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Ready Brek – central heating for kids

IT’S wet, cold and dark when you send your kids off to school. Your kids beg for a lift in the car but you refuse and watch them trudge out the door into darkness. Your poor kids arrive at school shivering and sneezing. It takes them all morning to defrost and once the school day is over, they dash home to jump in a spot by the radiator. You look at your kids warming themselves by the radiator. A look of sadness, disappointment and despair on their faces. You keep looking at them and they stare back at you. You can see it in their eyes  – ‘It’s your fault we’ve been trying to get warm all day … It’s your fault we’re sneezing! You sent us out unprotected into arctic conditions without protection!’ You sheepishly walk away and hide in another room.

The verdict is conclusive …  you’re guilty of sending your kids out into the cold without adequate protection. Guilty of selfishness and neglect. Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!

 

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Well this does not need to be the case. Avoid getting yourself into a position where your kids slam down the imaginary hammer and declare you guilty. Make sure they head out with adequate protection – protection that will put a glow on em – protection that will glow in the morning darkness. Get your kids fuelled up with bowl of Ready Brek!

 

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Once the hot oat cereal is gobbled up, your kids will head out the door with a spring in their step. They will display a visual glow of warmth and have no chilly bones, sneezing or shivering.  They will arrive at school warm and ready to go! Whilst the non-Ready Brekkers are defrosting whilst sat at their desks, the Ready Brekkers are in full flow absorbing every detail being taught as their pens go into overdrive. These kids are on fire and are still displaying the visual glow as they crack on through the morning session. The teachers know the pupils who’ve had a hot bowl of Ready Brek – apart from the visual glow, they notice that these pupils are alert, have blood flowing to their cheeks and  their facial expressions are free moving (not locked in one position).

 

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At the end of your working day you return home to happy, content, frost-free kids. Home has a happy vibe to it with no hostility. There’s no one hogging the spot by the radiator as you stroll around free from guilt. You’ll be chuffed that you fed your kids Ready Brek in the morning and you feel like a responsible parent once again. You watch your kids laughing, enjoying themselves, dashing around the house as if it’s the start of the Summer holidays. Ready  Brek really is Central Heating for Kids. You’ve discovered the secret to guilt free parenthood and never again will you be dragged through the imaginary courtroom.

Need some more Ready Brek to keep the glow in tack? More on Ready Brek in The Great British Blog Book for Nostalgic Geeks available from here: Nostalgic Geek Shop

 

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Nostalgic greeting cards – spreading happiness through the letterbox

THE way we communicate with each other has changed. The days of  pigeon post has gone. Sitting down and writing a letter is slowly disappearing. FaceTime, text messages and Skype have encouraged us to ditch the pen and paper.

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We now prefer to bash out an email instead of writing a letter – it’s quicker and no dashing to the post office for a stamp! Our email accounts get packed with stuff we ignore (with a bit of spam sneaking in). The types of post we get shoved through our letterboxes are takeaway leaflets, leaflets from estate agents and the dreaded bills that land of the hallway floor with a thud – not much fun coming through our letterboxes.

How about sending some fun and happiness through someones letterbox? Ditch the emails and text messages and show that you’ve been thinking of them. Show them that they’re worth much more than a 30 second text message riddled with predictive text errors. Pick up your pen and send the gift of nostalgia to someone today with one of our ‘Living in the Past’ themed cards.

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Design 1 straplineJust a suggestion … there’s ample cash under the mattress for a modern television.

Yes some people did keep their hard earned cash under the mattress! Keeping cash under the mattress ensured instant, easy access. With saving interest rates scraping the barrel, the mattress maybe a good alternative (just make sure the home security is top-notch).

The four-buttoned TV that weighed a ton! BBC1, BBC2 and ITV were the only available channels back in the day.

Luckily banks are a pretty safe bet for our money these days (even if the interest rates are dire) and we have the luxury of sleek flat screen TV’s – no need for Fort Knox style home security or manually tuning in TV stations!

