Thursday, 30 January 2014

Doesn't Time Fly When You're Having Fun.

    Three of our grandchildren stayed overnight last week; Ted, four, Tommy, nine and Angelina, twelve. We took them to my home village of Ockbrook. I thought they ought to know a little concerning my own dodgy background and upbringing. ( see 'A childhood Revisited' at the beginning of my blog.)
    Unfortunately the weather excelled itself. We all got out of the car near the Moravian chapel I attended for all of my youth. Within twenty seconds of us alighting there lightning flashed ominously, lighting up the sky, followed immediately by  horrendous claps of thunder. (We were taught as children that each second between lightning and thunder is one mile distance between the two. indicating how far away is the storm. Were we taught correctly?) The children were alarmed, Angelina particularly so. 'God's not amused  by the infrequency of my visits to his house' I mused as we all dived back in the car. Our visit to my childhood pastures had lasted all of one minute!
    Much of my childhood was spent outdoors. On farms amid animals and machinery. Or near the railway lines that ran through the next village. In summer learning to swim in the putrid water of the Erewash Canal; or the tempting but highly dangerous currents of the River Derwent. Indoors enjoying the delights of Subbuteo or printing rude words with the aid of a John Bull printing set. 
    The fifties were extremely unsophisticated times, certainly if compared to what's on offer to the young of the westernised world in the present century. So much has changed; so much is different today. 
    I happened recently to see an Eagle Annual that featured the best of the 1950's comic. The Eagle comic first surfaced on the 14th April, 1950, priced three pence, later rising to four and a half pence. (old money before decimalization. double the price of most other comics.) The Eagle was a comic that in many ways was  before its time.  Much of it in colour, it was innovative in so many ways. It brought inventions and technology into the lives of children. It pushed the grimness of the recently fought war into the background. It was exciting, and it brought its readers new heroes: Dan Dare, PC49 and Harris Tweed. No wonder at its peak it sold over one million copies per week. as a young teenage boy (born 1939) I loved it all. Happy days, yet looking at some pages today, I marvel as to how things, particularly language has changed since my youth.In the Eagle comics of the fifties there are frequent mention of 'chums, chaps and fellows'. There is a quaintness about the time. A 'criminal' in PC49 exclaims, ''Lumee, its a fair cop" when arrested. There is talk of 'grub' and 'yippee' is a frequent exclamation. A young reader writes in all innocence to say he lives in a 'queer' place! (In Eagle's early days its badge for a readers outstanding 'courage and service' was called a MUGS badge! (Later changed to a Silver Eagle Badge.) The stated aim of the Hulton Press, proprietors of the Eagle, was to create a comic that, unlike American counterparts, was both 'wholesome and decent'. Times have changed and I have no doubt many will say 'not for the better'. I honestly don't know, you tell me! 

    Two little 'foods for thought'. Near to my home in one particular place in Derby was a shoe shop called 'Gay Shoes ' Why did it change its name to Alvaston Shoes I wonder. And during my youth a boxer by the name of Randy Turpin was my hero. Presumably Randy was a nickname. I wonder if 'Randy' would raise the eyebrows most then or now. I wonder, I truly do!        


CWMartin said...

Funny, I just had a post where I told the story of how Beaver College had to change it's name because it's website was getting blocked by porn filters...

Robert Smith said...

There used to be a lady called Zoe who lived in Belgium and had a website called "My Boyfriend is a Twat". She used the word twat in the original context which meant "a stupid person", and the blog was about the silly things he used to do and her reaction to them. Needless to say her blog was blocked by the schools and libraries public computer as porn.

I have a pile of old comics from my childhood; "Knockout", "Film Fun", "Hotspur" etc. in the loft. I brought them out recently to show my 12 year old nephew. He glanced through them and declared that they were "silly and childish". "Grow up, Uncle" he said, so I went up the garden to have a good cry and eat some worms. . . . . .

Bitchy said...

Never really got into comic books myself but loved a few saturday morning cartoons as a kid. Now most are just weird to me, guess that is a sign I am finally growing up?
As far as words that people have changed the meaning of over the years. That will contine till the end of humans. Sometimes I like to use the older meaning of words just to get a reaction out of younger people. One of the great things of being middle aged I think… : D