I've finally got round to watching the first episode of Channel 4's 'challenging' drama, Red Riding, and good as it was, fuck me it was bleak.
Not so much of a 'who done it?' as a 'how was it?', and if it's gritty realism is true, then living oop North the 70's was pretty shit. Born in Grimsby in 1972, I was over in Hull when the programme was set (1974), and moved to Chesterfield in 1976, before moving to the safety of the South a couple of years later, where I have been exiled ever since.
Whereas the 70' s of Sam Tyler in Life on Mars were rose tinted, with flared trousers, cartoon coppers, and perpetual blue skys, the spectacles worn by Red Riding were nicotine stained and smeared in stale chip fat. Brick dust and concrete blended into a murky grey sky where rain was always imminent, or already here. Policemen didn't call you a nonce and give you a slap, you were stripped, bound, gagged, tortured and tormented, and that's for trying to catch a child murderer, not being one. Tough times indeed.
I'm sure I've got some photos of me back in the day where the sun is shining, but the ones that are close to hand were all taken indoors. Probably because it was pissing down outside.
Nostalgia can play nasty tricks on you. I've probably got skewed memories of really good times in the 70's. I've already found due to the power of the internet that one of my favourite shows, Animal Kwackers, had really ropey opening titles, but I thought they were great.
And were politicians as corrupt as TV drama would have us believe? The only politician I was aware of as a Northern child was that lovely lady who stopped us from having to drink tiny bottles of milk with tiny blue straws before we were allowed to go out to play. It was always warm from being left out in a crate in the playground all morning, and absolutely rank. Such a nice, sweet lady for saving us from that. I wonder what ever happened to her? 'Thatcher' I think her name was.....
And the food was great, although I wasn't too keen on the beefy Findus Crispy Pancakes (mrsslippy still eats them! Dirty girl!!), and you couldn't get any sun dried tomatoes or ciabatta.
I used to love the Cherryade that the milkman left. I vaguely remember it being in a cool (to me ) advert, but I can't find it on Google or YouTube.
And those toys! I had a Six Million Dollar Man with a bionic eye and a bit of plastic circuitry hidden under a rubbery layer of skin on his arm that I honestly believed if I tucked it up my sleeve it would make me stronger. And an Evil Knievel that would drive for at least 2 feet before careering off to the side and falling over.
No, the 70's were ok. Sure, they weren't a patch on the 80's, but not quite as depressing as the little patch of Yorkshire I've just spent the last 2 hours watching
Tomorrow I'm going to watch part 2. Two hours of light entertainment around the hunting of the Yorkshire Ripper. How can that not be a good thing?