I know exactly where I was 40 years ago today. I was in the 5th form classroom at Peak School, Plunkett's Road, Hong Kong, being given a dramatically boring history lesson on the English Civil War by a lady called Mrs Alexander who hailed from one of the six counties. I wasn't listening. I had already read Simon by Rosemary Suttcliffe, and what else was there that I could possibly want to know? I knew that in a few weeks time we were going back to England on holiday, and that we were going to visit Torrington castle in North Devon, where the climax of Suttcliffe's book took place, and that was far more exciting to me than the dull facts and figures being spouted to me in a deadpan accent from the imposingly aquiline lady at the front of the class. Anyway, something important was happening 384403 km away.
I had been following the progress of the moon mission for weeks, and I was feverishly waiting to see if the actual landings would be a success. I looked at my watch every few seconds, and at 17 minutes past two (Hong Kong time) I strode up to the front of the class and boldly said. "Excuse me Mrs Alexander, but I think that the class would like to know that the first men have landed on the moon!"
She glared at me. "I think you should pay more attention to what is happening on this planet, more specifically to the Battle of Naseby. Go and sit down, boy!" There were tears in my eyes; tears of sheer frustration and rage.
So I went to sit down and realised, not for the first and certainly not for the last time, that the adult world was stupid. I still think that the adult world is stupid, and when people tell me that "the trouble with you Jon is that you don't understand the real world" I still feel enraged and frustrated. Either I have never grown up, or I grew up with a bang 40 years ago, at the age of nine years and eleven months, and I am still not quite sure which.
Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky!