The trouble about being extremely old is that you have seen so many changes in social behaviour, criminal behaviour and politics, that you become a boring critic. From childhood education is probably more by imitation than it is by instruction, and this does not stop entirely after childhood. One only has to see the way fashions, often ridiculous, becomes the norm. The bare crease in the buttocks, shining large over the back of the trousers in females and males is a case in point, no one will call it attractive or elegant, but it’s there for all to see. The problem as I see it is that changes in fashion and social behaviour seemed to have gone downhill since the end of WW II. I have said before that in the 20s and 30s counter hands in some of the larger high street stores, and waitresses in some of the better restaurants talked with accents they believed were aping the Sloane Rangers. To me this was an indication that they were trying to better themselves by their own volition. In my school newcomers spent one lesson a week for a term having Oxbridge elocution lessons, as the class system depended to a great extent on how one spoke. Today, even presenters on television, with regional accents difficult to translate, are fronting a game show, which itself has been downgraded to a ludicrous point of hysteria, hyperbole and razzmatazz, being offered for economy rather than quality. Actors and actresses in the 50s went through an elocution mill that brought them out all talking like one another. Today the better, more respected actors speak clearly because they had high training. The also-rans that populate the poorer films and domestic drama, seemed to relish their regional accents, and they along with American actors speak through the teeth, which are sometimes even clenched, to the point where their mutterings are indistinguishable.
It is no coincidence that we now have the credit crunch. When I was young the adults in the 20s and 30s looked upon owing money to be a condition to be avoided if at all possible, because it carried a social stigma. The radio, such as it was, had high standards in every quarter, and a level of censorship within itself, that I believe was used as a yardstick right across the country. Now gutter language is commonplace in the spoken and written word almost universally, and at every level, life in all its forms, seems to have gone downhill with respect to the freedom of the individual, and the social graces. The only thing that has improved is the general standard of living, much of which is now controlled by the cartels, and while having more advanced design, has in fact taken away a lot of our freedom of choice.