When snazzy clothing and big haircuts were all the rage in Leigh

Bickershaw Festival was so muddy it was more reminiscent of the Somme
Bickershaw Festival was so muddy it was more reminiscent of the Somme
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Local historian Alf Ridyard in his column Tash Tales has a cringe when he takes a look back at fashion from yesteryear...

This last weekend saw the 46th anniversary (May 5-7, 1972) of the Bickershaw pop festival, and as per usual around these parts it rained most of that time and the ground was a sea of mud.

Mega rock groups, such as the Grateful Dead, Kinks, Hawkwind, Country Joe and the Fish, plus Donovan and others all played.

What we look at today is the changes that were happening in music (Glam Rock), clothing, men and ladies. Our own town saw changes in the musical scene as well, with the newly opened “Way In” on the old Beachcomber site, in Bradshawgate. And there was “Penny Lane” next to the George and Dragon.

Men were now drifting toward a more feminine look and the girls in some cases were drifting towards a male look with trousers and sweaters.

We do have to say the girls also were adopting the bright colourful outfits of floaty dresses and ponchos, capes and various adornments around their necks such as chokers, dog collars and scarves.

Also around this time we see his-and-hers head bands, floppy hats and flowing scarves, all of which were in a bright multitude of colours.

Kays, Littlewoods, Grattan’s, Great Universal in Wigan and other catalogue firms were now in their heyday, an obvious forerunner to internet shopping.

I am sure none of our late-50s, 60s and early-70s readers will admit to purchasing any of the said items or ordering a crimpelene suit that were also the rage or, indeed, a pair of flared trousers so wide they looked like the sail of a ship when flapping around in the wind.

These catalogues also had a wide range of shoes, men and women’s with more platforms than Piccadilly Station. Men were tempted into buying the high-waisted flared trousers and shirts that opened down to the belt line giving the impression of a slim-waisted, large-chested-adorned-with-a-medallion specimen of manhood.

We also see men wearing fur coats, striped blazers similar to the ones normally associated with public or private schools. As I was around in those days as a teenager, I now cringe at some of the things I am seeing when writing this piece, as I have to admit in having a stripped blazer and platform shoes but none of the others, may I add and certainly not make-up which is mentioned a little further in the piece.

It was also the era of the big hair style, the larger the better, many people having to duck under doorways to avoid disturbing the mound of extended follicles perched on their bonce.

There is no better example than Marsha Hunt who starred in the musical Hair or any of the professional footballers of the day - short shorts, mullets and perms were the must have adornments, no better example of this is Kevin Keegan in his Hamburg days probably swapping hairdresser names with Paul Breitner of Bayern Munich.

Moving on to the music we see the emergence of more cult musicians such as David Bowie, Marc Bolam and T Rex, Roxy Music, The Sweet, Slade, and of course The Bay City Rollers.

All these brought a new culture to the music and fashion industry. Around this time we see men wearing make-up of all descriptions, lavished on as some sort of face sculpture.

Many of the groups mentioned supported this new phenomena and clothing that would generally be described as feminine.

The Bay City Rollers became ultra-nationalistic in their choice of attire with the tartan look, as would be expected from a Scottish band although the gear was far removed from the traditional Scottish kilt.

Half-mast trousers trimmed in tartan with braces were the uniform of the band and fans alike, where the Olive Oyl, Lubby Lou hooped socks enter the equation I can only guess .

Two years ago the Bay City Rollers re-formed and the concerts were sold out within five minutes, the old fans dug out or bought the tartan uniforms, most of whom would only see 50 again on a road sign.

But turn up they did in their thousands, which prompted the group to suggest a world tour which took place later in 2016.

For those that are interested the band is still playing and tickets for the shows can be found on the internet, the next shows being the 10th and 14th of May at a holiday park in Great Yarmouth.

So not much time to dig out the gear and practice the words of Shang-A-Lang.

On that note, I say Bye Bye Baby and go and dig out my platform shoes or a pair of calf length Doc Martens boots.

Just remembered I can’t make it, phew! How lucky I am?