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The good old days

By Ian Nance - posted Tuesday, 3 July 2012


In these modern, fast-moving times when tranquillity seems rare, or anachronistic, those of us who have a number of years of life's experience behind us, sometimes look back and compare today with its counterpart of yesteryear.

Customs, habits, lifestyles, even fashions, have changed, slowly but steadily from the times of my childhood.

Lest these comments appear to be a nostalgic apology for a return to the past, let me say strongly, that I love the present and all of the developments that technology and emerging cultures bring to it. My life now is joyously brilliant and foreshadows the rapid, exciting and awesome changes to come. I am enthused by every new development, even though I may have to strive intellectually to stay on top of its understanding

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I am young (or old) enough to have lived through some of the most stirring innovations which transitioned society from a seemingly calmer, more leisurely, more traditional way of life to our modern, more self-sufficient, culturally, politically, reasoning independent existence.

One factor which I love is the makeup of today's Australian society, thanks to our strong immigration moves.

My partner is Asian, something which would have been "unthinkable" as a child in a 1940's nation comprising an almost totally white Anglo-Celtic populace, yet which was becoming aware of other national values and traditions as thousands fled from war-ravaged countries to make a new home here, and brought their foods and lifestyles with them.

Yet it was interesting to observe how many societal customs were similar, or even the same, amongst the vast range of nationalities. This fact was obviously embodied in the experience I am recounting at the end of this article.

I muse of things such as when modern air travel was in a Douglass DC-3, courtesy of TAA or Ansett, the railways were still powered by steam, and the growth of the valve radio (or "wireless) into the radiogram, then its supplanting by transistor technology meant that power points were no longer critical to electronic entertainment, with the huge advantage of portability.

In my late youth, television began, and I remember Bruce Gyngell's welcoming Australia's newest media audience to this new exciting creation. His effect must have been very influential on me, because I moved from radio and went to work for him (and his benevolently despotic boss, Sir Frank Packer).

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Prior to my deciding on a technical and creative career in radio, I did the customary five years of high school during which time I was given a good grounding in English, its grammar, structure and etymology.

English education is another development which I worry has not ridden the changes well, with its seemingly lessened practice of teaching knowledge about this science of communication.

Parsing, analysis, grammar, and comprehension are all skills which I was force-fed during my school days, and for which I am eternally grateful today.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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