written and posted by members of Lancashire Dead Good Poets' Society

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Generation Gap? More like techno-overload.

I have never really acknowledged a generation gap.  My parents were pretty open-minded.  They had to be.  There were four of us born between 1947 and 1958. My Mum and Dad were big jazz and swing fans. They met in Blackpool in 1945 at the end of the war, so they had a lot to dance about. My paternal Grandfather, Fred Robinson, played tenor saxophone in Jack Hilton's band and transposed the music for Dolly Hilton who sang with them. My maternal grandmother taught classical piano and dance.  She lived with us until I was eleven.

My bothers and sister felt the generation gap more acutely than me.  Lesley was a big Beatles fan and in 1962, the Fab Four came into my Dad's pub. They wanted some food and  Dad refused to serve them.  He said that the kitchen was closed.  Lesley was devastated. He told her that he had no intention of serving those, 'long-haired louts.'  That was one bad move, Dad.  Think what the signed photo's would have been worth.

My two brothers loved Cream, Hendrix, Who, Dylan, Free, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream. The flat above the pub was often more raucous than the bar downstairs. Every so often Dad would come up and switch off the record player and make remarks about head-bangers but really he took it all in his stride. God knows what my Grandmother thought.

My own music choices were more to Dad's taste.  I was the little one.  I loved to sing his kind of music. When I was three, we all went to see Can Can (a musical with Frank Sinatra, Shirley McLane, Louis Jordan and Maurice Chevalier).  Dad already had the LP and as soon as it started, I stood on my seat and sang every song, word perfect.  I started ballroom dancing in 1966 and have loved big band, swing and Latin American rhythms ever since.  For me, Carlos Santana is the greatest musician in the world. 

My son is 27 now and often plays tunes from a Sting album that I like.  A neighbour tells me that he also does a mean Sinatra at the local pub karaoke nights. My 24 year old daughter and I share a love of The Script and Brian Adams.  It is just fun music and we blast it out in the car just as much now, as we did on the way back from gymnastics when she was ten. We all share a respect for the myriad personas and musical styles of David Bowie.  So although I can't confess to a musical generation gap within my own family, there are other gaping issues.  I do worry for the rest of humanity.


In my childhood summer days,
there were picnics by the sea.
I thought they called them sandwiches
because they had sand inside.
It got in your mouth and was grit when you chewed.
We got goose-bumps splashing around,
then a rub with a rough old towel.
No fabric softener – just love by the bucketful.

Up on Winter mornings,
banging feet on the lino floor,
watching the kindling sparks in the grate,
socks on the guard but you couldn’t be late,
so you ladled in thick sticky porridge,
burning your mouth in your haste.
Nights were warm and cuddly,
hot-water bottles and bedtime stories
tucked under eiderdown.

Now it is faster.
Rewind, replay, regurgitate.
Plug in, switch on, don’t hesitate.
Instant access, instant messaging,
no time to ruminate.
Ting dinner, ten minutes from frozen,
clothes washed and dried in ten minutes.
HG Wells would think it impressive.
Fibre optics speed communication,
before you have time to think what you say
it’s broadcast to the global Nation.

Some change must be for the better.

Yet I hold onto the pen for sincerity,
to the thrill of receiving a letter.
Not an email that’s not interpersonal
or a text often clipped and severe.
Automatons at the checkout,
designed to speed up the queue,
don’t even try to brighten the day.
They don’t ask the elderly 
“ …and how are you?”
Please don’t even mention the satnav,
I don’t need a nag on my dash.
A map gets me wherever I need to go,
Techno-free reading taught me what I know.
I appreciate lifestyles are different
Home workers are virtually free,
to stay all day in pyjamas.
I should say at this point that I know a guy
who has virtually worked since 1993.
We’ve been to the moon and back,
photographed Mars. We've spoken to stars,
Still no-one has been in touch,
So why not stop pushing these buttons
and try saying ‘let’s do lunch'.
Let’s go to the Lakes and go boating.
Let’s crumble the credit crunch.
Let’s cancel the Facebook and twitter,
Switch off the mobile phone.
Hold hands with the people who love you,
Take pleasure in knowing we are not alone.
Technology has succeeded
where extreme ideology fails
We’ve a worldwide community network
yet everything rotten, that should be forgotten
invades every home. 
It infects. It exhales. 
An innocent non-believer is demonised by using new-media.
A mid-eastern woman is still stoned to death
for an act of adultery,
while we in the West, free to do what we like,
can watch it unfold on real time TV.
All too much or is it just me?
Thanks for reading.  Adele


Steve Rowland said...

Ha ha - in 1962 the Beatles' hair hardly came down over their ears, let alone their collars. What would your Dad have said if he'd bumped into the lads a year or three later?

Very interesting blog - thanks Adele.