Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Ask not for whom the bell tolls...

It's finally happened.  I am officially Old.

It's not the steady creep of wrinkles across my face - though heaven knows, that's insulting enough.  I always prided myself on my youthful complexion and the lack of grey in my hair.  I even had the audicity to tell Husband once that, like Catherine Deneuve, I had chosen my face over my bottom, which was why I was never going to have the figure of an 18 year old again.  (He laughed at me, by the way.  Crushing.)  Recently though those grey hairs and pesky laugh lines have started to make themselves known at unexpected moments.  I try not to see them - that's how you cope, isn't it, with getting older - only looking in the same mirror in the same way whenever I can help it, usually from a sideways angle with my eyes half-closed,  but sometimes I find myself in unfamiliar bathrooms with unflattering lighting and ouch!  Where the hell did THEY come from?

But no, it's not the wrinkles.  Or the few pounds round my waist that won't shift; they've been there as long as I can remember.  As far back as my mid-twenties I was using that old 'waist not, want not' line to myself when jeans I was trying on would flap around my bum but not do up across my tummy...

No, what finally brought it home to me tonight were two things.  Firstly, I foolishly turned on The Brits on tv, and then actually watched it for a short while as they announced the contenders for Best International Group.  Reader, dear Reader, have I been asleep for the last year?  Who on earth are The Fleet Foxes, Elbow, and MGMT?  (Actually, I did know the name Elbow, but I couldn't pick them out in a line-up...).  And did you know ACDC are still out there?  The only groups I would have expected to see nominated were The Killers and The Kings of Leon (and shamefully, I first heard of that last lot when I read about them in Mrs Moneypenny's weekly column in the Weekend FT).

I am uncool indeed.

So what did I do then?  Did I force myself to sit through the rest of the show in the hope I could pick up something of the zeitgeist and find out who these bands were?  Well, I tried, really I tried.  But then Take That appeared out of the sky wearing one of the most ridiculous clarke kent glasses and t-shirt combos I had ever seen, and I started muttering under my breath about how they should know better.  'Mutter, grumble, really, they are 4 family guys, mutter, grumble, with one noteable exception, obviously, great tune, mutter, grumble, but what do they think they are doing, channeling Team Man at C&A on a space-ship?'

But even this attack of the middle-aged mutters wasn't the full stop in the 'I am officially Old' realisation.  No, that was when I gave up on the Brits in disgust at my own chuntering, and switched over for some ultimate mid-life escapism on Channel 4 with Kevin and Grand Designs*.  And then found myself animatedly discussing the merits of triple glazed windows, passive housing, and solar power with my parents once it had finished.  

Rock and roll, baby, rock and roll...

* Those of you who are wondering what Grand Designs is, no link I'm afraid as I'm at my parents' and apparently they too are cooler than I am; they only have Macs in the house and I am too out of touch to know how to use them properly.  Dammit.  (And whilst we're at it, where is the hash key?  Somebody?)


  1. I too have greys but won't acknowledge them enough to do anything about it. What's that about? There should not be a point in a woman's life where she has to worry about a new spot and a new grey hair in the same day. It just isn't fair!

  2. Last week I had a hair cut. A NEW hair cut it turned out. The hairdresser asked if she could 'do something a little different', feeling 'young & adventurous' I said "hey go ahead" As nonchalantly as I could muster. She lopped 4 inches, yes 4 inches off my hair. She told me I had a long face so it would suit me better. At least she didn't say 'you have an old face, so it helps with the gravitational pull effect' But secretly my inner, I'm getting old' angst felt she'd turned me into a suburban housewife of a certain age with a sensible bob, BECAUSE she thought taht's what I was! Actually because I have wavy hair, it made me look like Crystal Tips in Crystal Tips & Alistair. That made me feel even older, I thought "who of my young friends will know who on earth I'm talking about?"

  3. Ha! I confess the only reason I know who Elbow are is by listening to Virgin Radio in the car (sorry, Absolute Radio now). But actually, they are quite good PM - not just teenybop pop at all - I even bought their album. I caught the first half hour of the Brits and was just outraged that Girl Aloud were nominated for best song after they sang so weakly when they came on! Thought Kylie looked great though - and isn't she in her 40s now? There's hope for us all yet.

  4. I haven't known who is in the charts for about 10 years now. Every now and then I'm surprised to hear something nice and find out that it's new. I live in this strange deluded universe, where nothing after about 1989 can ever count as good music.

    And that house was amazing. It pays them to live there! When I think about the amount of heat and energy that flies out of this old house all the time, after watching that, it makes feel guilty for having a thing for old houses.

  5. As long as you didn't say "this isn't music, it's just noise at any point you're OK!

  6. We somehow managed to watch both at once with the boys and all had a longer discussion at the end about renewable energy than about Duffy.
    In fact I'm sure you'll find that, with young boys, you're not actually old you're just taking breath for your second youth. 10 years ago I'd have had no idea who any of those groups/singers were but last night I found that not only did I recognise most of the names, I could have also sung along to most of the songs. More to do with the musical tastes of teenagers than my own.
    And as for grey hair and laughter lines, well they're more a sign of experience and years of laughter than anything else. Or so I tell myself :-0

  7. Oh Potty I'm also old. Co-workers play VH1 every day so I keep up with the latest but hate most of it. I tell myself my taste were always fringe music in college so that's why.

  8. This is where having a 10 year younger sister is handy, PM. Mine introduced me to MGMT, Vampire Weekend and Regina Spektor and I love all three.

    Also, NVG, Kylie? Lots of discussion on twitter (yes, I am so down with da kidz) about how botoxtastic she was looking... So take heart..

