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Looking Back for a Simpler Future

For the most part, my childhood was fun. I grew up in Suburban North West London. We had a garden and from my bedroom window, a view of what seemed like the whole world. The first summer I clearly remember, was the summer of 1976; I was seven years old and remember it mostly because it was bloody hot. My mum set up a paddling pool in the garden, nothing luxurious, it appeared to be made of cardboard that was covered in PVC. She filled it with hose water, a few kettlefuls of boiling water and half a bottle of Milton sterilizer in order to keep the germs away. When my brother and I weren’t swimming Olympian distances, I was usually out with my friends on my bike. I had a red, Raleigh Chopper with the t-bar gear shift and chrome trim. We set up a club called, imaginatively, The Chopper Squad which was based in our garage. We spent some of our mornings riding up and down our street with a Tupperware box filled with plasters and Micropore tape. We were the crusaders of first aid! We never found anyone who needed our help, apart from a rather unfortunate butterfly that had lost a wing. In my superhero downtime I was playing a game called pencil cricket. I would sit at our dining table with the French window to the garden open, rolling a hexagonal pencil on which I had carved numbers and a variety of cricketing terms. It was the first time I had really discovered cricket and what a year to do it. The mighty West Indian team were playing a test series against England; Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and all! It was a fantastic summer.

It was also the first time I started to realise the scale of life and its journey. On one particularly muggy night, I woke up sweaty and a little overheated so I went and stood by my open bedroom window and looked out over the horizon. Our house was on a hill and my room seemed to take in the whole of London; it didn’t, but to a seven year old, wow. The street and house lights twinkled for as far as the eye could see. It must have been nearly midnight but the sounds of traffic and the occasional police siren made for an enticing scene, mixed together with the smell of summer, it was a sensory and memorable moment. As I stood there, with my chin resting on the cool window sill, it all suddenly struck me. The world, the big wide world. I remember thinking that somewhere out there was my future wife, the place I’d work and the life I’d lead when I was grown up. It was quite a magical moment; I can see, hear and feel it now as I write this. It was an innocent view of the world, but a view in its own way that was filled with possibility, potential and excitement. Some may call it naïve, clichéd, obvious or simplistic, but that is the point; possibility, potential and excitement; the innocence of youth.

Apparently, we then grow up and realise that it’s all much more complicated than that. Naivety stops being cute and starts being something we condemn. Terms like, “Oh grow up!” become our reflex responses to comments we make that seem simplistic. We even tell people that they are “simple,” as an implied criticism. There appears to be an inextricable link between our age and the expectations on us to become increasingly complex in our thoughts and behaviours. There are some who start to judge intelligence on how many big words we use, how much information we can recall and how many ‘clever people’ we can quote. We make snap judgements based on how people speak, what they wear, what they read, watch and listen to. We pigeon hole folk and decide how smart and sophisticated they are. What you drink and eat can make all the difference. Does it really matter? Isn’t it time that we simpletons fought back and maybe celebrated the elegance and value of simplicity. Maybe, just maybe, the world could do well to reconnect with the obvious.

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Movies have a profound influence on society, shaping our values, beliefs, and perceptions in profound ways. They serve as mirrors that reflect the hopes, fears, and aspirations of humanity, offering insight into the human condition and the world we inhabit.

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