The teenage search for sophistication is recalled in this bittersweet film about the people we were and the luxury items we thought would give us the keys to the kingdom.
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This film was made originally about three years ago.
It's a film with none of the usual experts or statistics in it.
It's simply an attempt to set down, without comment,
the lives and opinions of five teenagers.
I suppose, as a teenager, you were looking for sophistication,
but you didn't know that that's what you were looking for.
They've all got at least one thing in common. They're all on threshold,
they're all about to struggle through into adult life.
My sort of teenage aspiration was to be...chic.
I wanted to be everything that I wasn't, really.
-Lady Lewisham, what do you think about our teenagers?
This is us, see? We're today.
Definitely had aspirations to be sophisticated,
but always felt that I fell somewhat short of the mark.
I think you were looking for a place in the world, in a way.
"Where do I belong? Where do I fit in here?"
"And I'm clearly not a proper adult and I'm not a child any more."
Probably when he were a lad, to have a quiff and short at the sides
and bloody big drapes and everything and velvet collar,
that were probably outrageous then.
I think you were this innocent being led into this world, primarily by the media and advertising.
-Pint of Babycham.
Peter Stuyvesant fags were exotic.
-The bottle of Blue Nun.
-Ferrero Rocher, is it a terrible advert?
I was influenced by the Gold Blend couple.
-I've run out of coffee.
And it was the lifestyle that you wanted,
but it isn't the lifestyle that I got.
It's that journey into investigating...
..that made it so painful, in a way.
You've only got to look and listen
to be quite sure that all these young people have got hep.
They're most definitely with it.
This is a high-class joint, but everywhere
the cats have their own little places
where they live the gospel that this is the age of the teenager.
Being a teenager is something I think you're only aware of afterwards.
But there wasn't much of a demand made on you.
It was kind of a licence to discover.
# Why don't they understand? #
And of course the world we lived in was still relatively innocent.
My ambition in life is to be famous,
-but I'm not quite sure.
-Well, my ambition is to be rich.
if you've got money, you got everything, haven't you?
As a teenager, I suppose you were examining nearly everything you did.
You were thinking, "Well, OK, how am I going to look? What am I going to wear?
"How am I presenting myself to the world?"
And that's the time, probably when you're the teenager, when it's the strongest.
Teenagers, guys and dolls, can be trained in a few weeks to earn £8 or £10 a week.
The shops know it, so every town has a store with teenage departments, thriving on giving
the young people the fashions they demand, distinctive teenage fashions.
Teenagers are incredibly important as a market, because of their influence,
because of the fact that they're generally leading-edge,
they adopt much earlier, they adopt brands earlier,
and interestingly, on the whole, they can find a fair bit of disposable income off their parents.
So the pester power and the desire to purchase comes at that age.
The gramophone industry cashes in on the well-off teenagers to some tune.
80% of the disc output is bought by the youngsters.
That's 50 million records a year in Britain alone.
All industry knows that to please the teenagers is the golden way to big dividends.
When the coffee houses suddenly appeared,
I mean, this was like from Mars, you know, to the likes of me.
That was a place to go when you were young, not to the pub.
You'd meet in coffee houses with these wonderfully noisy machines
that go, "Pch-ch-ch..."
It would make a hell of a din.
And to go out just with another friend, a young person, that was also quite sophisticated, because
you really felt you'd arrived, you were a proper adult by then.
And to go into a coffee house, we did feel that, you know, we were now living,
this was living.
It was full of young people, and so, you know, you felt you were in
an adult world but there weren't any fuddy-duddies around.
A square in the wrong hole is just not dug, even by the jukebox.
I remember another one called the Macabre.
The tables were supposed to be coffins, all black, and it was very dark inside.
Oh, look, they have the Grave, the Dead March and the Danse Macabre.
Oh, that sounds ever so nice.
And it would take about three hours to get through one cup of coffee, because there was nowhere else to go.
We'd go, and we'd sit there with a black coffee in a clear cup.
And we'd sit with it, and we'd pose with it. The coffee was the star.
I'm not sure if I was consciously aiming
for sophistication, but looking back,
that was absolutely the dream,
not to feel like a teenager,
but to feel like you were one of the people like the Gold Blend woman,
who was the absolute icon of sophistication.
She always had the most amazing earrings,
and her hair was always perfect, and you wanted
to be her, and everything she said, she sort of did that
for everything she said.
She couldn't say anything without doing that, and nor could he,
and there was about eight meanings to what they said,
and the main meaning was, "Make me coffee."
If this were a restaurant, they'd be putting chairs on tables.
And I'd be asking you back to my place for coffee.
But of course, I wouldn't accept.
-I could be persuaded.
-There was a level of sophistication around
that kind of whole '80s look of a couple getting together, the dinner parties, the friends,
and frankly the premium coffee playing a key role
in that relationship that made it just feel very real in that era.
And I think we've all got to remember that at the time, you know, there used to the Dallas parties.
People used to go to people's houses, and every time Sue Ellen had a drink,
so did you, that was part of the game.
God, they were the world's most boring couple, weren't they?
If you think about it, the only thing they could speak to each other about was coffee.
-Pity I have to leave.
I'm on the first flight to Milan in the morning.
They don't serve Gold Blend in Milan.
I guess it was successful to its target audience, which was people
who were actually buying coffee, but I was 13, I didn't like coffee.
But even now, it gives me a bit of a shiver of,
"Oh, Gold Blend, that's quite sophisticated."
At the end of the day, the Gold Blend couple is about a couple meeting,
getting together, having a romance and the whole,
"Will they? Won't they?"
Which got on every national newspaper.
