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Brits Eye View - 1972 through the hazy memory of an Englishman.

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The BEV Retrospective - 1972.

My historical headings for 1972 are:
  • Vietnam war,
  • Idi Amin - a thoroughly nasty man,
  • US domestic issues,
  • UK domestic issues,
  • Other world events.
The cover pages of Life Magazine for 1972 are here.

Vietnam War.

The war in Vietnam continued on its futile and chaotic course. Starting on 30th March, the North Vietnamese launched the massive Easter Offensive (The Wiki account is very detailed) against the South on three fronts.

This was not guerilla warfare in the jungle. It was the biggest assault anywhere since the Chinese put 300,000 men into the counter-attack in North Korea in 1950 - 14 PAVN divisions, infantry, armour, heavy artillery, all the latest weaponry.

It was not seen by the North as an offensive to decisively win the war. Rather, it was intended to inflict as much damage as possible on the army of the South - the ARVN, to influence the 1972 election in the US, and to strengthen the hand of the North in the ongoing Paris peace talks. The view taken in the North was "It doesn't matter whether the war is promptly ended or prolonged. Both are opportunities to sow the seeds; all we have to do is to wait for the time to harvest the crop."

One way or the other, the previously announced visit of President Nixon to China in 1972 fuelled the offensive, and had the effect of initiating a flood of military supplies into the North from the USSR and China.

Operation Linebacker.
The North made a frontal attack through the demilitarized zone into South Vietnam. This was followed by an attack to the north of Saigon, and an attack in the triborder area (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) into the central highlands. It was timed to coincide with monsoon weather that would provide low cloud cover to minimize the effect of US air power supporting the ARVN.

It was a desperate struggle, going badly for the ARVN initially, and then against the PAVN as the weather cleared and US air power came to bear. In May, President Nixon ordered Operation Linebacker, a resumption of bombing of the North - previously suspended in 1968, in an attempt to generally weaken the North and thus affect the outcome. By the end of July, both sides were exhausted, though both thought they had been successful.

The North was left in possession of two northern provinces of the South including, importantly, the port of Dong Ha. Both sides made concessions in the Paris talks following the battles. The last American combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam in August.

Idi Amin.

Idi Amin - a Thoroughly Nasty Man.

Following his military coup and seizure of the presidency of Uganda in the previous year, Amin now proceeded to demonstrate what a nasty piece of work he was.

Some 20,000 of his opponents fled into Tanzania following the coup, and in this year, these refugees attempted a counter-coup, which failed. Amin reacted by instituting a purge. By mid 1972, some 15,000 people had 'disappeared'. These included about 5000 military personnel from the Acholi and Lango tribes, who Amin viewed as opponents, and a number of very prominent citizens from the government, judiciary, church, and academia.

Having 'stabilized' his position, Amin then concentrated on the expulsion of foreigners. He started with some 80,000 Asian members of the population - mostly of Indian origin. This group owned many of the businesses, both large and small, which constituted loot to be distributed by Amin to his supporters. Most of these subsequently failed due to mismanagement. India severed diplomatic relations with Uganda in reaction to these expulsions.

Amin in turn severed diplomatic relations with the UK, and nationalized British businesses in Uganda. These suffered the same fate as those confiscated from the Indians.

US Domestic Issues

1972 was a presidential election year. The incumbent president was Republican Richard Nixon. Before the elections there was a Democrat Senate 54/46, and a Democrat House 255/180. After, the Democrats still controlled both houses, Senate 56/42, House 242/192.

In February President Nixon made an 8-day visit to the People's Republic of China and met with Mao Zedong. This contributed to the warming of relations between the USA an the PRC, but also triggered an increase in military supplies to North Vietnam from both the PRC and the USSR.

In March, Congress voted to send the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, dealing with sexual equality to the states for ratification. It was never ratified, timing out in 1982.

June was an eventful month. There were quite large numbers of weather related deaths. Floods in the Black Hills of South Dakota killed 238 people, and hurricane Agnes killed 117 on the east coast.

