I can’t remember where I found these pictures, but they seem to express a Zeitgeist. Or perhaps, I am getting old and grumpy. Years ago, there was a BBC television series in the UK called Grumpy Old Men, GOM for short. My wife calls me that too.

A GOM is a person who is disappointed, disillusioned and probably intolerant too. Why? Well, as kids, we were promised all kinds of fantastic futures, an easy life, and working technology. Now, as (more or less) mature men, we have to accept that nothing really has changed. In fact, things may have gotten worse.

So, when Martin in Kassel suggested we start talking about old vs new, I was instantly hooked.

My wife and I went shopping last week. I had parked the car in a parking bay closest to the building. Next to us was the lane leading into the car park. Two elderly women, one of them driving a hefty SUV decided to park their vehicle next to mine. It wasn’t effectively blocking cars from entering the car park, but it made it more difficult. When I told them that there were two other empty parking bays a little further along, I was very quickly put in my place. When I recounted the incident to my mother later that evening, she sided with the two women for the simple reason that elderly women should stand up for themselves. At this point, I decided to shut up. I wasn’t going to win this one.

We live in angry times. Political discourse has become toxic. Tolerance is low. Respect as well. That is just the people.

We have undergone a technological upheaval that is unparalleled in human history. Many products are innovative and fantastic …..when or if they work.

There are people who are richer than some countries. Elon Musk pushed forward the development of the electric car. He named it after a famous physicist, Tesla.  I always wanted one. But now, since he owns Twitter, (which I don’t use) and has the power to control discussions and content, I am not sure if I want to be seen driving a Tesla. Not that I can afford the price tag anyway.

The last time I was in Paris (before the pandemic), I went to the Centre Georges Pompidou. I saw a modern structure, run-down, dirty and wholly uninviting. It is about 40 years old. By contrast, the 200-year-old buildings in the Marais district are elegant, beautiful, and well-kept. Well, that’s my opinion. But am I still allowed to express it?

We all can tell stories about how our expectations have been exceeded or have not. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to try and get a perspective on things and see, if the “good old days” are just a romanticised “Downton Abbey” or if our modern lives are really glittering and glorious.

What do you think? Is old better or is new better? What are your experiences? Tell us the story which will make us shake our heads or laugh until the tears stream down our faces. 

Join me at the Tuesday Get Together, if you wish, at 6 pm UTC, 7 pm CET, 3 pm in São Paulo, 2 pm in Campo Grande and Manaus and 9 pm in Antalya.

Warning: there are explicit scenes and language in the videos below.