Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Rave on, John Donne

Nobody deserves to die young.

Not the children in East Africa. Not the young Norwegians who died last week. And not Amy Winehouse.

No-one these days talks in terms of the 'deserving' and 'undeserving poor'. So why is it OK to divide the dead into those who did and didn't deserve it?

As John Donne wrote in No Man is an Island: "Any man`s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind."

I've read a lot of judgemental crap recently by people who ought to know better. You're not talking about a cartoon character here, or a soap opera role, whatever the tabloids would like you to think. You're talking about a real person.

A real person, with a family.

An untimely death may not be unexpected. It may not be a shock. That doesn't make it any less dreadful. Years ago, someone I loved died young. Because she didn't love herself enough to care what happened to her. That wasn't her fault, either.

Think first, speak later. Have compassion.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

I am old enough to remember...


The other night I was wasting time on Twitter as usual and stumbled upon a hashtag game #iamoldenoughtoremember. I couldn't resist joining in.

Contributions could be categorised as follows:

Nostalgia:
#iamoldenoughtoremember hovering your finger over the pause button when taping the top40 on a C90.
...there were 240 pennies in a pound.
...gramophones, 78s, 45s, LPs and EPs. And cassette recorders.
Spangles- the sweeties.
...the original Bill and Ben, the Flowerpot Men.

Weird stuff I thought I'd forgotten:
...Izal medicated loo roll. Or should that be tracing paper at school.
...buying shampoo in sachets because nobody washed their hair often enough to warrant the expense of a whole bottle.
...outside toilets.
...putting wallpaper on school books (why?)

Social comment:
#iamoldenoughtoremember when we had communities. Then Thatcher came to power and told us 'Individualism and commercialism' was good.
...thinking we'd won the punk wars. [that one of mine]

Then I remembered: #iamoldenoughtoremember what I did before Twitter.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Harry Potter and the intimations of old age


We were on holiday last week on the Isle of Purbeck, doing middle-aged middle-class sort of things like camping and going for country walks. And drinking lots of cider.

And spending the day on the heritage railway, enjoying the retro details and mocking the trainspotters.

It's funny how different people see things differently though.

We get onto the steam train and manage to get a compartment to ourselves. And from nearly every family that walks past, we hear the same comment: "Ooh, it's just like in Harry Potter."

No, it's not. It's just like the trains that we used to travel in when we were children. And teenagers. And young adults...

It's very familiar. And it's making me feel very old.