The Mad Woman in the Kitchen



I think even back then we knew Fanny Cradock was a bit deranged. I love the way she says “A PROPER OMELETTE PAN!” as if she’s going to come round your house and hit you with a ruler if you don’t use one. And how crappy that stove looks now compared to the fancy, well-appointed kitchens Nigella and Jamie cook in. But at least it’s something her viewers might actually have themselves — looks like the stove we had, in fact — and not some aspirational Aga range which cost more than most people’s cars.

This is the Christmas episode from 1975 and apparently things were so bad that year — terrorism, unemployment, inflation — British housewives were reduced to making their entire holiday feast out of mincemeat. It’s all rather sad and desperate and Fanny even gives a little speech at the end about the “appalling present conditions” as if the country was in the middle of the Blitz. Pretty sure we had turkey as usual that year.

The other 1978



The BRIT Awards weren’t always the slick extravaganza they are today, you know.

If it wasn’t for the presence of Ian Dury and Nick Lowe you wouldn’t have any clue that popular music had just gone through something of a revolution (and notice that neither of them got actual BPI awards). Rock industry awards are notoriously conservative but this is even less edgy and rock n’ roll than an episode of The Two Ronnies.

Commercial Break



God knows how many years ago this was but I still can’t eat onion rings without getting this song stuck in my head.

“Pure ground beef that you cook like a steak and serve like a steak” – but tastes nothing like an actual steak.

Something for the Weekend



Cher, Bing Crosby, Queen, Lulu. David Bowie could sing duets and make records with anyone yet still keep his artistic credibility. Truly, the man’s coolness is bulletproof.

BONUS: There’s something truly surreal about seeing Bowie on American light entertainment television. Here he is bringing da funk — and some cool dance moves — to Dinah Shore.

Un Film de Gerry Anderson



This actually sounds better in French and goes with the romantic visuals, though Troy and Marina should probably be smoking.

Commercial Break



I’m used to the more subtle and arty suggestiveness of later Flake ads so I was shocked — shocked! — at how blatant this 1960s one is. The lascivious look in her eyes, the way she pulls back the wrapper, and then the exploding waterfall! They might as well have changed the product name to Cadbury’s Cock.

Despite what it says in the caption at the top this ad wasn’t banned, and neither was this one which is pretty hardcore chocolate porn too. The whole country went to the dogs in the 60s didn’t it?

Picture Post


I’ve not had the time or inclination for any writing (the blogger’s lament) so you’ll be getting pics all week. They won’t all be as good as this though.

Some very funky waka-waka guitar on this.

Download: Theme from ‘The New Avengers’ – Laurie Johnson (mp3)

The Apocalypse Will Be Televised


I came across this when I was researching my post on 1980s nuclear tension, the rather grim cover of the BBC listings magazine Radio Times the week they screened Threads.

I doubt if the BBC would have the balls to make a film as difficult and politically-controversial as Threads these days, and I doubt if the current, more populist version of the (once-great) Radio Times would have an image like this on its cover either — unless it was something to do with Doctor Who.

Download: War (Hide Yourself) – Frankie Goes To Hollywood (mp3)

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com

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