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‘Bowie, Bolan, dressing up & going out’: Boy George takes a personal trip through the 1970s
04.21.2017
09:31 am
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September 1982: Hit rock ‘n’ roll singer Shakin’ Stevens can’t make his scheduled appearance on BBC chart show Top of the Pops. Panicked producers make the life-changing decision to fill the gap left by Shaky with an unknown pop group by the name of Culture Club. Minutes after the band’s debut television appearance on the show, phones start ringing at the BBC switchboard asking What the hell did we just watch?. Next day, newspapers run similar stories filled with offensive mock outrage questions: “Who is Boy George?” “Is he a boy or a girl?” Within weeks, Culture Club was number one and Boy George was the nation’s sweetheart.

But how did it come to this? Where did Boy George come from? What shaped the life of this brilliant, iconic “gender-bending” singer?

Well, these are some of the many questions answered by the lad himself as Boy George aka George O’Dowd takes the viewer on a very personal pop culture trip through the decade that shaped him—the 1970s.

The seventies are all too often dismissed by the more, shall we say, snobbish cultural critic as “the decade that fashion forgot,” ridiculed for its supposedly bad taste in fashion, politics, sex, music and hair. Yet for Boy George, the seventies was a “glorious decade…all about Bowie, Bolan, dressing up and going out.” The “last bonkers decade,” when the young teenage George discovered all these “amazing thingsā€¦ punk rock, electro music, fashion, all of that.”

Of course, there was the downside to all of this heady excitement: the political crisis, the three-day working weeks, the strikes, power cuts, mass unemployment, grim poverty, and racism. But George was too young to know much about any of this. He was too busy finding out about music and glamor and miming to Shirley Bassey in his parent’s front room. He was about to hit puberty. He felt different from the other kids and was looking for a sign that he was not alone in this gray suburban south London landscape.

Then came the sign he’d been hoping for: the day he saw David Bowie performing on Top of the Pops in 1972. That’s when George knew he wasn’t alone. The androgynous Bowie in his fire-red hair, make-up, and jumpsuit with his nail polished hand slung defiantly over Mick Ronson’s shoulder as they sang “Starman.” This was a sign that life could be extraordinary and was just an adventure to be gained.

Save Me from Suburbia is more than just Boy George telling his life story, it is an essential history of the events and pop culture that shaped a nation during ten heady years from skinheads and strikes to punk and Margaret Thatcher. George takes us on an utterly fascinating tour through the decade with a little help from his friends and accomplices like Rusty Egan, Princess Julia, Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik), Andy Polaris (Animal Nightlife), and Caryn Franklin—and most revealingly his mother.
 
Watch Boy George’s revealing pop culture trip through the 1970s, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.21.2017
09:31 am
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The 1970s, when we all expressed our individuality via mass-produced t-shirts and novelty patches
04.11.2017
11:06 am
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American Motorcyclist Association.
 
I’ll ‘fess up to owning a Laurel and Hardy t-shirt when I was a child. I also had one with Humphrey Bogart saying something memorable from Casablanca. Damned if I can remember what it was now. This was as far as I would go with my counter-culture wardrobe. Most of my school friends were of similar mind. They opted for plus fours, smoking jackets and a fine selection of Arran-knit cardigans. Life was so different in Scotland then.

Of course, there were some who sported denim jackets decked out in assorted patches imported from America. These mass-produced novelties of old men saying things like “Keep on truckin’” or cartoon dogs offering advice about not eating yellow snow always struck me as frightfully quaint yet rather dumb. I suppose I was just confused as to what these badges were supposed to mean. But what did I know? I was merely an innocent child out of step with the current fashion trends.

Soon nearly every youngster across our fabled tartan nation was dressed-up like Joseph in his amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat or at least a brazen tatterdemalion. These patches all signified the same thing. I am unique. I am an individual. These are my likes and dislikes. And look, haven’t I got a wacky sense of humor?

Sad to say, all of this fun passed me by far too quickly and I missed out in the pleasures of actually becoming an individual. My taste in t-shirts was understandably laughed at by those far more in tune with the heady zeitgeist of the day. Laurel and Hardy could never compete with some twee tee saying Pepsi was the “real thing.”

Most of the fashionable peeps wore the American patches and t-shirts. Soon, these were rivaled by our very own homegrown patches declaring a love for the Bay City Rollers or tops saying “My girlfriend went to Arbroath and all she got me was this lousy t-shirt.” That kind of thing.

Those crazy delights of that faraway decade can be enjoyed with this fine selection of adverts selling counter-culture t-shirts and some ads and fine examples of the quirkier patches which were then available. If this whets the appetite then I suggest a visit to Mitch O’Connell’s blog which will leave you positively sated.
 
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Hustler 1975.
 
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Gilda Radner in CREEM magazine t-shirt ad.
 
More crazy delights from the heady 1970s, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.11.2017
11:06 am
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You won’t be able to unsee this hideous bad taste underwear from the 1970s
12.12.2016
10:36 am
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Everyone’s done shit they are embarrassed by. You know the kinda of stuff—that late night drunken text that you thought was oh so witty—but only got you a restraining order. Or maybe the time you turned up as Hitler at the fancy dress party for Hymie’s bar mitzvah. Or, that Christmas party when you woke up in bed with your girlfriend’s mother. No? Maybe that was just me then….?

Anyhow….

That embarrassing shit we’ve all done—that we’re still so sickeningly ashamed about—well, that was the seventies… Except the seventies didn’t give a fuck. The seventies wore all that bad taste stuff out in public like it was the Nobel-fucking-Peace Prize for ending war, starvation and world poverty.

And you know something—I gotta be honest—I kinda respect that attitude of not giving a fuck about what anyone else thinks. Just enough to tip the hat to the boys and girls who were brave enough to wear these cheesy (maybe not the right word to use here…), shockingly bad taste underwear.

British Bulldog produced a range of seventies underwear that was “funtawear.” There was no subtlety here. Just saucy innuendo with straplines like “Slippery when wet,” “The Big One,” “Rub Here,” and “No Shortage….”  Someone, somewhere obviously thought such humor would be a big turn on when stripping off in front of a hot date.

And why the hell not.
 
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Have a peek at more saucy underpants, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.12.2016
10:36 am
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East beats West: Sensational Japanese posters of popular 70s films
05.25.2015
12:28 pm
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Japanese movie posters of the sixties and seventies kick ass. They always seemed more exciting than their American or British counterparts, managing to take choice images and compose them like frames from a comic book. Even when the posters were just cut and paste jobs there always a sense of drama, as if you have joined the story at a key scene—explosions blossom, machine guns rip, heroes do battle.

This little mix of classy posters show how good graphic art can make average movies like Caged Heat, Serpico, Black Belt Jones and Dracula A.D. 1972 seem like masterpieces.
 
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More Japanese movie posters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.25.2015
12:28 pm
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