Greeting suggestion: ‘Do you remember the one we had? Thanks for the gift’.

Design 2 strapline: Is taping top 40 songs off the radio even legal these days?

Sunday evenings was a time when we’d listen to the top 40 and simultaneously hit the play and record button on the cassette player. We’d then have our favourite tunes recorded on a C60 or C90. You’d be labeled a thief if you did this today. Recording off the radio is considered ‘fair use’ so grab those tapes and get taping!

Greeting suggestion: ‘Happy birthday mate. I know you still have a few tapes knocking around that you still listen to.’

Design 3 strapline: I’m not fibbing – on my car I can adjust the wing mirror without winding down the window!

Years ago, wing mirrors had to adjusted manually – we’d wind down the window, twist and pull until we achieved the optimum angle. It was a tad annoying having to this whilst the rain pelted down and soaked your arm! Luckily, with modern cars, wing mirrors can be adjusted from the inside – yippee!

Greeting suggestion: ‘Happy Fathers Day – I think this will jog your memory’.

Design 4 strapline: Yes indeed … a front-loading machine also spins clothes!

The good old twin-tub washing machine. The washer occupied one side of the machine whilst the spinner occupied the other. Manually lift the clothes out of the washer into the spinner (using wooden tongs). The whole process of using one of these twin-tubs would sometimes have us sweating like a marathon runner. Luckily the modern front-loading washing machines washes and spins in one drum. The result … sweat-free washdays!

Greeting suggestion: ‘I’m glad we don’t have to use these anymore! We enjoyed our stay and being free from the usual household chores’.

Design 5 strapline:  Just saying … an electric kettle also boils water to 100 degrees centigrade!

The whistling kettle still has a place in some kitchens around the country. Hearing the whilstling kettle, dashing into the steam engulfed kitchen and turning off the gas burner was usual practice many years ago – we knew the water was well and truly boiled! Today the electric kettle is more likely to be seen in our kitchens – it boils water without whistling … and no sprinting needed to rescue it from the hob!

Buy your Living in the Past cards  using the links below (the links will not take you to any dodgy sites … you’ll stay on the current retrohen site so don’t panic) 

Nostalgic box of 5 cards in nostalgic green here: Living in the Past greeting cards – Box of 5

Nostalgic box of 12 cards in nostalgic turquoise here: Living in the Past Greeting cards – 12 boxed cards

A bit more info

5 x A6 sized boxed cards (one of each design) in nostalgic green.

12 x A6 sized boxed cards (3 x design 2,3,4 and 5) in nostalgic turquoise

The cards are blank inside for your own nostalgic/retro greeting or message.

There’s even an option to buy stamps with the ‘Living in the Past’ cards – you can post straight away without delay (only legwork needed is a stroll to the postbox!)

Final small detail: Currently we can only dispatch to customers in the UK. We are working hard to rectify and shift out of the yester-years into 2018!

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Grange Hill: Here come the girls

 

As Grange Hill celebrates 40 years since first being broadcast, memories of our favourite characters come flooding back. Many hardcore GH fans loved the recent Pointless celebrities special that featured some of the cast members (Todd Carty, Alison Bettles, Paula Ann Bland, Lee MacDonald, Erkan Mustafa, Michelle Gayle, Francesca Martinez and Stuart Organ). Even though the gates of GH have been closed since 2008, the characters, a memorable theme tune and that sausage on a fork is still deeply rooted in our memory bank.

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There were so many memorable females that appeared in GH – here are a few whom are fondly remembered:

1. Trish Yates. Let’s face it, you won’t see Trish with a smile on her face – chances are that you’ll hear her rebuking Tucker. Trish will stand up for herself and she’ll stand up for you when you’re on her side. Troops and allies are what you need to survive at Grange Hill. With her rapid fire verbal defence, you’ll have an ally in Trish Yates.

 

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2. Imelda Davis. I say avoid but it really depends on the career path you want to take. If survival to you means getting good O Level grades, being the teachers pet whilst being a goodie goodie, then avoid Imelda! If you plan to leave Grange Hill with a reputation of dishing out slaps, punches and kicks and pursue a career in the underworld, then Imelda is your girl. Remember … if you make your bed, you must lie in it!

