I was born in 1962 and it seems such a long, long time ago – a really really really long time ago. When I was born, JFK was still President of the USA and Dr No, the first Bond film, was released.
I’m so old.
Recently younger friends have made me very aware of my age with cracks like:
“You were ALIVE when England won the World Cup? REALLY?????”
I’ve recently been going to a few quizzes and, with one exception, my team mates are children. When I say “children” I mean aged between mid to late 20’s and early 30’s.
I was recruited because there is an awful lot of crap that I have collected in my head over the years and it does come in useful sometimes. When it comes to the music round, I fill a massive gap. The youngsters quite literally don’t know anything about music earlier than 1995. Here’s a typical conversation:
PM: I can’t remember who sang “Downtown”. Was it Petula Clark or Dusty Springfield?
CHILD 1: Who are they?
PM: You are joking, right?
CHILD 1: No – do you know who these singers are?
CHILD 2: No. I’ve never heard of them. Are they bands?
One of these children didn’t recognise the Beatles – THE BEATLES for Pete's sake.
Of course, when it comes to the modern end of the music spectrum, I am utterly hopeless and this is where the children rise to the challenge. Between us, we clear up on the music round.
They are also amazed that I know stuff from the 60’s to the 90’s – not interesting stuff … WEIRD stuff.
My head is filled with this garbage because I was alive at the time and that hurts a little.
Once upon a time, I was child myself and I was a right royal pain in the arse to the older generation. When I was a young man starting work and thrust into an environment full of older people, I was merciless to them.
“How old are you? 40? Bloody hell, shall I help you across the office?”
I was ageist – ruthlessly ageist. And now, dear reader, all my puerile banter over the years has come back to haunt me and bite me on the arse.
I am an old git myself and subject to all manner of ageist jokes.
Whenever pensions are mentioned, the abuse hurled my way is relentless. I’m not even 50 yet but to these young whippersnappers I am a decrepit and grumpy old ogre.
“Cheaper insurance for you soon, eh Dave?”
“Are you going on one of those Saga holidays with the other pensioners this year?”
I get my own back, of course, by mutating their ageist remarks into a brand new species of abuse:
“What’s up with you? Has nobody changed your nappy today?”
“Want a lollipop, sunny boy?”
“Put your hand up before you ask me a question.”
What’s incredible about the inevitable trek towards the knacker’s yard is that it only seems like yesterday when I was a twenty year old student hurling gallons of beer down my gullet, dancing from dusk till dawn and chasing young women as if they were becoming extinct.
I have vivid memories of each decade of my life and I can barely believe that 48 years have flown by so damned quickly.
I remember the moon landing in 1969.
I remember Hey Jude being in the charts.
I remember Lost in Space and the original series of Star Trek
I recall the school disco dancing to Tiger Feet by Mud. I could even do the dance.
I have fond memories of watching Walsall beat Manchester United in the F.A Cup in 1973.
I remember every single Dr Who apart from William Hartnell.
I wore flairs.
I remember Elvis Presley dying.
We had a street party on the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.
How could I possibly forget having a massive crush on Linda Carter?
What about the rise of punk rock?
I remember when Michael Jackson looked like a normal human being.
I have vivid memories of Margaret Thatcher, the milk snatcher (aka Attila the Hen) and the rise of alternative comedy.
I remember Lady Diana Spencer marrying Prince Charles.
I remember Kevin Turvey.
I remember Space Invaders and Pacman.
I remember video jukeboxes appearing.
I had a mullet.
I recall shoulder pads and big hair.
I was married in 1988 – the year I lost my mullet.
I could go on into the 90’s but all of a sudden I feel quite old. It is quite incredible to me that I have somehow managed to stumble through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and that I survived the millennium bug and am still acting like a complete arse over ten years late in 2011.
When I look in the mirror, I still see that bespectacled blond kid of the sixties, clutching a Thunderbird 2 toy and flying it through the air with cries of “This is Virgil Tracy – THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!”.
The image of this young child with a strange, rampant imagination makes me remember what it feels like to be young. Mentally, I think I stopped developing at the age of sixteen; there is still a child within desperate to get out – just ask Mrs PM.
And it is that inner child that keeps me going. I still have puerile thoughts and act like an immature buffoon. I giggle at childish things and have been told on quite a few occasions to “grow up” – even by my own kids.
I don’t care. I simply believe that people should hold onto their inner child and never let that child go. The moment you do is the moment you admit defeat and allow yourself to slide inexorably towards pipe, slippers and Antiques Roadshow.
I shall endeavour to watch time continue to fly and enjoy myself without thinking of whether my activities are immature or not.
That is the key to happiness, I think.
Father Time might win in the end but I shall go down fighting.
By the way, the answer was “Petula Clark” – and of course I got it right.