You will often hear UK oldsters like me banging on about how great the Sixties was.
“Yeah, we had racial prejudice and sexual harassment, but we was happy” – or how about “Pop Music’s been crap since the Beatles split up” – both of which are true.
However, you will hear little from most of us about the UPSIDE of life in THIS day and age – TECHNOLOGY and PRICE.
So right here and now, I aim to provide some BALANCE…
Take records; for the young, these were vinyl disks upon which Pop and other music was recorded – and they generally came in two sizes; the seven-inch ones (singles) which played for around four to six minutes and the twelve-inch ones (albums) that were good for forty to fifty.
But the catch was what you had to PART with for them. In today’s money, singles were about a TENNER each – while albums cost a staggering SIXTY POUNDS.
Seriously? Oh yeah. In 1960, the British record industry, dominated by just four companies, PRICE-FIXED – a fact they brazenly TRUMPETED, in print around the edges of their labels.
Thus ALL singles cost six shillings and eightpence – which is thirty-three pence, in new money. To adjust for inflation, add a zero and then nearly double – which the mathematically-minded will protest only makes FIVE pounds.
True again – but WAGES have DOUBLED in real terms, since 1960. So if you do the maths based on EARNINGS, the real figure emerges.
You see, in 1960, a mediocre British wage was ten pounds a week (in those days, people lived from week to week – only the rich thought about their salaries in terms of months or years) – which is two pounds a day – of which thirty-three pence is one-sixth. Still with me? Good.
Because today, that mediocre British wage is nearly TWENTY GRAND – which is four hundred quid a week – eighty quid a day. And a sixth of eighty is over thirteen.
Use the same formula for albums; thirty-three shillings and sixpence a pop – now one pound, sixty-seven pence – which was over three-quarters of a day’s pay then – and which translates to over sixty pounds now. Told you.
Whereas these days, you can download music off the Web for pennies – and often for free.
Then there are TVs. In 1960, they were made in Britain, hand-wired, one component at a time – and cost FIFTY pounds for a basic nineteen-inch model – which was over a MONTH’S WAGES. And a twenty-three-inch cabinet model cost twice THAT. Most people RENTED. Hell, before that, many people rented RADIOS.
However, these days most tellies are made in the Far East and can be yours for little more than a WEEK’S salary.
And look what you get for your money; back in 1960, it was a small, low-definition, rounded, black and white picture – with the sound coming out of a tiny speaker on the side – while today, five hundred quid will secure you a gigantic, high-definition, rectangular, colour picture (fifty-five-inch LED) with a one-hundred-and-fifty-watt, six-channel stereo audio system. That is CINEMA quality.
In 1960, your telly was the prime target for any burglar – today, they would not be arsed lugging the thing out of the door.
Or how about cars? Now, granted they have only dropped about fifty percent in price since 1960 – but again, look what you GET today.
In 1960, if you raised the bonnet, you would find a little engine, surrounded by six cubic feet of bugger all. Now, it will be stuffed with goodies; power steering, power brakes, electronic ignition, fuel injection and if you live somewhere hot – aircon.
And inside, you will find a pukka stereo, satellite navigation, power windows, heated seats, etc. In 1960, most of these toys would not even be on a ROLLS.
Plus of course, in 1960 the Interweb was just a DREAM. But now, thanks to Smart Watches and Skype – that Thunderbirds video-watch will soon be a REALITY.
SO… while you grumble about how society has nose-dived, the news is all bad – and those greedy, corrupt, smug-bastard politicians, bureaucraps and corporate execs have ruined our lives – once again, all true – consider also that which is RIGHT with the modern World.
While those unworthys are busy BURNING us – at least the tech-heroes are making life worth LIVING. I mean – it’s thanks to their tech that you’re reading THIS…