Firstly, I want you to forgive me for using an old cliche here, but after watching this classic Yellow Pages advert again for the first time in at least three decades, I really do remember this advert "as if it were yesterday". Honestly, the memories came flooding back, and judging by the Youtube comments for the video (which you can watch at the bottom of this post), it seems I am not alone in this.
I remember that most boys wanted a racing bike back in the day, although by 1985 it was probably more likely to be a BMX bike. There was definitely a high demand for racing bikes in the second half of the 1970s, and I was fortunate to receive a blue Raleigh bike for Christmas. I can't remember the exact year, but it may have been around 1977/78, when I was finally tall enough to ride one.
I also wanted a whole plethora of gadgets included with it, most importantly, it had to include a speedometer! One of the first things I wanted to do was break its speed limit of 40mph, and I remember the joy of doing this going down a steep hill - we didn't even wear cycle helmets back then, so it's a wonder I didn't end-up in A&E! Thankfully, nothing was broken, not even the speedometer!
All of the UK Yellow Pages adverts were so well made, and in this one, a young boy called Richard is browsing through a catalogue of racing bikes. His dad arrives home and pretends that he is not really keen in the idea of buying him a bike by reminiscing about his own childhood. "I remember when bikes were bikes, proper mudguards and a cover for the chain. Look at that saddle, be like sitting on a razor blade... maybe next year?". Actually, he had a point about the saddle. I remember mine was made of hard plastic, and although it looked cool and modern, it was bloody uncomfortable, although I was never going to admit that to my parents, of course. Eventually, I bought myself a softer saddle using the money I earned from my paper round. It didn't look very cool, but boy it made the bike so much more pleasurable to ride. Comfort wins over coolness every time!
Anyway, back to the advert, and the boy's Dad goes into the kitchen and asks his wife "How did you get on, love?". "I think I've found one", replies his wife, and they use the Yellow Pages to order a racing bike. The advert ends with the lad riding his bike in the street and his dad spying on him through the curtains with a very satisfied smile on his face.
The slogan used at this time was "Good old Yellow Pages", which was used for a good number of years. The last printed version in the UK (which had a run of 51 years) was distributed on 18th January 2019. It is now completely online as Yell.com., but back in the 80s is was produced by British Telecom, with different versions for each area of the country. You may also remember the two fingers logo which had a whole different meaning if you turned the book upside down!
We are, of course, now living in the digital age. Call me old school, but I really do miss browsing through the printed version, and also the Argos catalogue, which I always used to look forward to.