In my series of books ‘Heirs to the kingdom’ I create a way of life that is new and developing, built from the ashes of the hectic modern life we all know today. In moments throughout the entire series my characters look back and question the past, which for us is the life we know now. The picture I paint is not a rosy one, and in my discussions with those who have read the books, it is often the main topic that is discussed, and there are a few who feel my picture of life today is far more gloomy than it needs to be, and it never surprises me that those who question my view, are actually aged under 35 years of age.
I was born in the early sixties and grew up into my teenage years throughout the seventies, a decade I still think was the best for being a teenager. I have very deep and happy memories of those times, and I remember Britain as it was back then, and I am not simply being nostalgic, compared to the way we live today, it does feel like it was a completely different way of living, and I have to confess, I feel saddened that we no longer hold dear the values that we shared back then. Times were very different in My England, because to me, back then it felt like My England, simply because I actually felt like I was involved in it.
It is impossible to get those who were born after to fully understand, because living in a community and around people who genuinely looked out for each other is an experience you have to have lived in order to fully comprehend it. Britain in the seventies had its faults and its problems, yet below the surface people were very different than they are now. Its sounds so silly, and yet when I walked with my mother down the road, people who were often strangers would greet her, with a polite hello, or take the time to ask how she was, so unlike today, where the few who are on foot, rush past you without so much as looking at you, in their pressing need to accomplish the tasks of their busy day.
Life for everyone was a struggle, no one really had a huge amount of money, we all budgeted and saved for the few things we owned, we treasured and cared for our possessions, and we worked very hard for the little we had. Life was simple and straight forward, crime was nothing like it is today, and even the local few criminals actually worked with their own code of honour, its almost comical to think of now. If I had to pinpoint one specific point that stands out more than any other to mark life as it was back then, (and I have given this many years of thought,) I would say more than anything else, the one thing that stands out clearest of all from those times in my youth, would have to be the very simple use of showing respect. It is something I find lacking in today’s culture ,and I feel the decay of the eighties and nineties has simply rotted it from our daily life. I often smile as I am served in a busy local shop, when I present myself with a courteous approach as I request my items and pay with a bright cheerful thank you. It does stop people in their tracks, and I see how much of difference it makes, maybe it reminds them like it does me, of a time long gone.
Britain changed in the eighties and nineties, personally I think the love of money and wealth has got a little bit out of control, although it should not entirely be given the blame. There was a time when every English man was proud of the country he lived in, and he served his community with pride. Playing a role at a local level was something to take pride in, but as we modernised and changed to larger regional councils and authorities, I think we all got lost at a local level and became confused about where our loyalties lay. Our high streets have disappeared as we took the car to the one large supermarket, leaving line after line of estate agents, tanning salons and empty shops on our main streets, and somewhere along the lines we have stopped talking to our neighbours. We use to buy and cook our own food, but now it is cooked and packed in plastic for us to heat up in our microwaves, there has been a revolution in sex, and its orientation, bringing more changes and confusion to our daily lives, religions have sprouted everywhere, confusing the masses more of where their beliefs should lie, and marriage has slipped to the point where it now matches the numbers of common law unions. Corporations have grown into giants, eating up all the competition, and the prices of cheap imports have devalued everything, including how we view each other. The banks have been de regulated to a point where they have brought this country to its knees, and all of this has been done in the name of making life easier for the masses, but honestly, has it?
Call me a sceptic, but personally I think we have all been conned. The craving for power and influence has overtaken everything, and we have become drones trudging along to the beat of an industry geared up to make you feel so worthless, you buy more with your shrinking purse to feel better about yourself. Well that is my view of England today, innocence has been murdered and respect banished forever, and life I feel is anything but simple. I would gladly travel back to the past of my youth and live a simple life where I had choice and understood my place in the world, sadly with all of high tech wizardry of modern life I cannot, and so I visit the life that appeals to me between the pages of the books I write, and funnily enough, I do find there are a quite a few others out there who have chosen to walk with me.
Having looked at the world today, I can only feel that we are moving too fast, and I think that the average person is getting left behind, and we seem to be caught in a trap of not being able to understand or choose the direction we should as human beings go in, at the expense of losing something that most people regard as precious. If a modern future is to be had at the expense of losing those all important values from our heritage, isn’t now the time to seriously look at where we are all going to end up? For years now we have changed things simply for the sake of progress, and yet we appear to benefit less. Technology has taken giant strides, and I cannot deny we have all had areas of our life improved as a result, but is the technology now reaching beyond that of our grasp as a simple human beings? I think it is, and as we surround ourselves with more and more possessions, I can only ask do we really need all this simply to exist and be happy?
England and the British Isles are now a multi national and multi faith society, and I have no problems with tolerance and diversity, after all we are all human beneath our clothing, but a great deal has come at the sacrifice of our identity within this country, and linked with the introduction of so many different changes to our lifestyle, I think people in general have become lost and confused, swallowed into the daily routine that dictates who we are and what we should become. Surely there has to be some point where we can no longer continue as we are, after all the one thing we do know from history is that all Empires eventually fall. Recent days within the banking industry has highlighted the signs of strain on our way of life, are the days of Modern Man numbered? I can only speculate about the future, and one direction the world could take, I have highlighted that in my writing, and I do believe that only a catastrophic disaster will end the world as we know it and give us the chance to rebuild in a way more fitting for the community based way of life we once knew in the past. If it does happen, lets hope we use more common sense and less political correctness, and greed to address the way we live, and treat each other more respectfully, so that everyone will understand the importance of those around them, as we all once did.
I am labelled ‘Dreamer’ for my views, and in many ways I am, after all I have chosen the path of a writer, but it was once said that the dreamers of the world chose to take the giant steps that inspire man to move forward, and if making another person think about our world influences a change, surely that must be a good thing. I have created a world in which I would feel very much at home, and if I am honest, because I chose to write about it, I do spend a great deal of my time living within it, I just think it would be wonderful to put down my pen, turn around, and find I am still there.