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THE 1960s through the 1980s saw a flood of low budget albums released around the globe. It seemed all you needed to make a record was some loose change and poor decision making skills. Indeed, much of what landed on record store shelves can only be described as deeply regrettable. Of course, this endless variety of awfulness is what makes record collecting so enjoyable 30+ years later.
I won’t pretend to even scratch the surface of the worst of the worst in this article. Instead, here’s a random handful of 15. Enjoy!
TECHNOLOGY has been rocketing along so quickly, it’s difficult to put on the breaks, stop for a moment and get a perspective. Sometimes you just need to dig your heels in and take a look backward. As the current rushes you madly onward, it may do you good to just pause and see how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.
Taking a look at progress in technology as whole is much too broad; our heads will likely explode if we try and take it all in. Instead, let’s just look at your phone – that thin little rectangle you have in your pocket or are looking at right now…
It can do more than Hubot could ever dream of. And while it is unlikely Hubot was capable of dreaming, it could play AM/FM radio, check the temperature, tell the time, and play Atari 2600 games. Hubot came with a price tag of $3495 in 1981 – adjusted for inflation that comes to $8957 (£5432). For that kind of price, Hubot better be able to do dishes, kill intruders, and stimulate pleasure centers on command.
Alas, it did not. But let’s look at a single function on your mobile device that you likely take for granted: voice messages.
To read this advert, it sounds as though your very life is going to change thanks to an answering machine. Indeed, the Phone Butler will rid you of your cumbersome existence, and introduce you to the jet-setting world of recorded phone messages.
Now you can spend your vacations and nights out on the town with complete ease, knowing that all your calls and messages are being handled efficiently, and are waiting at home for you!…. Don’t worry about missing calls while you’re out doing yard work, in the shower, shopping, sunbathing, or socializing with the neighbors, you’ll never have to make a run for the phone again!
It’s hard to imagine that something as commonplace as voice messaging was sold as an answer to prayers just a few decades back. That would be like saying having no phone cord was a miracle of science – hey, what a sec…
“You see, with our cordless phone you’re not tied down by the cord – because there is no cord!”
No longer was mankind tethered; he was free to roam from patio to garage to toilet with splendid freedom. Advertisements announced this latest break with great fanfare. Of course, no longer being “tethered” meant you were also never out of reach. So, in a twist of fate, going cordless resulted in less freedom. Who knew?
In the ‘80s, you knew you “made it” if you could conduct business from your tub… preferably while sporting a self-important smirk. Once again, the advertisers are driving the point home that your tech devices no longer require terminals – they are wherever you are. Our younger generations will never know the type of world where you have designated phone and computer locations – things haven’t just become portable, they are damn near bodily appendages.
Another thing future generations will never know is the telephone queue. The very thought of actually having to wait your turn to use a phone is madness. But there’s a flipside to this: If you knew you had to spend a painful amount of time waiting in line every time you had to make a call, wouldn’t you use the phone less? And if so, might you be doing something more enriching or enjoyable with the time?
That’s crazy talk. Let’s move on.
One thing that we’ve all collectively dreamed about in our science fiction is the “video phone”. Every futuristic depiction worth its salt had one. Of course, now Skype, Face Time and the like are just boring parts of life – no more shocking than your washing machine or toaster oven. Who would have thought that a technology so anticipated would so quickly be taken for granted?
Well, we could stand in amazement at the many examples of brilliant communications technologies which have become mundane overnight. However, the current is quickly pulling us onward. No time to linger in quiet appreciation; in the time it took you to read this article, at least three of your tech devices have gone obsolete.
VISITORS to 1920s NYC could study the Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book. As any reader of P.G. Wodehouse’s Psmith, Journalist will now full well, New York was a dangerous place back then, overrun by gangs, slum landlords and shysters.
THESE days the King’s Road looks not unlike many other high-streets across the country, albeit a bit posher. If you stroll down the road you’ll see, just like anywhere else, Boots, WH Smiths and the ubiquitous coffee-shop chains. In fact, always a trend-setter, the King’s Road was where Starbucks chose to open its first ever UK coffee-shop just fifteen or so years ago in 1998. Of course it has a McDonald’s like anywhere else but the King’s Road McDonalds is a bit different to most – it used to be the Chelsea Drugstore.