For my GCSE French, we had to learn the Gold Blend adverts in French.
We had to translate them and learn them in French
and perform them to the parents, who must have been a bit bemused,
standing in the language lab as we were all there with massive hair
doing, "Je voudrais Gold Blend."
I forgot to say, I'll be in New York.
I hope you remembered to take some Gold Blend with you.
The BT couple are the only sort of modern equivalent that has come close to it,
but if you look at them, their lives are really quite mundane.
The BT couple also suffer from the fact that there are 400 channels, if you include all the Sky channels.
In the Gold Blend couple day,
there were probably four channels, and you always got to see it.
It became like a soap opera in the truest sense of one,
which you could follow week after week and month after month.
Disappointing, isn't it?
No teenagers are going to be doing those BT adverts as part of their GCSE French.
I don't know why I let you do that.
-Because I s...
-You serve better coffee.
Besides...I love you.
One was influenced by everything, really, because the thing about being
a teenager is that you spend most of your time feeling uncomfortable,
not happy in your skin.
Whoever you were wasn't who you wanted to be,
so, er...if you saw an advert where the guy was on top of everything,
you emulated him, you acted that out.
Being a teenager was about fulfilling the fantasies one had about what it would be like to be grown-up.
There was always those people who were slightly older who seemed
to have it down, who seemed to be in control,
because that's what I wanted, I wanted to be in control.
Stuff was going on that really one just couldn't handle.
One's body was exploding all the time,
because it kept betraying you in quite difficult ways.
# All I want my body
# All I want my body
# All I want my body... #
I wish I was two inches small and had a smaller mouth.
I wish I could change my whole appearance so people wouldn't say I look like my sister.
I wish my hair didn't grow so quick, because then I wouldn't have to go and get it cut all the time.
If I could change my appearance, I'd make myself four inches taller,
my top lip smaller and my thighs thinner.
There's that moment when you think, "Oh, I could...
"Yeah, I could appear older,
"I want to appear older than everybody else.
"I want to seem worldly wise."
You're kind of playing with identities.
I remember I went through a phase of carrying a newspaper under my arm,
because I wanted to give off this slightly intellectual look.
I know adults do that now with the Wall Street Journal and the FT, because they want to give off
a certain image, but I used to do it with the Wolverhampton Ad News,
which was this free newspaper. And I'd walk around,
I wanted people to think I was someone who read newspapers.
Occasionally, I'd buy a copy of GQ or Esquire or something, thinking,
"Yeah, well, it's about time I started just changing the way
"I did things. So what do I need to do?
"I need to buy some different pants, and it says here I need to get
"quite an expensive thing to cut my nails with. I must do that."
So you're looking at... You know, it's ludicrous.
If you're a sort of podgy boy at school in Rutland,
looking at this thing going,
"So I need to lose quite a lot of weight and work out a lot,
"and then I could maybe rent a house with a swimming pool,
"and then I would definitely use some sort of Davidoff aftershave.
"If I've shaved. I'll use it without shaving.
"I don't care, I'm still a maverick. I'm young enough."
You'll become yourself.
You'll find success.
Old Spice. The classic fragrance.
The mark of a man.
Toiletries for men were something new after the war
in the '50s and particularly in the '60s,
and the '70s really brought that fulfilment together.
There was clearly that era which said, actually,
it's got to be hyper-masculine and an aspirational male audience,
because, obviously, you want no connotation of any femininity
in smelling nice or doing any kind of grooming at all.
And I think it's quite interesting that actually people believed it.
I mean, the sales in those days,
mainly at Christmas, I think there was
a lot of Christmas activity, you know, buy your double pack
of Old Spice for the Christmas stocking.
And that was kind of how it was bought. It was not bought as a regular purchase.
His antiperspirant? New Brut 33.
The one that I remember from my youth was, "Splash it all over!" Yeah?
Brut! Masculine, manly!
Men who get roughed up for a living stay well-groomed with new Brut 33,
Faberge's new range of toiletries, all with that great smell of Brut.
It was the kind of Sweeney of aftershaves.
You're so butch, I mean you've got Henry Cooper,
and who was that footballer with the poodle haircut?
Kevin Keegan! You see, obviously about as masculine as you could get.
And it came with this rather phallic bottle, I seem to remember,
which suggests to you that if you wear it,
the woman will look at you and see also a phallic symbol
and, therefore, she's yours.
And I mean, male grooming is a serious old area, especially if you're on the pull.
I mean, clearly, it's a key part of your upbringing, where you look for the brands that you aspire to.
Nothing beats a good workout, Henry.
And nothing beats the great smell of Brut.
Oh, yeah! Splash it on all over, Henry.
Here, how would you like to be in a Brut commercial?
Cor, fame at last!
Brut 33 Splash-on -
for the body beautiful.
All the young boys always smelt of Brut,
and even now, if I smelt it now,
it would take me back straightaway to discos and things, you know.
The sophistication in marketing has changed dramatically.
If you go back and you watch a lot of the advertising from the '80s,
what you will find is it's kind of quite macho.
It does live in a world of, you know, "All because the lady loves Milk Tray."
I mean, this guy who acts like James Bond and ends up on a boat and puts
down the Milk Tray, and you never see the woman, you just see her hand.
You know, through to Denim and some of the aftershave advertising,
which is all because the man doesn't have to try too hard.
What does that mean? The woman has to?
A big disaster I made was to buy...
When a woman puts Denim on her man...
It aroused so many complaints.
that the more she puts on...
..the more life...takes off.
For men who don't have to try too hard.
Of all the things I've done in my life, that is the thing
I felt was most strongly complained about by the people around me, which is the horrendous smell.
