I really don't understand how people can become moist of eye and feel nostalgic for such an awful time as the sixties. I mean just think of all those long hot summer days when we had to sit around with nothing to do because nobody had bothered to invent mobile phones yet. All we had to do was go out and play with our friends. Blimey, I even had to walk round to my friend Graeme's house to see if he was in and wanted to come out to play. All that energy expended when I should have been able to just text him instead. Then we needn't have bothered going anywhere, we could have then gone onto Facebook and written messages to each other in our pidgin English and not actually have spoken at all. That's if someone had bothered to invent computers, an internet system and a social networking site.
I used to have to sit around my bedroom just looking at all those boxes of Hornby railways, Minic road system (I didn't have Scalextric), Airfix soldiers and models, Action Men and clothes, books, original Marvel and DC first edition comics, Corgi cars, Britain's farm and zoo animals and (more) soldiers and knights on horseback. If Graeme or someone else came round we had to get all that stuff out and play with it. If he didn't I would, out of sheer boredom, set up a whole made up warzone of railway, cars, models scenery and plan and fight huge battles on the scale of Ragnorak. Sometimes these battles would last for days. That's how bored I was.
Sometimes I would get so bored I would cycle off around the villages surrounding Stevenage for hours. And, of course, because nobody had invented iPhones yet I couldn't be contacted by my parents. They had no idea where I was. Obviously I am the product of a dysfunctional family. Social Services never came round once to check on me and see how little I was cared for. I had to look after myself for hours - right up until teatime, of course. My parents were unaware that I was off re-fighting the First World War in the trenches that now lie under Grace Way, or building tree houses in the Bluebell Woods, setting fire to ants with my magnifying glass. Or just birdwatching with only an I-Spy book and a jam sandwich for company. Or even that I was regularly being beaten up by the bully boys that lived around Whitesmead Road. Oh for Asbos to be invented!
Just myself for company sometimes! I could wander far and wide and barely see a soul - certainly hardly ever a car - and just enjoy my own company. Much as I still do today, actually. I'm more than happy to go off on long walks alone. My lousy childhood did that to me. Because of the times we lived in, we weren't allowed iPhones, MP3s et al, so we had to make do with humming to ourselves - remembering words to songs to keep ourselves cheerful. Which brings me to another thing, music. I didn't really get into music until 1969 by which time I had to listen to Progressive Music as it was called then. That means that I was thirteen before I had any choice over what I listened to - on vinyl of course.
What sort of a world were we entering? One where people only ever dreamt of owning a computer that you could carry around in your pocket, communicate with anyone anywhere in the world, sit and watch films all day and all night, type endlessly to our (virtual) friends, play games with people we'll never meet. Even pornography was just a few photos found in a tatty old copy of Parade magazine. Unusually, always found in a hedge. Not sure why. No wonder we responded in droves to such adverts as this one found in an old copy of Eagle comic. What an exciting world that offered us. A golden future definitely.
Unfortunately we were sold down the river and now we find ourselves living in a science fiction world. The sort of world we were promised by those cheery souls at Eagle. And now we can, at last, sit around doing all of those things denied to us all those years ago.
Yes, when I mentioned the other day in a class of twelve year olds that we didn't have these things one of them blurted out, "Omigod! I'd die!" I agree because I wasted so much of my youth sitting around waiting for someone to invent all these wonderful devices because I just had nothing to do. "What on earth did you do?" they cry. I just think back to those times and realise how unfortunate we were.