Thursday, 10 December 2009

Were You Born Before 1986?

First of all my I'd like to thank Subrosa for the very kind and possibly brave invitation(considering my reputation for the use of somewhat colourful language over at my place) to help out with the occasional post whilst she eases her self back into the blogosphere.

That said, I have sworn myself to be non-sweary whilst putting my cyber pen to Subrosa's cyber paper, so there shouldn't be any need to check the battery in your pacemaker or to reach for the inhaler ;-)

So, where were we?

Ah yes.

Were you born before 1986?

According to the Nanny State and her Righteous followers, those of us who were children in the 60's, 70's and early 80's probably shouldn't have survived because our baby cots were coated with brightly coloured lead based paint, which we often chewed and licked.

We had no child proof lids on medicine bottles or latches on doors and cabinets and it was fine to play with pots and pans. When we were in our early teens we were allowed to bleach our jeans, ourselves.

When we rode our bikes, we didn't wear helmets just flip flops and cardboard 'flickers' on our wheels. We would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags and to sit in the front passenger seat was a treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle and it tasted good. We shared one drink with five friends, from one bottle or can, and none of us actually died as a result.

We ate chips, bread and butter pudding and drank 'pop' with sugar in it but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing with our mates.

We would spend hours and hours building go carts out of scrap wood and pram wheels and then went full tilt down a hill, only to realise that we had forgotten the brakes. So, after running into the stinging nettles a few times we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and were allowed to play all day as long as we were back before it got dark. Nobody was able to get in touch with us and no one minded.

We didn't have a Playstation or an XBox, in fact, no type of video games at all. Only 3 channels on the TV, no video tapes, no surround sound, no mobile phones and no personal computers. We had friends. We just went out and found them.

We played football and rounders and sometimes that ball really hurt! We fell out of trees, grazed our knees, broke bones but no one got sued. We had fist fights but our parents were never prosecuted by other kids' parents. We played 'knock and run' and were genuinely afraid of the house owners catching us.

We walked to friends houses. We also walked to school, we didn't wait for mummy to take us even though it was just around the corner. If it was raining, we just got wet.

We made up games with sticks, tennis balls and piles of coats. We rode our bikes in packs of 8 or 9 and only wore our coats by the hoods.

Our parents never bailed us out if we broke the law, they sided with it. Our generation has produced some of the best risk takers, problem solvers and inventors, ever. Over the past 40 years or so there has been an abundance of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility. We learned how to deal with it all.

If you were born after 1986 you will never have heard 'We Are The World, We Are The Children'. The only 'Uptown Girl' you know is by Westlife and not Billy Joel. You will never have heard of Marc Bolan, Bananarama, Nena Cherry or Belinda Carlisle.

For you there has always been only one Germany and one Vietnam. Aids has 'appeared' since you were born and so have CDs. Michael Jackson was always white. John Travolta has always been a fat guy to you and not the 'God of Dance'.

You also believe that Charlie's Angels and Mission Impossible are films. You will never have pretended to be the A-Team or the Famous Five. You will never have applied to be on Jim'll Fix It or Why Don't You?

You can't believe that we ever had black and white televisions and you will never understand how we could 'go out' without a mobile phone. You can never imagine life without computers.

If you were born before 1986 you will have understood everything that I have said and will probably have smiled. Your friends will all be married and you need to sleep more these days, usually until the afternoon, after a night out.

When you see kids with mobile phones you shake your head and 'tut'. You are always astounded to see young children so at ease with computers.

You may have remembered Dirty Den the first time he was on Eastenders. You still meet up with your friends from time to time, discuss the good old days and repeat stories about the things that you experienced together.

I was born in the 1960's.
It's no wonder that I have become a Grumpy Old Tw*t!

That is all.


Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...

Bloody youngster

I lived for 5 years as a nipper in a shoebox on the M25 and we were so poor my Father sold my sisters for medical experiments so the rest of us had food.

(Monty Python)

So there!

Hammer said...

Humour it may be, but it's doing my generation a great dis-service. Never really been one for generalisation jokes.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, so that's why my 'better half' is always so secretive about her early years ;-)

Rab C. Nesbitt said...

