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Archive for September, 2011

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Polaroid Cameras

Posted by Big Boo on September 30th, 2011

Polaroid CameraToday we have these new fangled things called digital cameras. Amazing things really, taking away all that need for buying films and then sending them off to Truprint and waiting several weeks to get them developed, only to have pictures of somebodies skiing holiday come back. Nah, we can print the pictures ourselves now, or take the memory card to the Tesco print shop!

Of course there was another option back in the Seventies and Eighties, and that was the good old Polaroid Instant camera. OK, you still had to buy film, but you were at absolutely zero risk of getting back some pictures of a bloke poncing about in the snow with two planks of wood strapped to his feet. Unless of course you happened to be on a skiing holiday of course…

All you had to do was point the camera at your designated target, press the button, and out the front of the camera popped a little square piece of paper. Initially it just looked like a greyish brownish rectangle with a white surround, but then some kind of witchcraft kicked in and slowly an image started to form out of the murk.

The developing process of a Polaroid instant camera picture was something that never ceased to amaze me. My cousin had one of these cameras, and whenever she took a picture everyone would crowd round to watch the picture appear before our very eyes. Sad perhaps, but hey, back then we only had three TV channels and there was no Internet or Nintendo GameBoys! 😉

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Flying Saucers

Posted by Big Boo on September 28th, 2011

Flying SaucersHere’s a type of sweet that I don’t remember eating in a long, long time, and I have to say that just thinking of them now makes me want to get a bag to bring back some old memories.

Flying Saucers were one of those sweets that were often to be found in your newsagents selection of Penny Sweets. Consisting of two pieces of coloured circular rice paper stuck together, with a little helping of sherbet sandwiched between them, they really were surprisingly tasty, assuming you ate them in the correct manner.

You see, the rice paper was a bit of a devilish idea. It was, to be honest, a bit bland tasting on it’s own. Attempting to suck a Flying Saucer was a mistake, because that rice paper would then get stuck to the roof of your mouth, and no amount of tongue wiggling could get it free.

No, Flying Saucers were definitely made to be bitten into, then the sherbet fell out against your tongue with a delightful fizzy taste, which then made eating the rice paper a much less onerous task.

These days it’s getting harder to find places that sell Penny Sweets singularly, so you really need to buy a whole bag of them (which is a nice excuse to be greedy I suppose), and online store A Quarter Of come to the rescue yet again with a nice big bag full of these fizzy treats.

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Posted by Big Boo on September 26th, 2011

R.E.M.It came to my attention the other day that pop group R.E.M. have decided to call it a day and will be disbanding after their next album which is due imminently. This surprised me on two counts, firstly I didn’t really realise they were still going, and secondly, I didn’t realise they were actually a band from the Eighties!

Here in the UK I don’t think R.E.M. really made a big splash until the early Nineties, with the release of their album Out Of Time, which contained songs such as Shiny Happy People and Losing My Religion, and indeed I always thought that they were a new band at the time. How wrong I was though, as they actually formed right back in 1980!

In January 1980 lead singer Michael Stipe met guitarist Peter Buck in a record shop where Buck worked. They got chatting and discovered they shared similar tastes in music and became friends. Later they met up with bass guitarist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry, fellow students from the University of Georgia, who had been playing music together for a while, and they decided to have a go at forming their own group.

Before long the band felt they had something good going and dropped out of school to go touring around the southern US. They became a bit of a local phenomenon but it wasn’t until the summer of 1981 that they finally recorded their first single, Radio Free Europe. Despite only limited distribution, this song went on to become one of the New York Times best 10 singles of the year!

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The Raccoons

Posted by Big Boo on September 23rd, 2011

The RaccoonsThe Raccoons was a Canadian cartoon that was shown on the BBC on Saturday mornings (and I’m sure it also occupied the 5.30 time slot before the Beeb started showing Neighbours at that time).

As the name suggests, it was about some Raccoons! They lived in a place called the Evergreen Forest, and the show primarily followed the fun loving and mischief making (though never in a bad way) Bert Raccoon. There to keep him out of too much trouble were his good friends Ralph and Melissa (also Raccoons), who were also husband and wife.

Between them the trio ran a newspaper called The Evergreen Standard, with Ralph as editor, Bert as reporter and Melissa the photographer. The newspaper was very important to the inhabitants of the Evergreen Forest as it helped thwart the plans of the nasty Cyril Sneer.

