The world is changing quickly and it’s not all for the better.

Reality television: The Teletubbies were more credible

Another year passes. And the world changes.

From my teenage years when my father put a lock on the (old, Bakelite) ‘phone in the hall, to my own teenage daughter staring at her “mobile”* day in, day out.

*(It’s not actually mobile. It’s portable. Sorry. I’m a pedant.)

But in the past few years lots of things have changed utterly, not all connected with new technology.

Here a few that spring to mind.

Years ago, if you wished to cross a road, you’d look left and right. If a car was coming, you’d wait until it passed before crossing.

Now? Now the pedestrian looks, sees you approaching in your car, steps onto the road and ambles across with a look on his or her face saying: You see me, slow down or stop.

Years ago, there were only one or two cookery programmes on television. You could buy the odd recipe book in a shop but only mammies did that. If you were lucky, there was an Italian chipper nearby, very lucky and there was a Chinese takeaway. Mostly, all the cooking was done on the stove or in the oven at home.

Now? Cookery progammes morning, noon and night. Shelves of cookery books in every bookstore. But who’s doing all the cooking? Because from one Italian or Chinese, within delivery distance of me there are now several Thai, three Indian, six Chinese, Nepalese, Japanese, Italian and several other takeaways of different ethnicities.

Reality tv not too many years ago was a documentary, about someone real.

Now? Now we have every aspect of the lives of wannabes filmed day and night, every aspect bar their going to the jacks but I’m expecting such a show to arrive before long. I’m not holding my breath. Or rather I am. Reality TV is as real as the Teletubbies.

Not too long ago people bought newspapers to find out what was going on, to read match reports and get analysis of political and sporting and social happenings.

Now? Newspapers are in decline and sport, for example, is analysed to death as it happens. Indeed, look around. All over the place, “newsagents” are closing down.


A few years ago, live sport meant getting up off your backside and going to an event.

Now? Live means it’s on Sky or Eir or BT or, occasionally, RTE, TG4 or BBC.

In fairness, it was confidentially predicted a short few years ago that vinyl records and actual books would die a death. The same prediction was made about radio and cinema in years gone by.

Now? Thankfully, they’re all thriving.


People used to like shopping in shops. (I say “people” because I was never what you’d call a shopper.) And yes, online shopping has killed some famous chain stores.

Now? Now there are still many who like to touch and feel what they’re buying and the shops that have made the effort have survived fair dues to them.


Years ago the one thing you were sure of on a visit to the countryside was that there would be a couple of decent pubs to choose from, even in the smallest village.

Now? Drive through rural Ireland and there are many, many villages and small towns with no pub, no post office – not even a shop of any kind.

We probably didn’t always get great leaders, but we got some. Indeed, every democracy an even the odd dictatorship got a decent leader every now and then. Sure, there was the odd wrong ‘un, the occasional loony.

Now? Loony is the norm. Trump. Johnson. Bolsonaro. Duterte. Orbán. Erdogan. It goes on and on. And it’s scary especially because these nutjobs are emerging here too.

SCARY MONSTERS: And were growing a few of them here

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