Thursday, 13 November 2014

This advert will make you cry. And the last 30 seconds will make you spit with anger.

We are Making a New World (1918) by Paul Nash, war artist. From collection of the Imperial War Museum (available to share for non-commercial use).
I think it might be Children in Need day today. There was someone in a teddy bear suit waving at me when I did the shopping this morning.

Today we all have to feel sad about unfortunate children. On Tuesday, we all had to feel sad about dead soldiers. Next week it will be something else. At the risk of appearing cynical, count me out.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Barriers to employment? Just ask the over-50s

I read a depressing document this week. PRIME (the people I did a business start-up course with last year) have put out a report called 'The missing million: illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s'. That 'million' is the number of people over 50 they estimate to have been made ‘involuntarily workless’.

It's good that someone's raising the issue, but as Helen Walmsley-Johnson points out in a Gransnet post, they're not the first and they won't be the last and it's not worth much unless something changes.

Written by a demographic think-tank called the International Longevity Centre, this is the first of three reports looking at 'the economic barriers facing the over 50s'. Don't get me wrong, I am pleased that they are campaigning about this. But I don't think the message is a helpful one.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

I went to a reunion and it got me thinking about life. Everyone else got pissed.

At the age of fifty-something, I'd never been to a reunion before. No school reunions, no college reunions. When I finally ended up going to a reunion it was for a punk club.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Neat, neat, neat: Teachers, tests and lies


There's a thing going round the internet. Well, there's always a thing going round the internet. It's divided opinion more than most, and nearly made me fall out with someone I love. Which wasn't nice.

It's a letter from a teacher to children in her school about not worrying about their test results. A sort of consolation prize. I think her heart's in the right place but I also think she is feeding the children a lie.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Book review: Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys

Years ago, when I still worked for other people, I was talking about the legendary grumpiness of a colleague and one of his admirers said 'You don't know what he's been through.'  As if that was an excuse.  And I thought: 'You don't know what I've been through either.' And then I thought: 'Show me someone who's got the the age of 40 who hasn't had bad things happen to them and I'll show you someone who hasn't lived.'

Shit happens. We're all survivors, one way or the other. And you could call Viv Albertine's memoir the story of a survivor. Except that would be a) very '80s and b) a cliche.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

It's taken 50 years, but I've finally discovered the generation gap


And while you're at it, give us this back.
I've finally discovered the generation gap and I don't like it. Those 'you're not going out like that'/'fascist' dialogues from the teenage years? That's nothing to how I feel now.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Independent venues - how rock'n'roll are they really?

Apparently there's a thing on called Independent Venue Week, celebrating the small venues that support upcoming acts and grassroots fans. It's nice to know those places are still going – even if the impetus behind the event is that they might not be for much longer.

I don't go to gigs often these days: arthritis means that standing venues are out, and large ones can lack atmosphere. In any case, I've probably got more than an average lifetime's worth of gigs behind me already. But I cherish my memories of small venues.