1970s: Why So Dark?

McAvennie

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Right, this got touched upon briefly on the TV shows thread.

I was born in 1979 and so never experienced that era, however I have plenty of memories of stuff I saw on TV from the 70's and they always struck me as a very dark, depresing, sinister decade.
While I see the 80's as Rubik's Cubes and OTT extravagance the 70's always visualise for me dark, depressing morbid images.
Lots of documentaries about kids in America who got kidnapped and murdered, sinister TV shows and films from that era and other stuff.
Maybe it is just me and maybe it is an unfair perspective, I never lived then so only know of the bad stuff (How many docu's get made about kids who grew up happily ?).
However, I never lived the 60's or 50's and I dont connect them with dark, depressing stuff. Who knows what causes me to think this, does anyone else get this or get it with another time/era?
 

Philo_T

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I never really saw it that way. I always saw the 70's as a reaction to the 60's, mainly, optimism died.

We couldn't trust the government. The world was going to end in an atomic holocaust. We were going to run out of energy. The minorities were becoming more equal / we just savagely beat down the civil rights movement (Americans only). Etc, etc.

The 70's was the "Me" decade, where after a decade of fighting the good fight against The MAN, we just wanted to get hedonistic, not be bothered with bigger issues.

Up until the mid 60's (JFK, civil rights ?) there was an optimistic view of modernism and the future. After that, our view of the future consisted primarily of distopias about how technology could ruin us. Look at "modern" architecture from post WWII to the 60's. Then look at what came after.
 

river_styx

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I thought the 80's was the me decade and the 70's was the start of mass-produced consumerism that lead up to the "I want, I need, I'll have at any cost" attitude of the 80's.
 
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Anonymous

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I thought the 70's were a time when the sexual revolution and fulfilment of one's desires without moral or ethical considerations was the norm. I know in America, the concept of the nuclear family was shot to sh*t and drug use and promiscutity was rampant. Or maybe that was just me and my friends.
 
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Anonymous

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I was born in 1969, and when I was really into music about 82/83 the Seventies were seen as absolutely hideous, all flares and hippes. And yet in the last few years its turned around completley.
A schoolfriend of mine absolutely hated the Seventies. So basically, his childhood! And the person who he hated with a passion the most? Dave Hill from Slade! Apparently, it was his fringe that did it! (my friend's favourite music for many years was Punk and Mod, so the hatred flowed freely through his veins!)
There seem to be a few threads with a lovely 70's nostalgic theme - The Goodies, Childhood Confectionary & Mystery Programmmes Of The 70's. I liked Beakboo's response on the "Comics" thread that he only read the Beano. I was the same in the 70's; Beano, Whizzer & Chips, Victor, Battle, Hotspur etc.
If any of you are interested in British comics, a brilliant website to go to is http://www.26pigs.com.
I would disagree with River_Styx's comment on the 70's being the start of mass-produced consumerism. For me I would have said the 50s, especially in the US when the suburbs sprung up (as in the Wonder Years) and supermarkets were first all the rage. I think the that the 60s was a reaction to that (although it has its roots in the folk/beatniks/beat poets underground)
I think the Seventies was a time when the reactionaries of the 60s became the mainstream, and then punk came along and it was all take, take, take, me, me, me.
So, I guess in conclusion, theres good and crap in any period, its just our selective memories sorting through the debris!
 

river_styx

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It would be interesting to see dual timelines of how attitudes and social conscience have been affected since the end of WW2 by the demand for more, more, more. on either side of the atlantic.
I wasn't around for much of the seventies, blame the parents for not getting their act together until '78 for that one.
 

carole

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I was a student during the 70s and had a great time!

Mind you, I was never much into politics, my main priorities at the time were to study hard, pass my exams and manage to have a good time as well . . .

Looking back at the photos, I find it hard to believe how I could ever wear such hideous clothes. They seemed OK at the time, though . . .

Carole
 

Jerry_B

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I was born in 1969, and loathed the 70s - still do in fact. Even back then I hated wearing flares and anything paisley, brown, orange, etc.. Aside from good films and some good music as the decade closed, I'm glad they're behind us. The current vogue for apeing things 70s but giving it a cheesy 80s slant is sad and tired, IMHO. There was alot more interesting stuff going on in the 80s, but people can't see past the yuppie stuff.
 
