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willie campbell

1960s

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I was watching "The Long Firm" on the Drama channel last week.It's a four part drama set in London's "Swinging 60s".and seems a good replica of life in that era down south,but I was reminding myself what things were really like for your average Scottish teenager.

By the 60s,teenagers had mostly stopped dressing like miniatures of their parents, had developed their own style,and were helped along by the advent of" Beatlemania".

1966 and John Stephen had opened his Glasgow menswear shop,although it seems largely forgotten now,that this Paisley man invented Carnaby Street,dressing everyone in the pop and fashion industry of the day.I remember going in to his Glasgow emporium,music blaring,and fashions so outrageous for their time,and place,that I left thinking no--one is ever going to wear a pink shirt!John Stephen was a brilliant designer who also happened to be a gay man,and it's worth remembering in those allegedly permissive times with the Beatles topping the charts,that until 1967 and the legalisation of homosexual acts, gay men were being routinely harassed and jailed.

The contraceptive pill had become available in 1961 on the N.H.S.,but most men were still buying their contraception at the barbers in response to the question"something for the weekend sir?"(condoms)Hard to believe your barber gave you a quiff and advice on family planning isn't it?

Unwanted pregnancies were either dealt with illegaly,or the baby was adopted out,even if the mother wished this or not,and the shame of a pregnancy outside marriage is hard to imagine today.Mothers risked, and some lost their lives through illegal abortions.The abortion act was passed in 1967.

Until 1965, capital punishment was in force for people found guilty of murder,and sometimes they hanged the right perpetrator,and sometimes they didn't.Swinging alright.,but not in a good way.

When you went for a job interview,you could actually be asked which school you attended,and" was that a catholic or protestant school",resulting in offices or shops with staff predominately of one religion or t'other.

Racism hadn't reared it's ugly head in Glasgow in the '60s as far as I can remember.

People shopped with cash as credit cards hadn't been invented,so if you couldn't afford something,you saved up.Alien concept now apparently.

Women were legally paid less than men for doing the same job, and accepted that.

Buchanan Street shops closed at 1pm on a Saturday lest any Argyle Street shoppers should forget their place, and wander inadvertantly,and unaffordingly into one of these glittering bastions of snobbery.I know,I worked in one for £5.50P a week,rubbing shoulders with my "betters",(we knew our place then), bus-ing it home to my mums lovely wee corporation house in E.K.,with her "party line" phone.

2 year waiting list for a phone then in your home.

Drugs? COKE,as in Coca Cola,with an aspirin in it I am told,alcohol and fags of course,but the heavy duty stuff now?Never.Oh..perhaps a PRO-PLUS to keep you alert for an exam.

Just a few random thoughts on then and now.

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Ringing lots of bells, Willie, but I must admit to paying on the never never. As Mods we absolutely had to have leather coats. They cost a fortune and we earned very little so we all paid them up. I think the payments must have taken half of my small pay packet. I had a black leather three quarter length coat and a kingfisher full length suede coat.

We managed to buy the hush puppies with cash.

I laughed at the party lines. We didn't have a phone for ages and used our neighbour's phone but you couldn't always make the call if another party was using it.

I think the shops closed half days on a Wednesday in Clydebank and a Tuesday in town. No shops open on a Sunday and no pubs. We used to go to Hotels on a Sunday. The pubs also closed at 10 p.m.

I did encounter drugs as I worked in The State Bar – frequently the police came in as they knew it as a place where drugs were pushed.

The religious question reared it head a lot with regard to employment, as you point out.

We girls were paid peanuts compared to the lads but we weren't expected to pay for anything. Absolutely no going Dutch.

When I moved to London in 1967, I was horrified to find that we lassies were expected to pay our own way. Just as well the wages were about three times higher than at home.

Glasgow had a few gangs running around the streets at that time as well but mainly the run ins were with each other.

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You should have waited till the 70s, Wills - the drugs were better. :P

I remember the religious bias in interviews too and having to call male staff Mr, while we were expected to make the tea.

Mary Whitehouse was all over the telly, as was Bruce Forsyth..

My granny had one of those hats with wee padded sections, that women of a certain age used to favour - and the winged edged specs.

