Living in the 70s

Pub: Sydney Morning Herald
Pubdate: Saturday 09th of September 2000
Edition: Late
Subsection: Icon
Page: 8
Wordcount: 1824
Living in the ’70s
R2 The ’70s Reviews
Cotton Ward heads back to those halycon days when people wore platform soles and hot pants – without irony.

Super Seventies RockSite!

Find out where those ’70s stars are now, with features about “’70s stars in the news today” and a birthday section. Answer 100 music trivia questions (with multiple-choice answers), read the almanac with a summary of the biggest events each year and review the “classic 150 songs”, “top 100 singles” and “greatest album covers”.

Bad fads museum
A super guide to all things kitsch. There are more than 100 entries covering fads such as streaking (which, it says, began in 1974 on US college campuses), the Bermuda Triangle (popularised in 1974 when author Charles Berlitz hypothesised that the loss of planes and ships were due to supernatural forces) and that mind-bending Rubik’s Cube.

Platform diva
Before the ’80s decreed greed was good, the ’70s taught us height was right. With big hair up top and platform soles below, simply strutting your stuff became a hazard to low-flying aircraft. To qualify as a platform god, your soles had to be at least two inches high, with five-inch heels. There are several pictures of stunning shoes, including a pair with 11-inch platforms.

Hippies in polyester
Features wide and pointy lapels, bellbottoms, flares, pant suits, hot pants, and polyester in loud and clashing psychedelic colours. Images include day wear (a simple turtleneck and skirt set and a woman in a mannish suit and tie), evening wear (a polyester knit gown) and casual wear (a tiny crop top and hot pants).

The traditional hairdressing page

Dozens of hairstyles are documented for those who want to fiddle with curlers, perms, rollers and pincurls. Recapture the look of hair heroines such as Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett. A fan of the Farrah flip painfully recalls: “I used a large bag of brush rollers every night. At first sleeping with so many rollers was hard, but winding them firmly and closely together helped a lot.”

The Farrah Fawcett ring
Unsurprisingly, most of the sites linked to this Web ring are picture galleries. The link to Internet Movie Database (at reminds us that Texan Farrah Fawcett was voted “Beautiful Woman” at high school and her career took off when she posed in a red bathing suit for a poster that sold more than 8,000,000 copies in the US. She was also famous for her flicked hairstyle and being married to Lee Majors. You’ll find links to Charlie’s Angels dolls, wallpaper, e-cards, movie clips and an autographed baseball bat for sale.

Number 96
The sizzling sensation of the small screen. Read about the lovable Dorrie and Herb Evans, the pantyhose strangler, the dastardly “knicker-snipper”, kidnappings, bomb blasts and sexy Abigail. A lot was going on in Paddington back then.

Meat Loaf UK Fan Club
Is there anyone who hasn’t experienced the anguished longing and desperation expressed in Paradise by the Dashboard Light? That’s why Meat Loaf sold more than 41 million records, with his epic Bat Out Of Hell ranked the third best-selling album of all time. “Just ’cause it came out in ’77 doesn’t mean that it’s music of the ’70s, cause it isn’t,” Meat Loaf says in a chat transcript. “The emotions expressed in it have been around since the beginning and will be around – till the world comes to an end!”

KISS Online
Things on the disco floor used to steam up when the DJ played I Was Made For Loving You. Join the KISS Army, see the “KISS girls”, take part in the online auction (for a rare book that only a true fan would be interested in), click on today’s date to see where the band members are and read fan reviews of the KISS Farewell 1973-2000 tour (with comments such as: “Paul still has the best set of freakin’ pipes in this business” and “the best show on earth from the HOTTEST band in the world!!!”).

Digital watches
This details the history of the digital watch, created by British inventor Clive Sinclair in 1975. We’re told it cost £17.95 ($45) in kit form and £24.95 ready built. It was a disaster, as the chip could be ruined by static from your nylon shirt and this would “cause the batteries to overload and occasionally explode”. The quartz timing crystal was highly temperature sensitive – so the watch ran at different speeds during winter and summer – and the batteries lasted only 10 days. The company made a huge loss of £355,000 and by the time reliable chips were developed, Sinclair was two years behind the competition.

