Past Present Future

Terror. Ecstasy. Fight. Denial. Flight. Failure. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Hope. Love. Peace

An impromptu, slightly ‘off piste’ post – in response to a short film sent to me by the wife of a dear friend, an old ‘band’ mate now living in Canada for some 30 years.

I felt a need to blog after an earlier conversation pre-cussing some of the points made in this film from someone born in 1900 on Coronavirus and Covid 19 – this blog post won’t make as much sense unless you look at the film first.

‘Definitely an American view but Freddie was telling me about your conversation and then my Dad sent me this’.

Thought I’d share 

Xxoo, Sue

I am not someone who was born in 1900 or close to 1900

Quite a stark reality check!

A simple film … Made from an American perspective but easily transferable to most of the western world during that timeframe. Interesting choice of narration? A non USA, soft Irish accent? 

Once I watched, I took a deep breath and a small step backwards …….trying to remain objective – My over-riding reaction is that it is a bit like comparing Apples with Oranges?  That was their reality, their world, their truth in ‘their time’ and that is surely the same now, as it was then, ….. the same as it always will be throughout time? 

Perspective is everything and yes on face value ……the facts show that their world, the situation was clearly worse in scale and scope during that time. However,  what the facts don’t tell are whether it was equally as bad for everybody?

Those living thru their own ‘hard times’, now, cannot fully understand anything other than their own reality and truth in the(ir) now? Is it possible to objectively compare now with then? Bad is bad? No matter when bad is? 

I think part of the point of the video, if not THE point is that – yes the awful situation we are in is terrible but in the past things have been much much worse and we survived, healed and thrived? The stowism of that ‘war’ generation ‘don’t panic, knuckle down, stop complaining and just get on with it.’

Over the years I have spoken with my wife’s father about his childhood, the world of his youth compared with the world of his adulthood and his old age. Arthur, would get very annoyed when people of his own generation would comment about the past in terms of ‘the good old days’? He believe this to be a rose-tinted, view point of their past? 

As Arthur would say – life was better then…. my arse!

Growing up, Arthur ‘(I) had a single pair of shoes that I shared with one older and one younger brothers. I got to wear shoes for school every third day. No hot water, shared bedrooms (4 in each if you were lucky) and if you got sick it was a matter of pot luck if you got any medicine’. Families regularly lost one or two children aged 10 years or younger, ‘normal’ for most families in that time and geographical area?’

Living conditions were clearly worse then than now, despite this some of that generation still hanker for the ‘good old days’? Or are they hankering for life itself, a return to their youth, a return to vitality?  

Once the shock facts,  the number of deaths as a result of two WW’s and at least one plague sink in, my personal thoughts are that within the terror of those times there were people that were better and worse off than others? Same now? Imagine living thru this current pandemic if you are a Palestinian or a refugee from war-torn Siriah? With, little to no doctors – treatment … no vaccines. Very little food, shelter etc. Compare that with, a western world existence, Netflix, video games, central heating, ‘just eat’?

‘Bad’ is always going to be relative to your situation?

In the UK, despite being the 5th largest economy in the world, in some regions we currently have, as high as ,33% of children below the age of 10 living in ‘food poverty’. 2021 UK – the re-emergence of long ago, eradicated diseases such as ‘Scabies’, Polio? Record levels of homelessness?

The COVID Pandemic is not the cause of the worlds woes?

COVID is a symptom of a much bigger threat, that of greed fuelled by the seeming insatiable demand for profit? When a company can make £100 Million profit in a single year followed by another £50 Million in the next year. Yet that is considered a £50 Million LOSS!   

The Pandemic

Many people are re-learning to appreciate the so called simple, often free, things in life? Things we have taken for granted, learnt to do without, ignored and discounted due to our busy lives, the demands of our jobs or our businesses – the 21st Century ‘Norm’ The accepted pressures of 21 first century living within our own version of Capitalism?

Things like ….

Fresh Air – Being able to go for a walk in a park, by the seaside with our friends, family

The Countryside – A picnic in the forest, or the Lakes

PEOPLE – Spending time with those who we love and even those we don’t!



Social Interaction – WITHOUT the use of an electronic device!

TRAVEL – Near, Far any fucking where!

A Festival – A gig, a play, a football match. ANY kind of live entertainment experience  

THE ARTS – Music, Culture, Theatre, Events, Dance …….

