Greenock Telegraph 23rd October 2020

Recently, I was talking to primary kids about the internet and in particular internet behaviour and safety. And it struck me that these wide eyed, innocent kids, full of hope and expectations, technologically savvy and comfortably embracing the great internet of things, would some-day be nostalgic about TikTok!

And it got me thinking about the iconic things of my childhood and why they are still precious to me. And I don’t mean the few family photos of me, my mum, my dad and siblings that I have. Or the leather cuff link box that was my dad’s that I hold and draw comfort from because I know his hands held it too. I mean the shared iconography of the society of my childhood. Like the orange jubbly ice block, the chopper bike, Sportsnight with Coleman (remember the theme tune?), Subbuteo (which was always played on the floor in my house despite being table top football) and vinyl records. When we are young we live life with the expectation that the way things are, is how they will always be. And the younger we are the more true that is. But as we grow older we start to look to the future and in the 1960s we were told that in the future we would have bigger but slimmer TVs, and that we could be in instant contact with each other regardless of where we are in the World. And while those predictions along with home computers, e-banking, e-mails and many others came true, I never did get my jet pack!

Now I can buy multi packs of Cornettos, my bicycle corners far better than a chopper ever did, I can access sport all day, every day, Fifa 2021 is undoubtedly easier on my knees and I can access and listen to music on the go. But are the new things better? Yes of course they are but they don’t resonate with me because I now know they are transient. And if that applies to the good things then it is true to say it must also apply to the bad. Today’s bad will be history’s Sinclair C5. Uncomfortable and expensive but transient and hopefully, to be learned from.

When we come out of Covid, don’t let go of the lessons we have learned about the values of community, family, good mental health, access to open spaces and freedom to travel. Don’t confine them to the memory box. They should define our aspirations for the future and if that could include a jet pack I would be for ever grateful.