Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A bit of history

Thank goodness the old TV clips keep arriving on Youtube, they are only fragments but that was part of the best time of my life, say 1965-75, and made me return to another instalment of my own history. I may have told it all before but there are new readers arriving every day (I keep a check) and it's enough time to be sure I won't be able to repeat it all each time.

The inspiration today came from the clip about 'what next'- my school leaving was the most long drawn out process, as after changing subjects twice ended up stringing my A levels out, taking one at the proper time and two the following year at separate sittings partly due to a clash with an O level resit. A year beyond the proper date I was off to Polytechnic to take a subject where I knew I'd be able to practice but not pass as it had maths. Accountancy. Plus it was a part qualified system where every year gave you credit where if you failed you'd start work lower down the ladder but be qualified for something. Not even the first year, I failed economics twice (I got the A level so not a total spastic in it like maths) but resat maths the day before, enough said. And thank goodness the internet may be the last place on earth anyone can say spastic, so I damn well will.
Anyway, five years later (I had a year out driving a van and working for an estate agent) I ended up with a law degree, and because I decided to follow psychotherapy and counselling, my original preference, had to do a morning a week at college for three years. The only work flexible enough to fit it in was teaching, so I worked at three schools on average from 1985-91, with a year out when I moved to Oxford (financial considerations compared to buying in London) and worked in an office (a portakabin) till made redundant and offered a better job back here.

So what I did next completed in 1991 with a counselling diploma, and when I walked out of the final teaching job found it wasn't enough to apply for counselling work. So a year before leaving the family home I ended up working in a shop with a degree, certificate and diploma, but was happy there and paid the bills for 5 years till again they could no longer afford to pay me and let me go.
The choice compared to reality, a word I uncannily guessed tonight while watching Big Bang Theory (the first programme to come close to Seinfeld), was weltschmerz. I knew the word somehow, although not the meaning till I heard it first. My choice was to get married at about 26 and buy a place and have children, hopefully with a profession for the rest of my life. Fuck that, said the powers that be (spiritual, no others can affect us that much), your worst fears of being alone and unwanted are genuine. The day you leave home will be on your own and that will be it.

Amazingly I adapt and make what I can of it, spending time with friends and family whenever I can, although friends leaving the country and half my family dying has reduced the options, meaning more time to sit here and blog about it. The world was truly a different and far better place back then, no nostalgia, I can see it now and easily compare the difference in quality.
When I get random reminders of the era, snippets that bring me back to where I was and what I was doing back then.

U Thant, Wonderloaf, Michael Miles, The Golden Shot, Monday's Newcomers (the new TV ads for the week, when they were actually worth watching), Wavy Line, Fine Fare, MacFisheries, The Schoolboys and girls exhibition at Olympia, Zootime with Desmond Morris (he's still busy at least), Paul and Barry Ryan, Esso tiger tails you tied to the aerial, Regent petrol stations, The Days of Pearly Spencer, Rodney Marsh at QPR, Workington and Barrow in the 4th division, Wallace Heaton, Cyril Connolly, The Daily Sketch, Boomph with Becker, I drink Idris when I's dry,

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg, there are many more that would mean nothing to anyone like all the names of people from school and family friends, but hope even one of these I did mention means something to someone else and has brought them back to life for the first time in 40 years or so. There's not much like that any more, only my old road signs, which are fast disappearing.


Roger Hooton of Nuriootpa, South Australia said...

I used to collect first and last editions of newspapers and I did have until early 1992 the first and last edition of the Daily Sketch. It later merged with the Daily Mail, had that edition. The Sketch itself had taken over the old Daily Graphic so I had those papers as well.
Mention of Wallace Heatons,photographic supplies to King George V1, HM Queen, Queen Mother etc., that had great adverts on the back of buses. Well I was a relief assistant for them for a year of so and would work in Mayfair shop in Berkeley Street, also the Bank at Leadenhall St, Victoria opposite the station and at Earls Court. I was in charge of closing the Earls Court shop down. I had an an auction and got told off. Dixons had taken over the company. Dixons finally killed off all the old Wallace Heaton shops. Ah lots of memories I can tell you. I upset Princess Diana's grandfather the late Viscount. When the old sod told me his name I said "Oh yes Viscount cigarettes or aircraft?" he complained to management who had to explain that I was an Aussie who did not know what a Viscount was. But I still had to write a grovelling letter of apology to the old sod.
I could mention a lot of other memories you have just stirred up in me but not enough space here.

David said...

Always good to get information, especially from the inside, I'll add some more now if I can think of any more.