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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Decline And Fall Of Western Civilisation

A grey inhospitable day in the coastal town that somehow forgot to close down – Whitley Bay.

When the sea fret turns to rain and the mist closes in, there’s nothing as melancholy as the site of once busy amusement arcades looking sadly anything but amused.

I passed them on my way up to the post office where I had a series of parcels to send off. One to Maryland in the USA, one to Salisbury, one to Kent and one to my sister in Milton Keynes.

Then it was off around the shops to pick up the ingredients for tonight’s meal, croque monsieur.

I listened to Blair on the BBC news today. If ever a man was overtaken by events then he is it. Whatever legacy he might have constructed for himself has been blown apart by the mess made in Iraq, and latterly his own ineptitude announcing his intention to stand down sometime in the next year.

In between times I spent a portion of the morning listening to a series of (as yet) unreleased concerts by King Crimson and Slow Music.

The rest of the day was spent doing routine tasks; washing, baking bread, cleaning out the wheelie bin with a power hose (what fun and excitement!) and working with my oldest son about his history project on the 1960s. Talking about 1963 and the times felt weird – so close and yet so far away.

To have lived during an era which is now taught as a dry subject is an oddly discomforting feeling; was it really so glum, or so cut and dried? For all its ills (and there were many) it was a glorious time of change and transformation but it's hard to convey much of this to Tom.

Tonight such matters were forgotten in favour of a meeting with an officer from the council. He was speaking to a group of other residents in our street unhappy at a house left unoccupied for well over a year by its owner.

Needless to say it’s a magnet from troublesome kids who like to hang out on the corner drinking “alcopops”. Though we aren't affected directly by this ourselves, experience has shown that if you let things go bad, they have a habit of going very bad very quickly. Experience also shows that collective action over a problem is often the best way of finding a solution.

When the history of this era comes to be written up I suspect that the point of decline will be traced back to the day we allowed Drink Companies to target children by lacing fruit juice with alcohol.

1 comment:

DrDick said...

Too right Sid! Make them drink scrumpy, stout or a decent bitter! It was good enough for me in my day and look at me now! Seriously though it's a tough and thorny question, which came first the demand for drink or the drinks companies creating the demand?.... Too many people follow the selfish, live for today, self destructive life styles that are made fashionable by the media and certain "musicians"..... History has alot to answer for and the present doesn't do enough to protect the future - for example, and completely off on a tangent, just look at what's going on with cod!

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