Saturday, 21 April 2012

Memories of the 60's & 70's S is For Smocks,Spirograph and Smokie.

I remember wearing smocked tops and dresses. I don't know why we all wanted to look pregnant,but we did. I loved my smock dresses although in the eighties after I had my babies I never wanted to see them again.

Shirt dresses, were just like long shirts with buttons down the front and really quite shapeless. Thinking of the styles we wore in the seventies I wonder where we found the time to wear them all as there seems to have been so many different styles and I still have a few more to write about.


Spirograph when this toy came out I thought it was amazing. The box had a set of ballpoint pens, paper, little drawing pins and lots of plastic circles. For someone like me who tried so hard at school to draw and never managed very well it was wonderful, at last I could have beautiful geometrical drawings and everyone would say how lovely they were.
When my daughter was young Spirograph returned to the shops. Very sophisticated  after having a revamp it came in a plastic carry case instead of a cardboard box and had lots of new features. Maybe because I was older then it didn't seem quite so exciting in it's new form.

This advert from 1973 explains it all better than I  can.



On holiday in Blackpool with my friend Louise when I was sixteen we went to a pub (yes underage) called Mama and Papa Jenks and the resident band were called Smokie. We had front seats every night they played  and swooned over the lead singer Chris. We were given autographed photos of the group and they spoke to us often, ( those mad Glesga Lassies). If I close my eyes I can still hear them singing their own cheeky version of the  Wings hit,  Band On The Run, (Hand On the Bum! )
We were so surprised a few years later to hear them on the radio, they had made it.
Smokie were from Bradford, all went to same school and formed into a band in the playground. They were signed by the Decca record label by the man who turned down the Beatles but nothing came of it and that is why They were singing in a pub in Blackpool and that same year they were asked by Peter Noone to be his backing band (hermits had disappeared) , Their record ,"If you think you know how to love me" went to number three in the charts and was followed by, "Don't Play Your Rock n'Roll to Me" and "Living Next Door To Alice" which I still hear sung today. They had 13 top twenty hits and sold 30million records worldwide.  The band split for a few years and reformed again without Chris the lead singer who  after releasing a duet with Suzi Quatro (Stumblin in ) wanted to go solo. The band although slightly changed again from then are still touring today.

 One of my blogging friends, Guuye who reads my posts and who's home country is Mongolia might be surprised to know that Smokie played a two night sell out concert to 25,000 people in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia. As the open air stadium was full another 60,000 fans stood outside listening to them. The welcome they had was amazing.
I can hardly believe that the group I watched in a Blackpool pub became even more famous in Mongolia.

I'm sure a lot of people won't have heard of Smokie but if you have or if you loved Spirograph please share your memories with me.
Rosalind Adam at Writing in the Rain is reliving her memories of the fifties and sixties I'm sure she'd love you to have a look.

23 comments:

  1. Yes I forgot about cheesecloth! I loved cheesecloth shirts and had a dress too. Oh I don't like the showing your bare bump look.

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  2. Funny I saw a small set tonight in Sainsburys but when we had it it was so new.

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  3. Loved Spirograph I was so neat and tidy with my drawings. Thanks for heads up about comments I panicked at first but got them imported.

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  4. I've had spirograph a few times and could never get it to work right.  I was so careful with the wheels but they'd always veer off the spokes on the ones pinned to the paper.  Or the ball point pens were either dry, would go dry part way through, or leave huge ink globs that smeared all over the paper.  :(

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  5. Smokie! Anne, oh my! They are big in Mongolia and yes they did play in Mongolia. My friend was the interpreter for them. Small world. I might steal this from you. Thanks so much for bringing Smokie back. There is a pub called Khan Brau in Ulaanbaatar and it has photos of the band. I spent my youth having newly arrived pizzas from Western  culture and dancing to their songs. It was in the 90's though. We still like them. My husband was surprised though that they were British as he never thought they were that popular. Thanks Anne. X

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  6. Yaaaaaaay my sister & I had the spirograph when we were young girls! It was the 2nd generation one though, like your daughter's. I loved making spirals and patterns, it was hours of fun! :)

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  7. Oh yes remember the smocks... my mum wore them.  I think they should come back in fashion....lol.    wow! you had smokie, my husband remembers them well and I remember a couple of songs which are still played here to.  How cool!

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  8. Make me feel old by saying your mum wore them! lol! Goodnes you even heard Smokie in NZ they fairly got around.I think they were only well known in UK for a few years.

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  9. Yes it was fun, a bit too fancy when it came back and it is still entertaining children today.

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  10. Yes You just never know what you're going to find when you start searching.They were really big in China too and New Zealand from what I hear. Pity the lead singer Chris didn't stay with them he was lovely. My friend's big sisiter was in Blackppol the week before us and I'm sure she was dating one of the band members . they were lovely to us and we were daft wee lassies.

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  11. Oh what a shame,I played with it for hours,kept me quite.

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  12. Now a follower pushing you closer to 100.

    Never heard of Smokie but I like their sound.  I don't guess they ever caught on in the U.S.   My brothers and sisters had a Spirograph and I used to enjoy playing with it.   I also remember smocks.  On his TV show Steve Allen used to laugh at the word "smock" and for comic effect say it as if it were a bird sound.  "Smock, smock, smock"  Try it--it does sound like some kind of bird.

    Lee

    A Few Words

    An A to Z Co-host blog

    My Main blog is Tossing It
    Out

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  13. New follower. I loved my Spirograph when I was little - until my baby sister lost all the pieces and I was left with about three different sized pieces!

    Smokie had a bit of a cult status amongst my flatmates in my first flat. Smokie, Delia Smith and Rolf Harris! Strange times :-)

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  14. Shirt dresses are making a comeback. But now they're belted and fitted.
    New follower.

    AtoZer!
    prose-spective.blogspot.com

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  15. I was a child of the 80's, but I remember finding a spirograpgh at a neighborhood yard sale when I was in elementary school.  I had just enough money to buy it and thought it was the coolest thing ever!

    Wishing you continued success with the A to Z challenge,Jocelyn

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  16. Hi Rena,I wonder when they will design something really different.

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  17. Hi Annalisa (lovely name) thanks for following. That's lovely you liked Smokie but Rolf Harris ? I had forgotton about him

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  18. Thanks for following Arlee. Smokie headed more for Europe, Russia,China and Mongolia where there were really big.

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  19. I'm delighted to have found your blog! I just got in at U so I've a lot of reading to do, and I'm loving every moment of it.

    Thanks for bringing back memories of the many hours I spent playing with my Spirograph!

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  20. Thanks Beth, nice to "meet" you. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

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  21. I visited Blackpool with my friends a number of times during my teens and also remember seeing Smokie everynight at Papa Jenks. We were all well underage but easily got away with it in those days. Cheesecloth shirts and loons, ben shermans and wranglers. PS my nickname is Spiro (named after a tv character in the 70's not spirograph)

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  22. Hi, my name is Christine Lancaster(was Jackson) I was lucky enough to live in Blackpool. We went to Jenks Bar as much as we could to watch Smokie, still love them to this day. We used to chat to the group after they had finished playing. Chris Norman is a lovely person. Thank you Smokie for al, the lovely Memories.......I live in Australia now, I hope to see the Living Next door to Alice tour that you are doing this year.......yeah cannot wait.....

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  23. I think they were actually called Kindness in their Jenks Years

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