The Six Million Dollar Man
“Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive.” Yes, the intro was the best bit – increasingly so as the show introduced the bionic woman, a bionic dog, Bigfoot and Lee Majors’ moustache. At you can enter OSI Headquarters to “review data on bionically enhanced agents” or read online magazines OSI Catalog and the Bionics Quarterly (with a very cheeky “Bionic Couture: The fashions of Steve Austin” photo spread showcasing his blue turtleneck sweaters and snazzy white leisure suits). Or visit The Bionic Page maintained by Rod Rehn where you can review a list of Steve’s missions, look at more pics and listen to three versions of the intro, the closing theme and bionic ear, eye and jumping sounds. CH-CHH-CHH-CHHUNNNGGG!

Olivia Newton-John
The diva of the decade. The timeline section shows how our Livvy went from being a sweet country girl in the early 1970s singing duets with Cliff Richard and John Denver, to spraying on those lycra pants and puffing ciggies in Grease in 1978. Gawk at the photos of last year’s low-budget comedy in which she starred as a tattoed, tank-topped, hard-bitten, ex-con country and western singer with a Texan accent and black roots. There’s an excellent up-to-date digital library with scanned magazine articles about Livvy’s upcoming performance at the Olympics.

ABBA Report
This site is the home of the best ABBA fanzine around. Peruse the top 10 articles online and out-of-print back issues. Stories include Princess Frida’s “journey through life, love and music” (she married a Swiss prince, who died of cancer), details of Agnetha’s reclusive life (it was recently revealed she’d had an affair with an obsessed fan, a former forklift driver, who had bought a house next door) and a fan’s guide to visiting Sweden. If you didn’t catch them first time around, try Bjorn Again’s gig guide at

In which episode did Richard Gere appear? What do the initials BJ stand for? What size of bra does Klinger wear? The series lasted 11 years, 251 episodes were made and the final show was one of the most watched television programs ever. Read the fan fiction, goofs, episode guides and answers to those trivia questions.

Liam’s Digital Disco Club Hollywood/Academy/1190/liam.html
This site kicks off with a tribute to Saturday Night Fever and features “funky bass lines, organs pumping disco vibes, styling grooves, moves and disco shoes”. There are references to disco lingo, such as “sock it to me”, “outasite” and “far out”. For example, “heavy” is “someone who tries to start a serious conversation at a disco about: (in descending order of heaviness) parents, inflation, the Middle East, rock ‘n’ roll and yesterday’s homework”.

Pet Rocks
Here’s a factoid that won’t surprise you: Pet rocks were invented in 1975 by a California advertising salesman. Gary Dahl spent two weeks writing the Pet Rock Training Manual. A few months later Dahl was flogging rocks by the quarryload for $3.95 each and became an overnight millionaire.

Lava lamp inventor dies in London
Edward Craven Walker, aged 82, died of cancer last month. His lava lamp was a must-have in any swinging ’70s pad, but when the fad fizzled in the 1980s, he sold the rights. You can learn how to make your own lamp at Oozing Goo, although they thoughtfully advise that it’s easier and cheaper to buy the finished product.

Cool wheels

Chrysler in Australia
Hey Charger! This is a comprehensive and authoritative site about Valiant’s history in Australia. In 1971, the racy Charger was launched and cost $2,800. It was built on a shorter wheelbase but “still had room for five”. You’ll find classic photos and close-ups here.

Panelvan Heaven

If the van’s rockin’, don’t bother knockin’. This site involves a different type of passion – lustful enthusiasts. Read the editor’s account, including photos, of his restoration of a Sandman, that included “rear interior removed, bullbar/bumper swap and undercarriage rust proofed with bitumastic paint. New windscreen inserted, new front loop pile carpet, thermo fan, chrome air filter and GTS mirrors sprayed in Supermint Green”. There are 27 small pictures of panelvans on one page from the “Van Nationals” held in Port Augusta earlier this year, which involve car races and shows. Scroll through a list of the “best panelvan” winners since 1976 with names like: Street Legal, Bad Ass and The Beast.

Fairlane Club of America

Dedicated to the preservation, restoration and enjoyment of 1962-76 Fairlane/Torino cars. The club has technical advisers, regular events and a magazine and sells decals and numberplate frames. It has a huge FAQ telling you how to value your car, and how to get a photo of it on the club’s site.

Past imperfect

The ’70s was an era when the Vietnam War finally ended, Gough Whitlam was dismissed, inflation skyrocketed, unemployment was high and oil prices soared. But there wasn’t a VCR in every home. See, the good old days weren’t that great after all.

FOUR ILLUS: Thank you for the music: megastars of the era ABBA (above) and KISS (below, left).
Family affair: the Partridges (above) embodied all that was wholesome, while Olivia Newton-John (right) tried to back away from her saccharine image when starring in Grease opposite John Travolta.

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