Column: Age of going crackers for a playground full of clackers

Clackers were one of the fashionable toys of the sixties
Clackers were one of the fashionable toys of the sixties

Travelling back to late 1960s childhood, I wonder if anyone recalls the humble Clacker?

Clackers were a craze which swept up and down school playgrounds of the land and brought a new auditory experience to children. Basically two balls dangling on pieces of string would be swung and clashed together.

Children loved it and playtime was full of the darn things.

That is, until a strange thing happened...a fledgling Health and Safety moment. They were banned. Too dangerous!

A child might use them to lamp Johnny or alarm Billy so they were ousted, like this year’s MPs, from the scene.

The 1960s child – albeit temporarily – was not a happy bunny.

Then, there was that other chestnut, The Clangers. Like some hippy experiment thought up by someone who’d had too many ‘visions’, The Clangers was seriously weird, thus absolutely fascinating for young children.

Communicating in notes rather than words, these strange creatures ambled about and resembled knitted ferrets. Just to add a little frisson to the whole scenario, the soup dragon was almost as ‘mind-blowing’ as Dylan from Magic Roundabout.

Whoever, came up with these kiddie programmes was about as spaced out as you can get...

Then to add insult to injury, we had Hector’s House and that peculiar frog to contend with. I can’t even remember the name, perhaps too traumatised to recall. Was it, perchance, Kiki?

And, if the 1960s child was not confused enough by all this crazy stuff, we had strange pop lyrics to contend with such as ‘Let’s drink a drink a drink to Lily the pink, the saviour of the human race’.

We duly sang along in the playground but hadn’t the dickens of an idea what they were on about, (still don’t).

Then la piece de resistance, another 1960s experiment – early sex education shown to us each week on the big Tardis-like school TV.

How we laughed!

To we young ‘uns, the whole ‘show’ was hilarious, and the received pronunciation of the presenter rendered it even more so, as they told us about the human mating ritual.

And all this before milk and biscuits. The fabulous 1960s.