On the day when Article 50 will be triggered, and with the UK having had 9 months since the referendum on 23rd June to get used to the idea of Brexit, I have noticed a slow but sweeping change take hold of the country: the return of the phrase “back in the day”.
It is surprising how language evolves, perhaps more quickly than any other aspect of human life. Expressions, which were in common use only a few years ago disappear, often unnoticed; new sayings take their place equally swiftly.
Being of an age when I am increasingly looking towards the past rather than the future, I have always been something of a fan of “back in the day”, but it was not until I found myself saying it recently, and saying it with a sense of unfamiliarity, which made me realise that I had not said it in quite a long time, that I realised how the phrase had disappeared from popular parlance.
Until now. Now it is back with a bang. Now everyone is saying it. I’ve heard it said at work. I’ve heard it said in the street. I’ve heard it said on the TV. I’ve heard it said by old folk. I’ve heard it said by young people.
“Back in the day” is back in the vernacular.
I think that subtly the country has already changed; has shifted its outlook; is already looking back with a fond sense of nostalgia to the halcyon time when the UK and the EU were all one big happy family: back in the day.
Strangely, the last time that I remember the phrase “back in the day” being widely used was in the 1970s. It was a time when the UK was adjusting to the reality of joining the EU in the first place. Back in the day.
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree remembers The Good Old Days.