Home > The Monday Musings Column > on the generation gap

on the generation gap

An incident this week illustrated the generation gap to perfection. I was at one of the sites that I work at on a regular basis and where, amongst the team of twenty or so, we have people from early twenties through to me in my seventh decade. The youngsters usually have some of their music on and down the years come my father’s words about the music I and my sisters enjoyed back in the sixties; “What a racket” or something similar.
However, it was not their music that sparked the generation gap issue this time, but mine as they had decided that the playlists on my ‘phone should be streamed into the office. The selected one called Children’s Music and about five songs in the unmistakable voice, to my generation, of Tommy Cooper boomed around the room singing “Don’t jump off the roof dad”. The reaction from the younger folk was so extreme that I turned it off before we got to Tom Dooley.
Yes we have all sorts of different views in society now, but that does not change the fact that Don’t jump off the roof dad, with it’s advice that if dad wanted to end it all he should go to the park and jump in the lake, was a favourite on the children’s radio hour as was Tom Dooley who was about to be hung. Such subjects did not bother us kids, they didn’t bother one of the best loved comedians in the country and nor did they bother the BBC who produced and broadcast the show.
It is easy to see why the current crop are referred to as Snowflakes, but why were we happy to listen to that sort of song? Were we tougher, made of sterner stuff or just immune? These were times long before the current blame culture where everything is someone else’s fault, but how did we get from the Great Britain that I grew up in to the one that we live in today?
I don’t know the answer, but one thing that I can be sure about is that it is, at least in part, our fault for we grew up to be parents and what we passed on to our offspring influenced what they passed on the theirs and so on. We voted, or didn’t, in elections and put in place people who changed laws and made new ones that gave us what we have today. That it that way of the world and it is progress, even if it has not gone in the direction that I wanted it to. Somehow, as I look at the world today, I think that we failed miserably in so many ways, but perhaps that is just the generation gap speaking.


  • Don’t jump off the roof dad, words and music by Cy Coben
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