• Northern Soul the film

    October 28, 2014

    northern soul

    In a previous post, we promised we were going to go and see Northern Soul the film as soon as it came out, and as luck would have it, it was showing at Glasgow Film Theatre on 23rd October, the same date we had arranged to attend an equally 70s John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett gig at the Ferry (more about that later!)

    The theatre was full to capacity and there were reports of queues around the block for cinemas across the country. Quite an achievement for a wee indie film, and the Glasgow audience was certainly not disappointed. We were transported straight back to 70s northern England by Elaine Constantine, who grew up in Bury, Lancashire, and like our own Johnny Frocker, frequented the all nighters at Wigan Casino as a teenager.

    Elaine's film, which has been described as "an exuberant love letter to a bygone time" and "a northern Saturday Night Fever" is a must watch. The clothes are authentically bad, but in a good way, and the music and dancing are awesome. The film is a triumph.

    For those interested in the scene, this BBC2 documentary Northern Soul: Keeping The Faith, shown on the Culture Show in September 2013, is an excellent introduction to the 70s phenomenon.

    Elaine Constantine on Northern Soul
    Northern Soul the film on Facebook
    Northern Soul the film on Twitter

  • All Nighters and Northern Soul

    September 19, 2014

    The Scottish referendum turned into a bit of an all-nighter for much of the population. There were some bleary eyed folk making their way to work this morning, many of whom looked in need of matchsticks to keep their eyes open, but we confess to having fallen asleep much earlier than most and are still fully functioning frockers this Friday afternoon.

    Talking of staying up all night, a different sort of all-nighter enjoyed by a youthful Johnny Frocker at Wigan Casino in the 1970s (about which we have previously blogged) was undoubtedly a lot more riveting than waiting for referendum results and we are very much looking forward to the release of Northern Soul the film on 17 October.

    "This is a story of a youth culture that changed a generation and influenced songwriters, producers, DJs and designers for decades to come. This is the story of Northern Soul."

    "Northern Soul was phenomenally popular with British youths in the 1970s, taking the North of the country by storm. Northern Soul the film intends to appeal to those generations of fans while attracting a modern audience who can relate to youth culture from another era. If you were there, you’ll know. If you weren’t there, you’ll wish you had been."

    Specialist dance clubs were set up four years ago in Bolton and London to prepare 500 young people for participation in the film's energetic dance scenes and the Bolton club will remain open for business, continuing to offer the Northern Soul experience as a legacy to future generations.

    Judging by the original footage of scenes from Wigan Casino all-nighters, faithfully recreated by the film, Northern Soul will hopefully not only engage and invigorate the interest of today's young people in the 'scene', but will also bring back many happy memories for those of us who danced the night away in the 70s when our waist sizes were significantly smaller and our fashion sense distinctly dodgy!

  • Get motoring for Goodwood

    September 7, 2014

    Dundee pin up shoot by Dylan Drummond

    Stacy Sturrock models a Horrockses vintage two piece sun suit with complementary accessories from the Frockery. Photography by Dylan Drummond ~ Hair & Make Up by Sandra Cormack

    It's that time of year again when we are receiving lots of enquiries and orders for vintage clothing and accessories suitable for the upcoming Goodwood Revival weekend. We are pleased to report that  we have once again kitted out both regular and new customers for this year's (sold out) extravaganza which runs from 12th to 14th September and we hope they all have a fabulous time revisiting the glory days of the iconic motor racing circuit.

    There's still time to order that last minute vintage (or vintage inspired if you aren't a purist!) dress, handbag, hat, gloves, shoes or other accessories  from our catalogue. We even have a handy Get the Look: Goodwood Revival section to make it easier:

    "The Goodwood Revival weekend is like taking a trip back in time, not only for motor sport enthusiasts but also for vintage fashion aficionados, as ladies and gents dress up in authentic period costume to reflect their own favourite Goodwood era from late 40s to mid 60s. Many of our customers are Revival regulars and we find our vintage frockery flies off the rails in anticipation of the extravaganza every September."

    If you see anything  that takes your fancy, we offer a speedy next day special delivery option to make sure your order reaches you in time. Our sold items are mounting up, though, so best get motoring!

    errol airfield vintage sports car

  • When Olivia met her Waterloo

    April 6, 2014

    abba for the record

    It was 40 years ago today and we were watching it, were you? The Eurovision Song Contest, broadcast from Brighton on 6th April 1974, launched Sweden's Abba into international pop superstardom after winning a decisive victory with their now iconic performance of Waterloo.

    We well remember the awe inspiringly fabulous outfits and Agnetha's silver platform boots were positively to die for as the chief frocker prepared for her final school exams the same month.

    Meanwhile the young and fresh faced Olivia Newton-John represented the UK with Long Live Love looking like an extra from Abigail's Party in a sky blue, full length, high neck hostess number with frills and trailing angel sleeves, supported by five backing songstresses in matching blue maxi frocks. She came fourth.

    Although Olivia may have met her Waterloo in 1974, she was of course to go on to far greater things - sporting skin tight lycra - a few years later, co-starring with John Travolta as Sandy in the blockbuster film Grease which was the biggest box office hit of 1978.

    Listening to Abba and Olivia still take us straight back to those heady days of teenage expresssion, outrageous fashion and Saturday Night Fever. Those were the Days, as another 70s Eurovision runner-up used to sing, although Abba admitted in a recent interview with the Daily Mail that they only wore such "ridiculous" clothes to exploit a Swedish tax loophole. Having been impoverished students, we can't use the same retrospective excuse for our fashion sense, or lack of it, and still have the (locked away) pictures to prove it!

