogs, orchestra practice, sexism, a court case and Col’s wooden ‘Andie Block’…it was all going on in 1974!

In those far off pre-digital days of my youth – the 1970s – there were no bloggers, no tweeters, no Instagram or Facebook opportunities to express or comment on whatever thought popped into our heads. And wasn’t it great! The notion that other people might be remotely interested in our inner thoughts was alien; I grew up hearing that old chestnut, “you know what thought did,” even though I had no idea what it meant.

On my ninth birthday in 1969, my mother gave me a five year diary; encouraging me to “keep all my secrets” within this little blue leather book with a lock and key; as she had done in her youth. I kept it sporadically.  It is only in the past two years that I have begun writing a journal once more and it is considerably less entertaining than my teenage diary!

June 2nd, 1974

 “Saw a film called ‘300 Spartans.” Hollywood, violins,  corny but quite good. For lunch, cooked chicken in brick with garlic, also potatoes, peas, fruit salad, milk, gravy & dry cake. Yum!

 Went to Col’s to see rabbits. We just missed DARRYL SMITH! Col was in a towel as he was getting ready for a bath. Couldn’t see rabbits. Went for a walk round the block with Zoo.”

 June 13th, 1974

 “Didn’t go to orchestra practice. I’ll get Mom to write a note. I might (well, probably will) have to testify about accident which Julie and John had (fight). Help! I will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God!

Went to piano lesson. Playing Fur Elise. NOT going to disco Saturday night as sold out of tickets. Going to TOP RANK Saturday morning.”

NB: I had witnessed a school fight between Julie and John, which had begun as a flirtatious game but ended with Julie falling down stairs and knocking out a tooth. Her mother reported it to the police and it ended up in the Juvenile Court. My testament prevented John from being sent to Borstal.

June 17th, 1974

“At school today Kim said that Pamela had told her that Darryl Smith had told her to tell Kim that he HATES ME!  (Boo Hoo.) I don’t know why, except that he thinks I’m dependent on him, so at next disco I’m going to dance with other boys (not that I’ve ever danced with Darryl, though I’d love to!!). This might make him see that I don’t need him, so he might like me again. I HOPE SO!! 

Still, as my pals say, “there are more fish in the sea,” though I still like Darryl as much as before.

Saw TV programme on SLEEP – very interesting.”

June 20th, 1974

“Nothing much went on today. Got pen friends, I will write to a few more.  It is EXTREEMLY hot today & tonight!! So hot, I might not use sheets!!

I have just heard a cat scream. Zoo is in heat. Made fudge – turned out like caramel – very nice!

 Julie’s mum doesn’t want her to come to m y house again. She said “you know who your pals are in these cases.” GOOD NIGHT!

June 22nd, 1974

 “Went to Halesowen to Sainsbury’s with Mom and Dad. Dad got sick ’cause they went to a party night before. Gave Shaz a birthday present – Elton John, ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me.” Went to disco tonight. Alright but a lot of kids there about 17 – some about 15. They stuck pins in you. Spent night at Shaz’s house.” (WTF – STUCK PINS IN YOU?)

July 16th, 1974

 “Tonight went to Carnival (in the States, a Fun Fair is called a Carnival) in Shenley (near Bartley Green Reservoir). Went on ‘WALTZER JOY-BOUNCE’, ‘SCRAMBLER’, & ‘ROCKETS’. 2nd time on WALTZER man spun me, Shaz & Becky round so I was nearly sick, skirt went back, couldn’t move or lean forward.  ROCKET handle moved up or down but ours didn’t work so we were up in the air all the time – I screamed & held on to Shaz. Scrambler man said to Shaz that I had white knickers on. When we went by him he patted Shaz’s knee. Went on stalls. Shaz won a furry toy on stick.”

July 17th, 1974  

“Had Summer Fair at school tonight. Ii did Pony Rides with Georgina & Jean. Georgina brought their  ponies, FELLA & JUPITER. I think we raised around £5.00. Georgina gave me 20p for my ‘hard work’ (cough cough!) I went in my jodhpurs & riding boots & several boys laughed at me. I got a coke & as I picked it up, I spilled Mr. Gupta’s (History teacher) coffee right in front of Mrs. Carter.” (Head Teacher) Oh well. Went to Georgina’s for an hour. Got home about 10.00pm.”

Andrea, aged 14, on one of her favourite ponies.

July 18th, 1974

“Last day of school this year! GREAT!  I’ll be 4th Year next year! Help! Tonight I am at Becky’s. We have just had an omelette. (Yum!) Tomorrow we are going to town early then going skating.  That should be funny! I’ll write about that tomorrow!

There are some Spanish girls at school. One of them did hand-stands at break on playground & 2 did piggy-backs. They are popular with the boys here. One boy said, “ Can I tickle your fancy?”  She didn’t know what it meant.

 Sang ‘School’s Out’  (Alice Cooper) as we walked home!”

(Copyright: Andrea Burn 11th April, 2021)

my 1970s teen-angst diary (Part 1)

(Post by Andrea Grace Burn of East Yorkshire – April 2021)

First crush, unrequited love, friendships, breaking-up, making-up, chicken in the brick, going to the flicks, grey tights, the disco, ponies, clogs, orchestra practice, sexism, a court case and Col’s wooden ‘Andie Block’…it was all going on in 1974!

