I have this idea that absailing was invented somewhere around 1979. And I'm sure this is because Blue Peter did an item about it. There seemed to be a proliferation of absailing items on TV at the time as producers thought it'd be visually interesting to get their presenters to slide down a geared rope thing.
I wonder if it existed before then? That was when it hit my radar / landscape.
Anyhoo, the point is that because I learnt about it in 1979, in my head it was new, that's when I date it back to - even if the Romans were absailing off their big white buildings.
Equally I date the invention of the word 'shit' to about 1977 - the first time I heard it in the playground and went home and said it to my mum. How was I to know? I was surprised my Mum was angry because as far as I knew, it was just some cool new thing the older boys said. How did she know what the kids at Iwade County Primary School were inventing?
Went to see Grease, the musical, at the cinema in 1978 when it came out. It was a birthday treat. My sister and I were obsessed with the songs afterwards and Mum and Dad got the cassette and we played it in the car all the time.
Shocked was I when I listened a little closer to the track Greased Lightning and heard John Travolta sing, "You know that it ain't shit when you're getting lots of tit".
"Mum," I shouted through from the back seat, "Do you think John Travolta knows that's a swear word?" The sexual bit re: 'tit' bypassed me for a few years more.
How had I not come across that word until 1977? It's like the fug of childhood and brain development cushioned me. I'm sure they didn't say words like that on TV around that time - no not even the Sex Pistols. Well they certainly didn't on Jackanory anyway, I can tell you that.
I wonder if my Nephew Cameron knows the word yet at 7. I wonder if my sister will be angry if I ask him. "Hello Uncle Damon, are you still weird today? Are you going to start talking about polar bears again?"
"Cameron. Just wondering. What does S H I T spell?"
Am I sounding like Dennis Norden? Trust me, in 2025 I'll be hosting a new version of Looks Familiar on daytime ITV - if TV exists then. TV, I'm sure, will be de-invented soon.