Being a teenager, there was this battle going on with, you know,
you were kind of grubby and dirty,
but then you'd get round it, rather than by washing,
by spraying a load of stuff all over you.
That was the thing, this lethal combination
of dried sweat and Blue Stratos deodorant.
Taking poor girls out, the cocktail of stuff must have been...
You were fermenting.
I used to really lay it on.
You could smell me coming from about three streets away,
you know, and when you left, you left this after smell.
I mean, you could kind of follow it, you know, and people
could dip into it and think, "Oh, he's just been here, I see."
The first perfume I would sort of have got for myself
would have been Charlie.
Every single girl at school, I was at a girls' school,
we all used to sing the Charlie ad, which I'm sure,
looking back, was directed at 13 and 14-year-old girls,
because who else is going to buy that stuff?
# There's a fragrance...
# That's here today And they call it Charlie
# A different fragrance that thinks your way
# And they call it Charlie... #
And that was the first perfume which...
There's a bit of rebellion here,
because it was something your mum wouldn't have known about,
couldn't relate to a perfume called Charlie, that's a boy's name.
And I remember the girl who was in the advert, a very pretty blonde girl,
and she wore trousers, which was quite unusual,
because most adverts for perfume, the girl always had nice dresses on.
And I remember the thing that stands out about that advert
is the way she is walking with a long stride,
so she looked like a girl who was going places.
And that must have had some sort of effect on me,
because I rushed into our local House of Fraser and bought a bottle.
I think often brands do a really good job
of showing an aspirational lifestyle you'd like to have and, therefore,
you want to become part of it. And by becoming part of it,
even if it's not directly targeted to you and you're slightly young,
you'll probably remember it enough to go, "That's the one for me."
You're just buying into the product, aren't you?
You might not be able to afford all the things that she had,
but by spraying a bit of the perfume on,
you've just got a little bit of it, haven't you?
In a man's world,
a woman needs a lovely flawless complexion,
needs Camay - for the skin men can't ignore.
Feel it in the lather, creamy smooth,
Parisian perfume worth nine guineas an ounce.
Oh, Camay, you'd think would make you...
Well, it was bound to, because there were all these glamorous women applying it to their skin
and looking brilliant, so if you were to buy it,
you hopefully would end up looking the same as they did.
This could be you when you care for your skin
with the world's most luxurious beauty soap.
It had a little song and it said,
"You'll be a little lovelier each day, with fabulous pink Camay."
They brought out the "pink".
Careful! That's very valuable.
It's real porcelain, isn't it? So smooth and delicate. It's beautiful.
Like...like your complexion.
-Oh. Do you think so?
It must be Camay, with moisturising cream.
For lather so creamy, you'd think it came from a jar.
When you saw women on adverts who were sort of doing that into the mirror.
I remember actually pretending that there was a camera
in the mirror, and sort of saying -
because it was all Body Shop stuff I would use, cucumber cleansing milk -
"So with this cucumber cleansing milk I'd just sort of rub it on my cheeks
"and get a lather up," and because you felt like
you couldn't just wash your face, because women in adverts didn't
just wash their faces, they went like that, and then got a lather on their cheeks.
They didn't do their T-zone. It was just on the nice bit of their cheeks, that were all smooth.
Camay will take your skin out of the shadows and bring your loveliness to life.
Just pretending you were in an advert all the time.
It was so important to feel like you were in an advert.
Yeah. I'd forgotten about that.
I like watching the adverts because they're a form of entertainment in themselves.
I know that they are a con and a lot of the adverts have got nothing
to do with what they're selling, but I like watching them.
Advertising was annoyingly influential.
Adverts mean a way of life to me, because the whole world seems to be
run by adverts, and advertising is a big business in the world today.
And particularly as a teenager in the '70s,
when that medium of television hadn't been around that long.
I mean, I can remember being at school, and somebody saying to you,
"Have you got BBC Two?"
You know, just to have two BBC channels was quite sophisticated.
So it brought with it,
TV advertising came with a kind of kudos already built in.
So it was already quite sophisticated to some extent to have
seen an advert on television and be able to talk about it.
Ask any woman why she selects Imperial Leather
and she'll tell you it costs a little more, but it lasts so much longer.
I was led very much by my mother in this, because she bought this
thing, I think it was Cussons Imperial Leather.
And I think what was impressive about this is it had a little label on it, so that instead of having
soap that stuck to the side of the bath when it got wet,
this was so sophisticated that you - I remember she showed me,
look, you put it down like that,
and with the label thing on it, and then it doesn't stick.
And I thought that's just fantastic.
And the great thing about that brand is the way the branding survives
even though you keep on using it.
I remember when I was young, I had very strict parents.
I was allowed to do so very little.
When Diane got to early teenage, I suddenly remembered my own youth,
and how strict my parents were, and how I used to come in late at night,
and rub off my make-up,
rather than let my mother see it, which was entirely wrong.
Teenagers are a relatively new thing anyway.
There was a time when you just went from being a kid to being at work.
My father went to work at 12.
My mother went to work at 14.
He wasn't a teenager.
He was a child and then he was a grown-up.
My older siblings kind of left school and went to work, and so I was...
in this neither here nor there land where you were given the luxury of exploring a bit.
You know, pushing the envelope of leaving childhood and becoming an independent adult.
So I guess it was... It was like a big playground,
and the world was something you could explore.
We were set going with the most extraordinary wind of optimism.
# Well I told you once and I told you twice... #
I think the absolute classic difference between somewhere round my generation
is that for previous generations, being sophisticated was being more like your parents.
But for us being sophisticated was being completely different from our parents.
