We Baby Boomers were born into a post-war world; the children of those who experienced either Blitzkrieg or Blitz in the Northern Hemisphere, or the scourge of Japanese Imperialism in the southern arena of war. I recall being told about my father’s family’s exodus from the Channel Islands as Hitler advanced, and of Great Uncle Ted who had been evacuated from Dunkirk only to become a POW after Cyprus and lose his toes on the Long Marches out of Mooseberg POW Camp. Our parents’ experiences with rationing were the prime reason for not leaving anything on our plates at dinner time, and our favourite reading matter was comprised of war comics in which Germans shouted “Ach Himmel” a lot and the Japanese died with a single word on their lips – “Aiieeeee!”.
Our parents’ lives were fairly black-and-white as a result of the good vs bad conflict, and we were raised with a sense of having somehow missed out on a time when everybody banded together against a common enemy and sang a lot. Seriously, singing seems to have been the national pastime of every country during war. If my parents and grandparents are to be believed, most people could play the piano, and everybody sang in close harmony as a means of defeating the enemies of freedom. The consumption of numerous gallons of tea was also supposedly involved. Today, those three things alone are a rarity in world that celebrates everything but the average human and eschews the concept of taking the stick out of the wardrobe and giving our enemies a damned sound thrashing from time to time. As to the consumption of tea, it seems that the disposable aluminium coffee pod has replaced the aluminium teapot, the latter of which never created a growing global waste disposal crisis. Today, it’s easy to become confused about where we Baby Boomers are heading as our own dotage looms. Our parents are now looking down the barrel of ending their years in nursing homes that still have resident pianos and sing-alongs, but what will we do? Very few of us can tickle the ivories these days, and more than half of us can’t even hold a tune, let alone sing harmony.
As it transpires, the generation that created Bandaid as means of feeding the world will not be able to entertain themselves, and will thus become dependent upon those who care for them to provide entertainment. God forbid that we are forced into an existence of sharing our noonday repast with edentate people we barely know, and who eventually pop their clogs in the night before another equally frail person takes their place. That thought alone terrifies me, but the concept of after-lunch entertainment put on by members of the hip-hop generation is an even worse prospect. Can you imagine downing the last of your high-protein-high-fibre-keep-yer-bowels-working meal to pop your daily pills before God-knows-what emanates from a PA system? A system, I might add, that will be the size of a postage stamp, will cost very little as a Chinese import and be both accessible and portable to anybody who can ‘ree-ree’ vinyl, wear their jeans halfway down the crack of their buttocks and recite rhythmic prose with an American accent!
I kid you not, this could be our future if we can’t entertain ourselves, so it’s time to convene a War Council. We Baby Boomers need to plan our incarceration carefully, unless we want to live in a world of self imposed silence to save us from the WRONG MUSIC. We need more pianists – people capable of churning out numbers by the Beatles, Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Queen, the Eagles, the Hollies, Credence and many other great groups. We must train ourselves to sing three-part harmony as a matter of urgency so that we too can be part of the entertainment of our dotage in an institution for the eternally incontinent. And talking of incontinence, copious amounts of tea should not be avoided, as that particular beverage seems to have once oiled the machinery of the communal sing-along. Those three things might just save us from the horrors of our final years on Earth, so I’m off to retrieve the old Roland keyboard from the shed and buy an instructional DVD. I suggest that the rest of you Google piano teachers and voice coaches before it’s too late!!