Belfast Telegraph

So that's why their pupils were glazed in Play School

By Robert McNeill

Odd period, the 1970s. I've tended to deride them as grim, which they certainly were, but I appreciate now the music and, er, that's about it. They weren't particularly happy years in Northern Ireland.

More generally, the trouble with the 1970s was that they came between the 1960s and 1980s.

One was a hard act to follow, the other a deep chasm of shallowness.

The BBC has been showing a series about the controversial decade in between.

It's presented by a bald person, which is never nice, but presumably there are quotas demanded by the Human Rights Act.

This follicle-free individual tends to conflate England with Britain, in the traditional manner. And, while one programme promised to feature Scotia Minor (presumably causing trouble, the only time we're mentioned usually), I didn't watch it, as I was sure it would be cack.

I never watch political programmes now, particularly those where the public are allowed to speak.

The first few bars of the theme tune for Scotland-baiting Question Time, presented by London-centric blowhard David Dumblebum, are enough to induce severe vomiting fits.

However, one programme I'd like to visit again is Play School, from the aforementioned 1970s.

In hair-raising revelations, we learned this week that presenters of the kiddies' show were stoned out of their onions on marijuana, and bonked anything that moved.

They even put Humpty and Hamble, two dolls, into positions of lewd-style procreation.

Presenter Rick Jones, now 75, said "marijuana was like cornflakes". What, they put milk on it? Interestingly, to me at any rate, Mr Jones was also bald, but not in a bad way.

He kept what remained of his hair long so that he didn't look brutish, and he had a beard - always a sign of civilised man.

But these sex and drugs revelations were shocking.

Rick, a leading Canadian, explained: "It was part of the culture, definitely."

He has a point. Certainly, in the louche circles into which I occasionally blundered in the late 1970s, marijuana was frequently present. I never smoked it myself. Also, I never went to the lavatory or ate anything.

At one point, the chap downstairs from me used to deal the stuff. Nicer fellow you couldn't possibly meet. He operated a kind of Marks and Spencer policy where, if you didn't like your cannabis, you could return it and get your money back, or exchange it for a three-pack of underpants.

But it was never really for me, that sort of thing. Too uptight, d'you see? I fidget too much to be cool.

Chaps who were right into cannabis were really laid back, like natural rastas.

They were calm and more or less sedated, I suppose. I often thought they were wasting their lives, instead of going on to be dynamically successful like me. I detect tittering.

Fascinatingly, at 75, Rick no longer takes a toke, opining thus: "At my age I wake up and I'm stoned because I'm elated I'm still alive." I must say I'm unfamiliar with this feeling, and more likely to wake up and say: "Oh, as it were, no. I'm still alive."

But it's different smokes for different folks, I suppose. I don't even drink now, making my life pretty pointless.

However, at least I know I'm as pure as the driven slush.

And I'm glad the 1970s are far behind us now.


From Belfast Telegraph