CANADA has closed it borders to Marmite, Irn Bru, Bovril and Penguin bars.
A Mr – get this – Tony Badger, owner of a British foods shop in Saskatoon, central Canada, says his goods have been impounded. He told CKOM news: ““My understanding was we were importing legally. We’ve been declaring it through a customs broker and we’ve never had an issue until now.”
Here’s a look around the shop, with authentic 1950s intermission music in keeping with the general theme of Canada being 60 years behind the UK:
WE’VE all seen the lists of top ten outrageous game show moments. This isn’t one of those. I’m not interested in zany answers or your standard cheesy game show tomfoolery. We’re looking at those moments that just leave you feeling uncomfortable.
RIOTOUS REACTION TO WOMAN’S PANTIES
A “Match Game” contestant in a miniskirt bends over to hug a celeb whilst flashing the TV audience her undergarments. Nothing alarming about that – what is alarming is the rapturously orgasmic reaction from McLean Stephenson and host Gene Rayburn. You’d think they just simultaneously won the lottery and the World Cup. I’ve never seen such jubilation at the sight of a woman’s panties. Alas, it was the 1970s, and people just acted… different.
WHY is a part of the Victoria Line suspended? The line on the London Underground is not working well. Why not?
Well, the story goes that a team of engineers poured fast-setting concrete into the signalling equipment room. Yeah, the Tube has been closed due to industrial action.
MANY of you will remember the Hostess snack adverts that appeared in comic books throughout the 70s. They all had the same basic story: a villain is subverted from his diabolical plan by a well-known superhero… and the help of a sugary cream-filled cake.
This may be genius marketing (after all, comic books and junk food go well together), but it’s also a bit troubling because it calls a few things into question:
- Exactly how special are our superheroes (Batman, Spider-Man, etc.) when all it takes to vanquish an arch-enemy is a box of Twinkies? Subsequently, doesn’t this call into question the severity of the threats in the first place? I mean, if Lex Luthor can be stopped by a package of sugary sweets, what does this say about his evil villain status?
- What ingredients are in these treats? These superheroes and villains possess incredible powers, yet it’s the snack cake that wins every time.
Checking The Mail: Mail Online Talking About Toxicity Online Is Like Cigarette Companies Worrying About Smog
The Daily Mail worrying about self-harm sites that prey on young women with self-esteem issues is like tobacco companies wringing their hands about car exhausts. The Mail traffics daily in the minute inspection of women’s bodies and the idea that they can never be right. No matter how beautiful the star, no matter how lovely her skin is, how styled she is, how impeccably turned out she is, The Mail will find a flaw to obsess over, a moment when she went outside without makeup, a time on the beach where the camera angle was unflattering.
How dare The Daily Mail, of all places, run stories decrying the “toxic online world” when it is so toxic it practically glows with hatred and judgment. Its latest target is Tumblr. Its latest vehicle for its manufactured outrage is the death of a 15-year-old and the understandable grief, rage and incomprehension of the girl’s mother. Of course, it’s important that the Mail notes that the girl was “privately-educated” and lived in a house worth £1 million.
The Trolling Sun And Bullying Ulrika Johnson Call Stan Collymore A ‘Vile Hypocrite’ Over Twitter Abuse – Oh, The Irony
THE Sun’s columnist Ulrika Johnson was once punched in the face by her then lover Stan Collymore. The footballer-turned radio DJ has been complaining of being abused and threatened by his fellow tweeters. He invited all tweeters – and his half a million followers – to tell the police about any abuse by anyone with a Twitter “hate profile”.
Collymore wanted the State to clamp down on internet offensiveness.
“In the last 24 hours I’ve been threatened with murder several times, demeaned on my race, and many of these accounts are still active. Why? I accuse Twitter directly of not doing enough to combat racist/homophobic /sexist hate messages, all of which are illegal in the UK.”
