Standing on Aldgate East tube station the ‘Start Rite’ advert stared back at me. I’d only been around for about three years and the image terrified me.
The children, hand in hand, walking into their future, ‘places to go’, the perspective unsettled me. It led to nowhere. The children, on their own, walking alone into somewhere? No grown up to guide them. It made me feel alone and desolate.

The fairy child in her tu-tu is my next door neighbour, the photo made me cry. The little brick road leading somewhere. The confidence of that delicious dancer – a 21st century child looking towards her future. I’m 75 and that picture plunged me back to 1952. A poor working class kid living in two rooms in Aldgate, sharing the mould with mice and rats. The 1950’s when a relatively new ‘peace’ had descended; with homes fit for heroes, a brand spanking new NHS, schools with shiny parquet flooring and a whisper of hope.

There is nothing worse than an oldun reminiscing about the good old days. But given the rubble and chaos after a world war there was a sense of conviviality and a need for unity. We borrowed a cup of sugar from the neighbours, now sugar is poison and we’re lucky if we know the name of our binmen. Conversation happened in the queue of Sainsbury’s when the sales assistants wore hair nets and cut ample portions of cheddar with a cheese wire. Pubs were on every corner and lemonade and crisps were handed out to the kids milling outside whilst inside the parents were gathered round the piano singing ‘Show Me The Way To Go Home’ in good old fashioned harmony.
As Peter Dr Vries said ‘Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be’. We’re living in a time when everything seemed better in the good old bad old days.

The lies of the powerful, the greed of the wealthy, the myopia of the misguided. The future, as laid out by our existing leaders appears bleak. Fly tipping, the sound of buzz saws in forests and the silence of buzzing bees in gardens. Coral dying, politicians lying, us old ones sighing wishing things were as they were. Because some ‘things’ were better then. Teachers were respected and allowed to inspire and – well – teach. Conversations at bus stops, people looking into each others eyes not staring at a screen. I’m not saying anything that isn’t now a cliché, society sits alone with a tablet on trains and planes. We all know everything about everything but appear to know nothing about social interaction. Grenfel Tower residents are still waiting to be rehoused, Posties are still waiting for compensation, its all jaw jaw. Back in the day jaw jaw was preferable to war war. Now the sound of chattering voices, speaking empty words, slips into war war, for make no mistake the war mongers need us to slaughter each other so they can fill their coffers from lucrative arms deals, keep the population down and bugger the future.

The dismantling of peace has taken 28,847 days – 78 years, 11 months, and 22 days. Our lot thought we would never see the likes of such barbarity again, but Putin the Mad and Netanyahu the Bad, have put paid to that notion, and that’s not counting the other crazed despots who mismanage their nations, for what? Why have money if not to spend it on everybody so that everybody’s lives are better. It makes no sense.

‘The footprints of our memories etch every photograph’. When our little ballerina is 75 it will be 2099. I’ll be dead and the fairy child will be a crochety auld woman like me. Please God her world will be safer than ours. That kind minds will have ousted the cruel purveyors of destruction and that she’ll remember her fluffy tu-tu and carry on dancing.

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