Crying all the way to the chip shop ledderhose disease nhs

My old man was quite the cool dude in his ledderhose disease nhs youth, wearing sharp suits and listening to Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck, and the Modern Jazz Quartet. But just as his marriage didn’t survive the social and cultural upheaval of the 1960s, his old taste in music didn’t either, by the 1970s he’d dropped all that square stuff and was listening to ledderhose disease nhs adult-oriented soft rock like James Taylor, Paul Simon, and The Eagles. He’d also grown a beard and wore his hair longer ledderhose disease nhs so he looked like a mellow Californian soft-rocker too.

As an opinionated young man into The Jam and Joy ledderhose disease nhs Division I was very disdainful of the “hippie rubbish” my Dad liked and knew that the older stuff he ledderhose disease nhs liked was far cooler. He used to have parties at his house in the ledderhose disease nhs summer and Boxing Day and at one of them I ledderhose disease nhs put the Getz/Gilberto album on the stereo only to come back into ledderhose disease nhs the room a little while later to find that he’d taken it off and put on Hotel California instead. I was appalled and tried to explain to him just ledderhose disease nhs how naff he was being, but I suppose it’s the job of your parents to embarrass you.

The record that reminds me most of my old man ledderhose disease nhs is Steve Winwood’s 1980 album Arc of a Diver which he played ledderhose disease nhs all the time, especially the opening track “While You See a Chance” which would set him off grooving around his living room ledderhose disease nhs in a very Dad-like way (I dance like that myself now). That synth intro always washes over me like a Proustian ledderhose disease nhs wave bringing back memories of those parties at his house, thinking I was very grown-up drinking Scotch and Ginger Ale, talking about movies with my Dad, and smoking joints with my Uncle Peter.

Shopping with my mum in the 1970s usually involved dull ledderhose disease nhs shops like C&A, Richard Shops, and British Home Stores looking at beige polyester slacks and ledderhose disease nhs brown nylon tank tops, but once in a while we’d go to the wonderland that was the Biba department ledderhose disease nhs store on Kensington High Street. Housed in the Art Deco splendour of the old Derry ledderhose disease nhs & Toms building, it looked like a Roxy Music album cover come to ledderhose disease nhs life: all mirrors, chrome, leopard skin, ostrich feathers and black walls, and with it’s dark lighting and loud rock music blaring from massive ledderhose disease nhs floor speakers it felt more like a nightclub than a ledderhose disease nhs store.

Biba started out in the 60s as a poky little ledderhose disease nhs boutique off the High Street selling miniskirts and skinny tops ledderhose disease nhs to the beautiful young things of Swinging London and by ledderhose disease nhs 1973 had expanded into the seven opulent floors of what ledderhose disease nhs became known as “Big Biba” which was like some mad Kubla Khan fantasy palace amid ledderhose disease nhs the dingy grayness of early 70s England. Their “look” evolved into an extravagant mix of Art Deco elegance with ledderhose disease nhs Hollywood glitz and bohemian decadence that defined the trashy cabaret ledderhose disease nhs and retro-futuristic look of Glam and the peacock style of 70s ledderhose disease nhs rock fashion. Not just the spangly shirts, tight pants, feather boas, and platform shoes, their dark and exotic cosmetics range was perfect for that ledderhose disease nhs elegantly wasted look. Lou Reed and Freddie Mercury both wore Biba’s black nail polish and a young suburban girl who ledderhose disease nhs would later call herself Siouxsie Sioux took the train into ledderhose disease nhs London to buy her red eye shadow there.

The shop’s founder Babara Hulanicki said she designed her clothes for ledderhose disease nhs “Fresh little foals with long legs, bright faces and round dolly eyes. Postwar babies who had been deprived of nourishing protein in ledderhose disease nhs childhood and grew up into beautiful skinny people” so it wasn’t exactly aimed at single mums with two children like ledderhose disease nhs mine, but it was a great place to take us for ledderhose disease nhs the day, only a short bus ride away and it was free. You could literally spend all day there and I think ledderhose disease nhs we often did, the store actually encouraged hanging out.

For a kid my age Biba was like a theme ledderhose disease nhs park, every one of it’s seven floors an exercise in high concept and pure ledderhose disease nhs fun, like the men’s department where you could play darts and bowl with ledderhose disease nhs a “Mistress Room” that sold lingerie and had a huge leopard-skin bed. For obvious reasons my absolute favourite place was the kid’s department which looked like it had been designed by ledderhose disease nhs Lewis Carroll, with a castle and a dog kennel that were big ledderhose disease nhs enough to walk into. I remember the kennel had a giant stuffed Snoopy sitting ledderhose disease nhs outside that my sister and I desperately wanted mum to ledderhose disease nhs buy for us but I think it was beyond her ledderhose disease nhs budget. It wouldn’t have fitted into our little council flat anyway.

But while the clothes were meant for skinny, 20-something, Nova-reading, girls about town, at Big Biba they stuck their famous black and gold ledderhose disease nhs logo on everything from fashion to furniture, toys, soap powder, and baked beans, so everyone could take home a bit of Biba cool ledderhose disease nhs — even eat it on toast. It was probably the world’s first lifestyle emporium (before the concept of “lifestyle” had been invented), you could wear, eat, wash, play, and literally live in Biba.

On the top floor was the gorgeous Rainbow Room restaurant ledderhose disease nhs and concert venue which dated back to the 1930s style ledderhose disease nhs of the original building. It was the place where 1970s rock and style collided, the clubhouse where Freddie Mercury had afternoon tea, David and Angie Bowie hung out with Mick and Bianca ledderhose disease nhs in the evenings, and Bryan Ferry shot his “Let’s Stick Together” video. The New York Dolls played two infamous concerts there (their only London shows I think) and it must be the only place ever to host ledderhose disease nhs both the Dolls and Liberace. The Wombles played there too but that’s a whole other story.

Suzi Quatro might not have been as chic as our ledderhose disease nhs Bryan but the video for “Devil Gate Drive” was shot at the store too (on the Ground Floor). It shows what a well-know cultural icon the brand had become that the Biba ledderhose disease nhs logo is shown so prominently here. Though this must be one of the few cases where ledderhose disease nhs a store looks more glamourous than the pop group.

Sadly, Big Biba was only open for two years and closed ledderhose disease nhs in 1975, the store was making money but not enough to escape ledderhose disease nhs the sinking gloom of the times. During those two years the miners went on strike, the country was put on a three-day work week and power cuts meant that people were ledderhose disease nhs living in darkness and some stores were lit by candles ledderhose disease nhs in the afternoon.

It’s been said that the store lived up to the ledderhose disease nhs rock and roll credo of “live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse”, and looking back there’s something all a bit Weimar Republic about Big Biba ledderhose disease nhs with it’s extravagant decadence in the middle of a country falling ledderhose disease nhs apart — according to Ziggy Stardust we only had five years left ledderhose disease nhs before the end of the world anyway so why not ledderhose disease nhs build a monument to dressing up and looking as fabulous ledderhose disease nhs as possible.

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