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on 18 March 2008
Up until the turn of the "noughties" as we call the new millenium the Seventies always used to be referred to as "The Decade taste forgot".THen they were reinvented.TV Programmes such as "I love the 1970s" were broadcast filled with Talking Heads such as Peter Kay telling us how wonderful the decade was.Many of these people were born in the latter part of the decade so have a rose tinted view.I turned 3 in 1970 and was going to secondary school in 1979 so have mixed memories.Decades tend to be remembered through Telly,Music & fashion which is why large parts of them tend to be forgotten.So if your 70s memory bank is filled with flares,Abba,Glam rock ,Crackerjack this book tips the balance in the opposite direction.If you are expecting the book to take on a subject such as Abba and reshape your memories with "The Truth" then you will be disappointed.In fairness you may be expecting this as the cover of the book definitely trades on the retro images of the 70s(button badges,Haversack etc).What this book does tell you is that all of the above applied to the 70s PLUS THe Yorkshire Ripper,Terrorism,IRA,Industrial unrest,3 day week,Racism,Tribal Violence the arrival of Thatcher at the end,plus many other sometime forgotten realities of the 70s.
So,if you want a social history of the 70s with the grit included this book is for you.If you want the Generation Game,Space Hoppers,Chopper Bikes and Bay City Rollers then look elsewhere.
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on 5 July 2009
I grew up in the 1970's, and to see it portrayed on TV as mostly music and glam rock annoys me. There was so much going on which would colour the future not only for England but for the world. The strikes, power cuts, IRA terror attacks, the Yorkshire Ripper, and other things which are mostly glossed over as practically irrelevant when talking about the 1970's.
I started secondary school in 1973, so I remember these things, but trying to explain the 1970's to my 15 year old son is sometimes a total contrast to what he reads on the internet.
The thing which fascinated me most was the tribalism. This was the time when particular "gangs" and organisations started coming to the fore, something which I had forgotten over the years. How these gangs caused so much unrest and violence. I had completely forgotten that the root of these were grounded in the 1970's. Groups such as the National Front
and skinheads were always thought to be connected, but this book explains the difference between these 2 groups of people. You see that things are not always as they seem on the surface
This book covers these things and more. The music is mainly remembered as Abba and Glam Rock, The Bee Gees, but it was far more than that. There were some cracking songs and groups/singers around in the 1970's which never get a mention, including the Candi Staton song which is the title of the book.
This has to be the best book I've read for many years. Dave Haslam covers not only the things everybody remembers, but things which we have maybe forgot. He doesn't overwhelm the reader with his own particular remmbrances, he covers everything as a whole. Another thing I liked about this book is he doesn't patronise the reader. I have read books about the 1960's for a university project, and the way it was written made me feel pretty stupid at times, as if I were a small child and the writer was the teacher who has me standing in the corner of the room.
If you are looking for a book which explains what happened here in England, or for that matter, worldwide in the '70's you can't find a better book than this. He deals indepth too with the music of the times, and it is very very informative. For example I found out that the Kinks song Lola is about a transvestite. The demise of the Beatles is a feature which is covered, showing how their musical legacy coloured the musical future throughout the '70's.
It is an easy book to get through, and every page has things which have been forgotten covered in detail. It is definitely NOT a boring retrospective, far from it. It is written by someone who has a love of the time, someone who lived through it, who understands what happened, why it happened, and explains how it has coloured our futures.
It is NOT a book written by an author who sees everything through rose coloured glasses. It is a true account of the "decade time forgot".
It is NOT a book though which you can dip in and out of. It is a book which you will want to read all the way through again and again.
My 15 year old is eager to read it.
It is a cracking book. Buy a couple of copies because you'll read it so many times, you'll need to replace it over and over.
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on 28 January 2012
DJ and writer Dave Haslam gives his personal take on a turbulent decade which saw the end of the post-war consensus in light of the various crises that plagued the 70's.It is well enough written,but Haslam mostly restricts his view to the music and youth cultures of the decade,with occasional references to the political,social and economic events that shaped the period.And because of this,we have a rather one-sided view which portrays virtually everything and anything as grim and depressing,as undoubtedly was the case for much but not all of the time.Some of Haslam's musings come across exaggerated and not wholly accurate,and although there are detailed passages regarding some aspects of the 70's (Football hooliganism,IRA bomb campaigns,industrial unrest,the oil crisis,etc.) , others (TV,Films) barely get mentioned, and although it is right not to look back with rose-tinted glasses too much, it wasn't always as overly dismal as Haslam neccessarily suggests it was. For more detailed and fully balanced views of the 70's, such books as 'CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS?' and 'THE DAY THE LIGHTS WENT OUT' by Alwyn W.Turner and Andy Beckett respectively are rather better polemics of this most controversial,troubled and extraordinary of decades.
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on 9 July 2011
Dave Haslam objects to the Abbafication of the history of the seventies and tries to go behind a few more scenes, attaching the political events of the decade to provide an effective skeleton to hang the music stories from. They were turbulent times and not as shiny as hindsight suggests. However, his agenda is close to an NMEfication of the time and, whilst he says that 1976 wasn't a year zero in music, goes on to treat it like it was. One of his witnesses, for example, comments that punk rock didn't make that big an impact in the north. This heresy sees him dropped from the last third of the book and replaced with the unlikely cliche of a rastafarian single mother. Much more politically correct. My edition could also have done with better proof reading; the early retrospective that goes back to pop in the 50s declares that the kids were grooving to Elvis and James Cagney!
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Dave Haslam starts this book (which was published in 2005) by arguing that our view of the 1970's has been distorted by an over-emphasis on symbols such as flares, the Bee Gees and Abba, rather than punk rock, Northern Soul and Ziggy Stardust. He's particularly exercised by Abba, claiming that they "they sold many hundreds of thousands fewer LPs than, say, Bob Marley" [p4] (this might have been true ten years ago, but - according to wikipedia, anyway - isn't the case today), and that the only group they could probably lay claim to having influenced are Brotherhood Of Man. Not that I'm a fan of either group but, clearly, this is just a peg that he was hanging his argument on at the time. Moreover, he seems to be creating an artificial distinction (to take a trivial but well-known counterexample, Elvis Costello acknowledged his debt to "Dancing Queen" by using its riff as the basis for "Oliver's Army"), and didn't convince me that a reassessment of the decade I grew up in was necessary.

