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The nostalgia nerds rebooting to the '70s

By Frances Burscough

Published 23/04/2016

Frances Burscough
Frances Burscough

Nostalgia just isn't what it used to be. And that's not supposed to be a joke either. In 'my day' if you were feeling nostalgic, you'd go up into your dusty attic and get out an old photo album, read some faded letters from the past, watch an old movie or simply reminisce with friends.

But nowadays in this technological age, nostalgia has (ironically, I think) become a futuristic affair. On Facebook in particular, memories of the Seventies are trending, with numerous retro-groups forming online just to share images from the past and the memories that go with them. It is a really entertaining pastime, because some of the things that are getting dug up by these nostalgia nerds take you on a trip down memory lane all the way back to the school playground and beyond.

So here are some blasts from the past that we've all been getting choked up about online this week ...

Corner shop sweets: All it takes is for someone on Facebook to post a photograph of a traditional sweetie shop with its shelves groaning with glass, screw-top jars of sweets and the entire internet goes into a hyperactive sugar rush. Everyone shares jokes about buying 'a quarter' bag if you were feeling flush or a 2oz bag if you weren't. Oh, all those sticky memories of bon-bons, pear drops, midget gems, wine gums, chocolate eclairs, shoe laces, flying saucers, cola bottles ... my mouth still waters at the thought!

Personally, though, my favourite combo was 2oz of blackcurrant&liquorice mixed with 2oz of chocolate limes. And now I'm drooling.

Spirograph: So someone somewhere dug up a photograph of a box of Spirograph, posted it on Facebook and instantly my mind rebooted back to Christmas 1970, when I was seven years old and dear old Santa brought me (and virtually everyone else in my class or of my age) one that year. What a brilliant invention! So artistic, creative and clever!

I distinctly remember attempting a multiple spiral using all the colours of the rainbow from my deluxe Biro set. It was going to be a masterpiece. First I selected a disc and the red biro. Next a different disc and the orange one; then yellow ... and so it continued in perfect symmetry until I had gone through the whole spectrum and was about to complete the ultimate pattern using the purple biro when the bloody pins moved! Aaaarghhh my magnus opus RUINED! It still upsets me 46 years later.

On the page entitled I Grew Up in the Seventies, someone posted a photograph last week. It showed an assorted group of children's bikes all discarded in the front garden of a house. The caption read "before cell phones and social media, this is how we found out where all our friends were". How true. Nowadays, tech-savvy kids simply 'check in' using their Facebook app for Android when they arrive anywhere.

Hands up who remembers those so-called public information broadcasts of the Seventies? Err ... almost every one of my Facebook friends does. It causes a great deal of hilarity online when anyone posts them. Trending recently have been 'Always Use the Green Cross Code' (a bloke who looks suspiciously like the Jolly Green Giant teaches road safety), 'Charley Says ...' (a creepy cartoon cat miaows about safety), 'The Weaver Bird' (a black and white minimalist bird cartoon about staying in the right lane), 'Reginald Molehusband gets it right' (an ineffectual idiot driver learns how to park), 'Joe&Petunia dial 999' (two ineffectual idiots on a beach watch a boat sinking instead of calling the coastguard). And, of course, 'Clunk Click Every Trip' (no comment).

The list of bizarre Seventies quirks is endless and I'm running out of space, so I hope to return to this subject another time to discuss such phenomena as sexist telly adverts, indoor fireworks, Tupperware parties, Avon Ladies, kitchen gadgets, things that were confiscated at school, the size and price of chocolate bars (don't even start me on WagonWheels!) and, of course, the eternal shame that is Seventies fashion.

Belfast Telegraph

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