I’m going to try to start this year of 2017 with my usual optimism although, right now, I’m not finding it that easy. There are a number of reasons for this which, I think, are largely to do with the fact that I see little room for such optimism. Not on the personal side, you understand, but related to the fact that this member of that Lucky Generation feels that most of the hopes that he has harboured for as long as he can remember, are further away than ever. If the truth be told, they appear to be off the radar.
This has been highlighted for me over the past year when many of those who have been part of my youthful cultural framework have died. That’s not to say I was, for example, a great fan of David Bowie; rather that he had always been around and is no longer. Similarly with Victoria Wood. Iconic figures have left the stage. This was reinforced when I was listening to the radio just before Xmas and, whoever was being interviewed, was talking about the social and cultural revolution that was the 1960’s. She went on to say that it had been a golden age the likes of which we would never see again. And that hit home hard.
You see, for me, that was a time for working class young people, not only to dream but to see those dreams having a real chance of being realised. To be around during those times was to experience hope, optimism and colour in real life and that’s before I mention the music; this in sharp contrast to the austerity of post war Britain. And, yes, I know that there is always another side to any coin but those times gave me hope for the future. Hope that is less likely to be realised by the generations that have followed. That makes me sad. Not only for its actuality but because things could be different; it doesn’t need to be this way.
So, how do I react to these, less harmonious times? Well, despite the fact that I’m getting older, I will not let them determine how I live my life. In fact, I will keep on keeping on and writing and speaking about a world that could be in addition to trying to live it. There, I feel better already.