Also in June, five White House operatives were arrested for burgling the offices of the Democratic National Committee. Later, President Nixon and White House chief of staff H. R. Haldeman were taped talking about using the CIA to obstruct the FBI's investigation of the burglary,

Nixon announced that month that no further draftees would be sent to Vietnam, and the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

Presidential election landslide.
At the party conventions in July and August, Senator George McGovern, backing the immediate and complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Vietnam, with running mate Senator Thomas Eagleton, was nominated by the Democrats. The Republicans renominate President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew for a second term. As events turned out, Thomas Eagleton, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, withdrew from the race later after revealing he was once treated for mental illness, and was replaced by R. Sargent Shriver. The resulting hoo-ha did not do a lot for McGovern's chances in the election..

On a lighter note, comedian George Carlin was arrested in Milwaukee for public obscenity, for reciting his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television". Apparently at the time, these were "Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, CockSucker, MotherFucker, and Tits". In what might also be considered a lighter moment, following a visit to South Vietnam, US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger suggested that "peace is at hand."
In October, President Nixon approved legislation to increase Social Security spending by US$5.3 billion. This may also have had some effect on the election. On November 7th, Nixon beat McGovern hands down, though only 55% of the electorate bothered to vote. At the same time, the Democrats increased their majorities in both House and Senate slightly.

At the end of election month, White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler told the press that there would be no more public announcements concerning United States troop withdrawals from Vietnam due to the fact that troop levels were then down to 27,000. This did not stop the Christmas day bombing of North Vietnam causing widespread criticism of the US and President Nixon.

Attempt to save a life.
UK Domestic Issues.

In 1972 the UK had a Conservative government headed by Prime Minister Edward Heath. Taking into account by-elections the government had a parliamentary majority of 329/301.

The situation in Northern Ireland was deteriorating. On 30th of January, British troops killed twenty-six unarmed civil rights protesters and bystanders in an incident known as "Bloody Sunday". It was and is not a pretty story - you should read the Wiki article for a reasonably unbiased account. The incident did wonders for Provisional IRA recruitment, and was a major negative turning point in the 'troubles'.

In February, seven people were killed in Aldershot - an army town - by a bomb planted by the Official IRA. It was aimed at the British Army's 16th Parachute Brigade as a reprisal for Bloody Sunday, but the troops were not there, and the dead were all civilians. Things would get worse for a long time before they got better.
Also in February, the British government declared a state of emergency over a miners' strike. At this time, the government perception was that both wage and price escalation were out of control. Heath's government was attempting to impose a non-statutory 'prices and incomes' policy, whereby workers would voluntarily limit their pay increase demands to 8% in order to hold down prices. The coal miners were bent on breaching this limit, and since the coal mining was a nationalized industry, this implied a more-or-less direct confrontation with the government.

The strike began in January, when the weather was cold, and quickly affected power generation, leading to power cuts. These in turn led to lay-offs in other industries. Schools closed because they had no coal for heating, and so on. There was consequently great pressure for a settlement, and a committee of enquiry was set up under judge Lord Wilberforce. This concluded that the miners were a 'special case', and recommended a 20% pay increase. The miners really had the government over a barrel, and after further haggling, the miners went back to work on 25th February, having actually got about 21%, and leaving the prices and incomes policy in tatters.

A scramble for pay increases ensued, and by November 6th, the government found it necessary to institute a ninety-day freeze covering prices, wages, dividends, and rents.

In May, a small group of militants/anarchists - the Angry Brigade - who were alleged to be responsible for a series of letter bomb attacks was put on trial. The trial would last until December.

In June, 118 people died when a Trident 1 jet airliner crashed 2 minutes after take off from London Heathrow Airport.

On July 21 - 'Bloody Friday', 22 bombs planted by the Provisional IRA exploded in Belfast, nine people were killed and 130 seriously injured. On the 31st, three car bombs exploded in Claudy, County Londonderry, killing nine.

In November, as a result of the deteriorating relationship between Icelandic and British fishermen, the British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home announced that Royal Navy ships would be stationed to protect British trawlers off Iceland.

All in all, the year was a real catalogue of woes in the UK.

On a nostalgic note, in March, the last electric trolleybus system in the United Kingdom closed. It was the one in Bradford, my nearest big city, after over 60 years of operation. There was a trolley bus depot by the roundabout at the top of our road. Later, after standing derelict for some time, it got converted into a restaurant and shops.

