Skills We’ve Lost Over the Last 60 Years
DEFROSTING A SPITFIRE
You’re at 40,000 feet and the tanks have frozen. Suddenly you’re set upon by a squadron of Messerschmitts. What do you do? Today’s shiftless, apathetic youth would be at a loss, wouldn’t they, huh? HUH?
I felt ashamed writing the last paragraph. You see, I’m a baby boomer. Buzzing about in Spitfires wasn’t something we did. We caught a bus instead. But we did have some vital, manly skills which are in danger of being lost and which I’m anxious to pass on.
GAUGEING THE NUMBER OF 45 RPM SINGLES TO PUT ON A SPINDLE
Too few, and you keep having to get up and stick another batch onto the turntable. Too many, and the accumulated lack of friction will slow the disc down and make even Dusty Springfield sound as she’s flaking out on Mandrax.
HOW TO CLEAN AN AFGHAN COAT
Put it in the launderette and it’ll come out like a wet Kleenex but dry into sheet metal. Dab at it and it’ll come up in blisters. The answer is don’t wash it! It’s supposed to smell! In a year’s time you can put it out in the garden and grow carrots on it.
HOW TO CATCH A ROUTEMASTER BUS
These vehicles had an open back with a pole to hang on to. The technique is to wait till the bus is nearly moving then dash up and lunge at the pole. Your arm will nearly be pulled out of its socket, which is very yogic. When the bus speeds, cling to the pole like a teenager to an iPhone. This is pretty well the only exercise we hippies ever get.
GETTING AN OLD-FASHIONED TV TO WORK
Back in the 60s, we TV watchers are real men. If technology goes wrong, no running blubbing to the support line for us. When the picture folds we just get up and kick the box. One kick for BBC , three kicks for ITV.
OPENING A CAN OF WATNEYS PARTY 7 BEER
My generation aren’t called upon to defuse unexploded German bombs in the streets. But we do have to tackle Watneys Party 7 cans. There are no guaranteed safe techniques. It’s a matter of levering up the pointed opener till it pierces the top and running like hell as the geyser spouts. But even that isn’t as dangerous as drinking the beer….