Sunday, 17 February 2013

Beware of falling Conkers

Tim Lott writing in the Guardian comes up with his list of ten reason why his children are better off  than he was as a child.  It's a pretty good list but here is mine to counter the 'you've never had it so good' rhetoric.

I was born at the dawn of the 1960ies rather more auspicious than been born in 2000.  It seems to me that someone should be standing up for what I call the conker generation, late stage baby boomers. So this is the evidence as to why my generation had a better childhood that the current lot.
1.  First up, and most obviously, from the age of 5-12, November was exclusively for playing conkers
For small boys there is no better fun and without a health and safety care in the world we smashed each others conkers and wrists with abandon and pleasure.  The great thing about this kind of game is that there was some anticipation involved (something children today don't experience), we waited for the fruit to ripen an fall from the tree, we hardened them up on cool dark drawers before finally going into battle.  I think the lady and the poster below sums up how far we have regressed.

2. I was lucky to play in most of the teams, even captaining the Rugby 15 in my last year, but on no occasion did my parents turn up to watch.   I played sport competitively without having to put up with any inane and embarrassing comments from the touchline.

3.  In my childhood cricket was the thing, football was not even played at my school.  The excitement of the new season in April and the drama of a proper Test Match against the Australians or the West Indies was palpable.  Today I have to put up with colleagues discussing football endlessly and moronically almost the whole year.

4.  We had proper toys, model planes to build and fly, train sets to construct, Action man in his paratrooper guise to throw out of the top floor windows.  Where is the fun in facebook and the Sims.

5.  For almost all my childhood we had proper summers in England, scorching hot days, swimming in rivers, windows flung open at night.  We are told the world is warming up - but not in Guildford

6. We were lucky to grow up before the age of internet porn, we had to rely on Mayfair and Men Only, stolen from an elder brother's bedroom.  The great advantage was that both Boys and Girls had to innocently work it out for themselves.  What fun we had!

7. My children work so bloody hard and this goes on from the age of 12 to 22.  I remember doing 2 months work before O levels (at 15) and 3 months work for A levels (at 17) and 4 months work for the degree (at 22).  And that was it, no modules, no course work, no AS levels and much less competition.

8. I can't believe I've got to eight without mentioning the music, when you are a kid the only important thing (before sex takes over) is music and the late sixties and seventies were in a different league to what my children have to endure.

9.  Although I have 3 beautiful daughters it must be said the the girls of my generation were so much prettier that the current lot.  And because it was tricky to arrange a date - no mobile phone, no Facebook and no Wagamamas; once you got one on her own it was  the best!

10.  Finally we had three channel TV.  My kids waste so much time flicking from channel to channel, they never watch a programme from begining to end.  The programmes we watched were great - Kojak, The Good Life, The Goodies and Hawaii Five O, god how I miss being 9 years old!

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