I was born in 1975. That seems like an awfully long time ago now and that’s probably because it was an awfully long time ago. I’m now 41, going on 42, and spend a lot of time reminiscing about how things were back then.
As well as this blog, I also run Kids Do Retro, which details my retro gaming with my 9 year old. We’ve put the blog on pause for family reasons but we’re both enjoying it and it’s something we’re coming back to but I wanted to mention it as an example of how rooted in the past I can get at times.
I remember someone I know with kids a few years older than mine saying a few years ago he caught his 12 year old son and his friends looking at photos of topless ladies on their iPods while camping out in the garden. It was the laughs of “boobies” that gave them away, as that was apparently what the kids had googled.
Googling things didn’t exist in the 1980’s. I was at university in the mid 90’s when the world wide web hit and unsurprisingly a lot of boys first port of call was to look at pictures of naked ladies online. Back then there were no filters (or at least initially, inline images either; they “spawned in an external viewer”), and you could spot the furtive looking geek in the corner with the monitor tilted away from everyone up to no good. The Greek students were more forthright about it all, shouting to their mates to come and see what they’d found.
But rewinding it half a dozen years, to the mid to late 80’s, there was precious little for a horny teenage boy to dig out in terms of naked ladies.
I was, as well as being rather strange, always one for trying though, so here are a few of the things I remember finding at the time:
The Argos catalogue
The summer 1988 Argos catalogue was a must for a horny 13 year old who was confused about just what sort of effect women were having on his bits and bobs. In amongst the dinner services, grandfather clocks and Thundercats duvet covers, there were also women on sunbeds and in the shower!
Look! That girl in the shower is technically NAKED!
The Sunday Times magazine
My parents have bought the Sunday Times for as long as I can remember, and the magazine was something precious because on occasion, it would have the odd topless photo of some celeb or personality. Don’t forget, back in the late 80’s we were well before men’s magazines like Esquire, let alone Loaded, FHM, Nuts and all of the others that followed. What we had was GQ, which had people like Dennis Hopper on the cover and were SERIOUS.
The internet understandably doesn’t have a huge number of throw away weekly copies of the Sunday Times magazine to browse through but look, Yasmine LeBon, and you can see her knickers!
Spurious computer game adverts
Yes, Sam Fox Strip Poker was a thing but I’m also thinking of Game Over, Vixen and Linda Luscardi in Barbarian. Gratuitous, even if Game On was actually a pen and ink drawing, it had nipples!
My dad’s limited collection of smut
2 copies of the Pirelli Calendar Yearbook, that’s all the smut my dad owned. Paul from school had a dad that had a magazine rack (remember those eh?) in the bottom of his wardrobe that was packed with late 70’s issues of Razzle but my dad had two copies of the Pierelli Calendar Yearbook instead. The photos were so soft focus it was hard to make anything out but even so, mission accomplished- naked women!
Perhaps the hardest thing to explain but during the 70’s and 80’s, top shelf magazines would mysteriously appear in hedges all over the country. They were eye opening for youngsters and confused an awful lot of children like me. Fortunately, verdant bushes were still very much in vogue back then, so apart from copious amounts of boobage, all I really remember is excessive amounts of beard. Never the less, all hedge porn was stored in Daren’s garage as he was an only child and his parents were minted, so his dad didn’t need to do any tinkering with lawnmowers or anything like that, and that meant the garage was virtually abandoned… Hedge porn was definitely a thing as Newthump wrote an article on it. Hedge porn has now gone the way of white dog shit though.
Today’s kids are growing up in a really different world. They won’t be setting the VCR to record old Hammer Horror movies on BBC 2 in the hope that some hapless buxom wench gets her boobies out by mistake. They’ll be fighting the various blocks us responsible adults put on their internet access because now there’s no real difference in the access to topless pictures and hardcore videos of people going at it like like they’ve read a manual on what having sex is but don’t really understand how it’s supposed to work.
But most of all, the Argos catalogue is now redundant…