Other World Events.

In April a rebellion led by some Hutu members of the gendarmerie broke out in the lakeside towns of Rumonge and Nyanza-Lac in Burundi. The armed Hutu insurgents proceeded to kill many Tutsis, as well as the Hutus that refused to join them. It is estimated that from 800 to 1200 people were killed.

Baader/Meinhf gang wanted poster.
The Burundian President Michel Micombero - a Tutsi - proclaimed martial law and then proceeded to slaughter Hutus en masse. The initial phases of the genocide were clearly orchestrated, with lists of targets including the Hutu educated, the elite, and the militarily trained. Once this had been completed, the Tutsi-controlled army moved onto the civilian population. Estimates of the number of Hutus killed range from 80,000 to 210,000.

In the same month, The US and the Soviet Union joined some 70 other nations in signing the Biological Weapons Convention, an agreement to ban biological warfare. Later in the year US President Nixon and USSR Premier Leonid Brezhnev signed the SALT I treaty in Moscow, as well as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and other agreements.

Following Pakistan's surrender to India in the Indo-Pakistan War of the previous year, both nations signed the historic Simla Agreement, in which they agreed to settle their disputes bilaterally.

Germany was not without problems of militancy from terrorists both internal and external.

The internal problem was a group referred to at the time as the Baader/Meinhof Gang - the self-styled Red Army Faction. In May, three out of 6 bombs exploded in the Springer Press building in Hamburg, injuring 17. The Red Army Faction claimed responsibility. Later in the month, the same group planted a bomb in the Campbell Barracks of the U.S. Army Supreme European Command, killing three US soldiers. This outbreak was curtailed when Andreas Baader, Jan-Carl Raspe, Holger Meins and some other members of Red Army Faction were arrested in Frankfurt in June after a shootout. Later in June, Ulrike Meinhof and Gerhard Müller were also arrested.

Then in August, the 1972 Summer Olympics were held in Munich. Eleven Israeli athletes were killed after eight members of the Arab terrorist group Black September invaded the Olympic Village.
Five guerillas and one policeman were also killed in a failed hostage rescue. As a knock on from this incident, Black September hijacked a Lufthansa Boeing 727 over Turkey, demanding the release of three comrades still held for the massacre of Israeli athletes.

In this year, Denmark joined the European Community while its territory the Faroe Islands stayed out. Norway also decided not to join.

It was not a wonderful year for transport safety! The list is quite long:
  • January 7 - An Iberian Airlines passenger plane crashe into a 250-meter peak on the island of Ibiza, killing 104,
  • June 16 – 108 people died when two passenger trains hit the debris of a collapsed railway tunnel near Soissons in France.
  • July 21 - A collision between two trains near Seville killed 76 people
  • August 14 – An East German Ilyushin airliner crashed near East Berlin killing all 156 on board,
  • September 24 – An F-86 fighter aircraft leaving an air show at Sacramento Executive Airport failed to become airborne and crashes into an ice cream arlor, killing 12 children and 11 adults,
  • October 13 – A Uruguayan Fairchild FH-227D passenger aircraft transporting a rugby union team crashed at about 14,000 feet in the Andes mountains. Sixteen of the survivors were found alive December 20 but they had to resort to cannibalism to survive,
  • October 16 - A plane carrying U.S. Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana and 3 other men vanishe in Alaska. The wreckage has never been found,
  • December 8 - United Airlines Boeing 737 from Washington National to Chicago Midway crashes short of the runway, killing 43 of 61 passengers and 2 people on the ground,
  • December 29 – Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 crashe into the Everglades in Florida, killing 101 of 176 on board.
Of course, nature took its usual toll as well. In December a 6.25 Richter scale earthquake in Nicaragua killed 5,000–12,000 people in the capital, Managua.

As the oddity of the year, WW2 Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi was discovered in Guam; he had spent 28 years hiding in the jungle after the Japanese surrender. On returning to Japan he remarked "It is with much embarrassment that I have returned alive." His saying proved to be a popular hit!

McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

Lockheed Tristar.

Airbus A300.

Business & Economics.

The per capita GDP and the inflation rate for the US this year were $5,838, and 3.27%. For the UK, the corresponding figures were $2,863 and 11%.

In February of this year, Volkswagen Beetle production exceeded that of the Model-T Ford, when the 15,007,034th Beetle was produced. It became at that point the worlds most-produced vehicle, and would remain so.

In April, the Lockheed Tristar (L-1011) entered service with US Eastern Airlines. This was the world's third wide bodied jet, and a plane I've flown on quite a few times. It had been pipped to the post by the McDonnell Douglas DC10 (a similar design) as a result of the UK Rolls Royce company's difficulties in the previous year. The DC10 entered service in the previous year. This would cost Lockheed the longer term race. 250 Tristars were eventually sold, as opposed to 446 DC10s. After the Tristar, Lockheed withdrew from the airliner business.

The Tristar had several innovative design features, but a plane with more flew for the first time in October of this year – The Airbus A300 - the first twin-engine widebody. This was also the first product of the European Airbus consortium (these days a subsidiary of EADS). It's worth reading the A300 page for either a business or technological perspective. A300 production would eventually reach 561.

It was in this year that the first financial derivatives exchange, the International Monetary Market (IMM) opened, on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It's probably appropriate to say something about derivatives here, since we will no doubt encounter them again in the future.

'Derivative' in this context, is a polite word for 'bet', with the additional inference that the subject being wagered on is the financial value of something or other at some time in the future. Some specific kinds of derivatives are actually called 'futures'. These were first described by Aristotle, but they came to real prominence in Chicago back around 1850 to allow grain farmers who were so inclined, to sell their crop before it was grown, or at least before it was ripe. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange became the home of futures, which spread in time to bets on other items of value. The IMM initially traded in the future value of foreign currencies.

The USSR was short of grain in this year, and the US sold them a considerable quantity for $750 million - that's about 4 billion in 2010 dollars. In this year also, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 1,000 for the first time.

The HP-35.

There had been products in previous years to automate the work of typing to some extent. IBM and others had electronic typewriters that could record what a typist typed, and then print it out again later. Some of these products allowed primitive editing before reprinting.

In this year, US companies Lexitron and Linolex developed the earliest versions of what we might recognize now as a word processing system. These systems utilized video display screens and tape cassettes for storage. With the screen, text could be entered and corrected without having to produce a hard copy. Printing could be delayed until the writer was satisfied with the material.

While on the subject of screens, I note that the first active-matrix liquid crystal display panel was produced in the US this year by Westinghouse. The active-matrix technology is that used in most, if not all, computer LCD screens today.

The first hand-held scientific calculator was introduced this year by Hewlett-Packard - the HP-35. Market research consultants had determined that it would not sell because it was too expensive at $395. In fact, it sold as fast as HP could make them. Until that point,most scientists had used a pocket-size slide rule for quick calculations, and some not-so-quick ones. Introduction of devices such as the HP-35 quickly made the slide rule obsolete. The HP-35 used an LED display - it was just a bit too soon for LCD.

The space exploration programs continued inexorably. I shall restrict myself to a list of links. By now it was of a low level of interest to the general public, except when something went wrong:
  • February 14 - Luna 20. It returned a 55gm soil sample from the moon.
  • March 3 - Pioneer 10. This was the first spacecraft to be set on a trajectory leading out of the solar system. It passed through the Asteroid Belt and made observations of Jupiter.
  • April 16 - Apollo 16 - yet another moon visit.
  • July 23 – Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite.
  • April 16 - Apollo 17 - the final moon visit of the century.
With the Apollo program at an end, US President Nixon ordered the development of a space shuttle program.

There was another significant step forward this year in the field of molecular biology, when in October, for the first time, a publication reported the production of a Recombinant DNA molecule. Recombinant DNA is generally DNA produced by inserting a section of DNA from one organism - usually a gene - into the DNA of another organism. It has been used since for applications such as the production of human insulin via genetically modified bacteria.

