The year starts with the first time that New Year’s Day was a public holiday in England and the three day week coming into force, but the chickens on the farm where I worked hadn’t heard of either or those so they continued to lay their eggs. This is not a picture book thatched cottage with a few chickens running around sort of farm, it’s a full on egg factory with about 20,000 caged birds that never see daylight, but it was the job that was available and most weekend mornings – and bank holidays including Christmas – I went to collect the eggs. We got to take the odd eggs – double yokes, no yokes and soft shells – home with us. We were never short of meringues while I worked on the chicken farm.
My political career starts when I join the Youth Club committee, then promptly comes to an abrupt halt when after 2 or 3 meetings in which a lot of talking was done and time wasted, but no decisions whatever were taken. I resign stating if that’s what committees are like then I have no intentions of ever joining another. I have largely stuck to this, and later added trying to avoid working on projects that were run by a committee or led by a steering group.
I always kept well out of the way when out with a group and the “choosing the restaurant committee” spontaneously formed. I don’t suppose this happens so much now that we have the internet and Trip Advisor, but there was a time when if you were in a strange town and wanted to eat, a restaurant had to be chosen based only on what you could see through its window. It was not unusual to see large groups of “20or30somethings” huddled around a menu discussing the relative merits of choice, price, ambiance, portion size and their particular preference for cuisine that evening. When this happened I usually formed the, what pub am I going to wait in till they finally make a decision subcommittee. I’d then promptly leave for it, shouting “it’s all food, just let’s not go for Chinese again” over my shoulder.
I wasn’t listening to Genesis in 1974 that came a bit later, but for me The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, their last album with Peter Gabriel is the best so Genesis and Carpet Crawlers is the track for this year.
We had completely given up on school uniform, but Rael Imperial Aerosol Kid I was not… Look at the Spoon Collar shirt, boy was I the height of fashion.
What else happened in 1974
Nixon resigns to head off almost certain impeachment and Gerald Ford becomes president, making him the only person to serve as vice president and president of the United States without being elected to either office. Patty Hearst is kidnapped, then turns up wielding a machine gun in a bank raid. In the UK Harold Wilson wins two general elections, while inflation roars along at 17.2%. The IRA bombing campaign continues with pub bombings in Birmingham and Guildford.
China gives the UK 2 giant pandas and America gives us (the first) McDonald’s. Pepsi is the first American company to sell products in the Soviet Union. Turkey invades Cyprus, twice. Isabel Peron becomes president of Argentina. Lord Lucan disappeared, and John Stonehouse and the Terracotta Army are discovered, the latter in Xi’an, China. The first Volkswagen Golf rolls off the production line and the world population reaches 4 billion
In sport. Mohammed Ali regains the world heavyweight title when he beats George Foreman in The Rumble in The Jungle. England didn’t even qualify for the world cup, Brian Clough becomes manager of Leeds United, then 44 days later isn’t. Philippe Petit crosses between Twin Towers on a tightrope.
Stephen King publishes his first book and on TV Jon Pertwee leaves Doctor Who, Bagpuss and Ceefax (an early public information system) hit the screens while Monty Python’s flying Circus and Here’s Lucy air their final episodes. Abba become the first “group” to win the Eurovision Song contest and Kraftwerk released Autobahn