Elle Ess Dee
Monday 12 May 2014, 8.07am HKT
10.26pm local time, 24°C (75°F), heavy rain
Here he comes again … another nostalgic overdrive…
It’s not what you think. I’m not talking about the drug LSD (‘acid’).
Heaven help you people, you know when I’m being nostalgic, it’s TL;DR overdrive.
Recommended background music when reading this:—
The length of that medley is EXACTLY the time it takes to read his incredibly longwinded escapade of nostalgia.
* * *
FLASHBACK TO THE ’70S
Must write about this before it all evaporates from me from old age or insanity (or both) — or something else far-out.
Just back from the local café. Three blokes at the other table beating themselves up how to split a sum of money three ways. My mind starts to roll how easily it was to do in the old days — yet how confusing it was for some to learn it.
The first time I visited the UK the place was still using Old Money (“O.M.”) — the £.s.d
£ — pound (libra)
s — shilling (solidus: rhymes with “so lead us,” not “solid us”)
d — penny (denarius)
In line with my M.O., I wrote three-quarters of this post STRAIGHT FROM MEMORY. I wanted to see how far I could get right after all this time. @_@ Then I filled in the technical gaps with my old man’s and my own notes to design the charts. No outside source used — because I wanted to know how well my recall is of this stuff.
Those of you reared on £.s.d (preferably not LSD) can advise in the comments.
The lovely charts are free to reuse.
The whole British way of life radically changed in the Seventies.
I have so many memories of those days (good and bad, of the UK and elsewhere) that it’s hard to know just where to begin.
To make the case for an alternative future to neoliberalism, we have to change the way we tell the story of our past.
Sunset industrial base
Frequent industrial actions and picket-line confrontations
Class warfare, after class discrimination of before
Stiff competition in historical export markets
Rising damp in education
‘The Troubles’ finally spilling over to the mainland
Colonies lost, Empire dissolved, immigration gained
Plus the usual suspects—
The music (“Stars on 45” certainly still ranks high on my list of the good)
The TV shows (“Crown Court,” “It’s A Knockout,” “The Val Doonican Show”)
The public personalities and personages (e.g. Mary Whitehouse)
… and all the rest of it you could read about elsewhere.
Britain was the last place on Earth to still use Classical Roman money reckoning.
My first round there the place was on £.s.d. By the time a few years later when I was properly there for ‘schooling’ (and scoring with the birds), the money had already been decimalised (and decimated) — New Money (“N.M.”).
(Interestingly, Mauritius and Madagascar are the only two still on non-decimal currency, but they don’t use Roman.)
If you think using the Roman Empire system for money right into the 20th century wasn’t bizarre enough, some neurotic Victorian-era practices still persisted in 1970s Britain. For instance, Wimpy’s the hamburger chain in 1971 still didn’t allow women on their own into their restaurants past midnight. The idea was that women like that must have been prostitutes. Which was bollocks, of course.
* * *
SPONDULIX OF EMPIRE-NO-MORE
Forgotten the exact date of decimalisation now, but I do remember the name (Decimal Day) and Teddy Heath was in office, if that helps.
Everybody had (and still has) a different mental version of the O.M.
I got into ‘the proper basics’ first (next section). Very quickly I developed a shorter basic version with built-in conversion (above).
The postwar £.s.d had long been eight coins and six notes. That came down to five of each by Decimal Day, when six new coins and five new notes replaced them.
It’s easier if you just see what the O.M. looked like.
(sizes not to scale)
My life’s timeline (touch wood) straddled the old and the new.
I’m one of the last batches of pupils still required to learn the metric and the imperial together. That included the £.s.d because some of the old coins were still in use, albeit with new face values. Some of our textbooks still had O.M. examples, a useful lesson about outdatedness.
How it all meshes together
Grammar nazis will probably throw a fit from the chart. There’s no rhyme or reason to British singulars and plurals (or their verbing). Treat it as idiomatic singularising and pluralising.
TRIVIA:— The two bob bit (2 shilling piece, or florin) was known in Chinese as 盾 (‘shield,’ pronounced tùynn).
(click image for full size)
Both directions??? You know, like—
1 big thing is 12 smaller things <——> 12 smaller things make 1 bigger thing
Seems silly now to do the same thing twice, but when you’re on the spot the mental arithmetic really pays off sometimes.
Bidirectional learning has its benefits. We learn to see things heading towards one way, perhaps for the good, but do we know when its heading the other way, the bad? Not unless we’ve learnt it the other way and recognise it, get my drift?
They stopped making O.M. years beforehand
Nearly all of the old denominations were once actual coins. Most of the old coins and notes stopped being made in the 1960s and demonetised a year or two ahead of switchover. I gathered that the government introduced the 5p, 10p and 50p coins in the Sixties to let people get used to decimal money to ease any switchover pains.
(click image for larger size)
COMING UP NEXT
DocID: B14127 (1,005 words)
Updated 15 May 2014 (link to Part 2)
Updated 11 Oct 2014 (extra link to Part 2)