 

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3. Mrs McClusky. She may come across as the soft headteacher but tread with caution. If you get dragged to her office and think you’ll be able to explain the reasons for your wrongdoings, think again! Mrs McClusky will give you that look  – ‘Really? … Yeah right … You’re a liar!’ If you don’t want to spend the majority of the term in detention, then best avoid being marched to McClusky’s office.

 

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4. Janet. She has a caring heart. Janet is persistent – she’s always trying to help outcast Roland. ‘Ro Land … Ro Land … Ro Land …’. Even though Roland has told her to get lost and leave him alone on many occasions, Janet just won’t give up. She’s a good egg who won’t crack after multiple rejections.

 

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5. So many good lookers! A sure way to get  noticed was to spend time with one of the good lookers. Fay Lucas, Clare Scott, Rachel Burns, Fiona Wilson, Cally Donnington, Annette Firman … the list could go on and on.

 

 

Read how to survive a term at Grange Hill in the Great British Blog Book for Nostalgic Geeks:  Nostalgic Geek Shop

 

 

 

 

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Nostalgic lagers and personality

THE adverts may have stuck in our minds. The memory of gulping down one of these nostalgic lagers may fill us with delight or displeasure. Let’s look at five nostalgic lagers and analyse the personalities of the drinkers.

 

Long Life. The ‘Steady Eddie’ of lagers that’s ‘specially brewed for the can’. The consumer Long Life will have a manageable mortgage, a well kept lawn and prudent with money.

Personality type: Marriage material, sound judgement and a chunky pension!

 

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Skol. ‘Horribly good lager’. Lighthearted, fun and down the earth. This middle of the road lager is one you’ll enjoy with a bunch of mates. Curry, banter and Skol are the perfect hat-trick for an enjoyable night out.

Personality type: marriage material with lots of fun but be willing to lend them some cash as tend to be out of pocket. Chilled out, funny and stand up comedian!

 

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Harp. ‘Stay sharp to the bottom of the glass’. This is the ‘need to get away and relax’ lager. The drinker hates being hassled and makes a quick dash to the local when feeling overwhelmed.

Personality type: hates long term commitment, takes each day as it comes, introvert tendencies!

 

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Tuborg. The lager of royalty – a true Danish taste that’s fit for a king. The consumer is attentive to detail and classy. Posh guests, posh nosh and intellectual conversation – Tuborg.

Personality type: Professional in business, smooth when it comes to pleasure. Reads and digests the small print before signing.

 

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Special Brew. The strong stuff strictly for the hardcore! The consumer of the brew appreciates originality and patience. They also enjoy being unrushed in their day to day activities.

Personality type: Confident, bold and straight to the point. Non trash talking and blunt!

 

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Fancy a burger with your lager? Check out the iconic Big Mac here: 50 years of the Big Mac and the battle of the burgers

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Izal toilet tissue and the cubicle of pain

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I WOULD dread it! The thought of heading into the grey chilly cubicle would make me tremble. I’d hold my breath and clench my buttocks hoping to hold out until home-time. It’s 2pm  – only an hour and a half to go but I’m bursting! Can I make it? No … yes … maybe …

Keep clenching, take slow deep breaths, don’t think about it – instead think about making it home and finding relief in the smallest room in the house.

 

It’s no good, I give into the sensation and my hand shoots up requesting permission to head to the Cubicle of Pain.

I enter the cubicle of pain like a boy heading into the headmasters office for six of the best. I enter and my enemy is there innocently hanging from the dispenser roll. I hesitantly lock the door behind me and drop my trousers before carefully placing my bum on the chilly black toilet seat.

Business completed and poo flushed away. I shiver as I know this is when the innocent looking enemy bursts into life and inflicts punishment that will torment me for hours. I reel-off a strip and my hand shakes like I’m receiving an electric shock. I wipe and cringe as the feeling of sandpaper runs on my bum. One strip is not enough and I reel off another strip … coarse grade sandpaper inflicting more pain on my innocent bum!

