Who Loves Ya Baby ?

Back in the 70s, lets say 1976 based on inaccurate memory, my brother had a certain mid-teen admiration for David Bowie. The music yes; the fashion most definitely.

The 70s being what they were, your average teen paper delivery round paid a very large smidgen under the amount needed to buy bespoke suits and flash rock star shoes. But hair - well, hair could be washed, gelled, waxed and hair sprayed into any design you liked. To look like anyone you liked.

My brother shaped the Ziggy Stardust coif to rebel-rebel perfection. No dyes needed, no mohican cut, just a tall blowdried hat of full Bowie-esque hair dancing like a musical mane.

He was lucky.

His hero was universally regarded as cool. To try emulate him was acceptable and brought admiration.

Back in 1976, I too had a hero; a man who appeared on TV regularly. Imposing, charismatic, electric.


Yep, that's right - Telly Savalas, Ltn. Theo Kojak, TV cop, bald man.

For an eleven year old boy, the problem lay not in liking the Kojak character but how to emulate him. Let's face it, at an age where blending in is the ambition, standing out with a bald top was never going to achieve the desired invisibility.

"Why don't you try some other policeman" my mother said.

The others included Jim Rockford and McCloud. One lived in a caravan and the other rode a horse. All of a sudden life in Ballymun drew some positives.

But no, it was Kojak for me.

The only thing to do was adopt his habits, his mannerisms. Slamming street scum against a wall and ‘booking' strangers on the street was off the agenda, so I needed to find the one aspect of his personality that stood out. It was obvious.

Off to Larry's newsagent, coins jumping excitedly in my trouser pocket. No Beano for them today, no ‘caps' for the pistol. That 85p, slapped on the glass counter top was destined for one thing only. The lollipops.

"85p worth of lollipops please. Any colour, your choice".



"Are you sure"?


Enough for a week. Who loves ya baby?

Thursday night, Top Of The Pops. Brotherhood of Man, ShowaddyWaddy, Darts. The pre-punk charts more likely to cause cavities than my newly acquired habit.

Then on he comes, singing about love, feelings and some woman while wearing a peach coloured open neck wing collar shirt as he strolled through a flower filled set. The hard talking, crime beating, New York city cop sans lolly and very much sans credibility. Crest fallen yet ultimately relieved to still have hair, I did what every self-respecting loyal fan would do. I jumped ship. To the flash new golden TV crime fighters. BBC2, Saturday nights. One Starsky and one Hutch. Now this was the future. Running, jumping, joking, fighting and always looking sharp. Oh yeah.

Also, no, way you'd catch Hutch on Top of The Pops singing about love.


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