David Worboys – Good old days

Men have Adam's apples, facial hair and (apart from the likes of Pep Guardiola) M-shaped hairlines.

As 8-year-olds, after the war, we indulged in such dangerous pursuits as stamp collecting, reading comics and playing table tennis.

Since then, society has moved on. Kids of this age now focus on  torturing schoolmates and running about shooting teachers, knifing each other in the street and swearing or spitting at policemen.

I should make one thing clear here; it’s not all of today’s children that behave like this. At least fifty percent are not disposed to indulge in such thuggery. But in our day it was a hundred percent.

However, we were nor entirely innocent. Until my parents intervened we were secretly collecting birds’ eggs, meaning stealing potentially unborn chicks from their nests and disposing of the yolk (or embryos) in order to preserve the hollowed-out shells. And we did occasionally use unseemly words like “blighter” and “blasted” Apart from that, we were as good as gold.

Things were different then. As a teenager, I identified as a Fulham supporter, not as a badger. In those days, jokes were funny: (“Waiter, can I have fish and chips twice?” “I heard you the first time”). Voted as the best Joke at last year’s Edinburgh Festival: (“I was dating a zookeeper until I discovered he was a cheetah”). Hmmm!

As far as I remember, seventy-five years ago I was encouraged to study Algebra, Brahms and Latin at school. Today the curriculum includes far more useful subjects, such as how to count to ten and wash their hands, and why it’s wrong to attack the teacher or steal from a shop. Education used to focus on the academic side. Priorities today could maybe include anger management, litter disposal, consideration of others, good manners and pride in one’s country.

Nowadays, if you were to take into your arms a woman you had never met before and pull her body close to you, you could be jailed for indecent assault. Before smartphones and online-dating, this was a popular way to meet a potential “partner” – at a social club dance. It was a relatively innocent world.

And this innocence was reflected in popular culture and sport. Before Bob Dylan and the Sex Pistols, pop music was neither sophisticated nor confrontational. Titles of smash hits of the day included such intellectually challenging titles as “Where will the baby’s dimple be?” “Does your chewing gum lose its flavour on the bedpost over night?” “May the bird of Paradise fly up your nose!” and “How much is that doggie in the window?”

There was less confusion about sex. Today’s phenomena of eonism and voluntary hermaphrodites were virtually unknown in the good old sixties. But regardless of dress, mannerisms and sexual organs, men still have Adam’s apples, facial hair and (apart from the likes of Pep Guardiola) their natural hairlines recede in triangles at the temples, whereas women’s hairlines are oval-shaped. Thus are the sexes clearly defined.


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Written by

David Worboys

Offering a unique insight into everything from politics to food to sport, David is one of the Euro Weekly News´ most popular columnists.