There’ll never be a band as good as the Beatles they say. Never be a boxer like Ali, and never be a footballer like George Best. There will also never be an actor in the same class as Olivier, never be a car as good as the E-Type Jag and never be a decade like the sixties. Or seventies, eighties or nineties depending on your age.
Why is this? Nostalgia; the simple utopia of everyone’s memory.
Whilst taking nothing away from the aforementioned, every example is either subjective or impossible to measure. It’s simply that a golden memory is always better than a grey present day.
Whatever went before is nearly always considered better than what we have now.
‘In my day, you knew where you stood.’ They say. ‘Criminals were gentlemen. You could leave your door unlocked. Music had tunes. There was no traffic jams. Kids played outside all day. Cheese and onion crisps came in green bags. The first division was the first division, three channels was all you needed and you tied a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.’
Clearly the past had a lot going for it, whatever period your past happened to be. However there are far more areas where life is now infinitely superior. The opportunities for education are far better now than ever. The Internet has made information and entertainment available at the click of a mouse. Choice in every area of life is beyond recognition to twenty years ago. The advent of mobile phones, whilst annoying when you’re sat next to someone jabbering away on a train, has meant that this generation need never be out of contact with a loved one. Terrestrial TV is by no means great, but with the multitude of channels and methods of recording, there should always be something to watch.
So perhaps those people who insist that they lived in the greatest period, had the best music, the best sportsmen, the best mates, the best of everything should try being a little more open minded. They may have had rolling green fields where the multiplex is, or a bobby on the beat. But they also had scurvy, a choice of three warm beers in the pubs and Showaddywaddy.
All in all then, I would propose that we all stop looking back at what we remember, and start concentrating on what we’ve got and look forward to what we’ll have in the future.
Apart from cheese and onion crisps. They should definitely be in green packs.