I’ve watched this video a few times over the years. It’s mostly just shots of people walking the streets of Charleston, WV in 1981. I was in high school at the time, and it’s interesting to see the old stores, and the way people dressed.
I grew up roughly seven miles from there, and when we were kids Steve and I would occasionally take the city bus to Charleston, and visit all the bookstores, record stores, etc. We were about 12 years old when we started. I can’t imagine parents allowing such a thing in 2016, but maybe I’m wrong.
My favorite stops:
Arcade Books had a huge selection of magazines and comic books. You could spend hours in there. It was in a cool-ass historic building which, of course, was eventually torn down. Awesome.
Major’s Book Store was a lot smaller, but they carried British music magazines, like Melody Maker and New Musical Express. Oh man, I was all up in that kind of thing.
National Record Mart had a fantastic cut-out bin. I remember finding almost all of the early albums by The Jam there. Also, the first two Undertones records. It was like a treasure hunt. Everything was cheap, and mostly shit. But there were great items mixed in, if you had the patience and know-how to find ‘em.
There was also Turner’s Records, but it was a little snooty. They clearly didn’t trust pre-teen Dunbar riff-raff to roam their aisles unaccompanied. And Moore’s was a fun bookstore/art supply place/hobby shop. But I can’t recall actually buying much from them.
A black guy tried to sell us drugs on one of those day trips. That freaked us out a little. I remember he mentioned “grass” and “microdots.” I knew what he was talking about with the first one, but am still unclear about the second. Whatever.
We always had lunch at a place called Bowincals. It was a hot dog joint, basically.
During the high school years we were there with Rocky and the Angry White Guy. AWG bought some sort of ludicrous chocolate shake that was served in a cup the size of a residential bathroom trashcan. It was enormous. And I think he only had one or two sips before accidentally knocking it over, and creating a shake-lake that was approximately ten feet across. The cashier began howling in protest, and we took off running. Heh.
There were also big department stores (The Diamond, Stone & Thomas), and you can see how crowded the streets were. It was a good time.
Also, just one block over were porn theaters, drunkard bars, pawn shops, and a place where you could buy inflatable sex dolls, imported fetish smut periodicals featuring midgets and/or amputees,“pocket pussies,” etc. Oh, a trip to Charleston was a wonderful thing.
But the reason I posted this video today, is because of a conversation Toney and I had over the weekend. I heard a guy on a podcast last week talking about losing weight by eating “real” food, like they did in the ‘70s and before. And if you’ll notice… there are almost no fatties in the video above. In West Virginia! If you walked up and down those same sidewalks today, you’d have to keep going into the street to allow yet another ottoman-assed bed sheet-draped hoglet to pass by. Now everybody is fat, almost 100%.
And it has to be about the food, right? I don’t remember eating fast food back then, except maybe once a month. You know, for a treat. Now people eat it twice a day, every day. For dinner we had things like pork chops and fried potatoes, with pinto beans. I guess that’s what they mean by “real” food? No frozen crap, or stuff from a box.
The dude on the podcast said you can eat as much as you want, if you keep it 70s real, and you’ll lose weight. It’s an intriguing idea. But it seems expensive, and labor-intensive. You have to cook up a Sunday dinner every day of the week? It’s a tall hill to climb, especially with Domino’s right down the street.
Anyway, for a Question I’d like to know how you’re dietary habits were different when you were a kid, compared to today. I remember eating hot dogs and baloney sandwiches for lunch, or leftovers from the pervious night’s dinner. Is baloney “real?” It feels counter-intuitive to me. And dinner was classic meat and potatoes. Almost every freaking day.
What do you have on this one? Please share it in the comments. And I’m going to get ready for another week of wonder and delight, about 40 miles south of here.
Have yourselves a great day, my friends.