The Hello World program in C.
DEC's (Digital Equipment Company) PDP-11 computer, introduced the previous year, had by now restored DEC to their accustomed position as leader in the mini-computer market. The PDP-11 had many supporters, including some - or maybe all - members of the AT&T Bell Laboratories. Their UNIX operating system had been quickly implemented for the PDP-11, and in this year, Dennis Ritchie developed the 'C' programming language. which it is thought was much influenced by the PDP-11 assembler language. This was not an impediment, since the latter was a rather generalized and elegant assembly language, and well suited to C's objectives. The C language is now available for just about any computer you could lay hands on. It has also proved to be extremely influential in the design of later languages. It would take me more than 10 years to discover it!

On June 30, very unusually, an extra leap second (23:59:60) wass added to end the month. On December 31 another was added, making 1972 the longest year on record since the introduction of the Gregorian calender.

Beckwith Knowle.

There was a big shake up in my working life with the move to Harrogate. The latter is a town in North Yorkshire, population then probably around 120,000. It's about 20 miles west of York, and about the same distance from Bradford and Leeds to the south. It developed from an obscure village in the 18th century and in Victorian times as a spa town. People used to come there to drink the unpleasant tasting spring water that rises in the area because it was supposed to have some therapeutic properties. It had, and has a reputation for being quite an upper-class place, but in reality, then as now, its population is quite mixed. It's a pretty town, with lots of grass and trees and flower beds and park land - you'll get the picture from the Wiki link.

The CEGB had bought some premises and land on Harlow Hill to the south west of the town centre, which were to be the site of a new headquarters for the NE Region. The Scientific Services Department - SSD - was to be a harbinger, occupying the existing premises.

My office was in the block marked 'A', which also housed the managers and the administrative staff, as well as some labs and research staff offices. The block labelled 'B' was labs and research staff offices. Block 'C' was under construction at this time as a rig hall where large experiments could be accommodated, and block 'D' was a functioning sports and social club that we inherited from the previous owners, consisting of a bar, and a canteen that doubled as an event or dance hall. My boss, Bert Masterson, was not entirely happy with the latter. He would initially be in control of the site, an running a pub and restaurant was not really in his job description.
This did not stop him from joining the other managers at the bar and the canteen for a beer or two and a subsidised lunch. This was the seventies, and business habits were different then. Since they went, we all felt free to go, and I suspect the place had a significant effect on productivity in the afternoons.

The road at the top (north) of the picture is Otley Road. To the west, it goes eventually to Otley, and to the east to the south side of the town centre. I would arrive in the mornings along Otley Road from the west.

My drive from home took me west to Shipley town centre. There I turned north to north-east skirting the southern edge of Baildon. There's a long hill up the side of the Aire valley - Hollins Hill - that gets you to Guiseley. A little further along the road there's the village of Menston. There I'd turn right and drive over the western flank of Otley Chevin to arrive in Otley from the south. Then I'd leave Otley on the road to the north, turning left again almost immediately to cut across to Leathley in rural Wharfedale. There I'd meet Otley Road, with about five miles over hills and valleys to Harlow Hill. The latter section was quite fast, and the Saab seemed to like it. Since I drove it every day I knew every curve and bump, and exactly where to change gear - quite exhilarating (I expect it has speed cameras now).

My main preoccupation at work became the procurement of a computer system on which me and the other admin staff could maintain the statistics we collected about the research projects. In the interim I was stuck with the same time sharing system we'd had at Kirkstall. Eventually I managed to insert a small PDP-11 into the capital budget, but I it would be some tme before I got it. By now, I knew I was as far up the ladder as I was going to get in the department. So I had two objectives, one to provide a good enough service to my boss that I'd get decent annual salary increments, and two, to bend the job in directions that suited me. Of course these two objectives used to conflict significantly.

My life at home, and my relationship with Jean continued at the beginning of the year much as it had been. Elaine had Thursday nights, and I had Friday nights, and we had a tacit don't ask, don't tell policy that I think was characteristic of the 70s.

One day in late spring I was at the Commercial Inn at Esholt, yapping with my friend Brian Mayes (not the one from Queen), when two women came in who were not regulars. However Brian knew one of them, and we got chatting. One of the women was called Linda, and she was a very cute looking blonde with nice bodywork. She was the sort of woman you'd assume would already have several boyfriends and suitors, so I didn't give myself much of a chance there. But I told her that I usually went to the Elmer on Friday nights, and half jokingly said she should come one night and check it out.