 

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I exit the cubicle of pain walking like I’ve been shot in the bum. I get back to my desk and sit down gingerly. I can hear my torturer on the roll giggling away in the distance.

Where was the Andrex dog to save my bum?

Dr Izal you are wicked! You showed no remorse – the pain from your torture session lasted for hours! You should be banned from all school toilets and your toilet surgery shut down! Dr Izal – I’m glad I’ll never ever step foot in your cubicle of pain again!

 

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Want some more school memories? Take a trip back to Grange Hill here: Re-opening of Grange Hill?

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Ever Ready batteries – nostalgic power

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IT’S your birthday. You’ve made it to the grand age of 10. The party is in full swing. Your friends are dancing like drunken snakes as the party tunes pump out. The music stops and then it’s onto a game of pass the parcel. Once the parcel is finally unwrapped, it’s time for a break as everyone takes their seats on the table. The table is filled with delights – wobbling jelly, mountains of Ice cream and a bright coloured birthday cake.
After you’ve all stuffed your faces, it’s time for you to blow out the candles on your birthday cake. Close your eyes, make a wish, deep breath and blow!

 

You begin ripping open your pressies. You dig your fingers deep into the folds of the well wrapped presents and send the wrapping paper flying over your shoulder. Your wish has come true as a portable radio is revealed. Radio out the box, aerial up and hit the on switch. Your face is filled with confusion and frustration as nothing happens. You look up and notice your dad holding out a handful of batteries needed for your radio to work. These are no ordinary batteries – these batteries are better than the rest and guaranteed to give you loads of radio listening time. These batteries are Ever Ready batteries.

 

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False economy. That’s what you’ll be getting if you buy cheap batteries. Your radio will be as flat as a tortilla within an hour if you go for an ordinary battery. Don’t be tight, get it right first time by investing in Ever Ready batteries. If the shopkeeper tries to convince you to buy the ‘never heard of’ brand, ignore them and demand Ever Ready.

 

Back in the day, Ever Ready was the battery to get your hands on. These were the days before the battery with the copper coloured top hit the top spot. When you brought a new radio, the chances were that you’d pop a few Ever Ready’s in. A new torch? A chunky Ever Ready would keep things bright.

 

I  have fond memories of popping in a couple of red Ever Ready’s into my portable radio. I remember the feeling reassured knowing that the batteries would not give up the ghost whilst listening to the charts on Sunday evening. The Ever Ready brand has gone but whether you chose Ever Ready blue or red, you were reassured that the heartbeat of your appliance kept beating well beyond expectations.

 

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Ever Ready were used in cameras too but were not at fault for some poor photos. Take a look here:  The camera: rolls of film and rubbish photos

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The Old Routemaster Bus: risky nostalgic experience

THE Number 12 routemaster destined for Dulwich. As it pulled away from the bus stop, I’d run as if being chased by Freddy Krueger to catch it! Health and safety was non existent when it came to catching the bus.

 

 

 

Pole Dancing?

Catching the routemaster was a good way to get the heart racing. As you spotted your target slowly pulling away from the bus stop, you’d burst into a sprint, jump onto the rear platform of the bus and grab the safety pole. Your momentum usually spun you around the safety pole (a bit like pole dancing) until you steadied yourself. You’d then climb the stairs, take a seat and enjoy the ride.

 

 

Getting off

Getting off required a bit more skill and judgement.

Instructions for getting off a Routemaster travelling at < 20 mph:

1. Stand on the rear entry/exit platform with one hand on the safety pole.

2. Ensure that’s you have enough clearance (enough runway space for landing).

3. Leap off as if you’re about to break into a sprint.

4. Once you’ve landed, your heels will be in close proximity to the back of your neck due to your momentum. This is perfectly normal.