I always went Dutch to save any misunderstandings. :lol:

When I moved to London in 1979, everyone seemed at least a foot taller than me and my first friend was called Donald Duck (I kid you not). He was horrified that a girl would stand a round.... took it as an affront to his manly pride :lol:

Working life was free and easy in London, religion and football were never talked about and women were treated much more equally.

I was watching the film Telstar the other day; the story of Joe Meek. I think that was right bang in the middle of your era, Wills. If you haven't seen it, catch it if you can.

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Aye, by the seventies we lassies had paid the price of equality by dipping into our purses. Didn't make any other difference as I recall. :(

On the never, never topic. Do you remember Goldbergs? Lots of tick available but didn't have the same tally man shame attached as the Provident.

My mammy didn't approve of the Provvy but we did get a line for Goldbergs every now and then.

Harper, you were moving in different circles from me in London. I went along to see Tottenham play at White Heart Lane most Saturdays. Arsenal were bitter rivals.

Although Glasgow had the No Mean City label, the first major fight I ever encountered was in the Six Bells in Kings Road, Chelsea. We had to take refuge under a table as all hell broke loose. Don't know what that was about. Mods v Rockers or something?

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We never had Provvy or Goldbergs, we just had nought.... :lol:

I never really approved of lads having to pay for lassies and as I hung out with poor art students and musicians, there wisnae much chance anyway.

I know women who think it is their husband's role to provide for them and men who don't like "their women" to work. Like I was ever going to get into the dynamic anytime soon... :rolleyes:

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The sixties were different from the seventies, Harper. You seldom came across a poor student or any student if you were working class. Higher education was the domain of the middle and upper classes. Like Willie says the boys earned more and they expected to pay. Another part of the picture was that when women got married they often had to give up their jobs. Women were in a very unequal position and it wasn't too often that both the man and the woman of the house worked. No househusbands.All that came later. One good thing was that nearly all young people were working. Some had to pay for that priviledge including hairdresser juniors who had to pay to work at classy salons.

The provvy was common and you sometimes bought of the man at the door with the case. People handed down not into charity shops. Don't know when they arrived.

They go on about the sixties as if it was a really special time and it probably was but youngster didn't go about thinking oh this is dead exciting.

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I know we made great strides forward over the decade, Canny Lass, including life changing legislation in the form of the Sexual Offences Act and the Abortion Act in 1967. The 60s were transformative and yes, I probably did have the confidence to paddle my own canoe as a result ... and from a staunchly working class upbringing, to boot. :P

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I think as a teenager living through the 60's we never thought about anymore than what disco we would be going too that weekend'

We never realised how the legislation passed in the 60's was life changing.Our parents probably thought the pace was incredible!

If you wanted to work,then there certainly seemed to be plenty of jobs available,and there was definately a stigma if you were unemployed in our street in E.K,

I have arthritis in my knees I am sure,from sitting on the bus with my 70s" loon pants",soaking wet from trailing on the ground on a rainy night,and fabric acting like blotting paper as it spread up to my thighs.I also wore platforms so high,I didn't so much get them resoled as run three rolls of Fablon up the sides.Fablon?

You could transform the look of your old kitchen,but only into something covered in that faux marble/wood plastic called Fablon.And don't talk about getting the finish bubble free.My dad always resorted to slitting them with a Gillette razor blade.The one he kept in the bathroom for paring his corns.How he never contracted septicaemia I don't know.

Working in a shop in Buchanan Street, our customers paid by cash or cheque,and Argyle St. customers were actively discouraged from coming in,so you can imagine the look of horror when one asked"do you take the check?"Provy"The snobbish reaction was amazing,and we minimum wage flunkies didn't half give it attitude and short shrift.Shameful really.

My mum occasionaly got a" Goldbergs line" when things were tight,but their prices were inflated to account for the payback time allowed,so she never made a habit of that.At Christmas the store decorations were absolutely amazing,with carousels and animations everywhere.