I've met very many teenagers up and down the country
when I have been travelling around,
and I've been always particularly struck by their enthusiasm about everything, by their new ideas.
After all, one must remember the extraordinary things that
ones parents and grandparents did,
all their latest crazes, which seem to us just as extraordinary now.
I think that most teenagers,
you either want to make an entrance or you want to absolutely disappear.
And you'd be caught between those two things, I think.
But I think, as a teenager, what I wanted more than anything was to be noticed.
There was an advert that said you were never alone with a Strand,
and in a way, it's true. You weren't.
You had a friend, and the friend was the cigarette, and the cigarette
was again a sign of maturity.
I smoked because one had to.
Again, it was about image.
You're never alone with a Strand.
The cigarette of the moment.
Strand, the new tipped cigarette.
Wonderful value at three and tuppence for 20.
Everyone was smoking in those days.
You'd go to party and it was kind of fog.
We didn't know the dangers of smoke.
We never even thought about it. Smoking was just to look grown-up.
I didn't even like the taste very much.
But if you had a cigarette, you looked like a woman,
you looked like a movie star for five minutes.
Now you take the two cigarettes...
# Da-da-da, de-da-dum... #
We can't go on meeting like this.
My dear, it was perfect!
I seem to remember on certain talk shows that were around then, that
actors and actresses would come on talk shows, smoking away, puffing away.
That was seen as the norm and you had to be one of the gang.
I didn't really like it. I just did it to fit in.
The staff of the school believe that if you blindly
forbid children to do something, then they will certainly revolt.
The answer is to allow them to find out for themselves whether these conventions are good or bad.
Besides which, smoking calms the nerves.
Smoking seemed very sophisticated.
I was at a boarding school, so like a couple of you
would pull some pounds together and think, "We'll go and get some cigarettes."
All round Burgess Hill School are woods and extensive grounds.
Here, without danger or worry to anyone, the youngsters run and play.
You'd go and try and hide in yet another bush somewhere, light cigarettes and then
take two or three drags, and your head is filled with the most heaviest, blackest smoke,
and you'd spend the rest of the afternoon vomiting on a playing field,
or desperately waiting for the fog to clear.
Then, of course, there are those idyllic scenes of people at leisure
we get in all those film advertisements for drink or for cigarettes.
Capture spring's exciting freshness in Consulate.
The cool cigarette.
The sort of logo was cool as a mountain stream, and you felt,
"Oh, this is, you know, this is great!" If you're going to have
something that's so sophisticated you feel as if you're in perhaps the Alps, or something.
I think the taste was eucalyptus. It was quite vile actually.
Menthol cigarettes. Cool. Clear.
Fresh as a mountain stream.
I think now, infinitely less aspirational is people
start to look at smoking as being pretty horrible, does kill you.
In the days of the Strand, no-one really knew if it killed you and you didn't care.
You wanted to look cool. Looking cool was more important,
hence why everyone smoked Sobranie Cocktail.
Sobranies were incredibly sophisticated.
That do I remember.
So whoever marketed them did manage to make us think, "Ooh..."
Even though men with moustaches were smoking them, you definitely
thought that was quite hip, and when they brought out the coloured ones,
that was just a work of genius.
Sobranie Cocktail, which was the most ridiculous
multi-coloured cigarette ever, that cost a ridiculous amount of money.
You had a pink one and a green one.
It was endlessly entertaining deciding which one you were going to choose.
Sobranie was hilarious, because it was one of those slightly odd brands.
They did Sobranie Black and Sobranie Cocktail.
Cocktail were the multi-coloured ones and they had a gold tip.
I mean, it really was the ultimate kind of show off cigarette!
I went to the Millets annual dinner dance, which was a fantastic event.
You've got to imagine a country of Saturday boys and area managers
doing their best to dress up and dancing to the Ray McVay Orchestra.
I thought, "I'm going to be sophisticated for this,"
so I had what passed for a dinner suit and I bought a box of Sobranie Black Russian fags - pure class.
Blew it, though, as I only had to a box of matches with me,
so the effect was somewhat deleted, but...
I thought that was sophisticated. But you'd never do it
on a day-to-day basis, because you'd just look iffy, wouldn't you?
But with a DJ on - class.
That's when you're most susceptible to advertising.
Things that you think, "This is perfect.
"This will make me happy.
"I must like it, or I must appear to like it.
"I mustn't mention to people that actually this is disgusting."
I didn't smoke, actually.
I was one of the few people that didn't actually go along with the smoking thing.
I must have somehow had the wherewithal to realise
it wasn't a very good idea to create a habit.
"They're not very good for you. Oh, I'll have some of them."
But I would do loads of other things that weren't good for you like try and drink too much.
Alcohol of any sort, I suppose, you'd find terribly sophisticated.
By the time you've got into your 30s, you've already known two or three people whose lives
or careers have already been wrecked by the stuff.
# Ever and ever For ever and ever
# You'll be the one... #
As a teenager there was this sense that the drunker you got, the more sophisticated you got.
If you spend a lot of time in many bars in the City, you realise some people carry that attitude
for the whole of their trading career.
-Would you like a drink?
-What would you like?
-Bacardi and Coke, please.
-Ice and lemon?
-Have you got gin?
-Gin and tonic?
-Ice and lemon?
Great. Lawrence, would you like to get the drinks, please?
Buying a Bacardi and Coke,
that was the drink, because that was pure sophistication. The bat,
conjures up images of the Caribbean,
you can knock it back fairly quickly,
you don't mind the taste with Coke in it and it did say class to me.
As a word, what is Bacardi? I don't know. But that was really good.
