A house, and other things that used to cost a tenner

INFLATION is above five per cent but wages are not keeping up, tragically, because this is what a tenner used to buy you: 

A house

Not a flat. An actual full-on house: both floors, a guest bedroom and a home office used to be your for ten English pounds. It might have taken you a while to scrap together your 75p deposit but you got something for your money. Nowadays it costs a tenner just to look in an estate agent’s window.

Passage to Australia

Right up until the 1970s, £10 used to pay all administrative fees for a two-month journey to Australia and full citizenship, a deal taken advantage of by most of AC/DC. Of course, when they arrived they were in a tropical paradise where land was cheap and opportunity plentiful so it wasn’t all easy.

Higher education

A tenner didn’t go towards tuition fees because they didn’t exist. Instead it was your annual budget for getting pissed down the Student Union, and you’d have to be a serious 12-pints-a-night drinker to get through it before June. Give an undergraduate ten quid today and they might be able to afford a half.

Private healthcare

In need of an emergency operation that only the most skilled of surgeons can perform? If you’re lucky enough to live in the past you can slide a tenner over to your GP’s receptionist, shoot them a cheeky wink, and sleep easy that all the expenses have been taken care of and then some. These days just arranging an appointment risks bankruptcy.

A family trip to the cinema

Not that long ago, ten pounds used to easily cover a ticket for you, your partner and your horde of fidgety kids, with enough change left over for pick ‘n’ mix and a round of Slush Puppies. Hand an usher a tenner in 2021 and they’ll have you forcibly ejected from the premises for taking the piss.

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Five sports that don't count as exercise

WANT to do competitive physical activity, but not to break a sweat? These five activities are technically sports but medically aren’t:


Taken up by men in their 40s who haven’t got the honesty or courage to have an affair, golf was invented to combine minor exertion with a walk somewhere the poor aren’t allowed so you can talk mortgages, stock options and mergers. Donald Trump plays it obsessively and he’s fat as hell.


An Olympic sport requiring no stamina at all, archery was invented to do the opposite of burn calories. Back when, you’d be hoping to hit a pheasant so your wife could fry it up for you. Recreate this primal feeling by pinning a large Dairy Milk to the bullseye.


Whether lawn or ten-pin, bowling is a bit like the shot put but, helpfully, you immediately put the heavy thing on the ground, expending minimal energy and keeping your heart rate in the ‘leisurely walk to the shops’ zone. Then it’s ages before it’s your turn again, so plenty of time for fried chicken or a fag.


To be good at the luge you have to be strong, but just to do the luge? It’s basically sledging on rails. All you do is go down a mountain and if you’re not walking yourself back up to the top, you’re doubling your time spent sitting down doing sweet f**k all.


The mother of all lazy sports, darts players have some of the least toned bodies in Western civilisation. Try to imagine a darts player with a six-pack. You can’t. It’s common for them to be even unhealthier than their spectators, an achievement unique to their sport, so if you’re fanatically opposed to living until your 50th birthday this is for you.