In those far off pre-digital days of my youth – the 1970s – there were no bloggers, no tweeters, no Instagram or Facebook opportunities to express or comment on whatever thought popped into our heads. And wasn’t it great! The notion that other people might be remotely interested in our inner thoughts was alien; I grew up hearing that old chestnut, “you know what thought did,” even though I had no idea what it meant.

On my ninth birthday in 1969, my mother gave me a five year diary; encouraging me to “keep all my secrets” within this little blue leather book with a lock and key; as she had done in her youth. I kept it sporadically.  It is only in the past two years that I have begun writing a journal once more and it is considerably less entertaining than my teenage diary!

Andrea’s teenage diary.

For context, when I was fourteen in 1974, there was a local boy called Colin (Col) who had a big crush on me me but I only had eyes for Darryl Smith (he of the David Essex eyes and dimple). Col kept a polished piece of wood in his pocket (don’t!!) with my nickname Andie crudely carved into it, which he called his ‘Andie Block.” I would often peer through the net curtains to see him on the corner of our road, fondling the block in his pocket or giving it a quick polish while waiting for me to come out and look his way. I rarely did. His best mate Gaz tried his luck with Shaz but it was a non-starter.

And as for this #Metoo generation; it was a wholly different world we inhabited in the 70s.  Sexism was rampant and objectifying girls and women was par for the course. I had some near scrapes throughout my teens.  If I could have a word with my fourteen year old self, it would be this:

1) Don’t be in a hurry to grow up.

2) Beware of men in cars who curb crawl and don’t speak to them.

3) Don’t walk home at night on your own or with a girl friend – ask for
Dad to pick you up. .

4) Don’t fret over piano exams – you’ll never be that good anyway  

So for those of you who were teenagers in the 70s, here are a few excerpts from May/June/July 1974…  

     May 3rd, 1974

    “Zoo has worms,but I think she’ll be alright.”

     May 7th, 1974

“Tonight Col and Gaz rang me up. They wanted to know whether I was going to pack Col up tonight & to stop beating around the bush. They wanted a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. I said I liked Col very much as a friend & I didn’t want to lose his friendship or hurt his feelings (for they thought I was saying I liked Col so as not to hurt his feelings.)

I said I didn’t want to go out with a boy  till I was 15 so he’d have to wait, he said he would. I said I would forget about Darryl Smith & Kev (I still like Darryl Smith). Gaz wants to take Shaz to the flicks. She doesn’t like him much but I think she might ,so as not to hurt his feelings.  Gaz is paying for her at the disco, Col isn’t paying for me as I’m not his girlfriend any more.”

     May 8th, 1974

“Today I had the day off school because of the Teacher’s Union strike thing. Julie, Shaz & I went to town. At 12 noon, we met Mom at Rackham’s (department store) to look for a dress pattern for me. I was quite fussy with Mom & I’m very sorry I was. We got a very nice pattern. Shaz got a black velvet (well, like velvet) jacket from a boutique called 2007, it cost about £11.30 or so. PHEW!! I got a SPANISH PHRASE BOOK, ruler, rubber, patractor (original spelling), drawing paper, 2 ‘Win a Pony’ Entry Forms (W. H. Smith’s), food (3 macaroons, apple juice, candy & a sausage roll.) I want a halter top which is just over £1. (about £1.50 from Dorothy Perkins). It’s blue.”

2007 Boutique in Birmingham City Centre, 1970s.

      May 11th, 1974

In the Piano Festival, I got 75 marks.  The winner got 86. He said I should have used the left peddle. I can’t read his writing very well to see what else he said.  I went to town with Julie – also I got a white & pink flowered sleeveless top with pink ribbons. It looks great without a bra. I also got some big black beads – 45p from the market, eyelashes that were 12p reduced from 75p, and eyeliner for 15p. The top was £1.25.

Gaz and Col phoned to say they will collect the disco money tomorrow. I have just watched a film about a lady and Charles 2nd (more about the lady). It looked the real Hollywood type, a bit corny, but overall really good.”

PS: The makeup was from Roscoe’s, near Oasis Market.

May 13th, 1974

“Today I got a chain letter from Joyce Pegg.  I’ve got to copy it out 6 times & send to 6 different friends or cousins. Within 20 days I should get 300 postcards from all over the world I hope so!

We also had orchestra after school. We mainly practised Trumpet Vol., Tartan Polka and El Tanquillo. We are going to play them sometime in assembly.”

      May 14th, 1974

“Today at school, Col, Gaz, Jonesy & co. got Shaz’s ball & wouldn’t give it back at break or dinner. Shaz etc. said they won’t pay for disco money if they don’t get the ball back – I think we made Mrs. Calder cry. Head Master came in class.

I went to Col’s to see 2 week old (6 of ’em) rabbits. They are white little balls of fluff. I’d love one, but Mom said NO!!” 

     May, 16th, 1974

“Today I wore the dress Mom made for  me: flowered print, low square neck, puff sleeves, black beads, clogs (blue denim), grey tights.

Tonight, Denise (next door) had a birthday party. I saw several boys go in – they looked nice. I put my ear to the wall to listen.

Saw a Humphrey Bogart film – very good!  Saw M*A*S*H – very funny!

It is now 11:55pm. GOOD NIGHT. (We had a small thunder storm today. Well, small by U.S.A. Standards, fairly large by English standards.)

     May 17th, 1974

“Tonight I had a piano lesson at 8.20pm. I’m not going to play ‘Flood Time’ until I learn the scales concerned, I’m going to play ‘Fur Elise’. In November I have Grade 3 piano. HELP!!”