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River_Styx said:
It would be interesting to see dual timelines of how attitudes and social conscience have been affected since the end of WW2 by the demand for more, more, more. on either side of the atlantic.
I wasn't around for much of the seventies, blame the parents for not getting their act together until '78 for that one.

There was an interesting programme a couple of years ago on Channel 4 about crime during WWII in London. It seemed to go against the grain that everyone pulled together during the Blitz, what with looting and murder going on.
Its strange how "cosy" a lot of the past is made to look, but there always seems to be a dark under-belly lurking which people try to shy away from. Also, try to get a copy of "The Filth and The Fury" about the Sex Pistols. When you see the times from when they came from - very bleak!
 

carole

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I can remember one of my favourite outfits at the time was a pair of loons, embroidered (by me) all the way up the legs, a long top with baggy, gathered sleeves and a pair of clogs . . . :eek!!!!: :eek!!!!:

Carole
 

carole

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Maybe I was naieve or lucky, or both, but I used to think nothing of taking one of the all night trains from Newcastle to Whitley Bay and then walking home alone from the station in the early hours. Never would dream of doing that now.

Carole
 

Anome

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I have a somewhat opposite view of the 70s. The programs I remember were still somewhat bright and optimistic. The dark, depressing TV shows didn't really start until the 80s. (Not to say there weren't any depressing and dark programs in the 70s, just that the general trend was more upbeat.)

Still, as with many of the people above, I wasn't a great fan of "the 70s" at the time. (I was born in 1968.) Nor do I understand the resurgence in popularity of flares and such from the last 5 to 10 years.
 

escargot

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Read David Peace's '1974' to find out how it REALLY was!
 
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In my first post I mentioned a friend who hated the 70s with a passion. Well another friend the same age was really into Genesis, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Hendrix and Led Zepplin which was pretty way-out for a 15 year-old in the mid-eighties. They would consatantly argue what was better; super-groups or punky ideals. They're both god-fathers to my son now!
Another typically 80s argument was "commercailiaty" in music. I still don't now what that means now! One point my two friends agreed on was that 80s music was so commmercial. I would always difuse the argument by asking them if they watched ITV or Channel 4. When they said yes, I replied that it was alright to watch commmercial TV then! An utterley pointless argument, but so vital when you're 16!
 

Imperial_Call

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I was born in 1965 I barely remember the 70's, wasn't that when we started to get colour TV? I do remember Red Rum winning the Grand National 3 times and going to the cinema to see Jaws and something called Star Wars , ah yes the days of queueing round the block, and "15th Great Week!" slapped across the posters ...

you didn't have a computer, mobile [cell] phones, VCRs, DVDs, CDs, playstation/x-boxes, you entertained yourself playing hopscotch or reading a book ...
you could listen to vinal records at 45, 33 and 78 rpm, you listened with mother on the radio, got 4 sweets for 1 penny, the sun always shone morning till night during the summer holidays ...

blimey that was a real "jumpers for goalposts" moment!


Oh an BTW Cat ... Beakboo's a girl :)
 

Beakmoo

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(Thanks Lobelia :) )

I was aged 7-16 in the 70s, and it was mostly a nightmare decade. We had endless strikes, a recession, power cuts and all that crap. There was nothing for young people on the radio, except radio 1, which was crap, and used to shut down in the afternoon. Technology was laughable-phones with dials ferchrissake! And the "women's products" in the 70s were unbelievably impractical and uncomfortable. Girls don't know how lucky they are now. Well they do when I tell them. We were all afraid of nuclear war, and at the same time, nothing seemed to change; we had the same pope and the same bogeymen (Breshnev, Idi Amin) for seemingly the entire decade.
Then punk happened, and the sun came out. But not before I ended up hospitalised with depression, but that probably explains the first paragraph of this post. :p
 

Imperial_Call

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Ah sure Beak I couldn't let that slide ... :D

I don't really remember strikes and such, was it the decade of the 3 day week and stuff? I remember being bullied at school and teachers telling me "ignore them" or "don't play with them then" Hideously enough it seems that in this day and age the same "advice" is used ... I thought we were all scared of nuclear war in the 80's? or maybe it was the late 70's ... when was decimilisation? [sp]
 

Jerry_B

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I remember the strikes because I remember the powercuts. Even now, when I smell the scent a candles makes when it's just been put out, it reminds me straight away of when we had to sit at home, candlelit during the powercuts :)
 

Beakmoo

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JerryB said:
when I smell the scent a candles makes when it's just been put out,
You've reminded me of another thing I hated about the 70s. Having to go to mass twice a week.
 

