1967 and all that…

Cotswold Life - - CUMMINGS’ GOINGS - with BBC Ra­dio Glouces­ter­shire’s Mark Cum­mings

Happy 50th, Cotswold Life. So what were we all up to when the first pubescent pub­li­ca­tion popped out and hit the news­stands? I was sport­ing a rather natty pair of dun­ga­rees and show­ing early signs of be­ing a so­cial climber. The vague, sepia rid­den mem­o­ries I have in­clude Lis­ten with Mother, try­ing to work out the dif­fer­ence be­tween my two older sis­ters, the pres­ence of, or yearn­ing for, a big dog to join the fam­ily and a huge am­bi­tion to one day write for a classy, glossy, edgy, en­ter­tain­ing pub­li­ca­tion ded­i­cated to the Cotswolds. I might have made that last bit up.

As well as the birth of Cotswold Life, 1967 gave us Ed Balls, lo­cal ra­dio, Noel Gal­lagher, Sergeant Pep­per, Paul Gas­coigne, Mil­ton Keynes, Ra­dio 1 and Pup­pet on a String. Harold Wil­son was PM, we lost Don­ald Camp­bell on Lake Con­is­ton and two lo­cal cre­ative forces waved good­bye… record pro­ducer Joe Meek and poet John Mase­field.

Fast for­ward fifty years and what ad­vice can I give to my marvel­lous mag­a­zine on the chal­lenges of hit­ting 50? To help me pri­ori­tise my re­sponse I’ll take some in­spi­ra­tion from another cul­tural clas­sic that emerged at the same time - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The good things about be­ing 50 in­clude not car­ing a jot about what peo­ple think of you; the fact that with a lit­tle hard work you can still have a de­gree of fit­ness and en­ergy and set your­self some phys­i­cal chal­lenges; the un­told plea­sure you can have talk­ing about Chop­per bikes, ro­tary phones and white dog poo; and, as the kids leave home, you can fan­ta­sise about the dream of re­claim­ing your bath­room.

The bad side of 50 in­cludes wor­ry­ing about your kids and par­ents whilst at the same time be­ing eter­nally grate­ful you have both; know­ing you are well over half­way through your life; ex­pe­ri­enc­ing crush­ing mo­ments when younger col­leagues look at you blankly when you men­tion the fol­low­ing… Den­nis Water­man, reel to reel tape recorders and phone books. The one that re­ally punched me in the guts was the day I shared a story about re­port­ing on the min­ers’ strike in 1989 whilst work­ing at BBC Ra­dio Not­ting­ham. One keen, young, hun­gry, new­shound sprung to life and noted that they knew ev­ery de­tail of that news story be­cause they’d done it at school in his­tory!

The ugly bit of be­ing 50 is sim­ple. From a male point of view it takes you longer and longer to wash your fore­head.

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