Monday, 23 April 2012

Memories of the 60's & 70's T is for Technology,T-rex and Top of The Pops.

In the seventies we listened to our Transistor radios, wore Trouser suits, loved T-Rex and never missed Top of the Pops on Television.

Transistor Radios or "trannies" as we called them were small enough to fit inside your school bag. They were little plastic boxes with a leather cover over them. Wheels at each side turned the volume on and moved it to different radio stations. We had an earpiece connected with a wire in place of the headphones we have today. I would listen to the crackly radio Luxembourg under the blankets (no duvets) at night with the earpiece in so my mum couldn't hear. we shared the tranny with friends at lunchtime to hear the top ten as it was so important to us to find out.

We used Typewriters  if we wanted our letters to look professional. I had a child's Petite typewriter which I loved using. To have more than one copy of what you had typed you had to put carbon paper between two sheets of paper and feed them into the typewriter we had no photocopiers. Real typewriters were very big and heavy  and although they were called portable they weren't really practical for transporting.

Trouser suits were very popular. Some were a pair of trousers and a jacket just like a suit but they were mainly trousers and a tunic length top that matched. I remember having a few different ones and so did my mum so it wasn't just a style for young people.

 Telephones. We didn't have a telephone in our house until I was about fifteen. Coloured ones had been made by then and they also came in two toned colours. My mum allowed me to choose the colour of our phone (as I would be using it most) and for some bizarre reason I chose bright red. It didn't go with our colour scheme at home but that didn't matter to me.
At first we had a shared phone line, called in Glasgow "the Pairty Line. " It was so annoying when you lifted the phone to make a call and you could hear someone using it, good for  listen into conversations, not that I would have ever done anything like that.

Top of the Pops was a chart show on television.  It started in 1964 and was shown right through until 2005.
Jimmy Saville, Alan Freeman, Pete Murray, David Jacobs were all hosts of the show, being disc jockeys on radio one they knew all there was to know about pop music.
Usually the group who's record had reached number one was live in the studio but you had to wait until the end of the show to see them.
Pans people were the dance group who acted out the song they danced to wearing short dresses and the style  of the day. We watched the audience dancing and wondered how they managed to get tickets so such a popular show. Top of the pops re runs are still shown weekly today and it 's fun to relive memories again and to show the younger ones how we did it back then.
My parents had a black and white television until about 1975. Colour TVs were very expensive and looked upon as a luxury. Dad bought a coloured  perspex screen  which was placed on front of the TV  screen and made it look like colour. We thought it was wonderful and just as good as the expensive colour sets,we didn't realise how wrong we were until we eventually purchased a colour set.

Tyrannosaurus Rex or T -Rex as they became known, with lead singer Marc Bolan was another of my favourite groups. Marc Bolan formed the group in 1967 and I was surprised to learn that their first four albums were folk music.
Their first pop single "Ride a White Swan" went to number two in the UK charts.
Hot Love
Born to Boogie
Children of The Revolution
Telegram Sam
The words to most of their songs didn't really make sense but we sang about riding white songs and being a jeepster for your love whether we understood them or otherwise.
Marc had a very flamboyant and feminine  look about him and was part of the Glam Rock scene along with David Bowie, wearing high platform shoes and outrageous clothes and  sparkly eyeshadow, which is said to have started by a mistake as the make up girl spilt it on him before he took to the stage.
His pictures adorned my bedroom walls and my friend Louise and I would talk about how beautiful he was.
Sadly in 1977 Marc crashed his car into a tree and both him and his girlfriend Gloria Jones were killed. We were all devastated, he was only twenty nine years old, so young and so talented.
The group broke up after Marc died, four years later another two members had met untimely deaths  and in 2003 the fourth member Mickey Finn died too.
Marc Bolan and T-Rex are on my ipod and I still listen to them, they won't be forgotten.

Rosalind Adams is writing about the fifties and sixties for the a to z challenge, pop over to writing in the Rain to read what her "T" memories are.


  1. It's so much fun to go down memory lane and you picked some great Ts. Thanks for following my blog, I just signed up to follow yours.

  2. You've reminded me of a big issue in my teenage years - what was top of the music charts. I don't think the top ten is as important now as it was then to both the public and the artists. I couldn't wait to find out what was the number one and I adored Top of the Pops. Jimmy Saville with his big cigar was a hoot.

  3. I don't miss typewriters and transistor radios had lousy sound quality.  We got our first color TV in 1967 I believe and I thought we were behind the times.  


    Places I Remember

    Wrote By Rote

    An A to Z Co-host blog

  4. Guilie Castillo23 April 2012 at 17:39

    How very very cool :) I was born in '73, so I remember that decade sketchily. But "trannies" were common in Mexico, too, and there were a few lying around at home I fiddled with, and I totally remember that wire and earpiece thing--my mom complained that I'd go deaf in only one ear from using it, haha. I don't think I ever took one to school, though.

    Dropping in from A-Z--glad you made it this far, and good luck with the home stretch!

  5. Hi Guilie, thanks for reading.Yes headphones are much more comfortable

  6. Hi Arlee ,thanks for reading. I think you were way ahead of times. Wow you must have been rich!

  7. Oh Rosalind it was so important to know what was no 1 and yes you're right it was so important to the artist because it meant they could appear on Top of the Pops.

  8. Thanks for kind comment and thanks for following Inger I loved your blog.

  9. My dad had a transistor radio in the house while we were growing up! ;)


    to Z co-host

  10. My whole childhood was obviously made up of Ts - very vivid memories of all of those things. I still have a huge love for T Rex!

  11. Spent many an hour on the beach with my transistor radio! Typewriters were terrible contraptions, I actually never learned how to type until I had my first computer. And pants suits, my grandmother was the queen of them, she's spend her days sewing them. When she passed away we found tons of them in her closet. She made me sets of pants suits to wear to school too because we weren't allowed to wear pants alone ....i know i'm dating myself.

  12. I still have my first transistor radio, given to me in 1972.  I listened to it day and night!!!  Oh, and I still used an electric typewriter at my last job!!

  13. C. Lee McKenzie24 April 2012 at 01:45

    Oh, yes. The good old days! I still remember when someone told us we were going to get a computer in the office and we looked at each other with this, "What are we going to do with it?" expression. 

    Stopped in to say hi from the A to Z. Great that I did!

  14. Now we wouldn't know how to live life without them. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Hi Jojo I wish I had kept mine.

  16. It seems to be a yeah for transistors and a neigh for old fashioned typewriters.

  17. I 've been listening to T Rex today and loving them.

  18. Ah - I remember it well. And go even further back, to mods and rockers, the early Beatles, mini skirts ...

  19. Hi Jo, yes I wore mini skirts too. Glad my post brought some memories back.


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