That reassessment consists largely of a historical survey, concentrating mainly on the UK. It doesn't come across as a happy story: industrial action, power cuts, racism, IRA bombs, football hooliganism and ineffective or heavy-handed government. In addition, he describes the changing musical landscape: heavy rock, glam, reggae, soul, progressive, ska, pub rock, punk, new wave and so on. This is handled pretty well, although - given the wide scope - it's inevitable that some errors of detail creep in (e.g. misidentifying David Bowie's "Starman" as a track off 1971's "Hunky Dory" on p112). To maintain a human dimension to his story, Haslam brings in some contemporary individuals through whose eyes the passing decade is viewed. This is a nice idea, but - unfortunately - stands or falls on whether they have anything interesting and/or well-formed to say, which isn't always the case - e.g. "Then I suppose my fashion sense transformed into being more gay clone [...] And I even tried to grow a moustache" [p251], "Anyone into rock has got to be into Led Zep's 'Stairway to Heaven'" [p179], "We weren't so far away from Enoch Powell and in that sense there was a feeling that there was some sort of war being played out [...] People really did get hurt and in that sense [...]" [p20].

Whilst it contains some interesting detail that I hadn't known (e.g. the account of Bernadette Devlin attacking the Home Secretary in the Commons the day after Bloody Sunday), I don't think I enjoyed this book as much as I would have if I'd read it when it was first published, because of the way the view of the UK's 70's has altered since then (largely, I'd say, because of the excellent Life on Mars TV series).

Ch-ch-ch-changes, as they say.
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on 10 January 2015
Very disappointing. Should have been marketed as a historic review and omit the references to current pop music, which appear only incidentally in the book. Does not "do what is says on the box"
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