Friday, September 01, 2006

Airfix comes unstuck

I suppose I ought to feel sad at the demise of Airfix but I don't think I am. The hours I spent putting together plastic Spitfires and Hurricanes were not my finest. Glueing them together seemed like an obligation rather than a pleasure when a parent or aunt gave me an Airfix kit. But now they seem destined to join the other obsolete childrens' toys of the 1950s: Dinky cars, plastic cowboys and indians, the Magic Robot, cap guns, blood alleys, cigarette cards, blow football and loose fireworks (especially bangers and jumping crackers).
It was an age when children would imagine themselves as World War 2 heroes such as the Dam Busters, or as Peter May, Alex Bedser, Stanley Matthews or Tom Finney. When the highlight of the week was Zorro and the Happy Wanderer at Saturday morning pictures. And the pop charts were dominated by the dreary sounds of Rosemary Clooney and Al Martino. You could get to Croydon and back from my house for tuppence ha'penny and an ice cream was thruppence. As a child I would walk two miles each way to primary school and no one worried about traffic or paedophiles. On the way home I would play cricket or football in the woods, or go exploring in the undergrowth. Having discovered girls at the age of eight or nine we would play truth, dare or promise. And at parties it would be postman's knock or - the dirtier version - dustman's knock.
Happy days, but thank God for rock and roll and the age of enlightenment that came along in the sixties. And thank God we don't have to stick Airfix models together any more.

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