   May 18th, 1974

“Tonight Shaz & I went to see ‘Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.’ It was FAB!! We saw another one too with Raquel (Welch), ‘The Virginian and Ryker.’ It was sad at the end.!!

We walked from the A.B.C. to town and then had to get a bus to Shaz’s. The buses only come about every ½ hour or 1 hour or so. A car came up & 2 men said, “Can you tell us the way?” Shaz said “Where to?” He said, “To Quinton for 2 females who want a lift.” Shaz said, “No thank you.” I looked the other way. Another van nearly pulled up. A car with 2 men pulled up & backed up a bit and shouted, “Hay you!” (or something). After a bit it went. There were drunks and all sorts.”

(… to be continued.)

(Copyright: Andrea Burn April 11th 2021) 

The Future Was Bright

Russ Stewart: London, April 2021

Future perspectives from the 70s ;  

The early 70s vision ;  jet packs and unlimited leisure.  

By late 70s the future view was dystopian. 
Old people ( i.e.  us) processed into handy little green, nutritious pellets, to satisfy the cravings of peckish millennials.

I was mesmerised by the 1968 film “2001 A Space Odyssey”. 
Jupiter beckoned as the spaceship ‘s passive, jogging pilots feasted on liquefied bubble and squeak  whilst an ungrateful, sentient computer plotted their ejection into the void.

The film reflected a common futuristic theme of the time ;  exponential extrapolation of transportation capabilities.  

In 1918 the Red Baron was smiting his enemies from his biplane.

By 1969 US astronauts were flouncing about on the moon (or on a back lot at a Burbank studio?).

It was not until the 90s that writers’ imaginations cottoned onto the trend of diminishing marginal improvements in transportation being eclipsed by the massive improvements in information technology. 

The Matrix and Minority Report  come to mind.

Consider : there is far more computing power in your phone than in the command module of Apollo 11.

Prophets and not for Prophets :

Alvin Toffler wrote “Future Shock”. 

Waves of desperate sub-Saharan Africans stormed Europe. 

The film “The Andromeda Strain” featured pandemic woes.

70s groovers Tower of Power performed “There is Only so Much Oil in the Ground”…..They advised : “you can’t cut loose without that juice” over Francis Rocco Prestia’s  16th note bass-line.   


How wrong. 
There is more oil than we can safely burn.  However the bass-line endures.

2020s : dystopian view prevails. 

The late Stephen Hawking saw advances in quantum computing delivering a threat of artificial intelligence, superior to human capabilities.

Machines  with consciousness.
Supermarket trolley extrapolation…. 

The preposterous Canadian premier, Justin Trudeau, gained plaudits for his lay explanation of Quantum Computing. 
“A bit has two states, 0 and 1. A quantum bit has multiple states. Hence more computational power”.   

His explanation of car mechanics?  “you put petrol at the back and turn a key at the front and it goes faster than a bicycle”.  
Maybe Hawking will be proved right.

Maybe everyone was and will be right?  All futures exist?   

Somewhere  a cat is musing a thought experiment “Schrodinger’s Man”.

Quantum theory has given us the many worlds and multiple universe concepts as mathematically feasible explanations for the collapse of the wave function when sub- atomic particles are subject to measurement.   

This could mean that, in parallel realities, you are the president of USA and commute to the Oval Office  by jet pack, whilst in another, you are a little green pellet in a lunchbox.

the way we were (Part 1)

Paul Fitzpatrick: April 2021 London.

According to the Harvard professor and cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, mankind’s never had it so good.

He reasons that by almost every metric of human wellbeing, the world is getting better —everything from war, violence, and poverty (all declining) to health, wealth, happiness, and equality (all improving).

I’m not about to argue against the Prof or his logic but despite the obvious progress there are still a few things from the 70s that I’m sure we all miss.

I don’t mean major things, like – loved ones or youth or waistlines, they’re a given of course, however, I’m not talking about superfluous things either, like Golden Cups or Sea Monkeys.

I readily admit that my choices are all minor in the grand scheme of things but they’re particular to me….

1) Jukeboxes:
I know we can stream music from a grain of sand nowadays and Spotify can provide us with 70 million downloadable songs at the touch of a button, and really, I’m grateful for that, it’s progress, it really is.

But I do miss a great jukebox in a pub, because it’s the way it should be, it’s democracy at its finest, everyone has a choice and if the proprietors are smart and curate the best of each genre then it doesn’t matter if you’re a Rock fan and the jukebox is playing Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding or Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell, the chances are you’ll still appreciate best in class.  

The alternative is generally hit or miss and usually in the hands of a disinterested staff member who’s happy to put on anything for a bit of background noise.

I’ve left pubs before because the music was so banal.

In my local they have an online jukebox system called Secret DJ where you can log-in using the pubs Wi-Fi and make your own choices (everyone that logs in has 3 free choices before you have to pay), there’s not a great selection to choose from to be honest but there’s a bit of Steely Dan & The Doobie Brothers & Al Green and of course Wichita Lineman & Dock of the Bay…

It’s not as good as a finely curated jukebox of course but it’s better than listening to Adele on a loop.

2) Robert Halpern:

In the late 70s one of the best nights out for me was a visit to The Pavilion in Glasgow to see a stage hypnotist called Robert Halpern.

I must have seen the guy 20 times at least, and over the course of a few years I dragged along everyone I knew to see his act… mainly for the show but also to witness their reactions, which were usually hysterical.

