bigjohn

There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

  • Warning! Elderly Person Blogging

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  • My Life and Times

    I was born in 1939 BC.
    That’s ‘Before Computers’.

    Luckily I survived the following events in my life, such as

    World War II, The London Blitz, Rationing, and worst of all… Archbishop Temple’s School.

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    During the mid 1950s I was enjoying Rock ‘n’ Roll and being a first generation teenager, when suddenly, just like Elvis, I found myself in uniform during ‘The Cold War’…and then

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    I became ‘a family’. Which meant that I sort of missed the ‘swinging sixties’, but still managed to look a complete prat in the 70s, just like everyone else.

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    During the ‘Thatcher Years’ I lost my hair and a lot of people lost a good deal more. My career fluctuated to say the least as I was demoted, promoted, fired and hired a number of times, but still I managed to stagger on into a welcome retirement and to celebrate 56 years of happy marriage.

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Archive for January, 2017

1957 … a happy year ?

Posted by Big John on January 25, 2017

I see that there is a report out saying that Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was right when, in 1957, he said .. “You’ve never had it so good”. (What he actually said in a speech was .. “Let us be frank about it: most of our people have never had it so good”).

Well he may have got it right when he said that “Rule one in politics is never invade Afghanistan”, but I’m not so sure about his observations on the lives of ordinary working class people in this country, as the years after World War II were still tough times for many, and if not exactly ‘tough’ we lacked most of the basic comforts and ‘must have’ items which we take for granted today.

However, I was 18 years old at the time and enjoying life as a first generation teenager. I had ‘escaped’ from my hated school a couple of years before and, with few or no responsibilities, was working as a clerk in the head office of a large travel agent in London’s ‘West End’. It wasn’t the greatest or best paid job in the world, but it was sometimes fun and would do until I had to report for my two years of military service.

My memories of that year are a bit vague now, but what I do remember is that my somewhat junior hedonist’s lifestyle involved…

  • Spending lots of time with my mates in local pubs, playing snooker and drinking pints of ‘brown and mild’.
  •  Hanging about in record shops, listening  to the latest Rock ‘n’ Roll hits from America for free and, at the same time, checking out the young ladies in the next booth and wondering why they were wearing little white gloves.
  • Posing with a rare and expensive pack of ‘Camels’ or ‘Lucky Strike’ by the juke box in some Soho coffee bar and trying to catch the eye of the blonde in the corner wearing that tight sweater, wide belt and all those layers of frilly petticoats.
  • Eating in the first ‘Wimpey’ burger bars and such ‘exotic’ establishments as ‘The Golden Egg’. They were a ‘step up’ from the local ‘greasy spoon’ and fish and chip shop, but the food was far from ‘cordon bleu’.
  •  Searching the ‘men’s outfitters’ for the latest fashions, hoping that I could afford them and that those ‘Italian’ shoes wouldn’t make me limp for the rest of my life.
  • Queuing outside the ‘posh’ Leicester Square cinemas to see the latest Hollywood epics which wouldn’t be screened at my local ‘flea pit’ for months.

I’ll stop there as I’m sure that you have now got the picture of just how exciting my life was back then; and speaking of pictures, here is one of me being followed by two Soviet spies in London’s famous Piccadilly  …

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… Look carefully (click on image). I think that you may see a girl wearing little white gloves also following me, it was taken in 1957… I can see a trace of a smile on my face …

… I guess I was happy !

 

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Posted in family, humour, nostalgia, political | 4 Comments »

‘Sun Seekers’.

Posted by Big John on January 20, 2017

The weather has been so cold lately that my old brain has developed a case of ‘Below Zero Blogger’s Block’, so until my grey matter stops shivering, my wit warms up and some inspirational thoughts thaw out, here are a few pictures taken in my garden this morning, as the sun melted away the night’s frost …

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“Blimey ! That was a cold night”

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“Real ‘brass monkeys’ weather”.

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“Never mind, it’s the mating season

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“She doesn’t look too interested”.

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“I think I’ll take a nap before we get to bonking in the bushes”.

What do you mean .. “In your dreams” ?

Posted in humour | 4 Comments »

“Trigger Warnings” ! … but no bullets.

Posted by Big John on January 7, 2017

I see that ‘Generation Snowflake’ is in the news again because theology students at the University of Glasgow are receiving advanced warnings that they might be upset by seeing distressing images while studying the Crucifixion of Jesus, so that they can avoid this harrowing experience by leaving lectures if they are unable to cope with reality outside of their ‘ivory tower’ which provides them with ‘safe spaces’ where they also need never fear someone from the real world offending them in any way or not using their ‘preferred gender’ title when addressing them.

How on earth did previous generations of 18 and 20 year olds cope with the ‘reality’ of their lives ?

In my case, I, and many thousands of others of the same age, had to spend two years in the armed forces and I can’t imagine our sergeants and corporals saying ..

“Fall out all those who want to be excused bayonet practice as it makes them feel a bit queasy” .. or .. “Please don’t cry if I call you a nasty name or be offended if I appear to doubt that you are ‘equipped’ as a man”.

Now I’m pretty sure that today’s students are not all ‘precious little souls’ and my experience of military life took place nearly 60 years ago. However, although the world of the young has changed almost beyond recognition, one thing remains somewhat the same, for I did have my own ‘space’ to which I could retire, although it wasn’t exactly ‘safe’ as it was called a bunk and was situated in a barrack room …

… alongside 23 others ! 

Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant, religion | 3 Comments »

“Arise Sir Surly”.

Posted by Big John on January 1, 2017

Every time a list of people to be honoured is published I despair, as those most deserving of a ‘gong’ usually get the lowest ranking ones, such as the MBE or the even lower, re-introduced, British Empire Medal for their good deeds and charity work etc. Whilst the usual bunch of crooks, cronies and ‘showbiz’ luvvies receive knighthoods and peerages.

This year, as expected after the Olympics, the so-called ‘heroes’ have had titles galore heaped upon their sweaty shoulders, which makes no sense to me as they already have medals for their achievements in Brazil; and how a bad tempered, snarling, foul mouthed, gurning, gesticulating, aggressive, rude, scruffy, inarticulate, miserable, overgrown spoiled brat can be knighted for knocking fuzzy balls over a net just …

…’beggars belief’ !

Posted in rant | 2 Comments »