Just drinking a litre of cider from a plastic bottle and things like that, and it's a Saturday afternoon
and you're sitting under a hedge and every five or six seconds just sticking your head out to see
if anyone's noticed that you're there, and yet deep down there's part of you thinking,
"Yeah, this is pretty grown-up.
"Just us and the White Lightning, the sound of the rain."
The first drink I ever had was a Babycham
in one of those shallow glasses
with a cherry on top.
Oh, gosh, to take that glass
in your hand, you know, and hold it by the stem.
It felt so grown-up.
Babycham was like the first alcopops.
It was the first one ever to sit in that market of very young drinkers,
didn't have a high alcohol content,
was quite fun and used what was in essence a Bambi character in cartoon.
We'd never, ever, ever be allowed to do that again.
There's a world of magic in a glass of Babycham.
A world of magic.
And it almost became too popular.
So by the time that we get through to the '70s
and particularly the '80s,
it had lost the momentum because it was associated with being a bit old-fashioned.
What would you like to drink, darling?
Oh, I'd love a Babycham.
I think the rebranding of Babycham and trying to appeal to men as well
as women was probably the moment with the death knell in the brand.
I think then you kind of go, "My God, you really are struggling."
Hey, I'd love a Babycham.
Babycham. I want one.
The last throw of the dice - and I can imagine sitting in the room
at the time - was people going, "Hey, let's go for men as well.
"Why wouldn't we? We might be able to double the sales because there'll be more people involved."
And men went, "I'm not drinking that. I'd be an idiot."
I just would not have a Babycham.
That would mean your mates would leave you at the bar.
That's just not... No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
No, no, no, no.
My mother, she certainly had an eye for sophistication in booze.
She'd have anything coloured in a bottle because obviously it was more sophisticated.
It wasn't that kind of grey or brown or beige
and it was different for that reason.
How else can you explain Advocaat?
It's a bit like getting drunk on custard.
It was absolutely revolting.
Whose idea was it to make alcohol with egg? Ohh!
But when I had the money, I bought it. I bought Advocaat.
Tried it and then I realised no.
-Did you bring that, Sue?
-Is it for us?
Oh, thank you, Sue.
Oh, it's nothing very special, I'm afraid.
Oh, isn't that kind, Ange?
-Oh, lovely, because Laurence likes a drop of wine, actually, yeah.
Oh, fantastic, it's Beaujolais.
Lovely. I won't be a sec. I'll just pop it in the fridge, OK?
Wine was difficult because...
..it asked for a degree of knowledge that really I didn't have
at the time, so you stuck with things that looked
possibly good and you tended to go by the label.
And, you know, if it was relatively cheap,
you know, one was a student.
Most people probably didn't know which wine to buy, so if you didn't know whether it was going to be
white or whether it was going to be red, it was safe to buy Mateus Rose.
Run away home tonight with Mateus,
a rose wine that's like a trip to Portugal.
Portugal. Climb the cobbled streets of yesterday in Obidos,
lunch in the shade of medieval walls on native cheese and wine, Mateus Rose.
# Hey, hey, hey Mateus Rose. #
Bring it on home.
The whole purpose to drink Mateus Rose was purely to get the bottle,
so you could make a lamp out of the bottle.
So it was a nice thing to have
in the corner of the room, I guess, in the '70s.
If you wanted to be a bit more sophisticated,
it would definitely be Cinzano and lemonade, I think.
-Ah, buona sera.
-Good evening, sir.
-What can I get you?
-Do you have the Cinzano of some sort, por favor?
Yes, sir. There is Cinzano Rosso, Secco, Bianco and new Rose.
Oh, the complete set. Somebody must have told you I was coming.
I'll have a Cinzano Bianco.
The Cinzano ads, I think, had two parts.
One was obviously Joan Collins, very glamorous, and Leonard Rossiter was slightly chaotic.
And Martin did a lot of that contradicting people.
So you had the slight idiot playing off someone who was very sophisticated.
-Melissa, darling. You're early. Would you like a Cinzano?
No, thank you, I've just had one.
Theirs was one of the most famous because, of course,
whatever happened, he sort of won.
I just ordered our traditional drink, Cinzano Bianco.
Oh, a fusion of superb Italian wines and aromatic herbs.
One of our most refined European customs. Aah!
I think they like you, Marisa.
My mum's a big fan of Cinzano, although she says "Sin-zano".
My mum's quite posh, but if she was here now,
she would absolutely swear that it is "Sin-zano".
One of the highlights for me about exoticism and international travel
was seeing Leonard Rossiter, who was a huge star at the time,
and Joan Collins, obviously a glamorous star.
Not only were they drinking this particular drink, they were on a plane. Oh, my God!
Your Cinzano Bianco, Senora.
-Ah, yes. Gracias.
-No, no, no, mine was a Cinzano as well.
Some of that humour did sort of prick the pomposity
of the era and I think that was quite a clever way of doing it.
I'm being boring. Oh, sorry.
Getting your head down, sweetie? Jolly good idea.
You know, if you were on a plane - this is before easyJet.
People don't go on planes just to fly somewhere.
God, that's really decadent.
Before the war, of course, there was relatively no foreign travel for most of us.
It was only in the '50s that that tantalising new world of Europe
actually really came on to the scene.
And certainly then by the '60s, the package holiday industry was really picking up.
# We can fly
# We can fly... #
For ordinary people, it's not only more sensible,
it's more fun to make their plans in the depths of the English winter.
That's what this family are doing with their maps and...their arguments, of course.
The world was, from our point of view,
a much bigger world than it had been for our parents.
Mind you, it still was quite a big deal if you phoned up Newbury.
Already they are wondering in a bright dream of sunshine and strange cities.
But how, where?
