If Magpie was Blue Peter‘s trendy younger brother then Susan Stranks was the sexy art teacher to Valerie Singleton’s headmistress. She reminded me a lot of my Primary School art teacher Miss Paice who looked like a lanky Mary Quant and taught us how to make tie-dye t-shirts.
Yeah, this is Jack the Lad speaking.
Download: Chantilly Lace – Mike Reid (mp3)
Thanks to Simon for pointing me in the direction of the terrific Scarfolk Council blog, the humour of which will be instantly familiar to anyone (un)lucky enough to have grown up in England in the 1970s.
I’ve added it to a new link category called “English Diseases” over on the right where you will find all that is rotten, depressing, lovely, and weird in old Blighty.
Scarfolk Council may be a parody but they don’t need to stretch the truth that much when it comes to the grim weirdness of the 1970s. For example, these are the opening titles to a children’s television program from back then. This used to terrify us while we ate our fish fingers and mash at teatime.
And records like this got to number one. How we got out of that decade alive is beyond me.
Download: Mouldy Old Dough – Lieutenant Pigeon (mp3)
If you were a kid living in miserable, drab 1970s England a Chopper bike added a dash of bright, pop-coloured glamour to your life. Sat on one of those a boy suddenly became Easy Rider or a Hell’s Angel, and the dingy road he lived on was transformed into a California freeway where the sun always shined and the girls had tans and great teeth.
Download: Whizz Kids – The Undertones (mp3)
Returned home after Christmas to hear the sad news about Gerry Anderson. I don’t know a lot about the man but I get the impression he would have rather been making movies with real people than working with puppets, but he did amazing things with those lumps of wood and string and created whole worlds as brilliantly realized as any in children’s entertainment or literature. I can’t think of anyone who is responsible for as many icons of my childhood as him, or whose creations inhabited such a large part of my imagination. My toy collection would have been a hell of a lot smaller too.
Download: Thunderbirds Are Go – The Rezillos (mp3)
Yeah, alright, it was a rubbish bike, but the chicks dug it.
Download: Ride My Wheels – T. Rex (mp3)
Why spend your 50p on any of that stuff when you could buy a single for 45p back when I was a kid? That’s what I always did when an uncle or auntie slipped me a 50p coin, head straight down the record shop. But that could be because I never got pocket money so getting 50p was a treat I didn’t want to waste on a Beano or tube of Smarties.
Download: Brass In Pocket (Demo) – The Pretenders (mp3)
Googling around the internets for the Remember, remember nursery rhyme I came across this longer version with a second, rather blood-thirsty verse I’d never heard before.
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
gunpowder, treason and plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
’twas his intent
to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!
A penny loaf to feed ol’Pope,
A farthing cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar,’
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head,
Then we’ll say: ol’Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah!
Ah, the good old days, when kids would sing songs about setting fire to Catholics.
Download: Light My Fire – Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll & the Trinity (mp3)