Shopping was confusing in the 1960s, even if you only had pocket money of one shilling to spend, as I did.
The old system of currency could be traced back to the Roman Empire and was based on the penny, symbolised by the letter ‘d’ for denari. Under this system, there were 12 pence in a shilling and 20 shillings, or 240 pence, in a pound. Coins included three penny pieces (pronounced thruppence) and two penny pieces (pronounced tuppence) as well as quarter penny (farthings). Needless to say, for a kid whose mathematical skills were still developing, I needed one of my parents with me to shop for anything at all!
In many ways, this is the hardest post I have made about the 1960s and it has taken me a long time to decide to make it. Many writers have tried and failed to capture the magic and disillusionment of 1960s music and I most surely must fail too. But that won’t stop me ‘taking a shot’ at it, as Americans like to say, or ‘having a go’ as Brits like to say.
I am not just talking about something in remote history when I talk about music from that era; I actually remember 1960s music. The first song I remember is Puppet on a String, which of course won the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest (yes, we had it then too!) for Sandie Shaw. I would have been 5 but I well remember the catchy tune blasting out of BBC Radio 1 on our little, blue radio set in the kitchen, or in my bedroom when I was sick, which was often. Continue reading “Lazlo Ferran: Memories of the 1960s – Music”→
I spent my school years, until the age of fourteen, in Buckinghamshire. Now, I am not saying the true-blue ultra-conservative Buckinghhamshire is backward, but the last time I looked at the council’s website it had chains running down each side! That was back in the 90s. In the 60s, they were just about as blue as you can get, and they certainly believed in giving every child’s sanity a run for its money.
The Bucks model of education was simple: your kid had to pass Buckinghamshire’s special Twelve-Plus exam to get a proper education. (All counties had the Eleven Plus, but we also had the Twelve-Plus for grammar school applications and our school didn’t do the Eleven-Plus.) Anything else was failure and rewarded with being sent to a ‘secondary-modern,’ which in Bucks meant a school for dunces. There you would never get the chance to do O-Levels or A-Levels and you would certainly never go to University. So every day of your school life, you were having the message ‘Success is everything’ rammed down your throat. Unfortunately, the flip-side of this philosophy was the message that ‘your humanity is nothing.’ It was only many years later that we would all discover Hans Eysenick’s IQ-based formula for the eleven-plus exam was all based on fake research. Continue reading “Lazlo Ferran: Memories of the 1960s – School”→
I was born in 1962. The first 1960s toys I remember are a fluffy ball with a bell inside, a red, plastic train and a ‘musical box’, about the size of a food can, with a crank on top. As you turned the crank, metal tongues were flicked inside, much like an African lamellaphone. It had pictures of the royal guards and Buckingham Palace painted on its sides. I don’t remember what the tune was. The plastic train was from a Playcraft train set (see image below). All these toys seemed to be around since a time before I could remember anything clearly.
The first 1960s toy I remember actually receiving was a motorised Centurion tank (possibly Scalecraft). My dad came home late one night (it was always late when a father came home for any kid that was at nursery school!) and presented me with this thing that drove up and down a pile of books on its own! My dad showed me how to open a book and turn it upside down so that its spine formed the ridge of a hill. The tank could go over this too. Continue reading “Lazlo Ferran: Memories of the 1960s – Toys”→
This week Memories of the 1960s – Toys, Books Available on Wattpad, Free Giveaway and Honorary Cliff Robertson Documentary
Memories of the 1960s – TV
I had several nice comments about Issue I so here is another:
Most people will remember the two most prominent aspects of 1960s TV; no colour and the dreaded test cards!
Colour television didn’t arrive in the UK until 1967 (BBC2) and late 1969 (BBC1 and ITV). There were some early test programmes on BBC2 and I think I remember one featuring a carnival. My father designed television cameras for a living so we were the first family I knew to have a TV set that could receive and display colour. I remember the riot of ultra-vivid colour blasting out of the screen. It seemed to completely transform the world. There were of course hiccups. Many people turned the colour button up to full, which made greens and red so bright that you would quickly get a headache. Paul McCartney had been assured that the Magical Mystery Tour would be broadcast in colour on Boxing Day 1967. But BBC1 still had not made the transition to colour so he was to be disappointed. Continue reading “Lazlo Ferran: Memories of the 1960s – TV”→
Last week I took a long walk next to the Grand Union Canal near Ware in Hertfordshire. It reminded me of my fishing days in the 1960s and I wondered if fishing could still feel the same. It occurred to me to try and write about the 1960s, and I decided to write about fishing. Each post will be entitled Memories of the 1960s and followed by the issue number. Here is the first: Continue reading “Lazlo Ferran: Memories of the 1960s – Fishing”→