Born in 1970 myself,

I overheard a conversation the other day, a woman was talking to another woman about the 11 year old boy who lived next door.

'He has everything, playstation, x box, nintendo wii, laptops etc etc. His mother doesn't know what to get him for Christmas'.

I sat there thinking to myself ' a football and a bike'.

No wonder so many kids these days are fat.

Anonymous said...

"First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes. "

Etc. etc.

An internet classic.

Constantly Furious said...

Absolutely spot on. Every word.

It's my birthday today, which has reminded me of how lucky I am to have been born in the 60's.

As my mother sarcastically said, a few years ago as she watched us fuss and fret over our kids: "God knows how you survived".

Stewart Cowan said...

I don't remember fizzy Spangles! I want some...

And how did we ever manage with only three TV channels, all ending by about midnight?

We "drank 'pop' with sugar" as nature intended. Now they're drinking aspartame and becoming sickly.

cynicalHighlander said...

"Those were the days" dandelion and burdock, homemade ginger beer, endless days fishing, long bike rides how times have changed. Nowadays if you have an accident it has to be someone elses fault not your own stupidity, the real stupidity is allowing the nanny state to endlessly creep into controlling peoples lives.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right! They need to get up off their lardy little arses once in a while.

More great example, thanks . . and a full cooked breakfast didn't go amiss either ;-)

Hope you're having a good day and do you remember the times when birthday parties were always held at home? Excellent games like 'pile on' and 'murder in the dark' were all the rage!

Ah yes the fizzy Spangles. Long gone unfortunately, just like ''Aztec' and 'Amazin Rasin' bars.

The Nanny State has an awful lot to answer for. No more learning from ones mistakes or chalking things up to experience.

Jess The Dog said...

I remember....

...the game of "British Bulldog" when you had to fight past the "catchers" and, if caught, you were given the choice of "walking the plank" (of two rows of kicking feet) or "joining the crew".

...playing "football" with a crumpled can and 20-odd children for what seemed like endless lunch breaks!

JRB said...


How delighted I am, as a child of the 40’s, to see you, as a child of the 60’s, pick up the baton in decrying the children of today.

If anyone should know about kids having ‘things’ easy then it must surely be those lucky folk that were born in the sixties.

Whereas, those of us born in the 40’s really knew the meaning of …


banned said...

As a child of the late fifties your depiction is extraordinarilly accurate G.O.T..
In my very early teens my gang regularly caught two buses to an evening swimming club at an indoor pool. Afterwards someones Dad/uncle/whatever who was a deliveryman for the London Evening Standard would collect us and take us home, via the chip shop, rattling around in the back of his van.
Imagine what the elfin'safety crowd would have to say about that these days, never mind the CRB.

Conan the Librarian™ said...

Looks like John Menzies upped the price from the makers two new pee to two and a half new pee.
Moneygrubbing Bastards.
I seem to remember cola spangles, though Victory Vees were my favourite; the modern ones don't taste the same.
Lack of cocaine or some other substance probably.

John said...

Born 1933. Imagine the risks I ran!!

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant post. I was captivated ... and by the comments too. Write more... It was like reading a social history...

Magic. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I turned out the way I have because I did realise how lucky I was. Who knows, except to say that respect for previous generations is a trait that is sadly lacking these days.

Same here, we used to walk miles to the nearest outdoor pool in the summer and after hours of swimming and 'bombing' (ouch) would think nothing of cadging a lift back with a little known parent of 'little Jimmy'.

Good to see you're still safe and sound in the blogosphere and yes I remember all those MGBs sticking half pees on everything, after decimalisation. Funny how pocket money didn't go up pro rata though ;-)

You and JRB are heroes in my book, people like you were responsible for making sure that people like me grew up to have a well rounded personality.

Thanks and you're welcome. It just goes to show that I CAN manage without the expletives . . . when I put my mind to it ;-)

subrosa said...

Gotty wonderful post. Thank you so much, yer a gem. :)

Tris I think John (JRB) and myself will have to get together and write more social history with both of us being born in the 40s. Then you'll have a male and female account.

subrosa said...

Oops I should have said John, John as in JRB and myself. The three of us could do a good account of why we've survived this long. :)

Anonymous said...

