Fifty years ago Tony Hancock went on the radio and described in his comedy show how boring Sunday afternoons were.  He and his co-stars described a world where one couldn’t visit the cinema until it opened in the late afternoon, and couldn’t visit the pub until it opened at 7:00pm – an hour later than during the week.
When I was growing up during the 1970s and 80s life was changing, but it was still recognisably similar to the world painted by Hancock in his radio show.  Restricted pub opening hours (introduced during the First World War by Churchill) were still in force.  Many shops and other places routinely closed on Sundays and in the world of pre-digital television there weren’t many tv stations to watch.
Today, the world has changed.  This morning I went for a walk to my local supermarket (when supermarkets were first introduced they didn’t open on Sundays) and noted that the street was almost as busy as it is during a weekday.  This afternoon I will be listening to the radio (my team is playing) that now supplies me with 40 or so radio stations as compared to the half dozen of times past.  And I will be talking with people in their own homes, not by entering through the front door – but rather through the power of the internet.
Have things got worse, or better?  It’s impossible to say, really.  The change between 1980 and 2014 has been far more significant than that between 1960 and 1980.  Today, Tony Hancock might still find enough material about how ‘bad’ Sundays are.  But it would be different material.  A reflection on how stressful shopping is with thousands of other people; about how it is the case that there are far few hours in the day to watch all of the television shows available, and how, for some people, Sundays ‘feel’ exactly the same as weekdays.
Maybe Sundays are as bad as ever…


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