Monday, 24 February 2014

Retro Sweets: Like the 1970s but better...

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Do you remember Refreshers? Parma Violets and Love Hearts? Those Swizzels Matlow sweeties have such a strong place in my memories. Nostalgia on a stick... in some cases. 

So I was delighted to get the chance to visit our local Asda to see which of those sticky treats are still around. 



Hello, old friends. I found Love Hearts, Refreshers, Parma Violets, Drum Sticks and Double Lollies. Only better than I remember, they've all become supersized, or squashy, or stickless (Drum Sticks without Sticks must surely just be Drums, no?)

It got me to thinking about the other things from the 1970s that we still have - one way or another. And the things that didn't stand the test of time. 

Pong 


This was the exciting technology where you played a fairly tedious game of electronic tennis on the telly. Exciting enough in its day. But now my 11 year old gets to make the game from scratch in his lunchtime coding club. 

Safety first


Health and safety was hardly even a thing in the 1970s. We had scary public information films with the likes of Jimmy Savile telling us to "Clunk click every trip" or Joe and Petunia reminding us of something I've forgotten. Now kids are actually wrapped up against some harm. For example, they can't play football without shin guards or go on their bikes without helmets. 

Lego


Not much change here, except that it's got far more complex and girls have been stuck in a pink ghetto. In my day wheels and an axle were exotic, now the small plastic bits have even got starring roles in the big movies. 

The toys we left behind



I was particularly troubled to find that the dismembered head complete with hair that 'grew' if you yanked it hard enough was not just a figment of my imagination. The toys of the 70s might not look much now, but they were amazing at the time. I was beside myself with jealousy when my friend got a Girls' World one Christmas and I didn't. What's not to love about clackers that broke your wrist if you did it wrong and a toy cyclist modelled on a clearly unhinged stunt-man with no sense of self preservation. Spirograph was pretty cool though. 

Time for telly



Hands up if you thought Mrs Slocomb's pussy was just a pet? Or if can't think Roobarb and Custard without hearing "diddlee dee, diddlee dee" in your head? Telly was brilliant in the 1970s, but what was particularly good about it was the lack of choice. My kids are horrified when I tell them that we only had three channels and everyone watched telly together. 

And everything else



"So what did you do then?" Eventually one of my Boys asked when he realised that this particular amble down Memory Lane wasn't going to end any time soon. We read comics, drew stuff, made things, loafed about, moaned about parents, chores and rules and couldn't wait until we were grown up...

Of course, looking back (even when I take off the pink specs) it seems marvellous, colourful and exciting, just the way our children will look back at their first smart phones and the time when the first Lego Movie came out. And their children will roll their eyes and sigh. 

I hope I'm around to see how much bigger and better the classic sweeties have become by then. 

And finally...



In case anyone was in any doubt that some things must stay irresolutely in the past, take a look at my shirt... and the hair. 

#CollectiveBias

13 comments:

  1. Excellent blog Ellen and hats off to you for posting your photograph - I removed mine from my mum's album from around the same age.

    Anne was saying the other day that her daughter has just discovered the delights of Spirograph and I only threw mine out a couple of years ago, but I've still got my clackers and Stylophone.

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    1. I'm so ancient that I'm no longer embarrassed by how I looked then! Can you still get Spirographs? I must have a look.

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  2. Hair is quite fashionable again but doubt the shirt will ever be again hahaha. I still have a spirograph that the grandchildren use occasionally and I've still got a couple of those tupperwear spoons in regular use, in fact I think we still have that old Binatone tennis game in the loft.....oh I feel so old now!

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    1. No the shirt, thankfully is staying in the past. Spirograph was brilliant.

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  3. You've taken me RIGHT back in time. Love it and LOVE the sweets - so glad that they are making a proper comeback well deserved x

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    1. I had so much fun digging up all the stuff from the 70s.

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  4. Amazing! My grandma had a red telephone like that until around 2005 when the exchange went digital and it didn't work anymore.

    I'd forgotten all about drumstick lollies, I used to hold them in my hands until they went warm and soft before eating (inside the wrapper of course!!)

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    1. Even with the wrapper on, that sounds like an incredibly sticky enterprise.

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  5. Oh those TV shows do bring back some memories! And Spirograph!! Loved that

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    1. Thanks. Spirograph was v popular, it seems.

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  6. What a trip back in time- Girl's World and Spirographs. And my little ones still play with my Fisher Price stuff at Grandma's!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers Girls' World!

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  7. Trip down memory lane, oh and the retro sweets are lovely by way! :) x

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