All our yesterdays – political correctness gone mad?

Part 14 of our blog series taking a retrospective look back at the history of our community – October 1978

Back in 2014-5, KLS Member Howard Webber wrote a series of articles for our community magazine casting a light on days gone by. He had been looking through copies of our publications from the inception of our community in 1967 and throughout the Seventies. We are now re-publishing these articles for a wider audience – we hope you will enjoy Howard’s inimitable style as he accompanies us into yesteryear…….(please note, that where individuals are no longer with us, we refer to them by their initials)

I am speechless (though, fortunately or otherwise, still able to write).

Making my monthly foray into the multi-storied splendour of Kingston News Towers, descending to the climate-controlled, dust-free vaults where the archives are stored, requesting (in a respectful whisper) one of the custodians to open the vellum-bound volume for October 1978, what abomination greets my unbelieving gaze…?

It is almost too horrible to mention. But the truth must be told: ‘ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27 you are invited free to THE JIM DAVIDSON SHOW at THAMES TELEVISION, TEDDINGTON. We have a supply of tickets for this new Thames TV comedy show, which, our inside informers tell us, should be very good. Tickets….’

No: I can’t go on. To think that just 36 short years ago, it was considered acceptable for KN to run such an advertisement. It makes one all too aware of the thin veneer of civilisation which separates the KLS of 2014 from barbarism. (NB Please address complaints of Political Correctness Gone Mad to the Editor.)

Later (after a strong restorative): back in the decent, clean world, bottles were being collected for the payment-in-instalments dinner and ball at Kempton Park (‘anything from magnums of champagne to bottles of nail polish remover’); the Religion School was experimenting with streaming, teaching Hebrew to ‘groups selected according to ability rather than age’; and A Samuels & Son, kosher butchers of Richmond, still thought it worthwhile to advertise in KN. And, as if Jim Davidson were just a bad dream, KN (editor PF-J) announced that the Kingston Group for Racial Understanding (Press and Public Relations Officer PF-J) was to hold a social evening in the NFJ (husband of PF-J) Hall. 

So it wasn’t all bad.

Meanwhile, the Young Marrieds and the Women’s Society were observing an uneasy truce. The Women’s Society concentrated on culture (a music quiz and a trip to the long-gone Overground Theatre in Kingston – tickets 80p), the Young Marrieds on sport (squash and bowling). How were single men, spurned by both groups, meant to occupy their time? (Incidentally, were the Kiddush and candle-lighting rotas run by the long arm of the Women’s Society? If not, why were both rotas exclusively female? I think we should be told.)   

There was also (for the first time?) an appearance in KN by ‘Mr Gammon, our caretaker’, who helped out at the meeting of the Long Ditton Friendship Club (and why have we heard nothing about that before?). I know of Mr Gammon’s existence only from Joyce T’s tales of his censoring the contents of the secondhand book stall at KLS jumble sales. I hope to discover more about him: comedy gold.

And there were further intriguing (and faintly scary) thanks from WJ, Chairman of the House Committee. This time she was grateful to LB for kindly donating a set of screwdrivers and to ‘an anonymous donor who left us a very useful pair of scissors’. Quite an arsenal building up.   

“The Winter Gardens, Exeter Road, Bournemouth, Dorset” by Alwyn Ladell is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0