    To mark the 40 year anniversary of their Eurovision win, why not save your Money Money Money, become a Dancing Queen,  and recreate the Abba look with some of our glam rock pieces at truly retro prices?

    Silver and black metallic shift dress

    silver and black metallic shift dress

    Vintage glam rock metallic silver and black jacket

    glam rock metallic jacket

    Gold lurex disco dress

    gold lurex disco dress

    Black and gold metallic lace dress

    black and gold metallic lace dress

    Braver souls may want to sport some lurex hotpants

    silver hotpants6683

    with a feather boa or two


    or the ultimate in 70s silver lame tastelessness?

    silver lame maxi dress

    To Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Benni and Bjorn: Thank You For The Music, the fashion and most of all the fun!


  • Raspberry festival,1959

    November 20, 2012

    We just had to share this British Pathé video link depicting the Raspberry Festival in Montrose, Angus, in 1959.


    The chef frocker spent her early childhood in a small village five miles outside the north east Scotland town and was once left in her pushchair outside Woolworths while her mum and aunt got the bus home without her.  How could they when she looked this cute?


    Although slightly too young to have appeared in the very vintage footage above, Alison's mum may possibly have made the costumes for the tutu-clad tots on the ballet school float around 2.45m in. The original and unique principal of the Esk Academy of Dancing, Miss Beryl Couper, is still going strong after 58 years in the ballet business and putting the latest generation of young dancers through their paces. Alison has treasured memories of her 1960s cygnet role in Swan Lake and not so fond memories of pointe shoe blistered feet!

    Berry picking in the summer and tattie howking in the autumn (for which local schools closed for a fortnight  - and still do every October) not only kept all of us local youngsters gainfully occupied and healthy in the great outdoors, but also supplemented the pocket money nicely.

    Here's another wonderful British Pathé video (no sound) from the following year which brings back happy memories of a carefree childhood and we're all still loving that 50s and 60s fashion!


  • Memories of a punk frocker

    June 18, 2012

    Being of the punk (f)rock vintage, it would be remiss of us not to mention the documentary series Punk Britannia which has just been broadcast in three parts on BBC4. (Catch it if you can on youtube).

    Timed to coincide with the Queen’s diamond jubilee, it conjured up 35 year old memories of the silver jubilee and the birth of punk for those of us old enough to have lived through it (and remembered at least some of it, though perhaps not in the right order!), and provided an insight into the era for those too young to remember it at all. The parallels between then and now – post-boom enforced austerity and lack of opportunities for young people - cannot have escaped the notice of either generation as the series unfolded.

    We have covered the 70s in previous Frockery Talk posts, mainly because it was ‘our’ generation and we retain a rose tinted fondness for both the music and clothes of the times. We do still remember the 60s, but we were a bit too young to have been conscious of the social upheaval or to have fully embraced the youth culture - no doubt  much to our parents’ relief - although our school skirts were getting ever shorter and we were unconsciously enjoying the benefits of the post-war boom and the prevailing sense of optimism.

    All that was to change in the 70s with crippling public sector strikes, the three day week and the ongoing Troubles in Northern Ireland, but one benefit we still consider ourselves fortunate to have enjoyed is access to a university education based on ability alone, as opposed to ability to pay. That some of our contemporaries later decided to pull the financial plug on the opportunity from which they themselves had benefited must surely count as one of the most despicable acts of political hypocrisy, but we digress.

    Back in the early 70s, we were in our final years of schooling and eagerly tuning into Top of the Pops every Thursday night. Friday’s double French lesson inevitably played second fiddle to discussion of Marc Bolan’s latest release or Queen’s inaugural performance of Seven Seas of Rye, which was one of those especially memorable moments. As we have previously blogged, we bought clothes from local boutiques and LPs from local record shops, with occasional visits to cities like Dundee and Aberdeen for concerts. Oh how we loved David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust tour!

    During the 70s there seemed to be something for everyone when it came to music, but the emergence of so called ‘pub rockers’ Dr Feelgood and Eddie and the Hot Rods as predecessors of punk is indelibly etched on our memories as their fast paced music and electric energy radiated far beyond their Essex roots and the London pub circuit. To this day, we love them and still watch Wilko and the Hot Rods live whenever the opportunity presents.

    Then came the Sex Pistols, for whom causing offence and moral outrage was second nature. Nurtured by Malcolm McLaren, they weren't just stuck down the pub, either, but were highly visible, swearing on national television and declaring war on the establishment.  The silver jubilee of 1977 felt the burn as the Pistols’ single God Save the Queen raced up the charts, placing the BBC in a veritable quandary until Rod Stewart rather too conveniently bagged the No 1 spot and appearance on Top of the Pops. We still liked Rod, even if we were loath to admit it as discerning students with a penchant for all things ‘new wave’, from the 'raw' punk of the Clash and the Damned up to an including Elvis Costello and John Otway. Another of our favourite 70s performers. Otway is still going strong as he approaches his 60th birthday with two hits under his string belt, albeit 25 years apart, and having eventually mastered more than three chords.

    The first wave of punk seemed to rise quickly, peak, then falter and fragment when Johnny Rotten departed the Sex Pistols in 1978, but the music scene had been suitably shaken and stirred, and a whole new generation of alternative talent would stamp their own identity and radicality on the post punk era. When Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979, there was still plenty to protest about and no shortage of protestation, not just from musicians, poets and creative types, but from young people like ourselves and our peers for whom real jobs and opportunities had become scarcer than hen’s teeth. But that’s another story for another day.

    Punk Britannia brought back many memories for us, but history tends to have a habit of repeating itself. Just think jubilee jollies against a backdrop of compulsory austerity for the masses imposed by out of touch politicians who first made sure they pulled the ladder up behind them and theirs. Where’s Johnny Rotten when you need him most?