OLD MONEY

The Conservative press are currently doing everything they can to pander to the irrational beliefs of the Brexiters.  This week’s hilarious piece of rose-tinted nonsense is the possibility of bringing back Imperial weights and measures for consumer transactions.  In spite of the fact that we no longer buy all of our food from local shops where they weigh it out in front of us, and that most people don’t even think about pack size in more detail than “big”, “small” or “serves 4”, the desire of the blue-rinse brigade is to take our shopping experience back to the 1950s.  And who can forget those halcyon days when we had polio, an outside loo, and no telly?

Apparently there are also rumblings about restoring pre-decimal currency, and since we’ve already begun devaluing the pound by voting for economic hari-kiri, we might as well go one step further and properly screw things up by taking the economy back to the 1970s.  My dad often claims that imperial weights & measures are simpler to use, and that “old money” is easier to understand.  The argument goes along the lines of:

“Well, when I was younger, that’d cost two-and-six.  You can’t get that in new money, eh?”

“You can, it’s 30p.”

“Well, that’s devalued because there used to be 240d in a pound and now it’s only 100p.”

“The two systems use different base units and you also have to take account of inflation.”

“You’re talking a load of mumbo-jumbo there, it was all a con, old money was worth more, etc, etc.”

and then…

“But how can decimal measures be more accurate?  I used to go to the butcher’s and ask for 2lb of lamb chops and now they sell me 908g, or 902, or 976 – what’s accurate about that?”

“Well, that’s more accurate….”

Anyone who’s grown up with the metric system, or works with it every day in their study or employment, will know that YOU LITERALLY JUST DIVIDE AND MULTIPLY EVERYTHING BY TEN; IT’S THAT SIMPLE.  But apparently it’s easier to work in a combination of base 12, 14 and 16, than base 10 in which you add or remove zeroes.  Well, obviously this isn’t true, but there’s a reason older folk are clinging to pounds, shillings pence, feet, yards, and furlongs.

Well, a few reasons.  But look at how they see the problem.  Up until 1971 (and for a good while after), they were using a familiar system that had “nice” round values, like “roughly 1lb of jam”, or “just over a quarter of humbugs”.  And then they had to change to a system that turned their simple approximations into intimidating not-whole numbers.  Even though the quantity was exactly the same, this new degree of precision came across as an unnecessary complication.

And it was a change foisted upon them.  I don’t know much of the popular public opinion in the early 1970s, because I wasn’t born then – so the fuss may not have been as great as legend makes it out to be.  I know plenty of older people who are quite happy with the metric system and decimal currency, but there’s a sizeable amount of older people who aren’t.  Articles like the one I linked to in the first paragraph serve to garner sentiment that the old ways were better, and so we end up with the situation we have now.  It makes little sense to those of us who think the metric system is so wonderful, but it’s become an emotional argument out of a practical one.  Initially, it was a change that took time getting used to, and was probably met with some resistance.  But now its become a movement to restore things to the way they “should” be, tied up in rhetoric about the The Good Old Days that never really existed.

From a business and scientific perspective a return to Imperial weights & measures, and pre-decimal currency, would be an expensive mistake.  But we know exactly what the British public think of experts (as evidenced by the outcome of the referendum, among other things), and so that argument carries little weight.  While I disagree with their views, I do think it’s important to listen to the Blue Rinsers thoughts on this, and have conversations with them.  Much of the EU referendum campaign was people from both sides yelling into the void and not engaging in discussions with their opponents.  Changing people’s minds is really bloody hard, and ultimately you have to allow them to do it themselves.  But our present tactics failed us, and we’re in a bit of a pickle now, aren’t we?

SCHOOL DAZE

I’d been reminiscing about a few things from my youth of the 80s / 90s, and it turns out that just about everyone on the Internet is too.  I began high school over 20 years ago (this thought TERRIFIES me – babies born in that year are now old enough to go to the pub, and some of them are parents themselves – or grandparents where I come from, hehe).  I’ve found some really good articles by others, so follow the links below to relive your misspent childhood!