A Garden 

A JOB – Work

Our Own Garden – Such a simple realisation – research has already shown the positive effects on ‘pandemic’ people who are lucky enough to have access to a garden. So many people have, or are changing their dwelling arrangements to include access to a garden

Re-reading the list above – For a number of reasons – many or NONE of the above WERE or ARE achievable in their pre or post-covid reality

As someone NOT born in 1900 – Bottom line would I swap my generation with that generation (or that of a future generation)?  The people that sparked this topic, my wife Gail, her mum and dad, Peggy and Arthur – Would I trade places with them or with my dad (born 1918)? 

Honestly, no fucking chance at all!

I have heard it so many times …. the older i get the more i hear it – ‘Compared to what (we) endured in our times …. The kids today don’t know they are born’!

I have however, come to the conclusion – ‘this’ is a perspective cultivated by age ….. we all end up becoming our parents, the perpetuation of the now standard fallback position of ‘kids today don’t even know they are born’? If you have not said it yet yourself then you have not walked this earth long enough.

The past is the past but would I trade forwards, to the future? 

Honestly, no fucking chance!

I have asked myself THAT question at various times throughout my life – ‘If you had a time machine would you go forwards or backwards in time?

Without a seconds’ hesitation past v future = 100% future.

I love life. I want to live forever. I have always been curious, even envious, of the certainty of my not being able to experience the future. The realisation that I will never know what the future world holds. I liked to think of this as an optimistic viewpoint, the past is the past always look forwards?. Not anymore. I fear for the future of our world. I fear for the future of our children and their children. I am ashamed that ‘we’ have not done better in the way we have taken un-care of our world. We are all guilty of – Neglect. Complacency. Selfishness. Shame on us all. 

The critical changes in climate, the demise of our Eco systems resulting in catastrophic damage to our oceans, our forests are not something that have suddenly appeared. The arrival of modern-day plagues, disease & Pandemics are not a coincidence. Earth, the World ‘mother nature’ is fighting back. We have had our chance(s), many chances to put things right or to at least to stop making things worse now she is letting us know we have exhausted her. We have ran out of time. A future world, if there even is one will not be the same as our world or that of our parents or grandparents.  

If there can be any positives from this latest shit storm that we have created for ourselves ….Covid, I hope it will help us to realign our perspectives? We have everything we need on our planet more than enough for everyone and yet, for some this is not (and never going to be) enough? Maybe this latest catastrophe, a Pandemic has allowed us time to reflect and finally recognise the things we have taken for granted and lost? The genuinely important, often free things? Love, hope, trust. kindness, friendship, family and how fragile our health and lives are? 


Honestly? Fuck knows? They have been so obvious to me for such a long time but apparently not so for so many others?

We have to start with a universal acceptance of the issues followed by – education, followed by a universal willingness followed by actions and we ALL act no matter how difficult the actions?

We need to adjust our teaching (and learning) to include and prioritise important issues. We need to be honest with that and not just create a historical narrative that suits individual and collective (national) historical, cultural, political perspectives and agendas?

We Need to TELL (and teach) THE FUCKING TRUTH – Universally, starting at the very top with our selected and elected leaders. We must not accept anything less than the TRUTH. Once we hear the truth we must make better, informed choices.

As an individual – where are you now and what can YOU do now? Ultimately, it is your choice, and yes, some have fewer choices than others.

Trust the younger generation, educate and inform them. They can and will fight the good fight. The very least we can do is to perpetually challenge injustice and be honest about this with ourselves and our children.

Personally, I will challenge and question as loudly, for as long as I am able to, the difficulty is that within my circle I am often preaching to the converted? We must learn to adapt and find ways to get our message beyond those who already have our ears, beyond those that already ‘do’ to those that ‘do not’.

We are restricted in doing this. Not by chance it is planned, intentional control and manipulation, a huge part of the problem. We must be more steathlike, inventive, clever in our resistance. The ears are there and they are waiting. Listening.

If there is one thing I have learn’t whilst travelling the world – People are People. Good and Bad but largely Good and we all want similar things. I wish i was 10 years younger. Time.

Believe – Believe in a Better World

I have no wish to impose my own views about anything upon anybody, please forgive me if it seems like I am, but we can ALL do better, if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Thanks for reading.


Published by Riff

Husband to my inspirational, (long suffering,) wife Gail, father to two, amazing (adult) children, Aubrey & Perri, teacher, former guitarist. When I started this blog I quickly became granda(r) to my beautiful, first grandson Henderson. Grandparenting, something I was relishing but had began to believe I would not get to experience. I now have three incredible grandsons, Henderson, Fennec and just days ago Nate. I Love people. I love my family, my incredible friends, I have love(d) what I do (my Job), I love Music, Glastonbury Festival, Cars, Everton .... I love many things but, most of all, I fucking love life.

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