A shop I used to supply was Granite House,later Crazy House, at Trongate,a kind of "Whatevery's" of it's time..The buyer there was a larger than life character called Marsha Purtell.She was a god in there,had once been on a fortnights holiday to Canada and come back with an American accent.She had mahogany fake tan,and jet black hair in a kind of Helen of Troy meets the Taj Mahal confection,and the biggest dangliest earings.Apparantly you could only see two things from the moon..the great wall of China and her earings.

There are no characters left,everyone is too frightened,but in those poltically incorrect 60's and 70's,rightly or wrongly people got away with a lot,and some of it was very funny.

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:lol: I'm laughing my head off, willie. Fablon! Formica, Orlon, Terylene. What happened to all that stuff? It was a bit tacky. I think you're right – we kids didn't think we were in the middle of dramatic change. The decisions were all about how short your mini would be, how high the beehive. The most dramatic thing in my life was my Vidal Sassoon haircut.

I didn't know the Granite House but we loved Lewis' and the wee booths where you could listen to all the latest singles.

One thing about the sixties I do remember well is the sense of freedom. If you didn't like a job you just chucked it because there was no worry about unemployment. My friends and I all had two jobs and worked in pubs at night. We saved like mad and took off hitchhiking for months during the summer. I spent three months in the South of France in 1965.

The exodus from Glasgow to London was immense and many of my friends who moved to the Big Smoke in the 60s never came back home.

Marsha sounds a right character, willie. I never ran into anyone like her but there were some pretty scary bus conductresses on the go and no end of flamboyant hairdressers.

I loved my 70s platforms and there was a fabulous shop called the Chelsea Cobbler. Do you remember it? My sister had fantastic silver platforms and I had dark green with wide ankle straps. My niece, who is now a buyer for Ferragamo, has never forgiven us for not hanging onto them.

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I am the proud owner of 2 pairs of Ferragamos,bought in the sale,and that have lasted me years.

How fab. having a Vidal haircut.Another groundbreaker.

Girls,and boys seemed naturally thinner then,and when girls wore minis,with not a tramp stamp in sight,the proportions looked so right because they wore almost flat shoes,unlike the vertiginous heels and short skirts of today.You can see what they've had for their dinner,and it's not a good look.

Where did all those synthetic fabrics go?I think they melted.Many's the time my wee mum had to take a Brillo pad to her iron as she had left it on her Crimpelene skirt for a nano second too long,leaving an iron shaped burn in the cloth.

We really did waltz from job to job,and that first three years working in Jaeger dept.store were the happiest days of my life,after the unhappiest days i.e.school.

I couldn't wait to get into work every morning and have a laugh with the others I worked with,not to mention the customers.

I only had one work suit,a Burton's" made to measure" in a dogtooth check.I pressed and ironed it every night,and then one day as I was getting on the bus to work,the front crease split and a skinny ,hairy knee popped out.

I hobbled up Buchanan street,into the shop,and stuck the split together with sellotape until the alteration lady could sow in permanent creases which disguised the split.Apparently the constant ironing had turned the wool fibres brittle hence the burst.The annoying thing is I still had 4 guineas to pay up on it.

Ah the memories.I remember getting my first bottle of "Brut",which was a pleasant fresh smell after the Cristmas Puddingy aroma of Old Spice,and that seemed to be the only thing you could buy for men at one time.

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Now, about the Civil Rights movement.. :lol:

:lol: :lol: I'm having too good a time with all the fashion reminiscing, harper.

Willie, what a kerryoan with those troosers. But talking Civil Rights, I do remember dancing the night away to Bob Dylan in grotty flats with scary modern art propped against the walls. Some of my friends were mad on Joan Baez but I was always a 'The Who' kinda gal.

We did think we were rather cool and we were cheeky. I remember going along to a do in a hotel where Sally Logan and the Scottish Set were giving it all the Bonnie White Heather racket and when they asked for any requests we would shout out 'I Can't Explain' and 'Substitute'.

willie, I don't think I'll ever own Ferragamo's even with a discount.