WHEN Manchester United lost a penalty shoot-out to Sunderland in last night’s League Cup semi-final, we remembered a 2010 article he wrote for the Times:
David Moyes: How to win a penalty shootout
THE OCCULTISM explosion which overtook North America and Europe in the 1970s ushered in a level of national fascination that is hard to understand if you weren’t there. But, as with anything that experiences a surge in popularity, it becomes sabotaged by the Johnny-come-lately offerings riding the gravy train. In the blink of an eye, the wild taboo becomes irredeemably cheesy. Such is the territory we shall cover today…
10. THE KNEE OF LISTENING/ SHAVE WHILE YOU HALLUCINATE
GARY Whybrow, 31, of west London, Sam Parsons, 24, of Amersham, and Peter Ditchman, 52, of Bishop’s Stortford, have been arrested and charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words at football matches. Well, not so much words as a word. That word is “yid”.
The BBC explains it’s meaning to those of you interested in language:
The word, meaning Jew, was allegedly used at Tottenham Hotspur matches against FC Sheriff and West Ham United.
SO smoggy is it in Beijing that local crowd around bit tellies to get a look at the sun they once knew. Well, so said the Daily Mail, whose James Nye reported:
The smog has become so thick in Beijing that the city’s natural light-starved masses have begun flocking to huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises.
One supposes there is a moon and stars show after dark:
THE LATE 1960s to mid-70s were a manic depressive time period in music, populated by exultant highs and soul crushing lows. The highs came in the form of disco and bubblegum pop via ABBA, The Bee Gees and their ilk. The lows came in the form of devastating testaments to inner sadness and existential rage. Perhaps it was Vietnam, recreational heroin use, and an economy that was in the crapper that caused such a swell in depressing anthems. Who knows? What is known is that this time period was fertile ground for misery put to melody, and whittling them down to a list of 15 was a daunting task indeed, but here goes….
15. “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen
I think of all the friends I’ve known
But when I dial the telephone
It’s not so much the lyrics as the morose delivery under a melody lifted from Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Carmen sounds so deeply depressed that you half expect to hear a gunshot at the end of the song.
ENFIELD Council has sent letters warning football clubs in the north London borough against players spitting. Winchmore Hill FC was once club to have received a letter warning of £500 fines for anyone caught spitting in public – “the bye-law does provide authorised officers with the powers to prosecute those witnessed spitting. Please cascade this information to your players and those of the opposition team to avoid the risk of prosecution.”
The on-the-spot fines business is a bugbear of ours here at Anorak. But we enjoy the use of the words “cascade”, although shower could have been more appropriate.
BEN Wilson is the chewing gum artist. We say ‘the’ because we can’t find anyone else who paint of splats of discarded, squashed gum. He is the self-styled ‘Chewing Gum Man’. Today, Ben was painting pictures you can take home on the sole of your shoe on the Millennium Bridge in London.
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious
Doctor, who the hell commissioned this version of the Musketeers?
MY first problem with The Musketeers is that it isn’t a live action remake of The Muskehounds. With any luck if the BBC decides to make a new version of Around The World In 80 Days it’ll have a lion as the lead and an acrobatic cat as Passepartout. If we have to have humans, The Musketeers was fun but scheduled at entirely the wrong time. There was too much sex for it to be a CBBC series – d’Artagnan and Milady are schtupping already – but not enough shagging or bloody violence to make it feel worthy of a 9pm slot. France’s modern day potato-face President Hollande is getting more action than the Musketeers.
THE Nicolas Anelka ‘quinelle’ controversy has taken a dramatic new twist, as West Bromwich Albion’s sponsors have threatened to end their shirt contract if the club continues to pick the French striker.
Zoopla are not the first people to find that association with high-profile individuals can be a double-sided sword…
MIKAEEL Kular is missing. He’s three. His mother, Rosdeep Kular, him last at 9pm on Wednesday, at his home in Ferry Gait Crescent, Edinburgh. That was when she put him to bed. He lives there with his four siblings. He noticed he was missing at 7:15am.
His coat gloves and shoes were also gone.
IT is a common misconception that the 1970s were this wildly liberal time where every tradition was fair game. Sure, there were a lot of ‘progressive’ philosophies that entered Main Street which had heretofore been relegated to liberal back alleys. However, with each New Idea came the predictable resistance. Nothing epitomizes this better than the Women’s Lib movement which gained traction in the late sixties and became a buzz word for the ensuing decade.