5 Jun 2011

And Then, Back We Go….

After a brace of childhood items over at the Filthy Engineers drum, and prompted by a couple of the comments relating to packs of five fags, I found myself drifting back to the photos below.

Fondly known to us kids as Fag Alley, on the left it’s much as I remember it and, right, gentrified, as it be today. Complete with yellow lines.

Fag Alley Ally

See the hangy down sign in the first photo? Just passed the walking kidess? That was the shop. The shop that sold fags in quantities of one, with a match, to us sea school reprobates after our midday nose bag. I’ve mentioned before I believe, that the trick was to be first to offer your pudding to the fat kid for two pence which was the price of a Park Drive and match. Or two and a half pence for a posh fag. Old money of course.

Did the lunchtime duty Masters know we were down there? Of course they did. Did they come on down to catch us? Of course they didn’t. Did they ever come down there? Yes, if they needed a light.

Now this may prove an interesting line of thought.

One day, we discovered the shop was closed. Not only closed but closed and gone for ever. We were all bereft! “What will we do now? Why has it happened to us?” we wailed and cried in our misery.

All of us bar one. That one kid, the smart kid, thought, “What did that shop guy do? He split packs of fags and sold them to us. I can do that and probably make a bob or two.” And thus, in today’s language, the smart kid became the lunchtime single fag pusher.

That kid most likely went on to become ‘something in the city’ or ‘something in organized crime’. Probably not ‘something on mans boat’.

The thing is, nothing changes does it? I’m sure it’s the same today, just a different product.

All things move on from our own childhood times and memories.

Also, the young need to rebel against their elders and be different, to a lesser or greater degree, don’t they? I remember a kid at school who decided he wasn’t going to sea but rather going to try for university to study English Literature. I guess he was as close as I ever got to knowing a member of the ‘beat’ culture. Poetry, jazz and the classics.

He rebelled at school by, one day, turning up wearing brown shoes with his uniform, for which he got a severe reprimand. Undaunted, he did the same the next day, took a beating with the ropes end so the following day reverted to black shoes. With brown laces and white socks.

Move quickly back in time and then, moving slowly forward you can see the progressive rebelliousness and the need to be different, advancing to where we are today, right?

A step at a time. My journey in time takes me to an age when growing your hair long was pretty damn rebellious and cause for arguments in many homes and schools throughout the land.

Then, when the long haired kids grew up and had kids, their kids rebelled by having long hair and a discreet tattoo. When the long haired and discreetly tattooed kids had kids their kids rebelled by having long hair and visible tattoos. When the long haired and visibly tattooed kids had kids their kids rebelled by having long hair, many visible tattoos and an ear pierced. When the long haired, many visibly tattooed and ear pierced kids had kids their kids rebelled by having shaved heads, many visible tattoos and multiple piercings.

Having reached this point, and as it’s pretty much de rigueur, what’s left for the next lot? Selective amputation?

Did I rebel in my youth? Sure did, in my own quiet way. In fact, a lot of people believe I’m still revolting……

Quote; Dave Barry.

“You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.”

Thomas Jefferson.

“Every generation needs a new revolution.”

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