Tin-can communication device


Is there anybody there? My grandchildren increasingly believe I am from another planet whenever I mention open coal fires, backyard toilets, no indoor bathrooms (tin bath heaven) and, God forbid, no mobile phones. I can see them having a panic attack at the prospect of not being able to instantly communicate with their pals 24 hours a day.
Their eyes light up when I reveal that that I actually had a hand-held communications device in the 1950s, only to narrow again when I explain the flawed theory of two tin cans linked with a taut piece of string. Having finally grasped the basic technology of the modern worldwide web, allowing Facebook and WhatsApp into my life, I am now informed that these platforms are no longer ‘cool’. Apparently, I need to get to grips with one of the 18 more hip social media apps that include the likes of Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat and, of course the back-stabbing world of Twitter.
Did I just say ‘hip’? Wow, that really does potentially put me in a decade when the most exciting thing you could experience was half an hour watching a 14-inch black and white TV screen in the company of characters like Muffin the Mule, Andy Pandy, Rag, Tag and Bobtail and Sooty.
I’m convinced you can guess someone’s approximate age just by reflecting on the products, events, toys and innovations they might refer to in a memory moment.
1960s: Sugar Smacks cereal endorsed by Joe 90; Vesta instant Chicken Curry and Rice; Beatlemania; Mary Quant and the miniskirt revolution; Radio Caroline (good morning pop pirates).
1970s: Concorde and supersonic flight which I finally experienced in 1996; platform shoes and flares; giant cans of Watneys Party Seven; Henry Cooper and Kevin Keegan declaring that nothing beats the great smell of Brut (except every one of its rivals); aligning yourselves with the Osmonds, the Jacksons or Bay City Rollers; and queuing up to see Star Wars (may the force be with you).
1980s: The silicone microchip (did you have a Sinclair ZX home computer?); Charles & Di mania; superstar Roland Rat and his friend Kevin; Live Aid; Michael Jackson’s Thriller (sold a measly 48 million albums).
1990s: The Teletubbies (was Laa-Laa a Scouser?); the age of Girl Power.
Of course, all of these decades have different reasons to be special for each and every one of us. It’s just important to take the most from every day. As John Lennon famously said: “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans,” my ‘Lost Tribes’ thought for the day.