Clicky The First: The Power of Style | Things I Wish I had Known When I Was 15

Ah, when all around us are writing serious lifestyle pieces about our own teenage mistakes, thank f*ck we have someone who just wants to take the piss.  Although I remember from my high school days that my some of my observations of my peers were just as cutting.  The first time I read the article (on a mate’s FB timeline), I was indignant with rage at the crass stereotyping… and then remembered that I was just as bad as everyone else.

Clicky The Second: 15 of the worst 90s fashion trends you hope you’ll never see again | Metro UK

What are you talking about, Metro?  These were 15 of the BEST 90s fashion trends!

Clicky The Third: If Destroyed Still True | Putting my teenage diaries online is a pretty daft idea but I can’t quite bring myself to chuck them on a bonfire after years of writing EVERYTHING down

Ok, this is awesome!  The author is posting their original diaries from the 90s on this blog, along with present-day annotations.  Just goes to show, we all thought we were the odd one out, but actually we were all the same.

Clicky The Fourth: World of Crap | Nostalgia, Humour and Shite | 10 random things from 1991

The whole of the World Of Crap blog is amazeballs (I laughed so hard that I cried at the “10 random things from the 1986 Argos catalogue” article), and you should definitely read more than just this one article that I so carefully selected to match the 1990s theme.

Clicky The Fifth: Don’t Look Back In Anger | A 90s Nostalgia Blog

Just loads of random pop culture things from the 90s.  It’s not been updated since 2010, but given that I’ve only just discovered it, I still have loads more to read through.

Clicky the Sixth: 33 Things You’ll Only Understand If You Started Secondary School In The ’90s | Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed’s always good for an inoffensive chuckle, although this isn’t one of their best articles.

I’m going to stop now because trawling the Internet for nostalgia of any form is a black hole from which it is very difficult to emerge. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t jump on the 90s bandwagon; yesterday I bought myself one of these tattoo chokers from Rowfers (right).  All the Goth Girls (including me) had one of these that we wore under our shirt collars until we were asked to take them off… and they then went back on again when the teacher’s back was turned.

Extreme Largeness are also great for funky retro and alternative jewellery. And if you’re lucky enough to live in Manchester, you can visit both these stores in Affleck’s.

HIGH HEELS

Last time I posted about experimenting with make-up.  Today, I’m going to talk about another fashion experiment I participated in as a teenager: ridiculously high heels.

Between the ages of about 12 and 19, I wore heels for 95% or more of the time, and bizarrely found it difficult to walk in flats. This made P.E. lessons very interesting. Those days are long gone, and during my twenties, I’d wear trainers whenever possible, and smart flat shoes (usually men’s) when the occasion called for it.

I had a pair of boots just like these, and because we were permitted to wear trousers at high school (how progressive), I could conceal the fact that they were boots and not the regulation shoes (let’s be honest, I was probably committing a greater uniform transgression by wearing 6″ heels, a ton of jewellery, and a Teletubbies badge on my frayed school tie).

And now, in my mid-thirties, I am That Woman Who Doesn’t Know How To Walk In Heels.  I had to re-learn!  Seven years of near constant stilt-walking, and my leg muscles had forgotten it all.  But because I’m feeling more confident and interested in my appearance, I really want to give them another go.  And anything that can boost my tiny stature can only be a good thing.

I’m definitely not a Girly Girl (hell, I’m not even sure if “girl” / “woman” is the right term), usually dressing in a very masculine style.  But, you know, sometimes we all just want to be a sparkly princess.

I have a special shoe drawer at work (one of the pairs in there is my site boots, so I can totally justify this), with the full spectrum of heel heights.  I have a pair of 6″ stilettoes which are very much Indoor Shoes – for now.  I’m hoping that with enough practice, I will once again be able to strut through the streets of the city in the early hours, safe in the knowledge that my balance is intact, in spite of any alcohol imbibed.

So far, I’ve progressed from “newborn deer” to “wonky horse”, and long may my progress continue!  The next step: high heels outdoors.