The 1970s: Growing up in Leeds.
1969, the first man on the moon, I left Bolton Royd junior school, started at Pudsey Grammar and so began my teenage years and the seventies.
Some friends came along with me, the best friends, the friends I have the fondest memories of, it's true what they say, school days are the best, we didn't think so at the time but looking back, oh yes, they were the best of the best!
Now we were in 'big' school, we discovered make up, became interested in clothes and boys!
After school and at week ends, we could be found, around the cosmetic counters of the local chemist, or the department stores in Leeds.
We only had our pocket money so went for the cheapest of the cheap, Miners, they had a great eye shadow palette, vamp eyes, really dark and smokey, a dark, nearly black nail polish called plum gone.
We checked out the Rimmel and the Outdoor girl, we made our choices, when we got it home, the goodies were hidden from parents, only brought out, to be applied, secretly, in the privacy of our bedrooms.
Miners make up
Now we had the make up we needed and don't forget the scent, everybody but everybody bought Aqua Manda by Goya, Charlie by Revlon or, if we were flush, Fidji by Guy Laroche.
We splashed it on by the bucket load!
|Aqua Manda by Goya|
Now we needed clothes, bought in all the trendy places in Leeds, Bus stop, snob and Chelsea Girl.
We would have loved something from Biba, but alas, all we could afford in there was a lipstick.
When times were really hard we headed of to C&A, but, whatever the financial situation we all managed to buy 'loon pants', low-slung, skin tight to the knee and then billowing out into the widest flare.(they could be had split-knee in two different colours!)
These were purchased in the most exciting, quirky little boutique that Leeds had to offer, Boodle Am.
What a place, we spent hours in there and came out smelling of joss sticks, to head off to the underground 101 boutiques, to stock up on Indian Cheese cloth shirts, or to the Corn Exchange for unusual cheap jewelry.
I have heard that Boodle Am closed it's doors last year for the last time after thirty nine years and the 101 boutiques burnt down.
The end of an era.
Boodle Am the quirky little boutique
Who doesn't remember this?
|Corn exchange Leeds|
or this...The Corn Exchange Leeds.
All we needed now were shoes, great big clodhoppers or granny shoes, if we could, bought at Sacha's, if not, Ravel's had to do.
Leeds has got 'em
And we are ready to go but where did we go?
More often than not, our friend's bedroom, to listen to LP records, James Taylor, Carol King, the Free, I always preferred the B side of "all right now"...'My brother Jake',,
Everyone had Neil Young's Harvest LP.
We danced the night away to Top Of The Pops, the boys seemed more into progressive rock, Argent, Uriah Heep, and others of that genre.
When we did venture out it was mainly to sit on park benches eating fish & chips (my Mother was always so angry with me for eating them with my gloves on in Winter, the fat would be solidified in the morning!)
We would go to the cinema..."The pictures", the seventies had some of the most controversial films, we saw them all:
Last Tango In Paris, The Clockwork Orange, The exorcist, we were under age but always managed to talk our way in.
I remember it was usually some tiny, hole-in-the- wall arty place in Headingly.
Hmm, saw Fritz the Cat there, that was a naughty one.
On these cinema trips, we were sometimes accompanied by boys, who had spent ages getting themselves "glamed up" in oxford bag trousers, skin-tight shirts, platform shoes and over-powering Brut aftershave, all with their "layered" haircuts.
Afterwards, they would take us for a frothy coffee, at Wimpy's.
|Last Tango in Paris|
|Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange|
|Brut for men|
The place to bee seen was the Friday night Disco at the St Lawrence cricket club, we congregated in someone's bedroom for the hours long "getting ready" sessions, this was better than the actual Disco, hearing all the gossip, listening to David Cassidy.
Yes, one of us, L.W , liked David Cassidy!, L.H a great Rod Stewart fan, remember Maggie May?
Myself and Sarah.P liked Neil Young, S.J. was into David Bowie...Spiders from Mars.
Primped and primed, we were ready for the off.
First stop, when we got there, was the loo!
None of our parent let us wear make up, so we took it out with us in a plastic bag, plastered it on in the loo, and wiped it all off again, before going home!
Other highlights were the local shows and fairs,.
Pudsey fair, where I went on the waltzer so many times, I threw up and fainted only to be carried of by well-meaning friends, to the St John's ambulance tent, where they asked me if I had been taking drugs:
NO, only an overdose of waltzer!