The premise of the show was pretty simple and never really changed.

He would hypnotise about 40 people every night.
Most of them hypnotised within the first 10 minutes of the show, unknowingly put under, whilst sitting in their seats.

He’d then home-in on about 12 principal characters (usually the mouthy ones) who would become the stars of the show.

I took a friend who on attending the show for the first time got hypnotised, and I watched it all unfold.

One minute he was sat beside me saying it was all claptrap the next he was trudging up to the stage like a zombie with his fingers clasped so tightly that his hands and arms were shaking.

At the end of the show my mate vehemently denied that he had been hypnotised and insisted that he’d been fully aware of everything that had gone on.

I so wished I had a camera phone back then to show him his ‘awareness’ at work.

He didn’t think it was strange at all, that…
He was up on stage in front of 1,500 people… Or that he was eating raw onions that supposedly tasted like sweet apples…. Or that he would start taking all his clothes off when he heard a certain song… Or that he was stuck to a chair that he couldn’t get out of for 10 minutes…. Or that he was trying to feed a carrot to a wooden horse…. Or that he believed the number 3 didn’t exist so when he counted his fingers, he had 11 digits… despite him working for a bank!

He said he was just performing for the benefit of the show, which I guess on some level is how ‘response to suggestion’ works… which is at the core of hypnotism.

Anyway, as you can probably guess, the star of the show every night as always, was the great Glasgow public.

There was always a gallus wee punter telling the hypnotist to ‘f*ck off ya clown!’ or a schemie laying into him with ‘do ya think I’m buttoned up the back, ya dobber!’.

At the height of his popularity this dobber was earning £25,000 per week, had added a Bengal tiger a set of gallows and a spaceship to his act and was swanning about in a Rolls Royce.

Halpern and baby tiger

Things didn’t end well for Halpern though.
A girl hypnotised by him marched off the front of the stage into the orchestra pit, when as part of the act he’d convinced her she needed a pee and was desperate for the bathroom.
She broke her leg, damaged her back and sued.

Halpern, a regular at the casinos, was by now allegedly bankrupt.

Even though I knew the drill I miss those shows, they were funny, chaotic, very live and obviously spontaneous.

One of my favourite parts was the wooden horse routine –

“when you wake up you will see a beautiful stallion, a Grand National winner, you love that horse and no one else is allowed to go near it, if anyone touches your horse you will be livid…. 1-2-3 Wake Up!”

Cue wee Glasgow punter when he wakes up and sees another wee Glasgow punter sitting on the wooden horse – “hey you, ya thieving b*stard, get aff my f*cking horse!!!”

3) Laugh out loud movies:

I never laughed so much in the cinema as I did in the 70s – Blazing Saddles, Life of Brian, Kentucky Fried Movie, Young Frankenstein, The Jerk, *Caddyshack, *Airplane, etc…

(*the last two were actually released early in 1980 but were devised & written in the 70s and filmed in 79, so I’m claiming them for the 70s)

Don’t get me wrong there have been some great comedies in subsequent decades – Borat, Step Brothers, In Bruges, In the Loop, etc, but nothing quite as hilarious as Mel Brooks and The Pythons at their best.

The depressing thing about a lot of those 70s movies however is that none of them would get made in todays ‘cancel culture’.

Don’t get me wrong, if something is genuinely offensive then it shouldn’t see the light of day, but nowadays a big section of society gets offended by everything and being outraged seems to give some people the right to take the moral high ground and say ‘I’m offended therefore I’m principled’…. permitting them to jump on whatever bandwagon is rolling through social media that week.

Creatively, this leads to a culture of fear and reduces risk taking, which in turn stymies talent and imagination.

Take Blazing Saddles as an example.. as brilliant as it is, that screenplay would never be pitched to studio execs today.

It’s mistakenly referred to as a racist movie by some, when in fact it’s actually one of the greatest anti-racist movies of all time…

Co-written by Richard Pryor, who also advised on the language, the films original title was Tex X: it was planned to be an homage to Malcolm X, and was conceived from the outset as an unflinching attack on racism

True, it requires a modicum of critical thinking to work out who the butt of the satire, sarcasm and absurdity is aimed at, but surely we can trust the general public to work that out for themselves without the need for a ‘3-minute racism warning message’ recently added to the start of Blazing Saddles (and Gone With the Wind) on HBO in America.

Likewise, was The Life of Brian really blasphemous or was Brian just “A very naughty boy” who happened to be born next door and on the same day as Jesus?

On reflection, maybe I’m using Movies as a means of bitching about todays ‘woke culture’, so I best stop there before I get cancelled!

it’s not easy being green

(Post by John Allan, from Bridgetown, Western Australia –April 2021)

It was May 1975, I had just turned 17 and finished my highers and I couldn’t get out of school quick enough. It was time to make my way in the world…………… and become vegetarian (the reason why has escaped me over the ensuing years). I did have a paperback “1000 Vegetarian Meals” and I was up for a challenge.

My mother knew the lady round the corner whose husband Old Malky (or Callum as his wife called him) was the head greenkeeper at the Bearsden Golf Club and before you could prize the sheets off a surly teenager at noon, I had a job as assistant to the assistant greenkeeper.

Now why Old Malky should be Old Malky to us and Callum to his wife remains a mystery as Old Malky only spoke in monosyllables on alternate days. Come to think of it, I have been known by both ‘Snookums’ and ‘Hey Fat Arse’ on differing occasions by my wife.

