One of the greatest privileges of being the eldest daughter was that I was allowed to stay up later than my kid sister, who shuffled obediently up to bed around 7:15pm. The soundtrack to those golden hours of sanctioned entitlement included smooth jazz fusion hits by the likes of Bob James (who I imagined was over in New York in a black leather blouson playing the theme tune to Taxi on a gigantic Yamaha keyboard) and the lively, cockney jeers of Dennis Waterman singing “I could be so good for you” to the opening scenes of Minder. Arthur Daley and awkward strip club scenes aside, the show that had me pleading for extra time downstairs was always M*A*S*H.
As soon as the soft, melancholy chords to the instrumental of Johnny Mandel’s ‘Suicide is Painless’ came crackling through the TV, dad would firmly issue the dreaded order of “Right you, get to bed,” so I’d sulk and head upstairs, annoyed at the injustice of being sent up so early. Luckily for me, dad got slack with the rules as time went on, so I was finally able to enjoy this dark, 1970s comedy drama, set in an American army hospital drama during the Korean War. Of course, I was too young to comprehend the sexual tension between Hawkeye and Hot Lips, but one thing I definitely did understand and appreciate, was the outfits.