I don't want to sound like one of those "Is it just me, or is everything shit now and weren't things much better in the 1970s" Stuart Maconie/Danny Baker types, but...well, it's kind of true isn't it? Up to a point at any rate. It can surely be no accident that things started to take a severe turn for the worse around 1979. Just when things had been looking up too - children, don't believe all you hear about The Winter of Discontent. It wasn't *so* bad. And there weren't *really* rats - and anyway, even if there had been, they'd have been *much* better than horrible, synthetic, antibiotic-resistant *modern* rats...
Yes, 1979 was pretty much the fulcrum year, really. The best of the post-punk stuff had pretty much been done by then. We still had Concorde. Arsenal beat Manchester United in the Cup Final. You still needed to be vaguely literate in order to be able to read the NME. And then Thatcher came along and ruined *everything*.
Perhaps I've missed somthing and have been doing the woman (she was, I've been assured, a woman after all it seems...) a great disservice, but without overstating the case too much, she is surely the most repellent creature ever to have stalked the planet and has been exclusively responsible for *every* *single* *evil* in the world. *Ever*. Has she not? And Pinochet. And if you don't believe me, compare the world as it is now with the way it was then. For instance, had you been foolish (or drunk enough) to want to experience the England cricket team spinelessly capitulating to India (or indeed any other former colony without the good manners to remember that we taught them the bloody game in the first place, didn't we?), you'd have had to do so by tuning your crude (probably Pifco-made) transistor radio to Short Wave and hearing the dulcet tones of John Arlott ebbing and flowing like a Lee Scratch Perry dub effect all the way from the subcontinent. At three o'clock in the morning. And if you turned the volume right up and pressed your ears vigorously into the speaker grille, you might even be able to make out the occasional word he was saying. Of course, *nowadays* the whole humiliation is beamed out in deafening quadrophonic sound with high definition and stats and reverse camera angles/slo-mo fan zone alternative commentary at the delicate impress of a digit. That's why they call it digital, you see. So there you are - if you wanted to follow the cricket nowadays, you wouldn't have been able to miss a thing. Some improvement.
In constructing this argument, I'm trying to think of areas where I might have to concede that, yes, love or loathe her, in all fairness I have to hold my hands up and admit that, yes, much as it pains me to say so, she did at least... I dunno....make the trains run on time or something. But no, she didn't even manage that. Trains were shit then, for sure. But they're shittier now. And more expensive. And Richard Branson's involved somewhere along the (excuse the pun) line, isn't he? I rest my case. Radio 1 is rubbish - so much so that even Radio *2* is *much* *much* better now. Now that would never have happened in the seventies, would it? John Peel's gone (killed whilst on an innocent walking holiday in South America, by Thatch, obviously. And Pinochet - did you not know that? I told you she was evil. And him.) Arlott? Gone. The mines? Long gone the way of those endless Laurel & Hardy and Norman Wisdom re-runs. One off talent and exemplary professional Chippy Brady has made way for Samir Nasri - a player as erratic as he is overpaid and a man with so much class he saw fit to trip up Newcastle's Joey Barton for no apparent reason, off the ball and in a manner that can only be described as 'like a lickle gurl'. The most challenging aspect of the modern day NME is distinguishing between the adverts and the advertorials. Gone are the Special A.K.A. to be replaced by some gurning, brushed-down-by-your-mum-bog-brush-hair-styled young simpletons whose idea of radical pop engagement is fondling their charity labrador puppy stuffed toys and stuttering over their autocued monosyllabes. And all the while, that sleek, white arrow stands proud but disused, on permanent display outside the service hangar.
And don't get me started on Blair...
L.U.V. on y'all,