The job was very task orientated which suited me fine. My first job at sparrow’s fart was to ‘switch’ the greens. Switching involved a large bamboo pole with a tapering fibre class rod attached which, when moved in a sideways motion, flicked off dew, leaves and other detritus such as beer cans and smouldering cars bodies. (I’m not being judgemental but Drumchapel was just through the woods !) I took to the task like a Zen Buddhist monk often standing on one leg and muttering to myself in a fake oriental accent like David Carridine (Aah, Grass Lopper – get it?

I quickly adapted to the routine. Monday, Wednesday and Friday I would mow the greens. Getting the straight striped effect is trickier than it looks. I tried to convince Old Malky my first attempt was my interpretation of a Rennie Mackintosh design but he wasn’t buying it.

Tuesdays and Thursday was time to trim the tees. If a player came on, we were supposed to move to the back of the tee and idle the lawnmower until they had tee-ed off but many a time we just carried on, hastening a panicked swing as spinning blades came perilously close to shaving the tassels off many a two tone golf shoe.

Friday was hole changing day. There was a special spade device for puncturing and removing turf and soil and woe betide anyone with the temerity to chip and put onto our green until the job was completed and the last bit of stubborn grass was expertly trimmed from around the new hole with the designated scissors. Strict quality control was then adhered to. A bucket full of balls and 3 putters were distributed to each greenkeeper and intense putting from all angles ensued. Then and only then could the club member follow through. Any disregard to this unwritten rule meant your ball was hosed off the green. I seem to remember this important ritual was accompanied by several bottles of beer and pay packets were collected. Friday was a good day.

The only thing I took umbrage to was the toileting arrangements. Greenkeeper HQ was a large corrugated hanger which housed all the tractors, mowers and sundry equipment. I don’t even think it had power. The toilet consisted of an old gallon oil container with the top crudely removed. Not only did you have to pee in full view of your fellow workers you had to hold a rusty jagged tin close enough to circumcise yourself with one wayward shake. As for other bodily functions, the only time I got caught short I juked through some gardens and trotted adroitly home to the luxury of plumbed in sanitation. Does a Bear(sden boy) shit in the woods ? Not this one !

So this was the balmy summer of  ’75. I had a healthy outdoor working life and a healthy meat free diet. NB Take it from me. Tofu is only there to bulk up your plate. It doesn’t taste or smell of anything and the texture is a bit disconcerting too. It’s only there so that when people see your meagre plate of vegetables and bean sprouts they don’t say “Is that all you’re having”. Polystyrene would have much the same effect.

Unfortunately, summer changed to late autumn. Crisp summer dawns turned into dark foggy morns. Although I had waterproofs, they were not a match for the torrents of rain constantly soaking into my bones as I went about my daily chores.

Some days when the course was waterlogged I would have to stay in the shelter of the icy cold hanger and ‘riddle’. For reasons I could not comprehend, there was a large pile of dirt in one corner of the shed. My job was to scoop shovels of it into a large sieve and create a pile of finer dirt hour after sodding hour. I never ever saw what the purpose of my handiwork was as it just remained a bigger pile of finer dirt. Yesterday’s nut rissoles weren’t giving me the sustenance that I needed either. That and my mother talking about a turkey roast with all the trimmings for Xmas, I was beginning to crack.

I think I lasted until about October when I turned my back on the noble craft of the keeper of greens (all 9 holes of them) and succumbed again to the flesh of farmed animals and foul.

“Turn up the central heating will you Mum and pass me the chipolatas please !”

teenage kicks – Alistair Fleming

Name: Alistair Fleming (Flum)

Where did you live: Bearsden/Courthill

Secondary school:  Bearsden Academy

Best mates at school: Whole load of friends during my time there but for first 2/3 years it was Andy Nall, Iain Cochrane, Stevie Smith. Ian Russell & Dav Sharp

Funniest memory from school: Apart from my Deuchars episode probably Granny Smith. She gave me lines and I didn’t do them. She told me if I didn’t hand them in the next day I would get one of the belt and it would increase every day until I did them. When she gave you the belt she took you into the corridor and put the lights out because she didn’t like to see you in pain. After four days she gave up as it was hurting her more than me.

First holiday with your mates: First holiday was in 1975 when me, George McKechnie and Geoff Kaczmarek went camping to Arran. It rained constantly and after 3 days and with a river running though our tent we went home.
First proper holiday was 1976 when me, Ian Martin (Teeny), Davie Boyle, Geoff Kaczmarek (Skinny), Ian Fleming (Lugsy) and Gordon McKechnie went to Morecambe.
Outstanding memory was going into first English pub ordering 6 pints of Tetleys bitter and Elton John & Kiki Dee were playing on the jukebox.
Other than that getting questioned for attempted murder!

What was your first job: Worked as a trainee quantity surveyor in Wellington Street for 30 quid a month. Left after 3 years and went to see the world with my brother.

Who was your musical hero in 70s: Bryan Ferry

Favourite Single: Pyjamarama by Roxy Music

Favourite Album: Roxy Music debut album

First gig: Think it was Roxy music at the Apollo with big Geoff Kaczmarek (Skinny), who was a mega Roxy music fan.

Favourite movie in 70s: Blazing Saddles at the Rio with Ian Martin, Neil Mackay, Alan Campbell (Sammy), David Goudal (Bug) & Johnny Reay.
This was the the same night we got pulled up by a team of Drum boys who pulled out there steel combs and walked up the line threatening to slash us. They got as far as Johnny who stuck the nut on one, I booted another one and it was just kicking off when the Polis arrived.


