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The Nearness of History

Coming to grips with the scale of historic periods before you were born is naturally difficult.
Here's a little trick.
Choose an event you remember as a mature adult, or late teenager. Something which still seems a prominent part of your existence. Calculate the number of years to the present day. Call it 30 years.
This is the roughly same period between the death of the Old Queen and the Great Depression. Apart from placing your life precisely in context, it also tends to undermine the historic stereotypes which are the raw material of the false, 'pageant' of history, in which be-whigged sophisticates speaking in perfect sentences are transformed into top-hatted cotton-barons at the chimes of the C19th.
It is also very scary.
I can remember 30 years fairly clearly, and that means I am only the same distance now from the boycotted 1980 Olympics as I was then from the election of the Churchill government in 1950.

The more time you've got to play with, the chillier it gets.

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