5. Once your momentum has steadied, stride normally to your destination.

 

 

Swing no more

The days sprinting, jumping and swinging around the safety pole whilst catching the open-back routemasters are over. The old routemasters have been replaced with modern ones where the door slams in your face! Health and safety now rules. A sprint and jump that ends with a perfectly timed leap of faith – the excitement of the old routemaster.

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Wrestling at 4pm – nostalgic television

IT’S Saturday and the clock is ticking. We’d dash around finishing the chores in order to hit the 4pm slot. It’s the calm before the storm as Dickie Davies introduced an hour of swinging fists, head butt’s and illegal blows. The dominant force of World of Sport, Wrestling, was about to begin.

 

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Emotionally charged

Cheering, booing, chanting, shouting, swearing, fuming – the living room is now brimming with energy as emotions run riot. Inside in ring, the referee attempts to keep order between the good, bad, the pretty and the ugly. The wrestlers entered the ring to a chorus of cheers or boos.  The people’s favourite would stride into the ring to a chorus of cheers whilst the  ring walk of a villain was greeted with boo’s and verbal abuse. Wrestling was about crowd interaction, causing a stir, pulling viewers and filling the halls – skills inside the ring came second.

 

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The female attraction

Wrestling was popular with the women. The wrestling halls were packed with women chanting, cheering and getting wound up. The female wrestler, Klondyke Kate, always got a mouthful of abuse from women in the audience. ‘She needs shooting because she’s dirty!’ was the response of an infuriated lady in the audience when asked about Klondyke Kate. Poor Klondyke Kate was only doing her job by playing the part in the wrestling pantomime.

 

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Heavyweight status & decline

In its heyday, wrestling  would draw in TV audiences of up to 16 million! Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks were crowd pullers and facing each other smashed audience figures. Big Daddy weighed in at 23 Stone (146 kg) whilst Giant Haystacks was a whopping 40 Stone (254 kg).

 

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Funnily enough, the decline of Wrestling on a Saturday afternoon was partly to attributed to the clash between Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks in 1981. After the marathon build up, the bout between the two heavies lasted less than 3 minutes! Along with the aura of predictability and the shift towards a pantomime, ITV pulled the plug in 1988. The Saturday afternoon silence in our living rooms signalled the end to the golden age of wrestling.

 

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10 memorable wrestlers from the golden age

  1. Kendo Nagasaki
  2. Jim Brakes
  3. Mick McManus
  4. Johnny Saint
  5. Mark ‘Rollerball’ Rocco
  6. Pat Roach
  7. Kung Fu
  8. The man from Paris
  9. Catweazle
  10. King Kong Kirk

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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Dial-up internet

TIMES have changed. We expect things now! When it comes to connecting to the internet, we want to connect not just at home, but whilst out and about.

It doesn’t seem long ago that we were using dial-up internet. The memorable dial tone followed by a series of high-pitched screeches!

 

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The price of dial-up internet varied during peak and off-peak times. I remember waiting until the evening to use dial-up – it was cheaper after 6pm. There were also a whole heap of companies fighting for a piece of the dial-up internet pie. BT was still a big player back then (in many cases you had to have a BT phoneline to connect) but companies like Demon, CompuServe and Zen come to mind. Whilst the likes of Demon and Zen are still going, they’re not household names.

 

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The internet was considered a bit of a luxury when dial-up starting screeching. Having an email address and receiving an email was exciting!

Today we’re bombarded with emails that arrives every few minutes (ping ping or vibrate – smartphone technology rules). The thought of only picking up emails from a main computer at home now seems so alien. We are addicted to wanting things now and we’re hooked! Social media has ushered us deep into the internet ocean – Mark Zuckerberg had better have a well-built secret hideout if Facebook stops working for a day!

 

Are dial up internet providers still available today? Yes! Having done a quick search using my fixed priced broadband, Freeola, Nippy internet and Emergency internet still provide a dial-up service!

The odds are that BT, Sky, Virgin and Talk Talk roll off the tongue when asked about an internet provider. The days of dial tones and screeches are not quite finished – dial-up still churns away in the background.

 

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