Tuesday, 20 July 2010

boom baby boom

Baby boomers were born between 1945 and 1955, or 1959, depends on who you believe.  I was born in 1954.  What Did the Baby Boomers Ever Do for Us? is a book which - well, I haven't read it yet - seems to say, not much.  trashed the world for the next generation apparently.  Well, possibly.  We have had only two baby-boomer prime ministers in the UK, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and there will be no more.  We are out of power now.  It didn't last long. Whatever.  I am slightly more interested in how few novels by baby boomers there seem to have been.  The 1980s is a decade more likely to be portrayed in British novels than the 1960s or 1970s, and if the latter it will be from the point of view of a child.  Why do readers think that is?  I have my own point of view about the baby boom generation, as a member of it, but it does make me laugh when I read that my generation "went to university without paying fees, and got grants".  How many of us went to university do you suppose?  Think about it.

12 comments:

dreamingspire said...

Roughly 5% went to university in the 1960s, so could have been a few more 10 years later.

Augustus Carp said...

I thought that it was about 1 in 10 who went into Higher Education in the early seventies - remember, that was just after the big boom in Polytechnics.

As for the novels, I can only assume that music was much more important then, and the written word later. But that is a horrible sweeping generalisation. There were a few "Angry Young Men" novels, but they were mostly rubbish.

jane said...

Between seven and 10 per cent I was told at the time. You are quite likely right about the music. And the Angry Young Men were war babies, not baby boomers. I suppose they had quite a lot to be cross about.

Sauti Ndogo said...

Short answer to your question about novels: don't know. Martin Amis and William Boyd were the names of baby boom novelists who first popped into my head when I read your post. The first I don't care for (unlike his dad), the second I do.

Will be interested to see you reveal your theory!

Augustus Carp: You might have a point about music eclipsing literature for a while. The 50s was a strong decade for novels, then it was a thinner patch.

I was born in 1958. At school and university I felt I'd been born about 10 years too late. Now I wonder if it wasn't 10 or 20 years too soon!

jane said...

well, I don't have a theory as such. Ian McEwan perhaps is also a baby boomer (I don't actually know how old he is) - Solar, his latest, is totally brilliant. I sometimes like Martin Amis, though his last one, The Pregnant Widow, was a terrible load of old rubbish, and William Boyd is the best storyteller I have read. And the women?

Anonymous said...

Apparently the problem with baby boomers was that they were brought up according to the child-rearingtheories of Dr Suess[I think it was]and this was a bad thing ..though why I have forgotten..

Sauti Ndogo said...

A theory now occurs to me: the 60s saw TV scriptwriting come of age and those who took that up (e.g. Colin Welland) might in an earlier age have been novelists instead.

Similarly, if someone such as Alan Sillitoe had started writing a little later they might have chosen television rather than novels.

I know, this doesn't answer your point about women writers.

Whatever one's view of him, Ken Livingstone (born 1945) will perhaps prove to have been Britain's most successful baby-boom politician.

jane said...

Dr Spock is probably who you mean. Dr Suess wrote the Cat In The Hat and other seminal works.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dr Seuss covered the post seminal period.

Anonymous said...

After yesterday's gaffes from both Cameron ("Britain junior partner of USA in 1940", years before USA entered the war) and Clegg ("Iraq war illegal" from the dispatch box of the Commons which had made it legal), both the Tories and LibDems could replace them with more senior colleagues, so it may not be the end of the baby boomers (don't forget Charlie, alias George VII, unless they skip a generation).

Anyway baby boomers were no more in power under Blair (who never lost an election as leader, unlike Livingstone) or Brown, than Blacks would be in power under Abbott or Jews in power under either Milliband

Anonymous said...

Spock!Thats the fellow!Can u remind me where he went wrong...?

jane said...

I think people were frightened of his ears