My own childhood was far from perfect, but I do still have fond memories of growing up in the 1970’s. Things may well have not been better, in many respects, but they certainly were a far lot simpler back then. 1970’s Britain was a very different place than it is today, so here are ten of the rather strange things that I remember that you would only understand if you grew up in the 1970’s.
1. What’s a computer?
Horrors of horrors, we had no computers back then. No smart phones, no tablets, no internet and only three channels on the TV! The first time I ever got my hands on a computer, it was a Commodore 64! Remember that ‘state of the art tennis game? Beep, beep, beep, beep.
2. Dog shit
One of the less than pleasant memories that I have about the 1970’s was how much dog shit there used to be around! This was long before the days of the laws about fouling the footpath. In those days, you had to watch where you where you walking, or scrape it off the bottom or your shoe!
3. Stink bombs
Another lasting memory of the 1970’s was the stink bomb. You couldn't walk into a shopping centre without getting whiffs of the pungent, rotten egg, smell of a stink bomb. You don’t seem to get that at all now. Perhaps they have been banned?
4. Mums hostess trolley
I never could get my head around my mum’s fascination with the Hostess Trolley; perhaps it was some kind of a status thing. Really though, what was the point in transferring the dinner form the stove, into heated dishes in a trolley with wheels that never moved, and then immediately dishing the food out onto the plates on the table?
5. The Raleigh Chopper
The bike that every kid wanted for Christmas in the 1970’s, was the Raleigh Chopper. Impracticable, uncomfortable and un-roadworthy, but who cares, it looked cool.
7. Smoking on the back seat of the bus (and everywhere else)
There was no such thing as a smoking ban back then and you could smoke anywhere and everywhere. As kids, we all used to pile on the bus and rush to get the back seat on the top deck and get the fags out. Actually, I don’t object to the new rules on smoking. It was pretty unpleasant when you think back the days that you couldn't see across a pub through the haze of smoke.
8. Walking to school
Another shock, horror moment for today’s kids! It was nothing for a child to walk, on his own, two or three miles to school. Hey, guess what, we didn't all get abducted or assaulted on the way to the school either, just wet and cold.
9. The park-keeper
Remember the grumpy old git in the peaked cap that used to take care of the local park? I’m sure it must have been a prerequisite for the job to have an inherent dislike for children. I have no idea what he was supposed to be doing there, most of the time he just seemed to lurk in is little hut, waiting to pounce on some unsuspecting kid who had dared to have too much fun.
10. Corporal punishment!
Whether corporal punishment with kids is right or wrong is a discussion for another time. In the 1970’s though, the cane, the slipper and other variations on these, were all common place in Britain’s schools.
11. Punks, skins, mods and the rest
Where have all the tribes gone, or perhaps I’m just not seeing them now. When I was a kid in the 1970’s, the music you liked defined you. You wore the uniform of the tribe you belonged to, you absolutely hated any other kind of music and you wouldn't dare be seen in public with a member of any other tribe.
12. Youth clubs
I’m sure that they probably exist today and they are probably just the same. When will any generation wake up and realise that youth clubs are not going to make kids behave. We used to regularly sneak booze into our local youth club and we only ever went there as a last resort, or if it was pouring with rain. Seriously, fizzy soda and modern music didn't keep the kids off the streets or set them on the straight and narrow then and it never will.
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