Life was more simple I suppose...

Life was more simple I suppose...
Authored By John Nicholson
To people of a certain age (me) the 1970s doesn't seem so far away really. But 1974 was fifty years ago. When I was 18, fifty years previously was the late 1920s and was a world away from our lives, listening to UFO and drinking snakebites.
So I assume 18-year-olds today feel the same about the 70s; a distant land, unknowable and nothing to do with life today. Except it’s different. When I was 18, 62-year olds were not going to gigs and collecting records. There was no youth culture to look back on, but now there is.

We had so much going for us that today’s 18-year-old just doesn’t have. Especially a full student grant and the ability to go on the dole in the summer. Obviously they have their music, I wouldn't expect them to be grooving to Grand Funk Railroad or Black Oak Arkansas, but I wonder what they make of how we lived back then. It was far harder than we probably imagine, from the lack of central heating to nylon underwear. If you weren’t white and male, you were not catered for. Discrimination was acceptable, as were acts of petty violence at school. And that was just by teachers. There is an instinct to say, it was better then, but it really wasn’t. It was unremittingly tough for me. Crushingly so. The music was objectively better, and don’t think that’s in doubt, but not much else was. I think social media will prove to be a terrible burden for them, despite me using it to talk to you.

When you think about what we used to do, according to my very X-rated diaries (and I was not in any way unusually debauched), the thought that it might have been videoed or photographed is appalling. Plus I was full of it, despite having little experience of anything. If I saw myself now, I was such a bullshit merchant, trying to bluff my way through life. It would make me cringe. Today’s kids have nowhere to hide. Relationships come and go with varying degrees of emotional commitment and you’d never be able to properly get away from them.

Reading my diaries now, ploughing through the mundanity of life, one thing stands out; love of rock music. It’s on every page. Mostly talking about records, artists and tours. We used to go round to someone’s house who had a record we wanted to hear. That must never happen now.
We bought singles because we didn’t have enough money for albums. Another thing that is alien today. A lot of time, when I was 15/16, was taken up with avoiding getting my head kicked in. Again, this was by no means unusual. And it was a very real concern. One time I wasn’t able to talk my way out of a conflict, having been trapped by several hard lads, and I took a bit of kicking, which was very upsetting. The pointless aggression and violence was a part of everyday life. I bet that hasn’t changed. Except bullying will happen on phones as well.

Today’s kids obviously know of our history and that they didn’t invent all the naughty things we got up to. That must be so different to our teens when we felt we’d invented sex, drugs and rock n roll. But as much as I wish I was a teenager with all my life ahead of me, I'm quite content to be part of the generation before phones, social media and the internet (which I’ve had for less time than I haven't) Life was more simple I suppose.

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