Monday, 31 December 2012

My year on Twitter, and a thank-you letter to my invisible friends

When you get to a certain age it can be hard to make new friends. Or the ones you have aren't always around when you need them. (Three of my best friends are now at the other end of the country, the other side of the world, or have gone mad.)

So where do you turn to for friendship? The internet, obviously.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A definition of vintage. And a happy Christmas.


A few weeks ago I was browsing Christmas stuff in Oxfam and saw they were selling 'vintage' cards.

Great, I thought, I like vintage things. Picked one up, turned it over and it said on the back that it dated back to 1987. Ouch.

After going through them all I finally found one that was originally designed in 1957. My definition of vintage: a year older than me.

Happy Christmas.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sometimes only country music will do


Last week, after a difficult period of uncertainty and insomnia, I got confirmation that I am being made redundant. I have mixed feelings: relief, bereavement, trepidation... In fact, it feels very like divorce.

There's only one thing for it. Time to get out the country music.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Identity II. All people are different, but some are more different than others.

Do you remember being a teenager and suddenly realising that you are a different person when you're with different people? It's one of those things you take for granted years later but at the time comes as a shock.

It's not one of those things that goes away. It's the reason I write this blog anonymously, and the reason I have more than one Twitter account. As a middle-aged person, I suppose ought to be working towards some kind of integrity, where I can merge all those people into one. (Maybe one day I'll just have the one Twitter account, a bit like Doris Lessing's Golden Notebook.) But I can't see it happening soon.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

We're so pretty, oh so pretty... ancient. And we don't care.


When your baby sister turns 50 you know you are getting old. My little sister was 50 a few weeks ago and it was definitely one of those 'how the hell did that happen?' moments. (I'm sure it was for her, too.)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A little less conversation: I'm not having a good day, and you're not improving it.


I stopped at Sainsbury's today on the way home from work because we'd run out of milk and sugar.

As I waited for my shopping, I had a conversation that went like this:

Checkout person: 'Are you having a nice day?'

Me: 'Nope.'

Her: 'Oh, OK.' (Shuts up).

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Fifty-plus? Recognize yourself? Thought not.


Autumn Leaves poster
I saw this poster in a local shop window. It said:

“Autumn Leaves 50+
Our object is to provide entertainment and social activities for older members of the local community and is now open to all over-50's. We hold monthly Bingo sessions and have coach trips most months of the year as well as Summer Tea and Christmas lunch. New members are always welcome.”

Just kill me now.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Global weirding, media lies and why I miss knowing what month it is

That joke isn't funny any more.
I know when you get to this age, everything in the past looks better. But I'm pretty sure that when I was young, we had seasons.

I know people always complained about the Great British Summer, the same way that they complained about the Great British Rail Sandwich. Well, most of us miss British Rail now. And I miss knowing what time of year it is.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

How to enjoy things that are not the Olympics

Someone I follow on Twitter posted the other day: 'Were just asked how we get enjoyment if not from London2012 - well, we build our own achievements rather than bask in those of others.'

‏'How do you get enjoyment if not from the Olympics' seems a pretty odd question to be asking. It assumes that it's only possible to get enjoyment every four years, which seems a bit sad.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Another Punk Britannia review, and some middle-aged angst


I've been thinking and writing a lot about punk lately. And I don't know if I want to think and write  about it any more. It's very easy when a lot of your thinking and writing is done online to find yourself trapped inside the same conversation. But I never wanted to be defined by my past.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

You're history: Punk Britannia review


In honour of the jubilee (yes, I know), the Guardian asked some 60-year-old writers to ruminate on their lives. Sean O'Brien, in a rather good piece, wrote: 'One of the mixed benefits of ageing is reading accounts of your lifetime by people who weren't there.'

Shit. That means I'm going to have to get used to it.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Things I've learnt about shopping



There should have been a bank holiday on Monday. In the old days we called it Whitsun. In recent years we've called it something bureaucratic like 'late May bank holiday'. This year we call it 'the jubilee weekend' and the government has decided we have to have it next week because we all run our lives based around the queen.

I took the day off work, on principle. Unfortunately I had to go shopping.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Complaining about The 70s: BBC response

I recently wrote to the BBC to complain about the bias in their programme The 70s. This was the reply. It came from the Complaints department when I would really have liked to have heard from the producers.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The 70s: don't believe everything you see on television

Ten years ago, the BBC launched BBC4 with the slogan "Everyone Needs a Place to Think". I wrote to them saying I already have one, thanks very much, and it's called BBC2 (they didn't reply).

Since then, I've gone digital and become a huge BBC4 fan. As for BBC2, it's obviously not a place to think any more. I was looking forward to the new BBC2 series The 70s. I should have known better.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

18 in the head


I was doing that delving in dusty boxes thing at the weekend and came across some scary 1970s memorabilia. My younger self.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sounds of the 20th Century: In praise of radio


I recently read an interview with the editor of Radio Times that mentioned film/cinema nine times, television/video five times, and radio only three. It's a shame that radio is seen as a minority interest by a magazine that has 'radio' in the title. But I've always quite liked having minority interests. It makes you feel a bit special.

Television feels like wallpaper much of the time. Listening to the radio is something you choose to do. Something that becomes part of who you are.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Austerity chic, 21st century style


They've got some nice 1940s style shoes in Clark's. They remind me of the nice 1940s style shoes that I used to have in the early '80s.

Austerity chic maybe? Well, the way things are going we'll all be drawing stocking seams on our legs soon. 

Perhaps all those 'Keep calm and carry on' posters aren't a coincidence after all.  

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

In cyberspace, no-one can hear you stammer


Rudyard Kipling's illustration for The Cat That Walked By Himself
Last year, I went to my first tweet-up. I wasn't impressed. It consisted mainly of people sitting around a table looking at their phones.

Twitter is a brilliant hiding place for shy people. In cyberspace, no-one can hear you stammer.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The seven ages of woman. Or, why I'm not having a happy birthday.

It's my birthday today. Apart from the cake, I'm not particularly happy about this. (Cue compulsory 'at least I'm still here', blah blah, disclaimer.)

Lots of people today have wished me happy birthday. People younger than me.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

I used to be politically correct but I'm all right now


Sometimes I think I should stop reading the Guardian.

Brand loyalty is all very well, and I'm normally happy to define myself as a Guardianista - with all that implies. (I own a bicycle, but rarely use it. I hate supermarkets, but shop at Tesco. I worry about climate change, and drive a car.)

But sometimes I do get annoyed.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Life's too short for New Year Resolutions


I have no aims for 2012. I'm tired of telling myself I 'should' be doing or being something I'm not. Life's too short.

This year I won't eat my five-a-day, take more exercise, drink less beer, get more sleep.

I won't spend less time on the internet, read more books, blog every week, remember to mow the lawn.

I won't lose a stone, measure my carbon footprint, cut my carbs, use less packaging, get off the bus early.

I won't go for a walk in my lunch hour. I won't get up early for anything.

I won't 'be my own life coach'. I'm not setting goals. The only lists I make will be shopping lists.

I've finished with self improvement. I will never make a New Year resolution again.

The problem is, doesn't all that sound just like one?