[Part 1 was published here]
Take cars for example, classic cars are very big business and shows bring endless pleasure to people who want to revisit their youth or drive a vehicle that ‘mom or dad’ had when they were school kids or teenagers or learned to drive in. As it happens, I’ve had many cars and bikes over the years and in my imagination and memory one, a sports coupe that was the ‘in car’ in the early 90’s, was the best I’ve ever had, brilliant white, alloy wheels, spoilers front and rear, tinted glass sunroof and sports seats, with performance to match, used for five years and tens of thousands of miles, it was brilliant – that was until last year when I had the opportunity to drive one again. The steering was heavy, the seats hard, the performance mediocre as was the handling. Cars thank goodness in many ways have moved on, but my memory hadn’t.
I thought that over the holiday period when trying to find something worth watching on TV. I hasten to add that anything on the terrestrial channels was in the main, to put it mildly, not to my taste; a couple of friends went further and said at different times what Eric Morecambe would have said – ‘rubbish!’. I had no difficulty agreeing with them. So, using the streaming services and YouTube we set about finding something interesting or entertaining. Many of the recent films listed were either too violent, far-fetched or sexually explicit for this family viewer, the evergreen rom-com Christmas movies, boy meets girl, Cinderella type, often had a subtle left wing agenda, and, if involving a ‘royal family’ often featuring a British cast, were subtly anti monarchy.
We did, however, watch some episodes of ‘The Crown’ which I can’t say impressed me or for that matter some of our friends. Apparently, some younger people viewed it as one would a documentary and declared it real. Amazing but not unexpected, as years ago leaving a cinema after watching the movie Apollo 13, I overheard a young person asking if the events portrayed really did happen. I suppose in years to come when the life story of Greta Thunberg is made into a movie, younger people will ask incredulously if that actually happened and she really did address the United Nations.
YouTube is a mine of old films and TV shows from the distant past. If, as a baby boomer, you enjoyed watching for example ‘Top of the Pops’, Ready Steady Go or the Six Five Special as many if not most of us did, prepare to be disappointed. You will have forgotten many of the singers and groups and the presentation often leaves much to be desired. Having said that, many of the sitcoms and comedy shows were, and still are, very funny. ‘The Plank’ written by Eric Sykes is a masterpiece in my view and watching the skills of other top comedians of the time in their prime is pure joy and unlikely to offend anyone.
But to be honest, much of what was produced when viewed now, is and probably was then, not very good but then there was little else to watch and maybe you were enjoying family times when we were all much younger and more easily satisfied and not as cynical and hard bitten by years of experience as we are now. So the memories make them so much better than they actually were. Having said that, there are black and white films from the 40s through to the 60s before the world started to go mad which are really first rate and hold your attention even now.
I view all these comments that I’ve heard from friends, and journalists writing in the press about times past with a pinch of salt, especially if they are under the age of 45. Take political correctness for example – please do – in my view it’s something that we could all do without, something that for a long time has annoyed many people, me included. Over twenty-five years ago a national newspaper ran a full-page article about how this was starting to take hold in California and how it was bound to take hold here in ‘Blighty’. Then health and safety turned into a religion, both taken to extremes by the few who want to control what people say, think, or do, while much of the population carried on as usual and either forgot how things used to be or were pressured into conformity like it or not, ‘political correctness’ and ‘health and safety’ gone mad were often comments seen in letters to the media but eventually mostly died out or presumably considered not suitable for inclusion.
Few would want to return to the days of obvious racist comments once widely heard in the 50s 60s and 70s, which is more than a good thing, but it seems that some people make comments in public designed to cause a ‘twitter storm’ or media ‘shock horror probe stories’, or make contentious comments while in their workplace and then wonder why they are reprimanded or even sacked by employers who don’t wish to be associated with their views. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, would seem to be still a good maxim, along with ‘there is a time and a place for everything’, shouting out your often contentious views on the firm’s time or while representing your country or whatever would not seem ever to have been a good idea, unless of course you want to attract the ‘woke’ generation. Some people it seems have not yet learned the maxim that ‘woke’ could, in their case, mean ‘go broke’.
Now it seems that even the national print media has noticed that it’s all got a little out of hand. The Daily Mail recently ran an article from Dominic Sandbrook no less, pointing this out – for goodness sake where have the commentators been for the last twenty five years? Probably not alive for the most part if political correctness, diversity and health and safety excesses have come as a surprise to them. Certainly, so-called ‘hate crimes’ seem to have done – incidentally the actual cases reported to police have risen, but actual prosecutions remain very low.
There was much wrong with the way we were twenty-five years ago, we perhaps just choose not to remember it but there was also much right with life then, a look at what made it into the media then shows just how far we haven’t come and also just how far we have over the years. What is certain though is that everything changes and will continue to do so. In another 25 years most will look back with anger or surprise on the events of today and only remember the bits that they found good or bad, just as we do today. Everything changes or nothing does. Anyway, we are entering a new decade which will be the ‘roaring twenties’ – not very original, perhaps ‘the flappers’ will make a return.
Happy New Year everyone.
Photo by brizzle born and bred