Judith Kerr was right, time flies for adults, but childhood lasts half a life |  Tim adams

Judith Kerr was right, time flies for adults, but childhood lasts half a life | Tim adams

SUBWAYMy youngest daughter celebrated her 18th birthday last week and I was reminded of something the great children’s writer Judith Kerr told me, already in her 95th and senior year: “We live our lives in two separate halves,” she said, along lunch, with all its sparkling brilliance intact. “The first half lasts until the age of 18 and the second is all the years that follow.”

Kerr, who grew up in Berlin and escaped from the Nazis to England, had more reason than most to think that his childhood would last until the next 77 years, but his perception is more universally true.

Science offers a couple of objective explanations for the acceleration of time as we age. One shows how the brain literally slows down in perception in adulthood and thus progressively processes less life. Another proof that we naturally only encode new, but unfamiliar experiences into memory, which explains why in later life many of us may remember our school classrooms or our first drink and kiss (usually in that order) better than almost anything that happened. six months ago.

In childhood and adolescence we find innumerable novelties; As adults, we experience fewer unfamiliar moments and less time is stored. Therefore, I am not mistaken in feeling that it has only been five minutes since my daughter was taking her first magical steps in the world, or that in those minutes she has accumulated enough experiences to last half her life.

Two cultures

Judith Kerr was right, time flies for adults, but childhood lasts half a life |  Tim adams

The ObserverThe offices are close to two of London’s most striking recent buildings, the Francis Crick Institute and the Central St Martins campus of the University of the Arts. The former is a world leader in biomedical research, the latter in cutting-edge design, art, theater and music. To walk past either one, in more normal times, is to experience an indirect chill of curiosity at the hustle and bustle that goes on inside, a feeling that the future is under construction. Education Minister Gavin Williamson’s proposal last week to cut the amount spent on “high-cost” higher education arts subjects by 50% reinforces the belief that his government is interested in only half of that future. .

Under his plan, student spending on health and non-science subjects will be slashed from £ 36 million to £ 19 million, with further cuts in the future. Institutions such as the London University of the Arts will lose nearly £ 4 million. “Our proposed reforms are designed to direct taxpayers’ money toward issues that support the skills this country needs to better rebuild itself,” the government’s explanation reads.

Presumably rebuilding places little value on the lucrative talents of, say, Helen McCrory, Alexander McQueen, Katharine Hamnett, Terence Conran, or thousands of other distinguished names. UAL alumni.

Intending to continue its culture wars, the government seems happy to overlook the fact that the creative industries added £ 115 billion the UK economy in 2019, or more than 100 times that of the fishing industry which is why he seems so eager to go into battle.

Cool comfort

Judith Kerr was right, time flies for adults, but childhood lasts half a life |  Tim adams

Television adaptations of Nancy Mitford The search for love They have been produced at 20-year intervals, since the first series aired in 1980. Other, directed by Emily Mortimer, begins on BBC1 tonight. Even Mitford might have imagined that by now his perfect insider take on the venality and snobbery of an English ruling class with perennial titles might have felt like a fun period piece. Unfortunately, as always, many of your comments feel up-to-date.

Tim Adams is a columnist for Observer


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