Posts tagged ‘1982’


The maternity ward of the early 1980s was a very different place

24.06.2018


Virginia McMillan/Creative Commons

Now the PM and her partner, Clarke Gayford, have shown off their daughter to the world (video at the end of this post), it reminded me of my own experiences in the maternity ward many years ago.
   I’m not a parent at the time of writing: I’m talking about the 1980s when I visited Wellington Women’s Hospital (as it then was), to wait for my Mum, a postnatal midwife, to finish work.
   The 1980s don’t seem that long ago to me, and all these memories are still very clear, but when you relay the story, you realize decades have passed.
   Mum shifted to WWH in 1980, when it first opened, and I still recall having a preview tour of the building before it opened. New carpets, new fixtures. Hand-held buzzers hooked up to the wall where you could call for a nurse—how modern! The 1980s had well and truly arrived, and how lucky of those patients, because this place was like a hotel. We really did think it was that flash in 1980.
   And it was a nice place to visit. I finished school at St Mark’s at 2.45 p.m. and the bus would usually get to the hospital by around 3 p.m. There was a long walk to the building at the back, taking an internal route, and walking through a basement tunnel with painted stripes—it felt like a science-fiction movie. I’d get to Ward 15 and I was expected to wait in the TV room.
   The TV room was next to the ‘day room’, which really meant the smoking room, where new Mums could pop in and have a fag. Every now and then, you’d get a naughty new mother who’d take an ashtray into the TV room, where I’d be waiting, but we are talking the early 1980s, and the term secondhand smoke had not entered the vernacular.
   Of course, we youngsters weren’t allowed to change the channel if adults were watching. Unfortunately, in the days of two state-run channels, most new mothers would watch Prisoner, and I don’t mean The Prisoner, with Patrick McGoohan. I meant the Australian soap opera Prisoner, set in a women’s prison, and known to British readers as Prisoner: Cell Block H. I could never comprehend why anyone would watch the sheer misery of the storylines about a women’s prison, but I suppose in the early 1980s, these ladies were thinking: ‘No matter how tough things are for me, at least I’m not in Wentworth.’ I would wait patiently for 3.30 p.m. to tick by, and Lynne Hamilton singing ‘On the Inside’ (itself a depressing, haunting theme tune) and the Grundy logo were signs that relief was coming. However, to this day, I still know this blasted song, and can play it by ear on a piano. Without checking online:

On the inside the roses grow,
They don’t mind the stony ground.
But the roses there are prisoners, too,
When morning comes around.

   Only once do I remember a Mum offering me control of the TV during the Prisoner hour to watch whatever channel I wanted, and of course, that meant the children’s programming, eventually an after-school show imaginatively titled After School, hosted by a cheerful Te Reo-speaking man called Olly Ohlson.
   Mum would be another 15 to 30 minutes, so my time in front of the telly was fairly limited. We’d walk home to Newtown in those days, and my memory of that journey home was that it was often sunny. Of course, that couldn’t have been the case, as I have equally strong memories of below-zero temperatures on the radio in the morning in 1981, and very grey weather watching Springbok tour marches (including fights between protesters and police officers) outside my window growing up. Those may or may not be the subject of another blog entry, as I’m not traditionally one to post childhood reminiscences on this blog.

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Posted in New Zealand, TV, Wellington | No Comments »


Cortina, outdoors

31.03.2011

I was peering through Ford’s archive as it celebrates 100 years in Great Britain. This brought back a few memories: the Araldite glue campaign. Right next to it is an outdoor ad for the 1982 Cortina—Taunus 80 to those outside the Empah.

Ford Cortina Araldite ad

   The Araldite ad showed how commonplace the Cortina had become. And back in the early 1980s, Ford seemed untouchable: British Leyland—Austin Rover by this point—didn’t have much decent product apart from the Metro, SD1 and a few others; Vauxhall had just launched its new front-wheel-drive Cavalier (Opel Ascona C) but it hadn’t achieved sales’ supremacy yet.
   From memory, the other ads included a second Cortina (‘The tension builds’, I believe) and the cars torn off (‘How did we pull it off?’).
   There have been some creative outdoor campaigns over the years, but, in my mind, this still ranks as one of the best of the 20th century.
   And I can’t think of any of late that’s had quite the same effect, though a combined Volkswagen–insurance one here in New Zealand comes close creatively. You think it’s a New Beetle ad till the car on the creative gets progressively wrecked each week. The last one advertises the insurance company. Down side: I have no recollection as to which insurance company it was, which says something about the failure of its branding, but have an inkling it was AA Insurance.

PS.: And that was the 250th post done on this blog with WordPress, after I replaced the old Blogger system in January 2010.—JY

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Posted in branding, business, cars, culture, marketing, New Zealand, UK | 2 Comments »


A reminder to the British Government: Hong Kong Chinese have died for you

16.01.2010

Remember the issue I had last year with getting a new Permanent Identity Card for Hong Kong and finding that the British Government—which I have accused of apartheid over the situation surrounding British Overseas Nationals—would not do its job via the Foreign & Commonwealth Office?
   No, it hasn’t been solved, but I thought it might be rather nice to remind the FCO that, whenever Britain needed help, we Hong Kong Chinese were there. And we were prepared to die in the name of HM the Queen:

Falkland Islands roll of honour

   Most Britons I have spoken to agree: a British subject is a British subject is a British subject.
   If only we had a celebrity like Joanna Lumley, who campaigned on behalf of those brave and loyal Gurkhas.
   Never had this problem when John Major’s Tories were in power.

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Posted in Hong Kong, politics, UK | 3 Comments »