YOU know you’re getting old when the names of the great stars of your generation who shaped your fashion ideas, musical taste and general approach to life draw little more than a blank stare from the younger generation.
I was recently having my swiftly diminishing grey hair trimmed and happened to mention the name of Marc Bolan to the hairdresser. No, she had never heard of him or his band T.Rex. So, Electric Warrior, Telegram Sam and Metal Guru would mean less than nothing. How sad.
Worse still, my granddaughter is now in her mid teens and – asked to complete this band line-up – John, George, Paul and…? She suggested “Zippy?”
I was recently at the Queen jukebox show We Will Rock You, presently showing at The Edinburgh Playhouse. It really is a wonderful show, and on the gala night when I was present the audience was stunned – in a good way – when the curtain came up for the finale and legendary Queen guitarist Brian May strode on playing guitar. I mean, can you imagine? The audience went nuts!
However, in the midst of this, a not-so-young youngster was heard to say: “I thought he was the dead one!” Is there no hope?
But here’s the saddest bit of all. Believed to have come from Syria, since 847 Scottish Kings were crowned on a lump of rock: the famous “Stone of Destiny”. Then in 1296 Edward ll subdued Scotland (for a little while) and took the stone back to England.
From that day, the English kings and queens were crowned while sitting on a throne that had the Stone of Destiny incorporated within it, so that this made them the ruler of Scotland, too.
Then, in 1950, a group of students removed / stole / recovered the rock and brought it back to Scotland. It’s a story that is steeped in tradition and legend – part of our heritage.
Well, I recently had the great pleasure of meeting and chatting with one of the individuals who had been involved in the heist that had started the biggest UK police dragnet on record. What a thrill.
The sad bit? I mentioned the meeting to a chap – not a youngster, I hasten to add, but a grown-up, mature, family man – and he had never heard of the Stone of Destiny!
It seems to be the way of things. Years ago I spoke to author and historian Nigel Tranter OBE. I asked him why he concentrated his writing on easy-to-read accounts of historic Scottish events and characters.
His answer? “The saddest thing that can happen to a man is that he lose his memory, because with that he loses his identity.” He then went on to say “How much sadder if a nation was to lose its memory.” It was a line that burned itself into my very soul.
But that is exactly what is happening, thanks to all the distraction of the modern day world. We, as a nation, are fading away. Soon we won’t exist at all.
So, go on, borrow a Scottish history book from your local library and find out a bit about this nation, and with it a bit about yourself -who you are and where you have come from.
You might be in for a bit of a surprise!