A long hot summer in the 70’s

02 May

Planning ahead was fairly important during the 70’s. You had to check the paper to find out when power cuts would be and for how long. You had to keep a check on how much petrol you had and to make sure you filled up when the petrol stations were open. You had to keep a check on food prices because they went up in pretty quickly.

There were also teachers strikes which affected students on the run up and maybe even during exams at high school. All and all it sounds grim and it was to a degree. I recently asked my mother what it was like for adults with children in the 70’s and she told me that everyone just got on with it, did what they could and made sure children were okay. Pretty much the way of life for huge numbers of people on the planet today.

The late seventies saw inflation around 20%+. The pound was no longer on the gold standard, which had valued the pound at $2.40 I think. It fell back fairly rapidly and the very dramatically to around $1.65. Everything that happened seemed to reduce the value of the pound, which made everything more expensive.

I think a single was 50p and an album £2.50. I had an old Dansette type of record player for playing my music on and there was the radiogram downstairs, which I used if everyone else was out. Top of the Pops was a must although the bands and singers who appeared rarely met with my entire approval. The camera effects they used to use were ridiculous and they also didn’t seem to show what chords or what fingering the guitar players were using which was a further pain when you’re trying to learn to play the guitar and bass.

I particularly remember 1976, mainly because of the wonderful summer. At the Boat Race people watching it were in shorts and t-shirts and it was a really warm day. The good weather lasted all the way thought the summer months and then it stopped in September. I used to visit relatives in Derby in the summer and 1976 was no exception.

I went down usually in August and I’d go along with a cousin to watch Derby County play, usually in the League Cup which was played ahead of the new season. In 1976 the two games I saw were against Leyton Orient and Manchester United. We went to stand in the Derby end of the ground but when we actually made it to the terraces it was full of Man Utd fans. We did our best to hide our Derby scarves but we had been spotted.

Throughout the game we were being jostled and generally harassed and we knew we’d have to do something to escape at the end of the game. Half time came and was used mainly for an on pitch riot by Man Utd fans which left one fan lying on the ground after having been stabbed. They carried him off with the accompaniment of Dancing Queen by Abba which I’m pretty sure was never intended for such a purpose.

Anyway that heightened our survival instinct and we decided to get onto the pitch as soon as the final whistle went. Once on the pitch we’d run along to a gangway which went under the stand and then to the street outside. That sounded like a plan but like all plans was subject to change whether we liked it, or not.

When the final whistle blew we immediately started to climb over the wall to get on the pitch. then a very young policeman stood in front of us and told us to get down, which we duly did. However the Man Utd fans weren’t so obedient and they continued to flock onto the pitch. That saved us really. There were very few people left on the terraces at that part of the ground so we just quickly made our way back out of the ground by the way we’d come in. Whew!

It was a fabulous summer. There was a hose pipe ban in Derby them as well.
Punk was fairly popular that summer and fashions changed from very baggy trousers to drain pipes. I bought a pair of drain pipe Levi’s and I was also beginning to wear cowboy boots which again were becoming popular. I was at a shopping centre one weekend dressed in drainpipe Levi’s, Levi denim jacket and cowboy boots. A older guy came over to me and spoke to me saying that he also had all the gear. I was puzzled. He was way too old to be wearing the latest fashions. Then it dawned on me. He was into country and western dancing and stuff!

The seventies were good for me. How were they for you?

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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Music, the 70's


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