Friday, 1 May 2009

Gone Without Anyone Noticing

So the M10 is no more. From today onwards, this rather pointless leg of Britain's infrastructure is downgraded to the more anonymous 'A414'. I know how this feels, being currently 'that bloke who does a couple of days for us' rather than a previous exalted title.

This information quickly brought me to a list of items which have gone from our lives without the hurrah given to such as Top of the Pops or Carol Vorderman's stint on Countdown. I am a list person. I think it's a male thing, the creation of a mental 'top 5' of everything whilst tolerating the daily commute. God, I still make my annual best of year compilation cd every year, at 43! Sure I'll grow up soon.

The list :

Pagers. We're all used to the fact that you can no longer escape from friends and colleagues. The mobile is expected to be on at all times. It was not always this way.
One of my favourite jobs in the late '80's was a weekly drive around a number of outlying building sites dotted across East Yorkshire. Particularly in summer, a great day out. Windows down ( pre air-con ), bunch of the latest indie cassettes in hand. Bliss. Then I was given 'The Pager'. I was taught how to use this - hear bleep, immediately accerate car to 'Life on Mars' car chase speed, find phone box, ring office hurriedly, be told that the Sales Manager would like you to pick up a cushion. Definitely in my room 101.

Music on Breakfast Radio Shows. There have been 'personality' DJ's around for a while. I quite enjoyed Chris Evans' Radio 1 stint. But I'm sure he used to play some music. I regularly scan across my preset channels during my morning commute, and everybody's always talking - generally about themselves. I blame Steve Wright and his soddin' possee. Now every show has four or five people in the studio chatting away inanely.

TV Sports Presenters. Yes, I know they still exist, but nowadays the qualification for the big jobs, particularly on the BBC, seems to be a trophy cabinet of sporting success rather than any presenting ability. I'm sure John Inverdale wouldn't have been sidelined to 'World's Strongest Man' a decade ago. Des Lynam, in his prime, had an authority and respect for both the sport and the viewer. I don't see this in most of our current crop.

Snooker Personalities. I've not watched any snooker this week, but I guess that, like many sports, the standard is higher than ever. Professionalism has spread across sport, and sadly the time spent honing skills and technique no longer seems to allow room for offbeat characters to flourish. Snooker has always been TV friendly, ever since colour sets became prevalent in the seventies. And it's success was personality led, starting with Fred Davis, through to Ray Reardon and Alex Higgins, taking in John Virgo's crap impressions and reaching a crescendo with the 'Snooker Loopy' era. The anti-personality of that time, Steve Davis, has actually now become the 'interesting' one. I didn't see that coming.

I could go on, but the post may just turn into the reminiscenses of a forty-something.

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