Hurry, dash, panic. The world rushes past, eyes glued to the screens of the latest portable electronic devices and ears to mobile phones, each digital innovation trumping the last with giddying speed and, invariably, leading to predictions that Life As We Knew It will cease to exist. robots will elbow us out of jobs, cars will drive themselves, microchips will enable us to interact with machines as if they were people. Where will it all lead, except to universal bewilderment, if not the defeat of the human race, in the battle for survival of the fittest?
Take courage: predictions are often vain —this magazine is a case in point. Who could have imagined that a publication born out of the technology and preoccupations of 1897 could have continued, true to its core beliefs, through two World Wars, five Coronations, 23 Prime Ministers, economic crises, the much-hyped death of print media and more than a century of social change? yet, here we are, 120 years old and fresh as a daisy.
It’s not a quirk. Human beings are not genetically programmed only to adopt the latest fads. Sometimes, they rebel. remember the Sinclair C5? The one-person electronic vehicle of the 1980s was a wizard idea that nobody wanted. More recently, Google Glass, supposed to relieve the wearer of the tedium of looking at the screen of his smart device because the data would be permanently there, in front of his eyes, has not proved to be the next big thing.
Many thought e-readers would supersede conventional publishing, but, surprise, surprise, it turns out that the reading public prefers to hold physical books in the end. We eat meals that would be broadly recognisable to our ancestors, served on ceramic plates whose technology is thousands of years old. Despite the convenience of Lycra, linen, cashmere and tweed flourish.
Some modernists preach the death of tradition. We believe it’s alive and strong and always will be; it’s a human need. Familiarity doesn’t only breed contempt— it can breed love. True, the modern age can seem a whirligig of change, but that makes it all the more necessary to treasure things we know we like, as well as more novel pleasures.
We won’t be bossed by modernisers who say the world we report on week by week is out of date. Supported by our magnificent readers, we stand up for what we believe in: the countryside and the riches of British culture.
Traditional? We’re proud to admit it— but bursting, too, with fresh ideas. That’s what, at 120, keeps us young.
We won’t be bossed by modernisers who say our world is out of date
Pinehurst II, Pinehurst Road, Farnborough Business Park, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 7BF Telephone 01252 555072 www.countrylife.co.uk