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Spot the Ball – nostalgic gambling

GET out of the red and into the black! A fat wad of cash is up for grabs.

How? By getting your hands on the Spot the Ball competition coupon. ‘X’ marks the spot – ‘x’ equals cash!


The essentials

A good fine nibbled biro for a start. You want to make sure the ‘x’ is bang in the centre of the ball. You want the result to be crystal clear so you don’t lose out. A biro with a thicker nib does not work –  your chances of winning will be slimmer than a supermodel on hunger strike.

A good eye and anticipation is needed. It may seem obvious where the ball is but is it really there? Don’t be fooled by the general direction of where the footballers are looking – that’s a ploy to trick you! It’s important to think outside the box – the ball may not be in the obvious area.



The final stages

Once you’ve marked the crosses where you think the ball is, make sure you complete the entry form in block capitals. No good having the winning entry when then organisers can’t read your writing –  don’t throw it away in the final stages! Make sure you hand your entry over to the man who collects em (The Pools Man) – he’ll be calling round on Wednesday evening.

Challenging, mind boggling, frustrating and fun … Spotting the Ball.



Let us know your memories of Spotting the Ball

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Enjoyed the blog? A nostalgic collection of blogs featuring a fun and factual look back at British advertising, leisure and entertainment from the yester-years are featured in the new hardback book, Section N Underpass. Release date early December 2018. Get the rundown and pre-order your copy here: Enter the Underpass



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Nostalgic high street memory: The TV repair shop

AS we carried out our weekly shop on the high street, we’d smell the aroma of freshly baked bread from the bakery. Soon we’d pass the butchers displaying the finest cuts. Which other establishments would we see whilst doing the weekly shop? Newsagents for sure. Fruit and veg shops, furniture shops, the hardware shop, electrical shops and maybe a record shop.

There’s a strong likelihood that we’d also come across a shop stacked with bulky TV sets. Step inside, shimmy your way around the rectangular boxes and make it to the counter. There’s no one in sight so you call out a friendly ‘Hello’. ‘Just a sec!’ is the reply. A minute later, the flustered looking proprietor greets us. Welcome to the TV Repair shop!





Why would we bring our TV’s here? Why not just buy a new one? Well we were still in the ‘let’s get it fixed’ stage and had not entered the ‘recycle and buy a new one’ era.


The issues

A solid, dark, horizontal line continuously running down the screen whilst watching our favourite show. In frustration we’d give the disobedient television set a couple of hard slaps around the top and sides. The last resort was the TV repair shop.

We’d ask family members to move around the room with the indoor aerial and shout ‘Stop!’ when the picture looked half decent. Sadly the poor family members could not transform themselves into statues and hold their position for the entire evening. No other option – a trip to the repair shop.

Watching a programme and suddenly a normal sized human becomes elongated. They have taken on ghost like features and the innocent programme has turned into a freak show! Repair shop here we come!


Transportation pitfalls

It was quite a challenge getting the disobedient TV’s out the front door for the journey to the repair shop. Those TV’s were hefty and tricky to manoeuvre down a hallway. You’d have to watch your fingers whilst going round sharp bends! A second pair of hands was required to open doors and ensure the route out was free from obstructions (electrical cords and vacuum cleaner attachments). Tripping and dropping a faulty TV could well result in broken body parts!




Valuable service

The TV repair shops were busy and a good business to be involved in if you had the know-how. They were not the most attractive of places – many appeared dark due to the sheer amount of TV’s in the window blocking out the light. We needed them –  many of us could not afford to splash out on a new television. The valuable service they provided meant our TV’s would be back home in a week or so … free from horizontal lines, fuzziness and freak images!


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50 years of the Big Mac and the battle of the burgers

MY OLDER brother told me that I couldn’t finish a Big Mac. For many years I believed him. The thought of me lifting the lid to reveal the gut busting burger made me anxious. During the late 70s, the Big Mac filled me with dread – I stuck with the manageable hamburger instead.


McDonalds menu in the 80's  Source: McDonalds



Three-way battle

So this year the Big Mac celebrates it’s 50th birthday. Michael Delligatti’s creation shows no sign of slowing down. Back in the 70s and early 80s, there were two main players fighting for top burger status on the UK high street – McDonalds and Wimpy. Whilst Ronald McDonald played the role of the pied piper, laughing and dancing his way into McDonald’s with giddy children following, Wimpy boasted about having ‘the greatest burgers under the bun’. Burger King then entered with their flamed grilled burgers – a three-way burger battle in the boxing ring had begun.


Today’s contenders

The big three are still around. Whilst McDonald’s and Burger King continue to trade blows in the centre of the ring, Wimpy seems to be taking an extended break on the stool in the corner. Wimpy had over 500 restaurants in the 70s – today there are only 78! We have seen a number of gourmet burger restaurants (GBK, Byron) squeezing into the ring. The gourmet burgers do not have the physical attributes (amount of restaurants) as McDonald’s and Burger King, but they are holding their own. Leaning against the ropes doing their own thing is the independent, local gourmet burger establishments. These have built up quite a loyal customer base – they are very convenient if you don’t want to trek to a retail park (where McDonald’s and Burger King are sometimes located). The burgers from the independent establishments are not too shabby at all (in fact, I’ll whisper this … some of the burgers are tastier than ones from the big two!)


Next 50 years

The boxing ring of burgers has become pretty packed over the years. There’s the main attraction – McDonald’s vs. Burger King. There’s match-up’s with the likes of GBK and Byron’s, and some rather tasty match up’s with the independent burger joints. It’s all very interesting. What will the boxing ring of burgers look like in the next 50 years?


Happy birthday Big Mac

I did mange to get over my fear of the Big Mac. I once managed to polish off two Big Mac’s and one Quarter Pounder with cheese – not quite Man vs. Food but I’m proud of my achievement. Happy 50th birthday Big Mac – looking forward to the next 50 years.