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Sunday, 24 January 2016

Looking forward to living in the past.

Not a smartphone in sight

I'm often accused of living in the past but reading through today's newspapers it's clear I'm not on my own. The Times runs a heart-warming story of  wartime romance rekindled after seventy years, while  the Guardian takes a look at  Jimmy Hendrix' lifestyle -  'art nouveau,  Ena Sharples and John Lewis curtains.'

Even the Daily Mail is feeling nostalgic: 1970s - The Best Year of our Lives, shouts a headline.The full-page piece previews Back In Time for the Weekend, a six part series  beginning on BBC2 next month. The  programme makers asked one family to try living in five different decades, starting in 1950. And which did they like best? The 1970s.

The Ashby-Hawkins family - child minder Rob, IT consultant Steph and children  Daisy, 16 and Seth, 12, agreed: 'It gave us a real insight. We've done things we never thought we'd do.We've done things as a  family together which has been brilliant. The Seventies,  they added 'had the perfect balance of convenience and family values before households were splintered by technology.'

The Mail gives us some fun facts about each decade. Did 1950s women  really do housework for eleven hours a day, seven days a week?  Not my mum, that's for sure.

By the 1960s, teenagers had arrived  and bingo became popular with housewives. The TV had made its mark and one in three households had a vehicle 'making day trips possible.'

Home brewing became popular in the 1970s  and by the mid 1980s around three million British households had a home computer.Ten years later Sunday trading was legalised and ten times more people shopped on a Sunday than went to church.

Which brings me back to today. According to the Mail the average adult spends more than eight hours a day on media devices. In fact  people can now sit in the same room but not interact because they are using games consoles, smartphones or tablets.

In last weeks Times Magazine food critic Giles Coren  spent two thirds of his column discussing social media. Dining at the upmarket Sartoria in London's Savile Row he  counted 40 diners, 33 of whom were tapping away on their phones.  'I was so angry,' he wrote 'I got up to glare.'

The party of a dozen Italians, who didn't speak to each other, upset him the most. They were, he says,  'presumably forking out for this £1,000 meal nobody was paying any attention to.'

So what's the answer? Maybe we should all try a week without our smart phones and laptops and  try a spot of talking for a change. Let me know what you think.


Lindsay said...

I think the 70s were a great decade (although some people wore very dodgy fashions.) I think the comment about the balance of convenience about not being too technological was right. It seems that was the decade when the disparity between the rich and poor of our society was at its least. Now it's getting back to the Victorian era!

As technology - like so much else instead of it being a means to an end it has become the end in itself - not good.

Guernsey Girl said...

Oh, Lindsay - I can remember the dodgy fashions (I think I may have worn them!)
But seriously, I really agree with your comments. That's why I'm so fascinated by the past. We're all searching for happiness but some seemed to have found it it a very long time ago. Thanks for joining in.

Barbara Fisher said...

Hello Marilyn, I’m so looking forward to Back in time for the weekend – I think it starts on Wednesday, so I must check that out. My mum did a lot of housework and gardening back in the 50s, and if you count the hours looking after my sister, brother and I then it was probably more than 11 hours a day. The washing took for ever as it was all done by hand or in a big old copper. I am very nostalgic for the 50s, but I would want to go back as a child.

I get very annoyed if I’m out with someone who spends the entire time on a mobile device (my husband does it) – it is just plain rude!

I hope you had a good Christmas and New Year; we had a wonderful time with our family (no mobile devices allowed!)

Guernsey Girl said...

Hello Barbara - it's lovely to hear from you. I can remember my mother having a wringer in the kitchen ( an electric one that turned automatically rather than having to turn it by hand.) It was made by Goblin and lasted for years. But then everything lasted for years in the fifties - you only replaced an electrical item if it no longer worked. It's great to have more time to ourselves these days but I wonder just how much of it we do spend on our laptops and mobile phones? I'm going to switch mine off now and watch a forties film. Nothing makes me long for the past more than Bacall and Bogart.

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Marilyn,
I can honestly say I didn't miss my laptop over Christmas and the New Year but once the family left I was back! I spend hours and hours clicking away – to the point where the ironing is miles high, and no food gets cooked!
Did you watch the first part of Back in Time for the weekend? I loved it! My dad spent hours out in his shed, making and mending, and we always had fresh vegetables from the garden. It’s sad how much life has changed, but I still wouldn't want to be without my gadgets. I would much rather sit her and ‘talk’ to you than be doing that ironing!
I hope you enjoyed the film. My favourite is The African Queen with Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. I've watched it dozens of times.