I remember lots of happy work days. I worked for an Agency in Bath St and got sent out to different places to work. I was once sent down to Turnbury Hotel to operate the switchboard. I started at the crack of dawn and had to waken the Pan Am pilots. I also remember working in a typing pool at Brown and Poulson in Paisley. Sending out free samples of Gerber baby food. There were about 20 young girls in the pool and we just sang all day as we happily carried out the mindless work. I recall Baby Love being a favourite. :)

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Do you remember those switchboards?They looked like a cross between a hurdy-gurdy barrel organ,and a flight deck.. all you needed was the monkey.

They were so easy to listen into calls with,and I know for a fact the telephonist in a place I worked did exactly that!She spent her day eating rolls on corned beef,and listened to everything that was said.

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I operated one myself. They were called dolls eye switchboards - for obvious reasons. Many a cord and plug got in a right fankle trying to keep everyone connected.

You've put me in mind of the eavesdropping auld biddy in Whiskey Galore ...

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The Turnberry board was a real challenge. There were places for three operators but I was on my own so had to stand rather than sit. The system was STD so all calls were placed through the operator and every call into the hotel came through the board. No such thing as direct dialling. I just worked off a long list and as you say at bit of a fankle. I operated many switchboards but don't recollect listening in. I probably wasn't interested. I was a teenager. :-)

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I've never heard the old plug and cord boards referred to by the formal name. I had a weekend job as a receptionist at the Buckingham Hotel and loved connecting all the calls to the rooms and hopefully the right ones. I was so sad to see that the hotel had gone. I have happy memories of working there, probably around 1977.

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I feel like that about the Albany Hotel in Glasgow, harper. Not the 60s but worked there in the 70s. When it opened it was one of the top hotels in the city. We waitresses and barmaids were trained to a standstill. Well, we were serving the celebs. Bryan Ferry, Henry Cooper, Rod Stewart, David Essex, the Brazilian Football team - the list was endless. Now no more.

One thing that was very different in the 60s was cafes. Brilliant juke boxes and lots of kids hanging around. The were more geared for the teenage market than nowadays.

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The Albany was lovely and stylish.The carvery was fab., as was the bar.It was supposed to be rebuilt after demolition,with the hotel having two towers one of which having apartments for sale.The plans looked like restoring it to it's former glory,but I see not a brick has been laid.Maybe the recession.

Cafe's were very much the thing for a time, were great meeting places for young people,and I don't remember any trouble in them.

I have fond memories of the Dansk coffee shop in E.K.run by a classmate of mine,Billy Kerr.He was the manager /poet in residence, the vibe was great.We sat selfconsciously drinking cappos.from pyrex cups,tasting totally different from the coffee my mum made from that little flat tin of Nescafe, years old,it had a crust on the granules through lack of use.We always drank tea at home as my father regarded coffee as "foreign muck".The Dansk certainly gave many E.K.denizens their first sight of an open sandwich,and feeling "done" by it's lack of a top.

On that note,wasn't the Danish Food centre lovely?

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Such great memories of the Albany, willie. My sister worked there too so very handy for swopping shifts. We were thrilled serving some of the celebs and a lot of the regular customers were very interesting. The conditions and the tips were great. We only served four tables per waitress so that we could provide a really good service and we stopped on the dot at ten o'clock. We had horrible uniforms but still got chatted up regularly and invited to many concerts at The Apollo by the performers.

We went a few times to The Carvery for family birthdays. It was very popular as was the posher Four Seasons.

I remember the Danish Food Centre – very nice. I also liked Kenco Coffee House. Cafes we frequented were mainly around Clydebank and Hardgate. The Regal on Kilbowie Road was a favourite. We also had a super cafe in our village in Old Kilpatrick, owned by one, Bertie Lazerinni and his wife Gloria. Their ice cream drinks were fabulous.

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I was thinking too,that in the '60s,the only take away food was fish and chips,and then pizza started to be sold in takeaway form from places like Dino's in Sauchiehall St.,and the idea of buying rather than making a sandwich would be alien to my mothers generation.

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The kids love when I make sandwiches. Egg mayonnaise and chicken, cut off a whole chicken.

I remember when we were at school we used to buy vienna rolls pull the dough out and stuff the roll with crisps. Plenty of carbs,

I'm in Dino's regularly, willie. Was there on Saturday before we went to see The Lone Ranger. :)

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