Who was your inspiration in 70s: Pat Stanton (Hibs legend) was my inspiration as regards to football. I didn’t have any posters on my wall.
I shared a bedroom with my oldest brother Brian who was a bit of an artist. He had painted portraits of Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa and Leonard Cohen on the walls.

What do you miss most from the 70s: Everything (especially the art of tackling!)

What advice would you give your 14yr old self: Wouldn’t change a thing – I lived it, experienced it and wouldn’t change it.

I was a one woman man in the 70s
Okay maybe I was a two woman man!
Awright I admit it, I was a man-slut!

70s pub session, you’re allowed to invite 4 people dead or alive from 70s: Bill Shankly, Matt Busby, Jock Stein & Eddie Turnbull….. wonder what we’d talk about?

May be an image of Alistair Fleming and smiling
FLUM NOW – A PILLAR OF SOCIETY AND A PICTURE OF CONTENTMENT

teenage kicks – Catriona Cook

April 2021:


Name: Catriona Macintyre (Macintyre-Beon, Cook)

Where did you live: Monreith Ave, Kilmardinny Cres – Bearsden;
Kings Park Rd – Kings Park, Glasgow

Secondary school: Bearsden Academy, Kingspark Secondary

Best mates at school: Sandra McGregor, Fiona McLeod

Funniest memory from school: The school going on fire and being off for several weeks.

First holiday with your mates: 1982, Palma Nova with Wendy a fellow nurse from my year group. I met Phil from Birmingham (who was my boyfriend for a couple of years), first time on a moped, lots of alcohol.

First job: Cut n Dried hairdressers Sauchiehall Street (Saturday job), NHS nurse, midwife, neonatal intensive care.


Musical hero in 70s: Bay City Rollers, David Cassidy, Leif Garret, Pink Floyd.

Favourite single: If you Leave Me Now – Chicago (reminds me of discos at Westerton Tennis Club)

Favourite album: Parallel lines – Blondie

First gig: Blondie or The Police at The Apollo

Most Disappointing Gig: Whitney Houston at SECC (Sound was terrible)

Favourite 70s movie:  Carrie (sneaked in aged 9) RIO cinema, Bearsden.
(Admin – Wow 😳 )

Rio Picture House, Canniesburn Toll, Bearsden

Who was on your wall in 70s: Bay City Rollers, Leif Garrett, David Cassidy

What do you miss most from the 70s: My big brother Graham

What advice would you give your 14yr old self: Go girl have some fun!

Fantasy 70s pub session: Centre Court in Glasgow with Pat Cash, Debbie Harry, Marc Bolan & David Bowie. 

No description available.
That’s me in the blue wellies

shop ’til you drop

(Post by John Allan, from Bridgetown, Western Australia – March 2021)

Every Friday evening between 5 and 6 pm for the last year a small truck emblazoned with the name of one of Australia’s fresh food duopolies trundles past our door to neighbours Simon and Kylie a quarter of a mile down to the cul-de-sac. Presumably that’s the weekly shop ordered on some phone app as they are a young busy couple with a toddler. As well as a time saver it means they are also not in contact with others in these times of pandemic.

I hear after a year of lock down, the UK is going to slowly lift it’s restrictions and hopefully get back to some degree of normality, i.e. shopping.

In the late 60s and early 70s, shopping was the domain of my mother and I.

Hilton Park Golf Club.

On Saturday mornings my father would thanklessly take the family car to Hilton Park Golf Club to spend the best part of the day begrudgingly traipsing over 18 holes in pursuit of an elusive small white ball, then forced to down two large gin and tonics with fellow weekend warriors in a warm club house. His afternoon would be spent snoozing to the soporific TV murmurings of Grandstand’s Frank Bough. We never really thanked him enough for his sacrifice.

This meant a bus trip into the big smoke for Mama et moi. My brothers, being teenagers, had outgrown their roles as bag carriers and sounding posts so that honour was bestowed on the third born.

When I say shopping, it wasn’t like a leisurely stroll around a vast and impersonal shopping centre, it was proper walking up and down streets dodging traffic and other pedestrians and proletariat.

There were good shiny tiled butchers with chatty, plump red faced men. One didn’t flinch at the sight of carcasses of dead cow, sheep or pig hanging in full view or poultry and game still with heads and feathers. It wasn’t a good butcher if it didn’t have such a macabre display.

“A pound of best mince ? No trouble love.”

A hand like a scarred bunch of bananas would scoop up the required amount and slam it down on a piece of greaseproof paper on the scales. Hands would be wiped on the front of the blooded apron. Mother would receive the perfectly folded paper parcel with elastic band snapped in position and I would then be given the coin change along with a small globule of gristle. This might have been some sort of test of my approaching manhood which I probably failed as I flicked my finger trying to remove the foreign object like a soggy nose pick.

Ironmonger’s shop

On to the ironmongers – does the word ‘monger’ even exist these days? And don’t get me started on haberdashery ! The ironmongers or hardware store always had a creaky wooden floor usually with duct tape holding down various electrical cables to make your route that little bit more perilous. It was staffed by obsequious people with neatly buttoned up brown coats. Human sat navs who could pinpoint half a dozen ‘1 Inch Hot Dipped Galvanised Cup Head Bolt And Nuts’ without even scratching their chin and looking skyward. Then expertly wrap said article in brown paper and string and fashioning a macrame carrying handle.

