Thursday, February 21, 2008

Where do I sign up?



David Kynaston's "Austerity Britain" 1945-1951:

Britain in 1945. No supermarkets, no motorways, no teabags, no sliced bread, no frozen food, no flavoured crisps, no lager, no microwaves, no dishwashers, no Formica, no vinyl, no CDs, no computers, no mobiles, no duvets, no Pill, no trainers, no hoodies, no Starbucks. Four Indian restaurants. Shops on every corner, pubs on every corner, cinemas in every high street, red telephone boxes, Lyons Corner Houses, trams, trolley-buses, steam trains. Woodbines, Craven “A”, Senior Service, smoke, smog, Vapex inhalant. No launderettes, no automatic washing machines, wash day every Monday, clothes boiled in a tub, scrubbed on the draining board, rinsed in the sink, put through a mangle, hung out to dry. Central heating rare, coke boilers, water geysers, the coal fire, the hearth, the home, chilblains common. Abortion illegal, homosexual relationships illegal, suicide illegal, capital punishment legal. White faces everywhere. Back-to-backs, narrow cobbled streets, Victorian terraces, no high rises. Arterial roads, suburban semis, the march of the pylon. Austin Sevens, Ford Eights, no seat belts, Triumph motorcycles with sidecars. A Bakelite wireless in the home, Housewives Choice or Workers’ Playtime on ITMA on the air, televisions unknown, no programmes to watch, the family eating together. Milk of Magnesia, Vick Vapour Rub, Friar’s Balsam, Frynnon Salts, Eno’s, Germolene. Suits and hats, cloth caps and mufflers, no leisurewear, no “teenagers”. Heavy coins, heavy shoes, heavy suitcases, heavy tweed coats, heavy leather footballs, no unbearable lightness of being. Meat rationed, butter rationed, lard rationed, margarine rationed, sugar rationed, tea rationed, cheese rationed, jam rationed, eggs rationed, sweets rationed, soap rationed, clothes rationed. Make do and mend.


..except for the Milk of Magnesia part.

I still have nightmares about that stuff. Oog.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm going to go do a very small load of laundry in a full tank of very hot water, throw out some unnecessary packaging, and eat some sugar now! - Karen

james said...

Less environmental pollution (the smoke/smog listing there) is probably the only benefit of today. But alas, we have traded environmental pollution for cultural and aesthetic pollution.