  9. I still don't have a clue who any of you are talking about. Except Take That of course, I got their second-time-round album for my ahem-th birthday. But what does MGMT even stand for? So I join you in the oldness stakes, and I just had a birthday last week to boot... gawd pass me a valium someone.

  10. PM, you may be old but you have a sister who is going to see Elbow live at Wembley next month. The only thing is, it may be quite crowded and the website doesn't include the toilets on the map. And I'll have to put some tea tree oil on a hankie as I find that young people these days are very smelly - the crowd at the Mighty Boosh concert positively reeked!

  11. I'm probably the oldest person commenting here and the way I stay up to date on modern music is to go to Deezer and make play lists of artists they suggest I listen to. Now, I don't go much for run of the mill bands and artists, the so called pop music, so I'm not too familiar with them, except for the fabulous Duffy.

    I have some little smiling wrinkles and I have blond hair, so no gray hair shows up in it. I do, however, have the body to match my age and am a little peeved about that, but tend to ignore it and dress as funky as I can. I need to loose 9 kilos and find it almost impossible to find the willpower to do so. So I carry them gracefully around with me, as far as that is possible.

    I'm not worried about getting old as long as I don't get stuffy and dull. And opinionated. I refuse to wear tweeds and twin sets and pearls. I also don't wear sensible wellies. I wear funky boots and leather jackets.

    I'm a European, what can you expect?

  12. I always thought I was on the cutting edge of music but learned, at the relatively young age of 31 (11 yrs ago) that my views on good music were seriously outdated. The sentence was bestowed by my 13 yr old brother - he had always actively sought out my opinion on bands, but that summer when I asked him what bands he was currently listening to he replied, 'oh you won't know them'. 'Well I might' I replied 'what's their cd?' He rolled his eyes and sighed - 'they don't have a cd. they're not in the charts. you have to download their music online'. Well, dah. And of course I had no idea who he was talking about and still don't. I might be going to see Razorlight in March and Lily Allen in April but I am still OLD in music terms. Sigh.

  13. In my day... Really enjoyed that post, PM! Made me chuckle :o)

  14. Hash key on a mac? - alt and 3 (don't know why they don't show it on the keyboard...)

  15. I keep up with what is going on in music (musician myself so take professional interest). However take HUGE delight in infuriating younger sisters who are in college by pointing out how all the bands they like sound exactly like old bands "Oh yes, the Killers, just like early Cars, actually" or "If Beach Boys had samplers they would be MGMT".
    And it's actually true so you aren't missing anything too much if you haven't bought an album past 1992.
    And Kylie IS 40. She does look great. But before anyone feels crap in comparison, remember that good lighting is EVERYTHING and I also have it on extremely good authority that she has been relying heavily on injectable fillers and IPL for the past decade and has had a few minor 'procedures' into the bargain.
    Jaywalker. I think we are the same person. This is getting creepy.

  16. Just brilliant! I have the middle-age mutters too although I'm impressed you even considered putting the Brit Awards on. I was completely unaware on the event and found myself watching a housing programme instead. Deep down, therefore, you remain youthful. There is no hope for me on the other hand, at 35.

  17. When, listening to the news about the Brits (which I hadn't even bothered watching, that shows you how uncool I've become) I asked my hubby who on earth Elbow were. He shrugged his shoulders, but my wise 22 month daughter answered by pointing to daddy's elbow and explaining helpfully: "Ebow!!!" So now you know.

  18. Mud, well said. But it still happens...

    Paradise, I KNOW who they are! And I'm Youn... actually, no, no I'm not. Sorry.

    NVG, I'm sure they are good. I just didn't know any of their music. I am officially out of touch - and if I had the nerve, (and the cash) would be considering botox just like Kylie!

    Tasha, £1800 a year, incredible! (And how old are we to find that exciting?)

    Tara, I didn't actually SAY that...

    GPM, I live in hope that there is hope then. (If you know what I mean)

    SB, you are NOT old. Really. Though perhaps if I were still working and listening to XFM I would tell myself that too. (But you're not old! You just might feel it right now because you have a babe in arms - that will do it every time)

    JW, I do have a 9 year younger brother, but he's rubbish at this stuff. I think his ipod has the same sanitised stuff on it that mine does. Must try harder.

    Nobby, I have no idea what MGMT stands for. Anyone else know?

    FK, as I told you last night - stop showing off.

    Irene, good for you. (But aren't we all Europeans over here too? Or am I just trying too hard there...)

    Nicola I LOVE Razorlight - you lucky thing. And Lily Allen too, though I do always feel a bit raddled and old compared to her...

    Rachel, glad I made a (sob!) younger person (sob!) smile...

    PSL, THANKYOU! (And thanks for the visit and the comment too). And why do they hide it? WHY? Just to make me feel old, that's why...

    Motherhood, define 'minor procedure' please? Does it include a general anaesthetic? If not, I might consider it...

    Rosie, Hello and thanks for the visit and commenting. And from the heady heights (or sunken depths) of 42, let me tell you that 35 is NOT old. Because if it is, there is no hope for me...

    Cartside, thanks for stopping by, and your daughter is clearly destined for great things. She will probably be some pithy commentator like the woman who used to hold court in the Algonquin hotel and who's name has slipped away from me in my dotage...

  19. Hee hee, I too am noticing a few signs that I am no longer as spritely as I used to be. But when I met you last year Potty, I wasn't sure if you were my age or younger so unless I am really pants at working out how old people are, you look pretty good hon.

    And you got me looking for the hash key on my mac. You're right, there doesn't seem to be one, and now I know there isn't one I will probably really want to use it. Tsk.


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