Tuesday, April 02, 2013

you couldn't make it up

More interesting deconstruction, reconstruction and redecoration work going on at Halibut Towers at the moment, this time in our downstairs back bathroom. To distract me from the depressing gurgling sound of my bank account being steadily emptied I've grabbed a couple of bits of old newspaper that were acting as makeshift packing and insulation above the old ceiling, and that were revealed this week as the guys doing the work on the bathroom had to rip the ceiling out to move some water pipes and wiring around.

It's instructive to compare the newspaper I found, which is a copy of the Newport Argus from September 1987, with the January 1956 South Wales Argus I found in the loft just over a year ago. Those conservative authoritarian types who subscribe to the (barking) view that the 1950s was some sort of golden age - where you could leave your front door unlocked and the local bobby would doff his hat to you from his bike and then send you on your way with a cheery clip round the ear and everyone stood up for the National Anthem when BBC1 closed down for the night - will find much to support that view by comparing the headlines from the two papers.

So in 1956 we've got "Bigger grant for Newport", "First MCC pair put on 56 runs" and "Pastor dies suddenly at Blaenavon", while in 1987 we've got "Drug dealer jailed for 15 months", "Store theft woman sent to prison", "Teenage burglars get youth custody" and "Youth stole crucifix". They didn't even have "teenagers" back in 1956, let alone "youths".

And you know how lovable doe-eyed children turn into surly feral "youths" and "teenagers" who will knife you up for your meagre pension as soon as look at you - that's right, by not having SOME RUDDY SENSE BIRCHED INTO THEM at a young age, preferably followed by a short sharp dose of NATIONAL RUDDY SERVICE. It looks like Richard Littlejohn was right after all and we really are GOING TO HELL IN A RUDDY HANDCART. And that was a newspaper from over 25 years ago! Frankly I'd be surprised if you could step outside your front door in the general Newport area these days without some 7-year-old crack fiend disembowelling you with a Stanley knife, raping your dead eye sockets and making a crudely-fashioned flute out of your femur. Mind how you go.

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