Monday 23rd July
I have been listening to all my old cassette tapes, which in the eighties were the height of modern technology, only to be succeeded by CDs and now digital downloads. But amongst the albums and singles and a few live concerts were some special radio broadcasts, one of which was ‘Hello Children Everywhere’, a celebration of children’s radio songs from the fifties. And I remember every one, from ‘Billy Goats Gruff’ to ‘Sparky’, with a fair smattering of ‘How much is that doggy in the window’ and Max Bygraves singing ‘You’re a pink toothbrush, I’m a blue toothbrush, and we both share the same tooth-paste.” A time of real innocence, no television, no dvd’s, no internet, no information overload, just a weekly dose of silly songs about little red monkeys, and teddy bears picnics and runaway trains and ugly little ducklings; it was a whole world of simple melodies and not a Gangsta or Lady Gaga in sight. We were children and no-one would have dreamed of treating us as adults. We had no inkling of sex or what went on between consenting adults; this was a time when children were expected to be seen and not heard, and the only indulgence we had was a weekly dose of ‘The Laughing Policeman’ and our very own Uncle Mac. Listening again it was all very middle class, but as a working class child I never felt excluded, even the classical tracks held me enraptured, especially the ‘Typewriter Symphony’. I have tried playing this tape to young children of today and they just look at you as if you are some sort of moron. Maybe we were morons, but contented and happy morons all the same, as we sung along to ‘Nellie the Elephant’ and ‘Little Boy fishing Off A Wooden Pier’ And as I file away the tape for a few more years I wipe a little tear from my eye, for the child I once was, and never will be again.