We'd dam up the local river to go swimming and walk along the railway putting pennies on the track to retrieve them twice the size after the steam train had passed then we'd walk back home through the tunnel. A bag of crisps was 3d and a mars bar was 7d At school we had three mile cross country runs in the snow and ice. When I was 10 years old my dad cycled 80 miles to the coast with me, my sister and my younger brother on clapped out second hand bikes for our holiday in a tent.

Witterings From Witney said...


As one born in '42 can I join in? In '45 I was taken out to West Africa and used to play with scorpions and snakes. I was left to wander in 'the bush' (as in jungle) on my own. Used to go swimming in the sea and not an adult in sight. Came back in '52 and used to marvel at the 'luxuries' England had - like a wireless that did not 'crackle'. Now that was a luxury!

subrosa said...

Of course you can WfW, we'll have to organise something among the two Johns.

I remember as a wee one, possibly around 6+ climbing up billboards (from the back) and sitting atop them looking for my Dad coming off the tram. He never forgot that and told me off every time but I did it for years.

Apogee said...

As one born before 1946, a very enjoyable post, G.O.T. How did we survive? Because we learnt from our experiences, and learnt the way to survive, with a little help from our friends.
Coming late to the party, as it were,every one has said all the things I might have said.
Very enjoyable, Thanks G.O.T


Catosays said...

I was born in the forties and everything GOT says is absolutely spot on.
I joined the scouts and at the age of fourteen or thereabouts our patrol would go away for weekend camps. No adults, just 8-9 of us, rucksacks stuffed with tins of food...didn't need much in the way of clothing... great fun. Can you imagine the furore now if that was even suggested?

subrosa said...

Seems quite a few of us were born in the 40s when money was respected and people more so.

In many ways I think I've had the 'best deal' because children these days don't seem to have a childhood. Nobody taught us about sex at school but we muddled through. STD clinics were places anyone would be ashamed to attend but now they're accepted as part of life.

We didn't have 'days out' from school, we sat there 9 - 4 and got on with it.

Girls seldom went to university, they went to teacher training college or straight into work. In fact few boys went to uni either because parents couldn't afford it. Many of us started our further education, in our own time, by attending the local technical college in the evenings. No day release in those days. We did a day's work then a night's studying.

Were we less well educated than today's youngsters who expect to go to uni? Not in my opinion.

I'll get off my soapbox now.

Anonymous said...

My pleasure and thanks for the invite ;-)
Looking forward to you and the JJs getting together for episode 2. 'Were You Born Before 1960?'

I'd forgotten about those cross country runs we had at school. Real character building stuff and they really were properly across country too.

Exactly right. Learning from experience was such an important part of growing up. We had advice from our parents, of course we did, but as my old dad used to say (God bless), the best thing about advice is that you don't have to take it. Nowadays it's rammed down our throats.

Dib dib dib, dob dob dob ;-) There's something else worthwhile that seems to have lost it's popularity. Cubs, Brownies, Guides, Scouts, Cadets: all great sources of excercise, fun, respect, politeness and decent values.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

A baby! can't do them any more!

WV shematic

scunnert said...

I was born in the fifties when the UK government was giving away free orange juice to kids laced with radioactive substances to see what happened. Many of my contemporaries died of luekemia and other cancers.

WV = grobals - aye

subrosa said...

For goodness sake WW, Spangles are responsible for my weight!

If I didn't have so many metal fillings in my teeth from eating Spangles I'm quite sure I'd be 7lb lighter.

subrosa said...

Jeez scunnert, give me a link to that - it'd be VERY interesting.

Oldrightie said...

Bloody whippersnappers. It's we war babies who really screwed up. The lucky ones, anyway!

Observer said...

I think some of you have been very hard on our young ones.

We made the world they have to grow up in - and it's far harsher than the one that we did.

subrosa said...

Observer I don't agree but of course each of us translates comments differently.

Is it harsher? Today's young would say we had it harsher and they can't comprehend no central heating, a 4" bath once a week only (nobody had showers), very limited money around etc.

I would say today's young don't live in as safe a world. We did everything we could to make us safer and that has now unravelled because we've had power-mad men as leaders in the past 12 years.

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