On a subsequent Friday, some time not too long afterwards, I was out with Jean. After the pub we went in my car to a spot I knew in the St Ives estate - I think Jean's car must have been in for repairs or something. St Ives is an old country house that at that time was owned by the Bingley Town Council. I must have been in there prospecting, since it was dark, but I knew where I was going. It was a warm night, so rather than making out in the car, which was cramped by the standards of Jean's car, we baled out and took to the grass in the moonlight. I played the gentleman, and lay on my back among the spiders and ants, and Jean took control of the event on top.

We made love quite passionately that night. I said to Jean afterwards that she had put on quite a performance, and she said "Well steve, I guess I'm getting to know you by now." It would be the last time we would ever make love. Later that night Linda appeared at the Elmer, she found me, and asked if we were going to dance - possibly a question with some ambiguity. We danced until late, then she asked me to take her to Bingley, where she'd left her car. On the way I asked her, or maybe she asked me if we should stop somewhere, and we did. She was wonderful, and I was immediately in deep shit.

In the affair with Jean, I had not fallen in love. I wasn't plagued by jealousy about what she might be doing six days a week, we were easy - love the one you're with! But in no time, I was head over heels with Linda. She was quite positive back, and I failed to see that I was the slave in the relationship. She took over on Friday nights, and Jean was eclipsed - I know how to ruin a good thing! We would go to the same place after the Elmer - an almost country lane that ran behind Bingley Modern School close to where my parents lived called Dobb Lane. The lane was a short diversion on our trip to Linda's car in Bingley. It was little used during the day, and was deserted at that time of night. Nobody else seemed to have discovered it

Linda was something of a sexual gymnast, and could work wonders in the back of the Saab. She also gave very good head - better than Jean. I rapidly became more and more obsessed with her, and wanted to see her more often. After a few Friday nights, the obsession was such that I persuaded Anne Pell, the CEGB personnel officer who looked after the SSD, to stick me in a hostel they had near Knaresborough that was normally used for apprentices, for a few weeks. I told Elaine some cock and bull story about needing to get away for some time to 'think about things'. She was remarkably sanguine about it - perhaps she wanted time to 'think about things' too.

I told Linda on the phone that I had left. She didn't seem to react to it one way or the other, but with a bit of probing, she did say she'd be going to a night club somewhere near Skipton on the Wednesday - I've forgotten what it was called. However, I turned up there on the Wednesday night, and got what was almost a "what are you doing here" reception. She accepted a lift home to Steeton, between Keighley and Skipton, so I found out where she lived, but there was no stop on the way, and I was not invited in. In itself, that wasn't entirely surprising, since she lived with her mother. But, as I drove back to Knaresborough, if finally dawned on me that I was living in a fools paradise. Linda declined the Elmer on the Friday night, and politely suggested to me that I should go back to my wife.

A couple of days later, with my tail between my legs, I did as she suggested. I must have looked pretty dejected - Elaine let the whole thing go without an inquisition. Or course, I looked for Jean again, but her sailor was back. He'd quit the merchant navy and was looking for a landlubber job. Maybe she knew that when we had our last meeting, and that accounted for the distinctive flavour of the night, but I don't know. I met her by accident maybe 10 to 15 years later at the Fisherman Inn. She was friendly, but I did not discover anything, and the chance meeting did not lead anywhere.

I kept a low profile for some time, licking my wounds. I can't say I was heartbroken - the whole thing had not lasted long enough for that - but I justifiably felt a fool, and I regretted the loss of Jean.

Later that year I had a minor entanglement with a girl called Cathy, who was quite young - not much out of school. She was a junior reporter with one of the local newspapers, and was skinny, but pretty. By this time, Elaine's cousin Barbara - who we've met before - had split up with her husband, and had a nervous breakdown. She'd got fixed up from that, an was living in a studio apartment in North Bradford - I knew where she lived, as Elaine and I had visited her to give moral support when she was messed up.

