Are there fewer “characters” around than there used to be, or am I being ageist and seeing the past through rose tinted spectacles?

Society seems much blander than I remember it.

I find it difficult to distinguish between many of today’s “celebs” and starlets. Maybe they all go to the same plastic surgeon, but so many of them have stick thin bodies and voluptuous bosoms, the same pout and even stand the same way  for their photos or interviews. You know the stance, sideways on to the camera with one leg slightly bent in front of the supporting leg,  an unsmiling pout,  and looking up through their eyelashes. When they speak it is with either an “estuary” accent or “mid Atlantic”

Male politicians too seem to be interchangeable.  Slick, fortyish, tight smile which doesn’t reach the eyes, “man about town” look.  They think they are connecting to the people if they use slang and profess a knowledge of trendy music etc. but they just look and sound awkward.

They seem to stick to the party line whether they believe in it or not. Coalition MPs are scared of damaging the coalition and Labour MPs are scared of claims that the party is split. Any members who buck the trend are pilloried by the media as oddities. I want to see more oddities! When I watch PMQs I hope for a pithy comment from Dennis Skinner, and expect to be entertained by Boris in the political discussion programmes. Where are the Aneurin Bevans, Churchills, Lloyd- Georges, Enoch Powells. I may not have agreed with their views, but at least they were individuals and passionate about their views.

Even our cities have lost their individual characters.  Few of the individual family owned businesses have survived the encroachment of the multi national chain stores on the High Streets or in shopping malls. It used to be one of the pleasures of visiting another city to see the different shops, but, unless you wander down the back streets, you might as well shop in your home city.   

I know that some people have always followed fashionable trends, but does it have to be so slavishly or is there still a place for “characters”?

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