Those of us “of a certain age” are often accused of remembering the past through rose coloured spectacles.
But do we?
With the modern world rapidly going down the toilet, am I right in thinking that times past used to be so much better?
When you compare the Ireland of today with the Ireland of fifty or sixty years ago, there are massive differences, but are they really so beneficial?
If I could transport myself back to those days, what would I really miss? I suppose I would miss the Interweb as it hadn’t been invented yet, and the same goes for computers. There again, because they hadn’t been invented, they weren’t missed. A consequence of having no Interweb would mean I would have to go out to do my shopping, which again tended to be a more pleasant experience. No supermarkets or self service meant a more personal touch.
Back in those days, the Nanny State also hadn’t been invented. There were no signs anywhere telling you what you had to do, or what you weren’t allowed to do. We were treated like responsible people who could look after ourselves and if we injured ourselves, that was just our tough shit. We would take the consequences on the chin. There was no concept of litigation as we took responsibility for our own actions.
As a kid, I used to cycle into Dublin city centre regularly. Traffic was a lot lighter then and crime wasn’t such a problem so the idea of a ten year old cycling into the city centre and wandering around wasn’t at all remarkable. I doubt there is a parent in the country now who would happily let their offspring have such an adventure? Also in those days, children remained children well into their teens. There was none of this crap about make-up parties for girls before they had even reached their teens or boys pretending to be men before their voices broke.
One of the great things that has disappeared over the decades is respect. In those days there was respect for your elders and for authority. Any kind of cheek usually meant a swift clip around the ear, and there was no busybody standing on the sidelines screaming about child abuse .
Politics was different then. It was a quiet affair, and we rarely heard about it. Politicians were in the main, respectable honest men. There was little evidence of backhanders or corruption in those days.
Probably the one really bad thing then was the Catholic Church and the nefarious deeds done behind closed doors. But the majority were not aware of this, and the rest lived in fear of the religious so, for the times, it was understandable that nothing was done about it. You would have had to have lived in those times to understand the mindset that existed then.
On the whole though, times may have been rougher, and we may have had to cope without mobile phones, but I still maintain they were better times.
Or am I wearing rose tinted glasses?
I’m younger, but agree on all fronts, but weren’t we the lucky buggers who weren’t in industrial schools. Didn’t the Artane Boys band turn out well after matches, and wasn’t it strange when Father So and So disappeared to California, on the missions.
However, the rest of it was much better. More innocent times, more respect, more wonder and a good bit happier. As long as you didn’t get sick or anything… something else that is better. If you caught the big C you were buggered. Asthma didn’t exist, and diabetes was a death sentence. No divorce either. Or extramarital thingumyjigs. No gays, or at least no lessers. No plane trips anyone could afford, or night buses. Dentists, glasses.. you’d need a mortgage for crap.
And drinking and driving was a sign of your metal. “Sure, I drove home after 40 pints. Lost me car cause I parked in the neighbours. High-larious.” And the alcoholics.. were probably poets incognito.
Penny sweets, no pasta, fruit or posh nosh. Rice sandwiches.
But then.. were we happier?
In a way yes, we were, but in a way… yes, as long as we blocked out all the shite. Those with experience at the time had wisdom, as in, they excepted all the bad stuff and got on their knees at least once a week to ask for forgiveness, because they remembered the civil war. Worse still.
The young were so ungrateful for what they had. Still are.
You have mirrored my youth except for the fact we are on different shores of the Irish sea. We all ‘had less’ but we never seemed to know it and therefore life was good.
This has to be one of the best posts I’ve read all year and I read many blogs, too many if I am honest.
Recently I’ve taken to ignoring statutes and codes and up to now bugger all has happened. I’ve even begun asking councils and utilities for proof of contract and as yet none of them have provided any. I’m also taking on the mighty LloydsTSB, which has its sticky fingers in Irish finances and after two years of asking them to provide me with proof of contract for a credit card they have yet to supply one and I have given up paying the card off.
Numerous employees have lied in writing and have even signed their names to such lies and all that has happened is Lloyds have ‘sent’ my account to a solicitors and a debt collection agency both of which are in reality wholly owned LloydsTSB internal departments. At some point I will get bored with writing to their CEO once a week, link to page of all CEO’s contact details below, and I will take them to court.
Basically they are screwed. If enough people stopped paying the beast it would die.
CEO contact details, a very handy page indeed.
Emmet – I did wonder about the medical side. You could die from a lot of things in those days, but then there seemed to be less to die from. There were a lot more hospitals in those days so there was no waiting on trolleys or no chance of MRSA? I think we would have been a lot more greatful if we knew what was coming down the line?!
Bill – Thanks for the kind words [*blushes furiously*]. I never know what I am going to write about until I start writing.
Joining the Freeman crusade? Fair play, and thanks for that link. I never know when I might feel like writing a few mails! 😈
You might well be wearing rose tinted glasses.
They’re another thing you wouldn’t have been able to get 50 years ago. Tough enough to get prescription sunglasses.
Grandad, our experiences are about the same, although I live in the middle part of the US. I tried once upon a time to make a list of things worth having that are better now than 50 years ago. I stopped at cars and medicine. For the life of me I cannot imagine how seemingly sensible people let nanny take over.
My wife and I visited Ireland for the first time in 1968. The one thing I know was better then, both in Ireland and where I live in St. Paul, MN is that I was 42 years younger. That tends to color everything else a very rosy hue.
Things also look better due to that naive ignorance that you mentioned.
One of your best posts boss. Not rose tinted glasses. I went to boarding school in Dublin (not not an RC one fortunately !!) and we were certainly allowed in to town on high days and holidays. Fond memories of the Royal and Adelphi cinemas. I think it was the Royal that also had a live matinee cabaret thingy (??). Also that cinema on O’Connell street near the GPO that became BHS some years ago and there was one around the corner I think in Henry Street. Christ, I am getting old !!
Another thing that seems to have changed for the worse as well is the bastardization of the English language. Recent examples are:
This in an e-mail from my bank this morning:
I have arranged for the address to reflect on all your accounts and going forward the new address will be used.
And this from an article in the Irish Times:
“It would have sent out the wrong signal: Fianna Fáil sitting down to dinner at €95 a plate. The optics would have been poor.”
And this from the same article:
It would have been “toxic for Fianna Fáil presently”, the TD added.
5h4mro(k – I still remember going for my early eye-tests, in Masons of Dame Street. I must have been around five at the time. My glasses were less rose-tinted and more John Lennon [though he hadn’t been invented at that time]
Toad – I don’t think I would include cars as being better. The cars themselves are faster, more comfortable and have more additions [such as decent starter motors] but the roads were better in the old days. They may have been narrower and more twisty, but there was a hell of a lot less traffic. No parking meters either!
Pat – Take my advice…. If 68 was your last visit, then leave it at that. If you came over now, you wouldn’t recognise the place. Even I don’t recognise it and I live here. It is one thoroughly messed up country.
Mossy – Sweet fuck!! The IT should know better. I hate those toxic sound-bites. Time for us to take the difficult decisions and move on from them? [I’m just thinking outside the box here]