GNC

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I enjoyed the seventies, probably because I was too young to know any better. If I'd had to deal first hand with strikes and fuel rationing and all that, maybe my memories wouldn't have been quite as sunny. I remember the power cuts interrupting TV programmes I wanted to see, however.

Jonathan Coe's novel The Rotter's Club sums up the decade superbly. The sequel is about the eighties - I can't wait.

Andrew Collins' book Where Did It All Go Right? is good, too, but more about nostlagia.
 

escargot

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I was a teenager in the 70s.





:rolleyes:
 

marion

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I was age 5-15 in the 70s,and most of them were terribly dark for me,but that was for personal reasons !
 

stu neville

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I was born in 1966 - the seventies to me smacks of synthetic fibres; absurd music (with really good stuff mingled in mind you); power cuts (as everyone else has pointed out); about half a million ITV sitcoms, none of which would even get past the door now (On The Buses, Love Thy Neighbour - man and wife live next door to *gasp* a black couple!!! - hilarity ensues with at least four jokes involving bananas per episode, Mind Your Language - young bloke tries to teach English to foreigners, in a neat and I believe unique attempt to stereotype every single nation on Earth as not like us)..that said, The Beeb, whilst producing the Goodies, Fawlty, etc also brought us Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, which at the time (to a seven year old) seemed very funny indeed, but now makes me want to cringe; Doctor Who - the Daleks didn't scare me, it was the Autons that did for me (shop dummies coming to life :eek: ), Benny Hill, Top of the Pops LPs that were all actually cover versions, Ronco Teleproducts (buttoneers, see-the-back-of-your-head-o-scopes, etc - "Not Available in Shops!" - yeah, wonder why :rolleyes: ); K-Tel Records; Star Trek, Mission Impossible and The Invisible Man with David McCallum on BBC1 at 7.00 PM; Raymond Baxter showing us things that wouldn't happen tomorrow or indeed ever on Tomorrow's World; Dr Magnus Pyke, the human windmill; Indoor League, presented by Fred Trueman (no comment - look it up on TV Cream along with most of the other TV stuff I've mentioned (this post has become a bit TV fixated: sorry :)) - Clark's Nature Trek shoes (Cornish Pasties for feet); At The Earth's Core, Island at the Top of The World and all those other Amicus family movies starring Peter Cushing and Troy - sorry- Doug McClure fighting off drama students dressed in furs and rubber monsters; The Sweeney :yeay:...

I think I'll stop now.
 
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You are joking! The seventies were a fantastic time! I can't remember a more optimistic time. We had some of the best and most innovative music ever written coming in from all sides. Space flight was just getting into its stride. People like Von Danniken and Lyall Watson were writing wonderful books that challenged the accepted order of things. Terrific TV shows like Starsky and Hutch were everywhere. Out of the loop clothes were becoming normal. Mind expanding (?) drugs were freely available and rock concerts of huge proportions were taking place all over the planet. Motorcycles were becoming insanely fast. The three day week was great fun - I was a quid a week better off because of the weird tax set up! And 76 saw the hottest and dryest summer for yonks!

