In the days when Mars bars cost 4d each, and for a penny one could get four strawberry chews, and an Amazin’ bar cost 3d, life was simpler.
I used to terrorise the four-wheeled, and the two-legged populations, on my gloriously individualistic, wonderfully/badly hand-painted Raleigh.
I dashed, and ducked, and dived all over the place, and sometimes I covered absolutely bonkers mileage on a whim. Much like my two-wheeled activity these days, really.
I bolted a 3′ whip aerial to the handlebars, and pretended I was Z-Victor-One, as I zoomed around the Welsh hills and valleys.
I would frequently arrive home feeling hot, sweaty, worn-out.
Tea was usually taken at the kitchen table – wolfed down with undue haste, and under stern parental frown – as a precursor to the main event of the evening.
The viewing choices weren’t huge.
There was BBC (no numbers), and there was ITV (also no numbers).
Dr Who. Softly Softly. A Man Called Ironside. Danger Man. The Saint. Department S. The Champions. Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). The Morecambe & Wise Show.
Because I’m not listing the films. Or the one-off dramas. Or documentaries.
For a two-channel network, things weren’t too bad.
There were, inevitably, times when we would say “There’s nothing on”.
And we’d play.
Or read a good book.
Or build something.
Or listen to the radio.
I had a variety of radio receivers that would pick up most things.
I used to listen to the fade in/fade out of Radio Luxembourg. Or the more resolute (but slightly dull) Radio North Sea International. Or Radio Jackie. Or the best of them all, Radio Caroline.
Yeah, sure, sometimes “There’s nothing on” was a justified complaint, but there were plenty of other things to do.
And despite there being, occasionally, nothing on, we were never bored.
My Smart TV can access so many TV channels I can’t count them all.
There are the digital Freeview terrestrial channels.
There are the almost-but-not-quite-identical Freesat satellite channels.
There are the Internet channels.
There are the On-Demand, catch-up channels.
And there are a huge number of digital radio stations.
And yet last night we watched a DVD.
And tonight I am watching the remake of Battlestar Galactica on Netflix. Whilst listening to some Gabriel-era Genesis.
And whilst supervising a huge data migration between servers.
And writing this.
Why am I less than half-watching an on-demand repeat of a show that I couldn’t be bothered to watch the first time around?
Because even with the hundreds of channels available to me…
There is nothing on.
I’m trying to explain this unbelievable state of affairs to my 10-year old self.
And I’m failing.