By Bernie Bell
We’d recorded the last episode – we’ve watched ‘Still Game’ since it started. It’s one of those things – I didn’t know if folk would ‘get’ ‘Father Ted’ unless they’d had an Irish background, and could see how near to reality it was ( honest – it was!), or ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ – I could get the references, as I’d grown up in Bradford with Asian friends – with their fearsome Aunties! But – humour is humour, and all of these comedies work, because they are human, they are about us, us humans and how we are, with each other.
People from all over, ‘got’ ‘Father Ted’, ‘Goodness Gracious Me’, and …’Still Game’.
We were sorry to see it go, but, at the same time, I think the writers were wise. Some of these sitcoms go onandonandon, and…….. just get silly. The ending was inspired.
IF YOU’VE RECORDED IT, AND NOT WATCHED IT – SPOILER ALERT – DON’T READ THE NEXT BIT – IT IS, SERIOUSLY, WORTH NOT KNOWING UNTIL YOU SEE IT!!!!!!
So, we watched the last episode, and the ending, was inspired. They fade away, one at a time. And that’s what we do – we fade away. As we get older, the people we knew when young, whether our friends and family, or even the big figures in popular culture, start to go. That’s what they do – they fade away, and leave us wondering what’s happening – where did they go? And, we don’t make those kind of friends again. I don’t know why not, but I think we don’t – well, I haven’t, that’s for sure. Solid friends, who stick together – as someone said in the programme about the last episode – we slag each other off, but no-one else is allowed to!
It’s a whole way of being – working, going out for a drink, having a natter. Listening to each other, helping each other out – knowing each other’s lives and ways. Some folk might wonder that I refer to my oldest friend as ‘Old Scrote’. It’s because he is one! He knows it, I know it. What does he call me? I’m not saying! That’s a way of friendship, and a way of being, which I’m not sure is there, now. Is it? Can you young people answer me that question?
The people in ‘Still Game’, were ordinary people. Very ordinary people, the back bone of the world.
In the series, I noticed the difference in attitudes, between the older folk, and the younger folk. The younger ones often seemed to be all for themselves. When they saw some old duffers stuck in a lift, they didn’t try to help, or go and get the maintenance people, they demanded money from the pensioners, to do so, then buggered off and left them there! I’m not saying all young people would do this – but – that series was true to life, and I wonder if the observations about the urban young ones, were as true as the rest of it?
These characters went to school together, and, mostly, kids walked to school together – part of the fun of the day. There are larks to be had on a school bus, but – supervision, is supervision. They would attend a local school, then, after tea, they would play out with the kids they knew from school. Then, a bit older, they would go out to ‘the pictures’ and dances, with those same people, and so it goes – life – lived together – knowing each other, and accepting each other, and their individual ways. This might grate on some, but it gave some security too.
As far as I can tell, most kids get driven to school, as the school isn’t necessarily near their houses, and they’re often not allowed to play out after school, as parents worry about their safety. A different world.
And, in the series, the next generation – where are they? Jack’s daughter is in Canada, and would like him to go to live with her family there, but Jack chooses to stay with his pals. Victor’s son, sends him a bottle of whisky every Christmas, never takes the trouble to wrap it properly, and it gets broken – and he phones Victor to tell him about the lovely holiday they’re having – without him! Isa – one of the most goodhearted people in fiction – her son went to Uni and never came back. She still has his clothes in the cupboard, and gives a suit to Methadone Mick when he has an interview. I didn’t even know she had a child, for a long time. No sign of the little bugger.
So – what’s happened, and what’s happening? A set of people are fading away, and a whole way of life and way of being with each other, is fading, too.
Maybe not so much, on Orkney – there is still something of the old ways here, but….who would be young, in these days? It’s not just the politics, and the economics, it’s the way of people, has changed and is changing.
This comes across as being miserable – but, well, I’m old and knackered, and I’m still game! And…………………humour – that’s what the characters in ‘Still Game’ live by and use as their defence against what can be a difficult life. Humour – thank God we still have humour.
What an excellent series it was – I hope they start off and play the whole thing, right through – and that the young ones, watch and learn!