On the down side the strikes bought out publicly the worst of big brother and really heralded the whole eighties "control the masses" thing. They've even got you believing that CCTV everywhere is good for you. Union powers were stripped and they had you believe that that too was a good thing. Other annoying things were the compulsory wearing of seat belts and crash helmets. Nanny state time. Are you all so stupid that you can't decide for yourself? Bastards are even about to ban smoking in public places! Whatever next? I don't smoke but the principle of it bothers me a lot. Getting a bit carried away now so I'm off...
 

marion

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People actually used to go to the moon in the 70s,that was rather exciting.
 

stu neville

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Marion said:
People actually used to go to the moon in the 70s,that was rather exciting.
Rather ironically, Jonathon King used to sing about it - bet he wishes he'd actually done it himself now :).
 

rynner2

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For me it was good decade - travel, adventure, got married, first child born. (Then it all went pear shaped in the 80s... :( )

But for those who like the 60s, BBC2 is showing Yellow Submarine, followed by A Hard Day's Night, this afternoon, starting at 1400. (That's 2 pm in old money :D )
 

Beakmoo

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Oh yes the "fantastic" summer of '76, when the lino in my parents grocery/deli shop caught fire, and had to be kept damped down with a watering can every evening. When everyone's gardens (and Richmond Park) went brown and crispy, and one could get third degree burns from the stones on Brighton beach (or indeed the tarmac on the South Circular). Happy days.:rolleyes:
 
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Anonymous

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Living in Jersey, we never witnessed any of the strikes or power-cuts the UK did. And I'm going to sound like an "olden-days" person, but the summers really were better and lasted longer!
And the newsagents were full of comics - DC Thompson, IPC and the British Marvel comics that were printed in black and white.
And most incredibly of all - MANCHESTER UNITED WERE RELEGATED IN 1974!
See, the 70s weren't all bad!
 
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Anonymous

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RANT!!

:eek!!!!: As someone who turned 13 in early 1976, I find it utterly unbelievable that anyone can find much good to say about music in the 70s.

Forty2: innovative music???? We had the f***ing Osmonds, fer f***'s sake! The Jacksons! Bony-M!! And Abba!!! (Speaking of which: caught a clip of Benny of Abba on cable recently, expressing puzzlement -only paraphrasing/exaggerating slightly- as to why people were still buying their records nearly 30 years on, and why nobody had ever tried to lynch them for their crimes against music. That says it all, I think.) Elton John, Donna Summer, Gilbert O'bloodySullivan, Queen, Genesis, every time you turned on the radio or TV until you ended up convinced that you didn't actually like any music because everything you were hearing on TV and radio sounded like utter crap! (And bluddy Queen: musically Bohemian Rhapsody was at least 5 years BEHIND the times and only got people salivating over it because the promo film that went with it was a wee bit different from the ugly band posing by the beach/ruined farmhouse/lightning blasted tree that seemed to be more usual.) (Tangent: Lightning tree: reminds me of another thing I hated about the 70s; bloody FOLLYbloodyFOOT!!) And then there was Punk. OK, since the 70s I've come to respect a great deal of Punk, but at the time it just seemed pointless: why bang on about rebelling against up it's own arse crap like Yes, Rick Wakeman and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon when you never hear them outside of Art class? Be more to the point to stand up to the kind of MOR pablum that arseholes like Elton John and Abba were inflicting on us all. It was everywhere and it was Anti-Life!

Was Glam Rock innovative? Bubblegum? Punk might have been the musical bright spot in the decade, but it wasn't 'innovative' at all, but was a return to the simpler, more direct musical values of the period 1957 - 1966! And speaking of which, how many of you out there are aware that the period 1969 - 1980 was the time of the biggest 50s Rock'n'Roll revival so far? But all we ever got to see/hear of it was radio-friendly but otherwise simply humiliating drivel like Showaddywaddy, The Rubettes, Stary Cats and Rocky Sharpe And The Replays, and Shaking Stevens' bass-player Stuart Coleman buried away in the wastelands of Radio 2 for a bare hour on a Saturday with a show that became more and more just an ad for Shaky (and The Sunsets and bloody Matchbox) as the decade wore on. And don't get me started on the hideous waste of vinyl that was Disco... Thmp-KLAP! Thmp-KLAP! Thmp-KLAP! Rhythms for the terminally rhythmless. The percussive equivalent of braille. And by the decade's end it was like every track on ToTP used it! Including the ballads!! (Slight exaggeration, but only slight... :) )

And the thing is, the thing is... Music still somehow managed to get even worse for the first half of the 80s!! >sob!< :(
 
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