Was life really better in the ‘good old days’?

Jonathan Winter wonders if growing up was easier in the 'good old days'.
Jonathan Winter wonders if growing up was easier in the 'good old days'.

Ask a young man in the high street about his favourite album, and you are likely to be directed to the latest drum and bass collection from the likes of Andy C or Chase and Status.

Probe him for the last memorable conversation he had, and he might unlock his iPhone to reveal a chain of short texts punctuated with emojis.

Such an interaction might beg the question; with technology improving so rapidly, where did things go so wrong?

It is hard to think of life without the constant assistance of computers or smartphones: a time when you got a cup of sugar from your neighbour, not Amazon delivery man.

Although social media platforms such as Facebook have certainly connected us to distant friends and family across the globe, it can be hard not to yearn for days when going to a restaurant meant eating food, not taking a picture of it and putting it on Instagram.

And what happened to music? The average tune of 2018 lacks the watertight songwriting of a classic Oasis hit or the charisma of the The Rolling Stones, but rather favours a sugar-coated hook or radio-friendly chorus.

It seems I would be lucky to hear an ABBA song from the jukebox of a dingy pub.

For young people especially life seems harder than it sounded three decades ago.

A severe lack of affordable housing within the UK means more than a fifth of 25-to-29 year olds and half of 20-to-24 year olds are still living with their parents.

Are things actually worse than ever? Maybe I need to get down from my high horse and accept the culture I was born into. 

After all, it would be hypocritical of me to claim I don’t need my iPhone or enjoy instantly accessible new music.

Perhaps it is time to face reality – the future is coming, regardless of whether we want it to or not. 

Jonathan Winter is a student at the University of Leeds.