Saturday, 3rd December, 2011.

My rant here was sparked off by an exchange of e-mails with a friend I have never met other than on the Interweb.

The question I often ask is “Why do we NEED the Interweb?”.   Centuries ago when I was a little lad, we didn’t even have a telephone in our house – in emergency, someone would have to walk several hundred yards down the road to a public phone-box.

In those days, television wasn’t around, but we had enormous wireless-sets on which we could listen to the BBC’s Home and Light Programmes.   We could tune in to European stations, too, but the listening was difficult due to atmospherics.   The only foreign station we could really hear (and that would fade several times an hour) was Radio Luxembourg which had English programmes from 7 – 10 each evening back then and British commercials;  there was a lot of pop-music on there, but several short drama slots.

Very, very few folk had cars, so people walked to work or took the bus.   That meant that few ever drove out into the countryside.   My family went there on the bus, but we didn’t explore the lanes and villages.

So was there anything which filled that great void which the Interweb now occupies?   Yes – community spirit and neighbourliness.  Those things seem to have disappeared since the advent of television, a motor-car owning society and the Interweb as each of us have snuggled down into our own narrow, individual worlds.

All this, of course, may just be an old man reminiscing about a Golden Age which never really existed.   I know I am victim of so many, many happy childhood memories.   Yet, as I read the histories of the late 1940s and early 1950s in British working-class areas, I seem to have the atmosphere of which I have just written about right.

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6 Responses to Saturday, 3rd December, 2011.

  1. John Johns says:

    There are so many issues here Keith, unfortunately. The community spirit has undoubtedly been affected by all that you mentioned, but I wonder how many of those things would have changed anyway?
    On the other hand, there are many pluses to the change in the modern world. One of the greatest benefits, as I see it, has been that people have broadened their horizons through travel. More and more, people have realised that actually, we’re all the same pretty much, throughout the world.

    Of course, bigots will be bigots, so that wont change some folk but by and large, there has probably been a greater tolerance amongst people from all different backgrounds. I also think the ‘interweb’, as you call it, has helped this to happen. Whether the greater good is worthy of the overall loss, is subject to conjecture. Which brings us back to your original question.

  2. Cornflake says:

    Yes, there’s much truth in what you say, John, and maybe my nostalgia for the past (a trial of old age) does colour my outlook on the “then and now” situation.

    The Interweb certainly has brought many people from many cultural backgrounds together in tolerance and understanding. That may be why so much mind-consuming tat has been put on it and is used as a means of control (a point which I guess you will argue).

    The overwhelming majority of people – from all walks of life, all lands on the globe, all belief-systems – are good, caring folk. It’s the bad ‘uns we notice (or are told about by the Media) who we remember.

    I have, as I think you know, only a few dozen folk on my Facebook Friends list (perhaps I’m too choosy!). And nearly all of them respond to good political and social argument; that’s a great comfort to a cynical, often world-weary old codger like me.

    Thanks for your comments – and when are YOU going to start blogging?!

    • John Johns says:

      There are advantages to the modern way of life, without question. However, I too feel nostalgic about that which we have lost along the way. There are probably too many things I find irritating, some of which we have discussed from time to time via facebook.

      I fully intend starting a Blog, but just don’t know when exactly. Very soon I would imagine. Probably when my head isn’t filled with urgent matters and I have time to reflect again, on life etc..

  3. Cornflake says:

    “Time, you old journeyman, will you not stay . . . ?” Yes, time certainly becomes limited when you’re busy. I’m classed as “retired” these days (but that’s just a tag to let people know I’m an old codger). There’s so much to do and my time is pretty full – and not just with tatting about on the Interweb!
    It seems to me that Time simply concertinas when one looks back, and I have the kind of memory which can recall my past in pretty good detail like reading a book.
    However, John bach, there’s no time like the present, so make a firm date to start your blog – The Winter Solstice, Christmas Day or 1st January – and you will find that Time will grant you a little respite from all those other matters.
    But I hope you do not become like me and find yourself trapped by a deep nostalgia for people and places of the past.

    • John Johns says:

      True enough Keith but I wouldn’t say I’m allowing myself to dwell too much in the past. I feel more an impatience in showing people how it could / should be, based on the best past values (if that makes sense)?!

      I am also in the process of trying to sell my house and buy another, so it just happens to all be going on at the same time, hence not too much ‘spare’ time just yet. However, I will set time aside in the next week or so and gather my thoughts.

      • Cornflake says:

        It makes sense to me, John. And this may not be the best time to be selling a house! So best of British with that. I await your blog with interest: keep me posted and let me have the address.

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