A rainy Saturday just after New Year and Sarah and I make our first visit of the year to our best present from 2013, the still new Liverpool Central Library. Books soon chosen me and my camera get down to the serious business of ransacking the Library’s TV Times archive for this time, forty years ago. Why? Because it’s there.
Or perhaps it’s time for a bit of self-education?
These are, after all, the days of perfectly good houses being enthusiastically botched up, and TV Times is carrying weekly articles on how to do it.
Yes, I’m ransacking the TV Times rather than the Radio Times because its got the adverts. And the adverts give us more clues about what matters at the time than most of the programmes. Still streams of ‘light entertainers’ guesting on each other’s shows. Val Doonican and Rolf Harris particularly dominant early in 1974.
Best part of an hour of wrestling there, every Saturday afternoon before the football results.
This was ITV’s version of ‘Blue Peter and marks the historic first appearance of Susan Stranks on this blog. I’m nearly 20 by this time and so have stopped wanting to marry her. Always good to see her though.
Oh well, back to the adverts then. And doesn’t the title of this post mention something about a crisis?
As you can see, some people have been eating ‘rich meals’ containing garlic and spices. Not in our house they aren’t.
In fact, at the time we’re reading all these amusing adverts the nation is on a 3 day working and schools week and all sorts of other emergency measures are in place.
Answer? Well, not him. And not truly anyone else until a second General Election later in the year gives Labour a workable majority.
So we’re at the end of the post-war consensus in British politics, the end of ‘it might be your country but it’s our oil’ in the Middle East, and, did we all but know it, the beginning of the end for coal mining in Britain.
So, a moment of genuine change and crisis then. Thank goodness the TV Times is here to reflect how the nation is coping with it all.
Standing here in the Central Library looking through all this it seems horribly familiar and yet also like looking at a different lifetime.
But much more of my time is spent moaning about Val Doonican and Rolf Harris and wondering whether my Dad’s worn out old boots will burn very well on the fire now that the coal has run out? Bizarre days.