Monday 17 June 2013

Quiet Times

Here's a thought. It's 2013, I'm a 63-year-old man (GSOH, own teeth). I look back 50 years and I find myself in 1963 - in Larkin's chronology, the year of the Beatles' first LP and the beginning of sexual intercourse. It's a recognisable world: the music of the Beatles has never gone away, sexual intercourse still thrives, there have been no major wars or wholesale upheavals in the life of the nation. Of course there have been big changes and epoch-making events in the past 50 years - 9/11, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the life-changing impact of digital technology and globalisation, etc - but really 1963 doesn't seem all that long ago or far away.
What if I were a 63-year-old man then - in 1963 - looking back over the previous 50 years? I would have been a teenager (had the term been invented) in the First World War - and probably served in it towards the end - would have seen the rise of Communism and Fascism, the impact of the Great Depression, then the Second World War, followed by the Cold War. And the lost world of 50 years ago would have been one of empires and peace and (apparent) golden prospects - the world of 1913, wholly, unrecognisably different.
Perhaps the world will change more dramatically in the next 50 years than it has done in the past 50 - for one thing, Europe will probably be majority-Muslim in half a century. Meanwhile, I count myself blessed to have lived in quiet times.


  1. A Quiet Time for which we can thank, I suppose, the atom bomb.

  2. That's a pretty neat thought experiment Nige - looking back a lifespan from your own DOB. But I'm not sure about Beatles music thing. Sure the music is still around but in an attenuated mass pop culture kind of way - not like it's leaping out the speakers at you.

    Pleased to hear sexual intercourse is still thriving :-)

  3. So they tell me Tony ;-)
    It's more the thing the Beatles started than their music - the mass pop culture indeed.
    Yes the Bomb, Brit - but it depends in whose hands. I doubt that if all those vibrant Middle Eastern countries each had their own Bomb it would lead to Quiet Times.