Best Year to be Born In
According to Gyles Brandreth, the year of his birth was the luckiest to have been born in: 1948. "We are, indeed, the blessed people," says Mr Gyles, who describes himself as actor, broadcaster, writer, and after-dinner speaker. Eagle and Beano comics and no National Service are two of the reasons he cites. He's also been the European Monopoly champion and esteemed President of the Association of British Scrabble Players, the sort of thing one expects from an intelligent someone who, like me, was brought up before the age of computers.
It's not just Mr Gyles who considers himself lucky to have been born almost 62 years ago. Guardian correspondent Caroline Davies reflects on the fact that a 1948 baby could 'look forward' to sex, drugs, music, and a pension. I must agree. As soon as I could walk I looked forward to exactly that. Amongst the other things that 48ers could anticipate with relish included playing in redundant air raid shelters and proper snow, Radio Luxembourg, and hitch hiking safely through Afghanistan.
I certainly wouldn't want to have missed the start of Beatlemania at just the right age (15) (although I could happily have lived without Flower Power). Then there's the first Moon Landing watched on a black and white TV, and Steve McQueen in Bullit, and Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. One of the first films I saw, with my mother in a smoke-filled 'Flea Pit', was Oklahoma, still one of my favourites.
48ers can remember the 1950s, a golden age when the Bobby on the beat got respect and burglars wore special striped jumpers and carried their swag in a bag. And the music of Bobby Vee. And the rag and bone man with his horse and cart. The profound effect of the 1960s on western society, sweeping away respect for 'authority' and liberating the young, was so far-reaching that one can view the years before as an entirely different world. Anyone whose memory spans 'before' and 'after' is surely a wiser person for the privilege.
Read the Guardian article by Caroline Davies.