Monday, October 02, 2006

Splash it all over

It seems that the past few days have been a time for me to re-live the decade that taste forgot. That would cover most of my teen years. On Friday, it was a David Essex concert and, yesterday, it was the discovery of so-called ‘heritage scents’. Yes, I’d never heard of the term either but, according to the Independent, ‘Now 1970s perfumes and aftershaves are making a comeback, as a new generation discovers the somewhat questionable joys of Charlie, Brut and Old Spice.’

Ah, so, that’s what heritage scents are!

To this day the ‘Charlieeeeee’ refrain remains embedded in my head - the ads were constantly on the radio. Probably on the box too but I didn’t grow up with television. All the girls at school wore the stuff, many of them trying the big-hair look of Charlie’s Angels girl, Farah Fawcett Majors, ubiquitous seventies sex symbol. But it was Shelley Hack, later to become a short-lived Charlie’s Angel, who was the "face" of Charlie, not Fawcett Majors.

Fathers wore Old Spice (and Brylcreem) and their sons splashed it on secretly before they got their own cologne. Given a choice, that would be Brut – it was so much cooler than Old Spice!

Shelley HackHenry CooperPaul Gascoigne

The heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper was the original "face" of Brut, urging men to "splash it all over". Brut was one of the first products to use a celebrity endorsement to persuade men that grooming wasn't for sissies. Later, the footballer Paul Gascoigne also starred in an advertising campaign. Domestic violence allegations by his wife led to negative publicity which reflected badly on the Brut brand as the ironic reference to Brut / Gascoigne being a "brute" followed. Although his remark that it gave him a rash probably didn’t help either.

For me, Carl Orff's 'Carmina Burana’ (also associated with 'The Omen') will forever be associated with Old Spice, as will be the woman who kept flicking her hair backwards and forwards to a backdrop of crashing waves. But, despite still being stocked on most male fragrance shelves, it seems that were I to look for the stuff (I won’t be!) I’d not readily find it - the clipper ship was replaced by a Sailboat/Yacht by Proctor and Gamble in 1992.

‘The lust for the smells of one of the most reviled decades, in fashion terms, has been triggered in part, according to trend-watchers, by film versions of popular programmes such as Starsky and Hutch, The Dukes of Hazzard and Charlie's Angels.’ Personally, I think it all has to do with people of that decade now being in positions of power and looking back with nostalgia to the decade that helped define them. Why else would the music, fashion and even the food of the seventies have recently been rehabilitated?

I can understand why some seventies dishes are being rehabilitated but, according to The Grocer Magazine, Blue Nun, Smash potato mix, Nimble bread and Ringos snacks are enjoying new-found popularity on supermarket shelves. You really have to ask why.

I can also be nostalgic about the seventies but I won’t be buying Old Spice nor will I be splashing Brut over myself anytime soon. And I’ll definitely not be quaffing back Blue Nun at any stage in the future.


Blogger andrea said...

Blue Nun -- what makes me think that's a sickly sweet white wine like Black Tower? Can I have actually had it at one time?

Some people like to think the '80s were the decade that taste forgot, but I'm with you. I still can't look at those phony piano keys without wondering what boys found attractive in Farrah Fawcett. Was it the risque display of nipples, d'you think? Maybe they never even noticed her death grin.

11:41 pm  
Blogger Dawn said...

Oh my goodness ... the minute I read the word 'Charlie' I heard the radio jingle in my head. The smell of Brut wafting through our house meant my Dad was on his way to Shul either for Friday night services or high holidays. If you've lived in England for any length of time, who else except Gassa? Instant flashbacks. :o)

4:23 am  
Blogger Rob7534 said...

That's Carl Orff who wrote Carmina Burana, not Orloff. Perhaps you were thinking of one of the other horror movies about vampires and the Count Orloff! As opposed the Antichrist Damien :)

I love Carmina Burana, and I studied with a music teacher who studied under Orff in Germany. People don't usually know he was a major figure in Music Education, especially for children and implementing pedagogical training into the schools.

Then I asked her about his status as composer for the Nazi party. She said he was a largely apolitical, who just wanted to write music. Not that the Nazi's understood or even applauded Carmina Burana at the premier.

7:50 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Andrea: I’ve actually never tasted Blue Nun but, yes, it’s a sweet white wine.

You know, I sometimes wonder which decade would have won were the seventies and eighties compete for the worst decade in terms of taste.

And, as for Farrah Fawcett, the nipples must have helped men avoid the death grin – I’d never thought of it like that until now and you’re so right!

Dawn : Good flashbacks, it seems. Well, the one of your Dad must be a good one.

Rob7534: Indeed you are right, let me go and change that at once. Now F**k Orff and stop correcting me!! :-)

The trouble with being apolitical under very repressive regimes is that if you’re famous enough to get noticed in later years, critics are quick to criticise and accuse you of being a closet sympathiser, if not a supporter of the regime. Sometimes, they’re right, of course but not always.

8:12 am  
Anonymous nyasha said...

My Dad wore Old Spice for as long as i could remember - into the 80s!
Can't remember much from the 70s, but one decade i would rather forget is the 80s. The fashion, the music, looking back at some old pictures makes me cringe. What were people thinking back then?!

12:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does this mean there's a regressive movement? if the 80s resurgence leads to redoing the 70s, let's hope there's a cure for AIDS before it's time to rehash the 1960s.... i was only born in the 80s but i think i belong in the summer of 69....

11:25 am  
Blogger apprentice said...

Oh a waft of Charlie and I'd be transported to a disco floor circa 1974.

Thanks for the memory jog

12:07 pm  
Anonymous viagra online said...

Paul Gascoigne published a follow-up book Being Gazza: Tackling My Demons, In it, he detailed undergoing therapy for bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and alcoholism however he was a great soccer player, he was so important to the England national team!!

10:03 pm  

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