The Queen is coming to Frankfurt on Thursday, and, despite never having had the slightest inclination to join the throngs at Buckingham Palace all the years that I lived in London, I may just go along to have a peek, for fun. I guess it's the same sort of ex-pat patriotism that has me carrying my iPhone in a Union Jack cover.
I have a pet theory which says that the Queen's generation may be the longest-lived generation of all time. Although I'm not a fan of all that generation twaddle that makes sweeping statements about tastes, views, beliefs of entire cohorts of people around the globe, I think it's fair to say that people born in the Western world in the 20s and 30s (assuming they survived the war) escaped the worst of poverty and infectious diseases yet managed to attain adulthood before diets got completely crammed with dubious chemicals. Even in my day, an obese child in the class was an exception. Look at films of London in the 1950s on YouTube and there are very few overweight people to be seen.
This generation was probably the last to escape the greedy clutch of commerce and advertising. The word "teenager" first appeared in 1941, but the term was not really in common use and associated with "youth culture" until the 1950s, by which time these people were starting families. Elvis would have been 80 this year, but even someone born in 1939 may have considered themselves too old to have been screaming at his hip-swivelling antics in the late 50s. And marketers aren't terribly interested in this age-group, with most surveys having a cut-off point at 65.
I wonder if the Queen has ever worn jeans? For those that spent their teenage years during wartime or the immediate post-war period, jeans are not an automatic uniform. But the Queen's generation certainly can't be accused of lacking in style. Many of Hollywood's most glamorous actresses belong to this generation, and there continues to be interest in them today, as fashion role models - see this article on Tim Walker's Granny Alphabet
in Sturm und Drang,
or the blog Advanced Style
Too old for rock & roll, too old to be teens, to wear jeans, this generation is also the last not to have flocked en masse
to social media. But, strangely, the younger generations find plenty in their lifestyle to admire - The Women's Institute, the vegetable garden, gin, twin-sets and cupcakes are all enjoying revivals.
A quick internet search tells me that people born between 1925 and 1942 have been dubbed 'The Silent Generation'. It's apt, in a way, but I do ask myself if that silence is self-imposed, a wise choice.