Simon Round

It's not an entirely new year

September 18, 2014 13:01

You've probably stocked up on apples and honey but have you given any thought to what new year we are entering? If not, I can tell you that, as of next week, we will be in 5775. And, for the second time in my life we have hit the mid-70s.

The world is totally different to the one 39 years ago, in which I was attending my first year of secondary school. Back then, everyone was listening to bands like Queen and Abba - stuff that would never stand the test of time. In the sporting world, the England football team were lurching from one disaster to another and the England cricket team had just been walloped by Australia with its fearsome fast bowling attack. Oh, and Manchester united were recovering from a terrible slump - England's best supported team had spent 1974-75 languishing in the Second Division.

In politics, Britain's Jews were on high alert both from the threat of Palestinian terrorism and also from a resurgence in domestic antisemitism as the far-right National Front gained popularity. There was also a referendum campaign following calls to remove Britain from the Common Market (as we then called the European Union).

We also saw the introduction of several people who are still making their mark on Britain today. David Beckham and Gary Neville made their debuts - they were born in East London and Manchester respectively; comedian Russell Brand was also born -- although, thankfully, it would be several years before he was to utter his first gag; and two tiny people, one called Ant and one called Dec, were born in the North-East.

Of course, in other ways the new 75 will be very different from the first one. One contemporary headline grabbed my attention: Coal miners accept 35 per cent pay rise. The days of 35 per cent pay rises, and indeed of miners, have long gone. And much else has changed. I now have a daughter who is similar in age now to me in 1975. When I attempt to tell her how life was in those days, she is able to put on her headphones and shut me out completely by listening to music, watching videos on YouTube and talking to her friends on social media.

Gone are the days of 35 per cent pay rises

In comparison, I had no such ready entertainment. There were children's programmes on TV for about two hours in the afternoon. And, if it happened to be raining in the summer holidays, I would fight with my older brother - not because we were arguing, just for something to do.

On the rare occasions that my daughter Lucy or her brother Alex actually listen to what I tell them - of a time of three television channels and one phone for the whole family to share (which you couldn't even text on) - you can see a look of pity in their eyes, particularly from Lucy, whose motto is "a house without internet is not a home".

In some ways, I agree with them. For example one of the most popular shows on TV in those days was a ballroom-dancing competition called Come Dancing. Can you imagine watching that now?

September 18, 2014 13:01

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