I have started to feel old

It isn’t the failing faculties and aching joints.
It’s the wankers who want to turn all the clocks back to when I was young.
Or stop them where they are, in some cases.

And I have realised that you need to be quite old to remember what it was like before we let the clocks run.
So I find myself reminiscing, like the old fart that I seem to be.


I don’t like abortion, and am glad I have never been faced with such a decision, and never want to be.
You have to be pretty old to have any sense of the days before David Steel’s Abortion Act 1967.
But the situation is so much better now than before.


You have to be even older to have experienced much travel before the UK joined the Common Market, in 1973.
Or to have bought or sold things between the UK and the mainland.
It wasn’t good, with visas and tariffs and all sorts of barriers; and we are starting to feel the pains again, and I sense it will get worse.


Wherever I went as a kid, there was routine denigration of homosexual people, in which I remember participating.
It must have been ghastly for the gay kids at my school.
I was 14 when the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised some aspects of gay sex, although it made little difference to the attitudes, I think.
Then there was the “gay plague” of the 1980s, with the deaths and more discrimination – that was also a good while ago, I now realise.

Sex Equality

There have been numerous laws addressing sex discrimination since the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (which tells you just how unsuccessful each has been).
I remember women being refused signing contracts such as hire purchase or mortgage agreements, unless they could get their husband, father or even random male family member or friend to sign to guarantee them.
And outrageous behaviours and attitudes that would be shocking even now, being perfectly acceptable throughout society.


Perhaps all that needs saying is that all forms of racism were endemic – and legal.


It was just assumed you believed in (a CoE) god.


Failing your 11-plus and ending up in a Secondary Modern school was pretty much being placed in an underclass and a life sentence for no useful education, as far as I remember.
About 4% of kids got to go to university, which I think is too elitist.
But the poorer in that 4% did get a good chance of free university education.


Seeing a GP was possible, but could take quite a while.
Getting a hospital appointment could take months (like now).
You never waited less than several hours past your appointment time at the hospital to see the specialist (not like now)


I suspect public transport was better, but can’t compare with now.


There was far less variety available.
But it was hugely more expensive, as a proportion of household income.

That’s enough boring old fartism.

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We’re all a bit religious

Ever said “Touch wood”; crossed your fingers; avoided the crack in a paving stone; read a horoscope; not put up an umbrella indoors; avoided walking under a ladder? (Well possibly not the last if there was someone up there, but why did you do it?)

Most people find they have some of these comfortable little routines, and in fact they are largely harmless, perhaps helping us through some of the bits of the world we find painful or don’t understand.

Mind you, I am pleased to say people are sufficiently self-aware about them to keep them to themselves, as they realise they are groundless, and they would be rather embarrassed to let others think they used them to organise their lives. Well, possibly with the exception of astrology.

Such things are generally referred to as superstitions, although religions is used for the more complex.

Some people are more superstitious than others, but I like to try understand them by putting them all on the same spectrum. To do that we need to use the same term, and I prefer to use the superstitious scale, as religion comes with a lot more baggage, especially at the less complex end of the scale.

So why don’t you try this?

Whenever anyone uses the word religious, simply rerun the words substituting superstitious. If you find the word god, make it a favourite planet (I tend to use dog myself, as it is easiest).

“He is very religious and prays to God every day” becomes “He is very superstitious and prays to Saturn every day”.

“Tony Blair called in superstitious leaders for consultation this morning.”

Sounds to me that is what he did?

So now I can talk about how superstitious people are, and can seek to understand the comparison between religion, astrology, homeopathy, crossed-fingers, etc. within a nice consistent framework.

This is good, because it helps me to understand the people I am interacting with, and that is always good for human relations.

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