Ship to this point, rail to that, coach up to here, fly there.
I went on a French exchange.
Unbelievably...extraordinary, glamorous thing to do.
A day trip to France was a big life event.
Mind you, where I grew up, going to Suffolk was a big trip.
So anything that was to France or beyond was exotic and, therefore, exotic had a higher value.
In those days, both the French and the Greek lavatory
were unbelievably appalling.
But the sophisticated thing was just to take them in your stride,
not make a fuss about it, darling.
That would reveal you as a sort of unsophisticated non-traveller.
So you just took them.
It's how you did these things that mattered.
As if you'd always had holes in the ground.
Once people got to Europe, they suddenly discovered all kinds of exciting things. Spaghetti?
The only spaghetti one had encountered had been in Heinz spaghetti loops in a tomato sauce.
This was very puzzling. Why would slimy worms be a national dish?
Now we're in the Common Market, we thought we ought to learn how to eat the stuff, so Glyn went
-onto the streets with plates of spaghetti.
-That's very good.
Comes out to a yard!
Whether you ate it with a knife and fork, or whether you ate it with
a spoon and fork or, if you were really good,
you just ate it with a fork.
-No, I don't...
It's gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.
There we are. That's ready.
-I thought you were going to eat it.
-No, I don't eat things like that
that's been out in the street with all the dirt.
There we were fiddling around,
trying to scoop it up onto forks and things, terribly ham-fisted.
Where do you put this bit or that bit?
And there was, again, that kind of splashing that came from it.
Get someone who likes spaghetti. There must be a Spanish bloke coming along.
This girl cooked spaghetti bolognese with mushrooms for us and at the time
I thought, "Well, this is really sophisticated.
"She's not breaking the spaghetti into tiny bits. She's putting in
"the whole, long things, letting the hot water do its work
"and letting it melt into the pan."
But looking back, it wasn't that sophisticated because what she used
was a tin of Campbell's condensed soup for the tomato.
There goes the spaghetti bolognese. That cooker drives me mad!
It's not the cooker needs changing.
It's the cook.
Hey, come on.
We'd be better off at a Berni.
For a great steak at a fair price,
a good choice of fish and poultry dishes,
a friendly wine list and even friendlier service, you're better off at a Berni Steak House.
-I might ruin the dinner every night.
-I thought you did.
The first time I went to a restaurant, I think, was really late on in the '60s
when I went to university and the girl I was sharing digs with,
we went for her birthday to a Berni Inn.
Tennis champions eat at Berni Inns.
They like the first-class service.
Plush red seating, steak knives, black and white prints on the wall,
the smell of cooked meat, which even now is
one of my favourite things.
If this studio now was filled with the smell of cooking meat,
I wouldn't be talking to you. I'd just be sort of slavering.
Prawn cocktail or maybe an avocado, steak cooked to order
and Black Forest gateau to finish.
Almost the perfect meal I could eat as a teenager was prawn cocktail with Marie Rose sauce,
steak and chips, Death By Chocolate.
That is a tremendous meal. If I went to an Aberdeen Angus Steak House today,
that is probably the meal I would order.
That's probably all they serve.
As a business journalist, finding out why the Aberdeen Steak House
continues to trade is a bit like the Loch Ness monster mystery.
No-one really has come up with a good explanation.
There's all sorts of theories. Here was a restaurant that
apparently had no customers and served food so bad
I think one restaurant critic said it had all the appeal of herpes and none
of the laughs, and yet it continues going year after year after year.
Intellectually, I think the only rational explanation is that
it keeps going because teenagers keep on visiting it because they think it's sophisticated.
It just seems perfect.
When you discover steak and chips
and the fact that maybe in your life you can eat that all the time...
When I was a teenager, I remember reading an interview with Hugh Laurie
in which he was talking about what happiness would mean and he went, "To me, happiness is eating steak
"and chips, and I'm at a point in my life where I can actually eat steak and chips every day if I want."
I remember thinking, "Yeah, imagine that! That is absolutely something to aspire to."
Every day, you could be able to just walk into somewhere, have steak and chips.
That seemed like the ultimate in sophistication.
Loads of things that we now consider staples were a bit exotic.
Exoticism was itself quite smart,
whereas now, you know, if you had jerk chicken,
that would be exotic, but it wouldn't be posh and a curry wouldn't be posh.
But then exotic meant a little bit French or a little bit Italian and it was all really like, "Wow!"
You really have a number on yourself.
I think I would have aspired to a Chinese restaurant
because it was exotic, it was bulky, colourful and kind of fixed price.
I've always thought there's something very grown-up about an all-you-can-eat buffet.
And I think what the lady would have admired about my decision was that
there's a sort of thrift about it.
I remember being taken to a restaurant by my friend's dad
when I was about 15, and he said,
"Oh, Satnam, is this the first time you've been to a Chinese restaurant?"
As I was struggling with my chopsticks.
But, actually, it was the first time I'd ever been to any restaurant
and I was pretending I'd been to loads.
Two young people walking out, walked into a cinema restaurant in Chester
and learned how 1965 science is applied to cooking.
No more waiting. Each order served before you can say "knife".
Whether it's steak and chips, curry,
fish and chips or anything else on the menu, and it's done to a turn
in a matter of seconds, which is the big point of using microwave energy.
I remember my brother and I... My mum said,
"You two seem more excited about the microwave arriving than we do."
But we thought it was tremendously exciting to have this basically,
sort of nuclear-capable piece of machinery in our kitchen,
which we would be able to use to ruin food for the next 20 years.
Housewives are alleged to spend most of their time on the telephone or in the kitchen.
-Will they have to do this in future?
