Aug 06

Carmodise That!

Blog 7 + FT + The Brown Wedge2 comments • 682 views

Oh I say.Just started reading Dominic Sandbrook’s White Heat – as with the previous volume (a third is planned on the 1970s, hurrah), the anecdotes and local colour are easily as interesting as the analysis.

– Mary Whitehouse: ‘she especially criticised Doctor Who for its reliance on “strangulation – by hand, by claw, by obscene vegetable matter”‘

The 1964 election campaign: “The greatest debacle, however, was Home’s final set-piece speech of the campaign at the Bull Ring  in Birmingham, where the Prime Minister was systematically shouted down by hundreds of hecklers shouting “Tories out! We want Wilson!”…To make matters worse, he was also confronted by an alarming apparition in the front row of the crowd: a Homosaurus, a cardboard monster with ‘the body of a prehistoric reptile and the face of Sir Alec’. It was hardly surprising that, with the Homosaurus staring back at him, he should have found it so difficult to quell the hecklers.”

He also has a very good nose for the slightly clunky feel that a lot of 1960s public language has – caught halfway between Pathe News RP and a newer, more informal type of discourse. (Rejected 1964 election slogan: Tories Dodgy – Labour Swinging).


  1. 1
    DV on 1 Sep 2006 #

    I remember when Sir Alec Douglas-Home died. The Telegraph obiturary hailed him as the last of great Prime Ministers, and mentioned that he had got a “fourth class degree” from whatever Oxbridge college he had gone to.

  2. 2
    The Symbiotics of Haircut 100 on 23 Sep 2006 #

    “swinging” and “dodgy” being the catchphrases of Norman Vaughan, then host of Sunday Night at the London Palladium, the very epicentre of the transition from the old collective working-class culture to the promise of an Americanised future, a midwife for *big* changes, making them appear almost seamless (which in reality they most certainly were not).

    My favourite piece of carmodising from this period (did I mention this in the old comments box when “A World Without Love” came up on Popular?): Peter Asher, arch proto-Wienerite of ’64, produced the Linda Ronstadt single and album which topped the US charts in the week Thatcher became Tory leader. All the more potent because her original supporters in the mid-70s had hopes for her to do precisely the opposite of what she actually did, to *make everything normal again*, to rid us of “class traitors” such as Asher.

    It’s also interesting to look at the Times Digital Archive from this period: adverts (as is indeed the case from about 1959 onwards) stunningly out of sync with the stuffy old typefaces, and a slow-burning realisation that the paper as it stood, with adverts on the front page, was living on borrowed time.

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