On some days the shops came to us. I have vague memories of a fruit and veg van but I certainly can remember the fish van probably for it’s Zen minimalism decor. Sloping shelves of trays of white filleted fish nestled on astro turf, a plastic lemon and a box of Ruskoline. Not a mollusc, crustacean or cephalopod to be seen. Not even a fish head or obvious bones just anaemic strips of fish flesh.

Then there were the ‘Onion Johnnies’, supposedly French men on bikes festooned with plaids of onions draped across their handlebars. They might have had berets and striped shirts, been smoking Gauloise and singing ‘Thank Heaven For Little Girls’ but the memory is a bit hazy on that.

To get that ‘Ye Olde Shoppe’ experience you have to visit theme parks or living museums these days – or do you. In a certain heritage listed West Australian rural town (see main image of Bridgetown, W.A.) the high street boasts many a shop from yesteryear.  It is rumoured in one boutique, ladies come from miles around to be accosted by a certain assistant (my dear wife) who in her best Kelvinside accent tells customers.

“Yes, you’re arse does look big in that !”

You just can’t get customer service like that these days.

the dating game

(Post by Andrea Grace Burn of East Yorkshire – February 2021)

Prologue…

Bewitched.

As a kid in 1960s America, I grew up on a diet of  TV sitcoms and game shows that portrayed wholesome American family values: My Three Sons, Leave it to Beaver, Bewitched, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I love Lucy, The Dating Game and even the Addams Family,  My mother stayed at home to raise me and my brothers and  my teacher Dad would come through the front door at the end of the day in his trade mark trilby and trench coat with his pipe in hand:  “Hi Honey, I’m home!” Think ‘Pleasantville’.

 I never questioned that I would one day date a handsome, wholesome boy. We’d go for a soda-pop and a hot dog after a baseball game, get engaged and get married.  That’s how it worked, right? The first I heard of  Women’s Lib was in the summer of ’69 when my older cousin ventured outside her house without wearing a bra; causing our grandmother to have a conniption fit and haul her back inside for a lecture.  That was the end of THAT! Where we grew up, women weren’t decent unless they wore at very least a full Playtex Cross-Your-Heart bra, under-slip, pantihose and a girdle. I had a training bra at the age of ten, which amounted to no more than two triangles of cotton fabric on an elastic band. But I still had one. My best friend Catherine even had a training girdle but Mom put her foot down:

“That will squish your ovaries honey.”

I didn’t know what or where my ovaries were at ten years old!

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A Match Made, not in Heaven…but in Edgbaston

After we had moved to Birmingham, West Midlands in 1970, my mother – being a Southern Belle of ‘good stock’ – wasted no time in seeking out the ‘right sort of people’ in her eagerness to make ‘good connections.’ Not easy on the border of the Black Country. After seeing the skulking lads from the church hall disco at my fifteenth birthday party, she took matters into her own hands to get me on the right track to finding a suitably wholesome date – preferably a rich one.

My parents met a couple called the Handcocks from Edgbaston (“good area honey”) at a dinner party. Dad was impressed:

“Mr. Handcock works in Engineering. He’s a ‘self-made’ man – yesiree-bob.” (Parents seems to put great store by this.) 

The Handcocks had a son called Douglas who was shorter than me. Great. Douglas was no oil painting either and I know, I know – beauty lies within – but when you have raging hormones and your bedroom walls are festooned with pull-out posters of your favourite heartthrobs from Jackie Magazine: David Cassidy, Marc Bolan and David Essex –  I hoped at least for a dazzling smile and dimple. Jeeze – even the lads at the church hall disco had an element of cheeky charm tucked up their Ben Sherman shirts sleeves. Worst still, Douglas wanted to become an accountant.  I mean, who actually wanted to be an accountant? I thought he was deadly dull. I hoped for a boyfriend with a tad of charisma.

Mrs. Handcock and my mother were in cahoots and arranged a date between me and Douglas. I  was apoplectic. He was awful – so B – O – RING! Mom came back swiftly at me with, 

“Just stick with him Honey; he might have nice friends.” 

That’s how her mind worked. Never mind that I couldn’t stand him; he was rich and lived in a detached house: STICK WITH HIM! 

I had three dates with Douglas – way beyond the line of duty. On our first date, he took me to a party  in a splendid, gothic house complete with sweeping staircase, stained glass windows  and grand, marble fireplaces.

Mom would have loved it and would have probably have tried to marry me off to the boy whose party we were attending. Mr. Handcock picked me up in his Bentley which went down well with my mother.

“Class will always out, honey.”

As soon as we stepped through the Minton tiled entrance hall, I ditched Douglas and made a bee- line for a tall, lanky, captivating boy who sported a navy capped-sleeve t-shirt, Levi’s and a fetching string of shell love beads around his Adam’s apple.  His floppy fringe hid brooding dark brown eyes. I hung around his neck as we slow danced to 10.C.C.’s ‘I’m Not in Love’. Poor Douglas didn’t stand a chance. In fact, I ignored him until his dad picked us up. We sat on the back seat of the Bentley in silence all the way to my front door.

“Goodnight, Mr. Handcock and thank you, Douglas – for a lovely evening!” 

God, I was cruel – but then, kids can be.