One week Barbara rang to say that there was a dance on at the Shipley Rowing Club - they had a boathouse on the other side of the river Aire, not far from where we lived. It seemed like a good idea for a Saturday night, so Elaine and I went. Barbara turned up with Cathy, who had a studio apartment on the ground floor in the same house. I danced with her quite a bit that night, while the cousins were yapping, as they were prone to do, and got what seemed to be a heavy come-on. Unfortunately she was going on holiday for two weeks the following day, so we left it that I would come and see her the day after she got back. Elaine briefed me about her after the dance - Barbara had said she was anorexic, an in danger of starving herself to death.

After the two weeks wait, I turned up at her place first thing in the morning. She expected me, and let me in still in her nightie. We went back to her bed, but the event was a failure. She was willing in principle, but in practice she was tense, and she was very tight. I tried every trick I knew, but could not get her relaxed or excited enough to get in there. We tried again a few days later, but to no avail. I concluded it was not going to work, and let it go.

Pretty soon I was a year older, but apparently no wiser.


At the cinema the top five US top grossing movies were: The Godfather was hands-down winner, both box-office wise, and in the awards..

British films were weak this year, I'm only inclined to mention: Other films that probably could only have happened in the 70s were "Deep Throat" starring Linda Lovelace - a porno movie that escaped into general release in some places, and "Last Tango in Paris", another movie with some pretty steamy scenes.

This years number one hit singles in the UK, with the odd number two or three, were:

ArtistTitleMonth Comment
Don McLeanAmerican PieJanNumber 2
Chicory TipSon Of My FatherJan
T RexTelegram SamJan
NilssonWithout YouFeb
Pipes & Drums & Military Band Of The Royal Scots Dragoon GuardsAmazing GraceApr
Elton JohnRocket ManAprNumber 2
T RexMetal GuruMay
Don McLeanVincentMay
SladeTake Me Bak 'OmeJun
Donny OsmondPuppy LoveJunAnother child star
Alice CooperSchool's OutJul
Rod StewartYou Wear It WellAug
SladeMama Weer All Crazee NowSepAnother assault on spelling
T RexChildren Of The RevolutionSepNumber 2
David CassidyHow Can I Be SureSep
Lieutenant PigeonMouldy Old DoughSep
Gilbert O'SullivanClairOct
Chuck Berry My Ding-A-LingOctMild smut from a once great rocker
Little Jimmy OsmondLong Haired Lover From LiverpoolNovMore child exploitation
T RexSolid Gold Easy ActionDecNumber 2
David BowieThe Jean GenieDecNumber 2 - you know why
Carly SimonYou're So VainDecNumber 3 - Possibly referring to Mick Jagger

If you've looked at the pages for 1970 and 1971, you'll see that T Rex owned the British charts in the early 70s in much the same way that the Beatles did in the early 60s, except possibly more so! Other personal favourites of the year are below:

"City of New Orleans" - Arlo Guthrie
"Crocodile Rock" - Elton John
"Do it Again" - Steely Dan
"Family Affair" - Sly & the Family Stone
"Goodbye to Love" - The Carpenters
"I Can See Clearly Now" - Johnny Nash
"If You Don't Know Me by Now" - Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
"I'm Stone in Love With You" - The Stylistics
"Layla" - Derek and the Dominos a.k.a Eric Clapton
"Lean on Me" - Bill Withers
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" - Robert John. A low quality MP3 but a tune that sticks in your head
"Listen to The Music" - The Doobie Brothers
"Me and Mrs. Jones" - Billy Paul
"Summer Breeze" - Seals and Crofts
"Take It Easy" - Eagles
"Virginia Plain" - Roxy Music

The number of recordings being made that I remember exploded in the 70s - it gets difficult to choose!

In January of this year, in the UK, Pink Floyd gave the first public performance of 'Dark Side of the Moon' during a performance at The Dome, in Brighton. The album was not released until the following year. In February, Paul McCartney's new band, Wings, make its live debut at the University of Nottingham. In April, Electric Light Orchestra first appeared at the Fox and Greyhound pub in Park Lane, Croydon.

In the US, Aerosmith were signed to Columbia Records in New York. Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up.

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