diamond geezer

 Thursday, January 01, 2015

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We're now precisely halfway through The Decade Without A Name. The last nine all have names in common parlance, but the decade centred around this New Year has none. The Twenties were roaring, the Thirties a time of depression, and the Forties are forever imprinted with war and its aftermath. The Fifties are tagged forever by austerity and rock and roll, while the Sixties are always the Swinging Sixties, no alternative designation required. Picture the Seventies and a vision of orangey-brown disco flares springs to mind, while the Eighties scream Thatcher and the Nineties a bubbling hi-tech optimism. Even the decade from 2000 to 2009 was eventually designated the Noughties, not that we use the term much, but everyone knows what it means. Which brings us to The Decade Without A Name, because there is no numeral-based classification that works. It can't be the Teenies because the first three years weren't teens... and there really isn't anything else. The 1910s are similarly devoid of a nickname - admittedly made unnecessary by the Great War overshadowing its heart - and as for the 1900s, a monarch thoughtfully matched his reign to the decade so this will always be the Edwardian period. Or at least for now. Because in five years time our cosy list of decade names will suddenly come round again, and then will the 'Twenties' be overwritten for the modern era or will the flappers and Charleston survive? Likewise will we all redefine the Thirties once we get there, abandoning the decade our grandparents lived through, and will even the mighty Sixties be toppled in half a century's time? Who knows? But surely by then we'll need a proper name for the current decade - the ten years when the government rolled back the state, an age of global decline, of sink and swim. I dunno, the Miseries, the Inequalities, the Crises, or something. Whatever, if we've now got halfway through the decade without it giving a name, maybe we'll never need one. And let's hope the remaining 50% is somehow a little brighter rather than crueller, more upbeat than pessimistic, and whatever happens fairer to one and all.

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