Despite my complete indifference towards Douglas he invited me – or rather, his mother invited me – to their house for dinner and to stay the night, so that she and Mr. Handcock could become better acquainted with me (in other words, ‘size me up’ as a suitable girlfriend for their only, darling son).My mother made me a new long flowery ‘frock’ like those in Laura Ashley, with a ruffle at the hem and big sleeves with a sash, which I hated. I looked like a Holly Hobby doll.

Impressing Mom with their obvious ‘good breeding’, Douglas and his father picked me up at seven-thirty sharp, one Saturday evening in 1975.  Douglas awkwardly thrust a bouquet of pink carnations in my hands.

“Here. These are for you.” I handed them to Mom who gushed like she was the schoolgirl:

 “Oh my, why Douglas you’re so thoughtful. Andrea  – what do you say? I’ll find a vase.”

I rolled my eyes and climbed into the back seat of the Bentley.

At dinner, I was seated between Douglas and his mother as I tackled the typical 1970s fare;  Honeydew melon with a cherry on top, Steak Diane followed by Black Forest Gateau and a cheese board.

The Handcocks enjoyed a bottle of Chianti in raffia.  Despite my acute embarrassment, I managed to mind my p’s and q’s and even to use the correct cutlery (well, I was born to be a Southern Belle) as I fielded questions from Mr and Mrs Handcock

 “Andrea , your mother tell us that you play the piano. You must play something for us after dinner.” (Oh shit! My hands would sweat and slide on the keys.)

“And where do you got to school Andrea? The God Awful School? I don’t believe we know that  one.”

As I flopped into bed in their luxurious guest room (Who had those? When my grandmother visited us from the States, she had to be farmed out to a family down the road because my brothers shared a room and I had the box room.) the thought fleetingly crossed my mind that if my mother’s hunch was right – I too could one day own a house with two bathrooms and four-ply towels.

For our third and final date, Douglas took me to see ‘Airport ’75’ at the movies, where I coughed throughout the entire film. A man seated behind me tapped my shoulder and offered me two Polo mints.

“Shur-up for fuck’s sake!”

 I gagged and coughed all the way up the gangway. Douglas did the decent thing and followed me, called his dad on a public payphone and never saw me again.

This didn’t stop our parents from meeting socially from time to time, but the penny had finally dropped.

My mother was right of course; I did meet some nice friends through Douglas… and I didn’t become an accountant’s wife!

(Copyright: Andrea Burn March 20th, 2021)

                                           


pure dead brazilliant

(Post by John Allan, from Bridgetown, Western Australia – March 2021)

**Disclaimer: no body hair was removed in the writing of this article.**

Mark, a friend on social media asked me to name my top ten sporting heroes in ten days. No ! I can do better than that. I can name 11 in one day !

Félix, Brito, Piazza, Carlos Alberto, Everaldo, Clodoaldo, Jairzinho, Gérson, Tostao, Pele, Rivelino. The 1970 football World Cup winners, Brazil played the beautiful game with an elegant style and swagger known as Ginga or sway, with agility and grace.

It is one among many reasons why I’m a Brasilófilo, a lover of all things Brazilian.

How cool to be known by just one name. Pelé’s real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento (which, come to think of it, would look a bit busy on the back of his shirt, so I can see the point). My name would be  Alanso if a) I was Brazilian b) I could play football. Dream on.

I can’t really pinpoint my first love for the Terra do Brasil. Was it Maxwell House coffee telling me “They’ve got an awful lot of coffee…..” or more likely being seduced by “The Girl From Ipanema”.

Admittedly sometimes a bit cheesy and cruelly classed as elevator muzak by some, Bossa Nova still has a place in my heart. To me an Antônio Carlos Jobim song is like a warm embrace. “Corcovado”, “Wave”, “How Insensitive”, “Desafinado”, “One Note Samba”, “Dindi”. The list is endless.

I remember in the late 70s a dedicated band of us would congregate at a flat in Rio de Partick and work through the vast library of Bossa tunes by Jobim and his ilk, including guitarist Baden Powell – scouts honour ! John Muir aka Fred Lawnmower (something to do with his smokable hydroponics set up perhaps ?)  played a very fine acoustic guitar and had an array of latin percussion instruments, many hand made.   

One that took my eye was the cúica, named after the grey four eyed opossum (philander opossum). A drum with a rod up the middle which, when rubbed gave you a ‘laughing monkey’ effect used in Samba. Think the “Austin Powers” theme tune “Soul Bossa Nova”.

I later discovered that washing the food processor bowl in the sink made a similar sound. Add a clave beat on the wok with a spatula and you’d swear it was carnival time – apart from the soap suds splattered across every kitchen surface and the glare from Mrs. A !

Another Brazilian instrument that fascinates me is the berimbau. Get a big stick, a piece of wire (usually from a car tyre), a gourd, a stone and a wee stick. In Glasgow that would become a weapon of torture but the Brazilians make beautiful rhythm with it. It is used to accompany the capoiera, part martial arts part acrobatics where art meets sport. Quintessentially the Brazilian psyche.

Black, white, mestizo and mulatto seem to effortlessly blend in a great big melting pot producing a collective that just wants to PAR-TEE for the nation.

Look, I know Brazil is no utopia. Just look at the despot they’ve got running the country now, the poverty and the devastation happening in the Amazon rain forests.

I know for one, this up tight middle class white kid growing up in the 70s would gladly swap his safe and comfortable life in the suburbs for a fraction of fiesta time in the favelas.

Favela da Rocinha

And one last thing about Brazil. I love its nuts !

What !

Stop sniggering !!

Really ?

You didn’t read the disclaimer, did you ?

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