-I don't think they'll spend nearly so much time in the kitchen.
One thing which is just coming in now is the microwave oven.
Microwaves are radio waves of very high energy
and they can cook food at tremendous speed, straight from the freezer.
You just pop a piece of frozen food in there, close the door,
set a switch for, say, 90 seconds,
push the button and, literally, 90 seconds later
you can take a piping hot meal out of that oven.
I remember someone saying, "When it stops, the beeps go, but you mustn't open it for five seconds.
"You've got to let all the waves go back into the machine, otherwise,
"it beeps, you open it and you're hit with all the microwaves and you'll be partially cooked as well."
Now instant food looks like the opposite of good food.
But then it looked like modern food and modern was good
and superior and advanced and progressive, until you actually encountered it.
As kids, we were constantly trying to persuade my mum to buy
Smash potato and Vesta curries
and those ready meals that were very few and far between then.
This is the chef, the Vesta chef,
who diced the beef, sliced the onion, mixed the fruit, ground the spice,
stirred the curry, prepared the rice
that went into Vesta beef curry, and it took him three hours.
The Vesta curry was, certainly for us and where I lived,
that was the first meal that you bought
that you didn't have to stand and cook yourself.
This is the wife who went to the pantry, who opened the packet,
then cooked and served that wonderful Vesta beef curry, and she did it all in 20 minutes.
The rice was boil-in-the-bag and I think you'd literally put boiling
water from the kettle into the curry
and waited for it to reconstitute into this sort of brown mass.
What I remember about that was the colour, really.
The colours were colours you'd never see anywhere in nature, you know.
You thought, "How does it get to be that kind of yellow?"
Because of its brightness, one assumed it to be good,
which may have been a mistake.
We thought they were marvellous and that was, honestly, the first taste
of curry and that was so exotic to have a curry.
My mum had never made a curry.
-Now, your dinner.
-That's all right.
I've got some Indian takeaway.
Then will you kindly eat it in the kitchen with the extractor fan full on.
Last time, this upholstery wreaked of vindaloo for a week.
I think we would have been watching in the evening at
about 7.30, we'd have been starting to watch The Good Life
and thinking that they were quite sophisticated in a way,
even though they were supposedly a bit left-field.
But they would have been eating healthy food, probably muesli.
Muesli was something that was most definitely sophisticated.
Somebody had the brilliant idea of marketing twigs, bits of beak and gravel, and we took it.
It is a seriously appealing breakfast. Well done.
The idea that you could eat something that was kind of
good for you was a bit of a new idea, or it seemed to be anyway.
I don't know what we were doing before, but certainly, in our household, I remember my mum
one day saying, "What about eating this at breakfast, muesli?"
You'd go, "What?
"No, we have big American companies called Kellogg's
"that supply us with our breakfast. Don't mess with the rules."
Muesli holds a strange sort of sway over me.
I think muesli basically came in at roughly the same time as having a duvet was the thing to do.
Every house would have to move from
an ordinary breakfast cereal and blankets and a sheet,
and then in comes the revolution of muesli and duvets at the same time.
"So what did you have for breakfast today?
"Yeah, yeah, Coco Pops.
"Yeah, I used to have Coco Pops.
"Course, these days, it's all about muesli in our house."
Now show us how you come into a room gracefully.
Ten out of ten.
When they've mastered the difficult art of entering a room
and the even more formidable task of sitting down, these girls will move on to other basic essentials of life
in an age of technological marvels and social change.
For example, how to dangle a pretty glass at a party.
There was a real phase at my school of people having dinner parties
for their 16th birthdays, which is hilarious. We should have been going clubbing.
No teenager should try and do a dinner party. Who cares about food when you're a teenager?
I mean, you don't care, but you kind of feel like you should.
Someone's parents would have to go upstairs for the night
and we'd all sit around the dinner party and we'd have to wear black tie.
We didn't even know any boys, so it was a dinner party of eight girls
with a load of shortcake. It was embarrassing.
You'd have melon.
I actually remember my friend Ruth on her birthday was so drunk.
It must have been her 18th, I guess.
She was so drunk that she fell asleep in the melon in her full-length black satin gown.
We thought we were sophisticated, and that was what you were aiming for completely.
To me, that seemed another world away, the idea
of getting people round to your house and giving them dinner
and then remembering that you needed to have some sort of chocolate mints
that people could have afterwards.
After I've wined and dined them, then I cosset them
with a log fire, some old French brandy, a bottomless coffee pot
and lots of After Eight wafer-thin mints.
I always give them After Eight.
Cool, creamy peppermint in rich, dark chocolate.
So clever to have all that in such a slim shape.
Luxury, unashamed luxury.
After Eight wafer-thin mints.
After Eight, which was launched at the beginning of the '60s, when it
first came in, very sophisticated and the name says it, doesn't it?
After Eight. Sort of a bit luxury, a dinner brand.
Almost decadent in a way.
I don't know if that's being a bit silly, but I just seem to remember
the whole thing, opening the box, the black wrapper inside,
the whole experience of the chocolate...
Just being really, really posh.
There's a kind of internal fantasy in that
we would get After Eights at Christmas and I would pretend
I was eating them at a dinner party,
eating English food, which were things we never did, you know.
The nocturnal activities of this species are fascinating.
Some nibble delicious wafer-thin After Eights.
You offer the box around and you take it out.
Instead of taking the whole thing out, you'd leave the black wrapper in the box.
You'd take the chocolate and the wrappers would stay in the box.
Here we see a challenge to the dominant male,
who's clearly marked his territory.
You'd be rummaging around to see if there was one left.
You'd just spend the whole time doing that with them.