Cyril Sneer was a tycoon who was always trying to find some way to make a profit, and this usually involved the forest being threatened as part of his schemes. Cyril was an aardvark who was pink in colour and had a nose that looked something like a water tap. He was usually seen chomping on a half smoked cigar.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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One Cal

Posted by Big Boo on September 19th, 2011

One Cal Soft DrinksOne Cal was a range of soft drinks that, as the name suggests, only contained a single calorie per serving. In fact, I think the range even pre-dated the diet pop that most people would first think of, Diet Coke.

As the picture shows, One Cal was available in a number of different flavours. It would appear the old classics were catered for, so there was a cola, a lemonade, an orangeade and a limeade variety. There’s another yellowy-orangey coloured flavour there too, which for some reason I think may have been apple, not your usual fizzy drink flavour back in the Eighties.

I don’t think I ever tried it personally, though I do have a memory of asking my Mum for a can of it and she refused saying I wouldn’t like it. Looks like Mum was definitely right in this instance as it apparently wasn’t that great tasting, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth, which doesn’t surprise me given that diet drinks have always tended to taste poor in relation to their sugar laden, tooth rotting, full fat brothers.

Picture credit has to go to The Lost Continent website, as it was the only place on the ‘net that I could find a picture to illustrate this post.

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Nike MAG – Back 4 The Future

Posted by Big Boo on September 16th, 2011

Nike MagHere’s the thing. At the time of writing, in just four years time (if Back to the Future Part II is to be believed anyway) we’ll all be flying around in our cars, riding on hover boards and wearing self drying clothes. Better get a move on scientist-type-guys! 😉

However you won’t have to wait that long if you want a pair of the rather cool Nike MAG trainers that Marty McFly wore in the aforementioned film, assuming you have a spare $2,000 (minimum) lying around that is.

Nike have made a limited edition run of 1200 pairs of the shoes, and although they may not be self lacing like the ones in the film, they do look identical, and even have light up soles and illuminated Nike logo across the front.

But the best thing about all this is that it’s Nike’s way of raising some money for charity, hence the steep asking price. Nike are giving the proceeds to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which couldn’t be a more apt cause given that Fox is himself a sufferer of the disease.

They are being offered for sale on eBay, with 150 pairs being made available every day. You’ll need to be quick though, as this all started a few days ago, and there are now just 600 left! Head over to the Back 4 The Future website for more details or to if you want to bid on a pair.

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Posted by Big Boo on September 14th, 2011

HeidiIt’s testament to how often this series was shown whilst I was growing up that I remember the story, characters and theme song so well. Based on the classic Swiss book written way back in 1880 by Johanna Spyri, this Swiss/German TV adaptation was notable for it’s beautiful scenery, the aforementioned theme tune, and the terrible dubbing into English.

I should qualify that final statement. It wasn’t the quality of the voice acting in the English dub that was the problem, more the fact that as a kid watching it there seemed to be something just a little freaky about people’s mouths moving but the words you heard bearing no relation.

The story begins when Heidi is sent to live with her grandfather (who she affectionately calls Grandpapa) in the Swiss mountains. Her parents have died and she has been looked after by her Aunt Dete, who for reasons I cannot recall ends up lumping Heidi with her cantankerous grandfather, who lives in a shack up on a hillside, away from all the other people in his village.

Heidi eventually melts the old man’s heart, and she has a great time living in the mountains and playing with her friend Goat Peter, the boy who takes all the village goats onto the mountains to graze. She even manages to calm some of the bad relations between her grandfather and the villagers in the process.

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Hostess Trolleys

Posted by Big Boo on September 12th, 2011

Hostess TrolleyTechnically more of a Seventies item I suppose, the Hostess Trolley is one of those strange household items that you just don’t really seem to see any more, despite the fact that I’m sure they must still be available.

Ah yes! Here we are, there’s an example of a modern Hostess Trolley on the Argos website, although it’s made from wood and looks a great deal more sturdy, and dare I say it, tasteful than the old metal versions that I’m thinking of.

The retro Hostess Trolley was basically little more than a couple of trays on wheels. The idea was to make it easy for the “hostess” to bring food and drink through from the kitchen to the dining room table, thus enabling them to spend less time travelling backwards and forwards to the kitchen and more time with their guests.

I distinctly remember my Nan having one very similar to the one in the picture accompanying this post. I think it was given to her as a present by my parents and several of my aunts and uncles clubbing together to buy it.

I remember always wanting to wheel it about as a kid, and being told I wasn’t allowed to, which was probably just as well as my other overriding memory of it was that it was a bit wobbly and rickety – not exactly what you want for transporting drinks and hot food around.