Being a punk is all about using your imagination … adapting, creating and having slightly subversive ideas that are also quite funny. When the punk idea came along – to make your own cheap outrageous fashion, or form a band when you couldn’t play, 1970s children were ready. We were ready because kids like me were already able to ‘play about’ with our toys, not just play with them.
Before then, toys had been limited – often hand-made because they were expensive in the shops. During the 1970’s materials became cheaper and more affordable in booming economies so there was an increase in moulded plastic toys. Not everything was so modern, though. A traditional ‘girls’ pastime was the cut out paper doll. The cutting would take ages, with the risk of scissor-blisters and (according to my blog-mate) the scissors ‘overheating’ and needing to rest*, so there was a lot of time to discuss the outfits and then try on different combinations. But first you had to stick the paper figure to an old cereal box and cut it out. Of course, the plucky ones amongst us would alter the clothes with felt tips or make their own, edgier versions.
Grandmas were always urging you to ‘do a nice jigsaw’. But that sort of closed-solution toy didn’t appeal. Instead, you could take your etch-a-sketch to Grandma’s house and she’d coo ‘isn’t it marvellous!’ the way that they do now over anything on a mobile phone.
The limitations of etch-a-sketch’s barely 2-D world meant that you had to concentrate and accept fairly rubbish versions of what you were trying to do. Pure punk!
Children nowadays have a variety of dress-up costumes to wear, but a desirable toy in the 1970s was a disguise kit. Fuelled by certain children’s stories, the idea of disguising yourself as an old man with a beard, or someone with a big scar across their face seemed very appealing.
Brought up in a non-girly home, the hairdressing toys never appealed to me. The Girl’s World range of make up and styling was supposed to generate the idea of you spending hours making up and pampering yourself. Fuck that! The only friend I knew with a Super Girl’s World got into trouble for creating a wild look that included cutting off most of the hair. All ready for punk!
- We are not sure that the science holds out on scissors overheating. A three minute trial was conducted but proved inconclusive.