You'd always find one. There'd always be one tucked away. "I've got it!"
With awesome eyesight, this creature
spots one lone After Eight and devours mercilessly.
-Blasted film crew got in here again!
Oh, dear, it looks as though we've been spotted.
It's my favourite chocolate, After Eights.
I was thinking about having a box a couple of nights ago.
Always give him After Eight.
Cool, creamy peppermint in rich, dark chocolate.
Luxury. Unashamed luxury.
After Eights sold themselves on the tag line, "pure unashamed luxury,"
which was hilarious because they actually cost about 80p.
As if pure unashamed luxury could be that cheap, that was the brilliance.
You could buy them in the newsagent's, take them to someone's birthday party instead of
a box of Matchmakers and they'd be just about one up from Matchmakers, unless it was orange Matchmakers.
I suppose if there's a brand that's taken over from the After Eight, it's Ferrero Rocher.
What was interesting about that period in marketing was
it was an invitation to places you'd never see or go.
The ambassador's receptions are noted in society
for their host's exquisite taste that captivates his guests.
This was a long time before as much freedom of information and 24 media coverage.
You know, there wasn't Hello! and OK!
You didn't get a look into it the world of the drinks parties
in London and the famous people doing stuff. You just didn't.
And the ambassador's reception, great example of, "My God, it's full of really posh people.
"So that's what an ambassador's reception looks like and he serves
"those funny gold chocolates, delivered by some bloke with white gloves on."
Monsieur, with this Rocher you will spoil us.
Ferrero Rocher, a sign of taste.
People looked at it and went, "Well, that's just a bit unusual
"and if I take that in a nice box, I'm quite a sophisticated person taking that round to my neighbours."
I think keeping up with the Joneses was a big part of this era.
To me, actually, the wrapping does it alone for Ferrero.
They don't need to do anything else.
As a teenager, if I was walking around a confectioner
and you saw the Ferrero Rocher, you'd think, "Well, they're there,
"they're tempting, but I must hold back until I'm a member of the diplomatic community."
It did create that balance between, "Was it aspiration or was it funny?"
No-one could work it out and in some ways that was its charm.
Are you playing the best game in the world because you're highly aspirational
and it's beautiful, or are you kind of going,
"This is a bit pony," and actually you should laugh at the fact that
the quality and the delivery is awful?
Who knows? It worked.
At the end of the day, it just did a phenomenal job for branding Ferrero Rocher chocolates
and actually creating a brand that people bought a lot of, remarkably.
# What is a teenager's prayer? #
# It's not very hard to define... #
I don't think when I was a teenager that I thought that any of my
sort of teenage discontents were going to be solved by an object,
which I think now I'd be much more likely to think,
"Yeah, in a Mercedes, things might be very different."
So, I look back on my youthful self and think, "Yeah, respect.
"I like you more than I like myself now."
I think I was so used to being on the wrong side of everything.
I was just so uncool for so long and so, like,
loud when everybody else was being quiet and quiet when everybody else was being loud.
I had everything so wrong for so long
that I kind of stopped caring.
I tell you what is a weird thing about teenagers
is so many things...
Suddenly your eyes are opened to and seem sophisticated that
even problems seem like quite a sophisticated thing.
You're really sort of angst-ridden and you wallow in that a bit, and it's not just...
If you've got a problem now, you think, "God, I wish I didn't feel like this."
But as a teenager, you love that you feel like that because you realise you're an adult
and it makes you identify with the songs you're listening to or the films you're watching,
and you think, "Yeah, when Julia Roberts as a prostitute feels like that about
"Richard Gere, that's exactly how I feel about Richard Saxby."
You've got such a warped view of the world that you do start thinking,
"Well, it seems to be quite sophisticated to have something quite wrong with you.
"You know, depression, that would be quite cool, quite a cool thing to have.
"You know, serious organ failure...
"Just a constant people fluttering around you,
"checking that you're OK."
At the time, I thought I was very happy,
but in fact I must have been in a state of very severe depression.
One of my hobbies was writing poetry and some of my poetry of the period was absolutely revolting.
I went on a sports holiday when I was about 13
and there was a guy who I met who I just absolutely loved.
There was, like, a vague...
I think we might have even kissed, but only just.
And then he went to boarding school, I think,
and I was waiting for him to write to me, and I did write a poem.
I think I wrote one poem for which I will never forgive myself.
Certainly, the first two lines were, "Is it worth the pain and sorrow,
"the thinking, well, he'll phone tomorrow?"
Hang on, it's coming back to me now.
The last line... The last line... This is pathetic.
"The listening to my friends insist that he does know I exist."
And I think it went on like that.
And I remember thinking, "This is really good.
"I mean, not only does this really capture how I'm feeling, but this is
"really good, this is a really grown-up, proper, good poem.
"It really rhymes quite successfully."
But the last line of the poem was, "Don't hate me for being unhappy,"
which is just... Oh.
Actually, saying it out loud now, it is quite good.
Now you sort of think, "Perhaps if I go running five times a week, I'll start feeling better."
But I can't believe there's a period in your life when you think, "I'll just write
"this down in a way that rhymes or I won't get through the afternoon."
I can't remember the rest of it now. But he never did get back in touch with me.
I'm glad I was a teenager then.
I don't think I'd want to be a teenager now...
because it's more complex now.
There are more choices, and I think it's pretty hard for a teenager
to successfully move through, whereas, we just had to realise
the hard way that dungarees were what painters wore.
# Are teenage dreams so hard to beat
# Every time she walks down the street
# Another girl in the neighbourhood
# Wish she was mine She looks so good
# I wanna hold you Wanna hold you tight
# Get teenage kicks right through the night... #