Glam rock, homework by candlelight, and inflation

Yesterday I started on Dominic Sandbrook’s tome on Britain in the years 1970-74, [amazon_link id=”0141032154″ target=”_blank” ]State of Emergency[/amazon_link], a sequel to hisĀ [amazon_link id=”0349115303″ target=”_blank” ]Never Had It So Good[/amazon_link] on the 50s andĀ [amazon_link id=”0349118205″ target=”_blank” ]White Heat[/amazon_link] on the 60s. The seventies were clearly eventful enough to need twice as much space as the predecessor decades. Although weighty, his books are very readable and this one is very evocative of a period I remember as a young teenager growing up in north west England. Events at that stage of life make a strong impression on one’s later outlook.

I remember well doing homework by candlelight; my parents used to send me down the hill to write down the times of the scheduled power cuts posted in the window of the electricity showroom. Mrs Thatcher obviously learned the lessons of Edward Heath’s defeat by the miners before she took on union power a decade later. But inflation made a deeper impression on me. Mum had a cupboard where she stockpiled foods whose price was rocketing, things like sugar, coffee and flour. And was ‘not that hungry’ when we wanted second helpings. She was obsessive about turning off lights, too. Of course we’re not in the same territory now, but food bills have gone up much more than the general price level. The well-off can cope, but for people on low incomes, which never keep up with prices in such times, rising inflation is a source of huge anxiety. The 1970s made me an inflation hawk.

Some great music though – and Sandbrook writes about that too. Marc Bolan and David Bowie were my soundtrack (when the power was on) in the early 70s.

[amazon_image id=”1846140315″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974[/amazon_image]

3 thoughts on “Glam rock, homework by candlelight, and inflation

  1. Ground control to Major Tom…few around in power at that time seemed to grasp what was really going on out there. I recall in the 70’s taking the family via Europort in Rotterdam on holiday and also Felixstowe and being stunned by the traffic in containers. It was evident that this meant big change yet neither the media nor any politicians I knew were aware of the implications. You could go round the whole economy for other examples of unrecognised change.

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