Good morning everyone and thanks for taking the time to click your way back to the blog. First of all I wanted to extend a large thank you for reading, I’ve made a commitment to increase the frequency of updates on the blog this year and visits to the site are up by a decent percentage, almost every country has increased except the UK. Hello Britain?
I had a bit of a 1970’s day yesterday which included listening to a lot of old vinyl, finally watching the Margaret Thatcher film The Iron Lady (depressing flashbacks and yes mostly 1980’s) and I also watched 3 parts of a rather good series about the 1970’s from the BBC. If you’re in the UK you may have already seen it as it aired in May of last year but for the rest of you I heartily recommend it. Each episode is just under an hour and provides vintage footage from the news and television programmes of the era that look at dozens of the major events in the UK throughout that decade.
The recap covers politics, music, social issues, fashion, the economy, cultural issues and looks back at a decade that changed Britain forever. Seeing the footage of the seemingly endless strikes and power cuts, financial uncertainty and rampant inflation was a potent reminder that much of what we’re seeing today has all happened before. I was too young during the early years of the decade (my clearer memories seemed to kick in about 1975) to recall the financial bailouts and power cuts. Immigration and a multicultural London always seemed perfectly normal to me, but the show also shows how those over a certain age were struggling to get to grips with a Britain that was not only changing rapidly but also finding the end of economic growth a bitter pill to swallow.
Music gets a more than fair look in as well to keep things spiced up with extended old footage of David Bowie and Marc Bolan along with features on The Sex Pistols and punk. The Clash provide parts of the soundtrack to part 3 also with What’s My Name being the song played behind scenes of rioting football supporters. If you are my age or particularly younger I think you’ll enjoy it as much for the fashion and haircuts as you will the journalistic aspects. The almost monotone long haired culture of 1974-1976 looks so far removed from what punk brought to the table that it is easy to see how the establishment was in legitimate fear of what the music and cultural changes might signify. I also think the more I understand the years that the members of The Clash grew up in the easier it is to understand the nucleus for the early lyrics and to some extent interviews too. As Bernie Rhodes instructed them ‘write about what you know’ and the UK in 1976 wasn’t looking good. Part four of the broadcast has been removed from YouTube although I did find a great segment on The Specials which I’ve included below also. Have a great Sunday and hope you have time to watch these. If you find part 4 in full please send it in.
Goodbye The 1970’s Episode 1 – 1970-1972
Goodbye The 1970’s Episode 2 – 1973-1975
Goodbye The 1970’s Episode 3 – 1976-1977
Goodbye The 1970’s Episode 4 – Excerpt on The Specials
All videos courtesy the BBC and cheers to Fred Wehbe for uploading them all.