We hitched rides, with farm lorries, to the Great Yorkshire Show, a three day event, to have a look at Harvey Smith the show jumper, we fancied him like mad!
|Harvey Smith and that sign.|
known for years afterwards as 'giving them the Harvey's'
We grew older and bolder, we ventured into pubs in the city center.
The Precinct, Yates's wine lodge, always on the look out for B.L a girl from a nearby school, to see what she was wearing, she was so stylish, always had the latest fashions, we were all a bit in awe of her.
Then, having to be on the last bus for home, at around ten o clock.
Around this time I became involved with the Gemini scooter club, I was going out with number one,I .R, a nice boy.
There were trips to the coast, usually Bridlington or Blackpool, all the boys in their fishtail parkas, riding Lambrettas and Vespas.
There were the weekly meetings, either in the Old Hall, Farsley, or The Sun, Stanningley, what did they meet about one wonders?
I particularly remember a race they had down Priesthorpe drive, one night, after the youth club, off came M.B, ripping the seat out of his trousers, and his underpants too, I shouldn't wonder.
I saw the same thing happen to M.D in Farsley, how did we all survive?
R.J taking us on trips in his mini pick up truck, two or three crammed in the front, and goodness knows how many others, in the back.
If it was chilly, he would put on the canvas cover, which caused everyone to throw up from the exhaust fumes!!!
How he never killed us from carbon monoxide poisoning, is a mystery!
The Gemini scooter club is still running, they have a Facebook page, I hear S.K, one of the originals, is still a member!
|Gemini scooter club|
During all this we did actually attend school.
My forte was athletics, what a sprinter I was!
I joined the skyrack athletics club ,and spent weekend after weekend,touring around all the Yorkshire events on a double decker bus.
The pole from the pole vault, driving us mad, crashing around in the stairwell!
All that came to an end, when I discovered boys and cigarettes!
I mostly enjoyed school, we had some brilliant teachers and very nice people to boot.
Mr Holden, I am sorry for playing my harmonica in your French lessons, how I wish I had paid more attention and could speak decent French as I now love French films, by the way, do you still have my harmonica?
You confiscated it!
School days ended , we went our separate ways, some of us keeping in touch with each other ,and I met my Greek God!
By now I was Working in Boots the Chemists in Bradford.
I became great friends with L.P, who introduced me to the best places to be: The Golden Cockerel, Spinks's wine bar, Oakwood hall, and of course as it was now the time of Disco, Cinderellas!
We bopped away to the Bee Gees, dancing around our handbags, we didn't want them to be stolen!
Then L.P. took me to Camares Of Laronde and it happened!
I met the love of my life, my Greek God!
There he was, stood at the bar with a group of his friends
I just had to meet him, it took some time, but it paid off, at last, he noticed me!
Here starts the time of hanging about in some real dives, the Gato Bianco on Mannigham lane was one of them, you knocked on the door, a little hatch was drawn back, if they liked the look of you they let you in!
Another place we went to, was a casino ;they had free food!
|Cavers Bradford.Greek nigt club.|
Where it all started
Tassos loved the good things in life, his clothes came from the best places, Jonathan Silver in Bradford and from Brill's on Street Lane in Leeds.
Cars were, and still are, his passion.
He had to have one, not any car, an Alfa Romeo Veloce, he had two while in England.
Never mind the rent for the dingy digs on Laisteridge Lane, never mind about food, bread soaked in water and sprinkled with sugar would do...yes, really!
I'll say one thing, the Greeks do have their priorities right, image is everything!
|Alpha Romeo Veloce|
|Jeune premier,fashion icon|
When he was between cars, we used my trusty mini, bought for me by my father who was scared to death of me being out and about at night, the Yorkshire Ripper was at large.
He felt I was safer with a car...he shouldn't have, but ,the less you know, the better!
The Bradford Greeks
Those were my seventies years, I loved every minute, would I change anything? No, well, I wish I had the self confidence then that I have now.
I always thought everyone looked better than me, B.L did, she still does!
I am still in touch with many friends, some thanks to Facebook.
To the friends who were exiled from their countries, it was the time of the Ayatollas in Persia, the Gadaffi regime in Libya, the Junta in Greece, I hope that you are all home and well.
One, who wandered Europe for thirty four years, is finally home, keep safe M.
This is dedicated to all you "young dudes" out there.
You are all in my heart.
Have a listen, pure nostalgia!
Mott the Hoople
"All the Young Dudes"
See part 2: A seventies Christmas in Leeds HERE
See Part 3. A decade of Decadence HERE