Meerkats, Music and Octogenarian Sex…

A Mixed bag this week…

Blimey, have you been watching that David Attenborough Africa programme? Amaaaaayzing stuff. I haven’t seen herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain like that since I last holidayed in Torquay!* Only three episodes in and we’ve had horny elephants (ooer, missus, you wouldn’t want to get in the way of one of ‘em), golden-eyed leaf-folding frogs, giraffe fights and ikkle baybee ostriches bob-bob-bobbing along like deranged outsize robins – it’s what High Definition was made for! Let’s face it, Attenborough is worth the beeb’s licence fee alone, and if the government bugger it all up for us by making that fee the only thing along with welfare benefits that doesn’t get adjusted in line with inflation they should be bloody-well strung up. Not that they shouldn’t be strung up anyway, but if they screw the BBC too they should be strung up twice.

Mind you, I’m getting a bit bored with meerkats now, aren’t you? I keep expecting them to offer me stuffed toys while trying to sell me car insurance. I blame the ad men, the simples bastards. simplesOh, for the good old days of Don Draper and Peggy Olson, when everything in advertising boiled down to sex, fags and alcoholism – it was so much simpler and far more entertaining. There’s only really the Lynx ads keeping the sexploitation flag flying now, and even they dress it up as “irony” so as not to upset the PC Police (eh?).

And… and… it doesn’t work, does it? I sprayed myself with three cans of the stuff the other day and all it did was make me cough – not a sossidge as far as the pretty young laydees went, though one kindly, spindle-thin thing did offer to help me to a chair when my legs gave out on me in the middle of the dance floor. It was really embarrassing, actually: when I first went down on my knees they thought I had done it deliberately. The DJ was halfway through the extended remix of Underworld’s “King of Snake” before anyone realised I wasn’t break dancing but just plain, old-fashioned broken. I came home and had a nice cup of Horlicks.

Thinking about it, I wonder how old peoples’ homes are going to fare in a couple of decades’ time? Do you reach a point, as you get older, where the music you’ve loved all your life suddenly becomes abhorrent to you and you start craving Bing Crosby and Glenn Miller, or will tomorrow’s pensioner parties in the cleared lounges of a million retirement homes be ringing with the sounds of Madchester and the second Summer of Love? I find the idea simultaneously scary and liberating, the mental image of a room full of loved up coffin-dodgers wobbling perilously on their zimmer frames as they try to throw some shapes and drop a few E’s surreal and fascinating in equal measure.

And what about the sex? Given that it’s only going to be twenty years or so before the first wave of Ibiza sex-and-sun liberated revellers hit pensionable age can we expect scenes in our care homes and retirement villages reminiscent of Sodom and Gomorrah? Will the staff be slipping bromide in the old boys’ teas, and will the old buggers be outmanoeuvring them by snarfing down handfuls of contraband Viagra smuggled in by sympathetic visiting grandchildren? Is that, in fact, what’s happening right now? There must be many, after all, who tuned in and dropped out during the first Summer of Love who have already been forced by inadequate pensions to sell off their homes and Stannah stair lifts to negotiate a kind of communal living they could never have envisioned back in the Donovan Days of their youth.old people party

I haven’t been in a care home for the elderly since the mid-nineties (when I was augmenting my piss-poor salary as a carer for learning disabled adults by working nights as a piss-poorly paid carer of the chronologically challenged in anticipation of the imminent arrival and expense of my son) but even then there was the odd game old bird or cock who preferred the Monkees to Mantovani and Jim Morrison to Jim Reeves. To be honest I can’t really envision a time when music I currently like will be distasteful to me. Obviously there was stuff I listened to when younger that hasn’t stood the test of time (particularly stuff from the late eighties/early nineties that I bought largely for background music at dinner parties because my ex-wife kind of liked it) and which now bores my tits off, but the core of my music collection can still get me bouncing around excitedly or move me to emoshunal, gurlie tears and I think it always will. Will I ever be able to listen to (i.e.) Death in Vegas’ “Aisha” or my Radio 1 live in Concert version of Ian Dury’s “Blockheads” without wanting to smash something (not that I ever do, of course), or hear the absolutely filthy fuzzy bass on P.J.Harvey’s “Meet Ze Monsta” without the hairs on the back of my neck going up? – I think (and hope) not! Mind you, I could do without the excruciating stomach cramps and projectile vomiting I experience when unexpectedly aurally assaulted by the likes of Keane, Snow Patrol and Radiohead, but I guess for every swing there has to be a roundabout…

Of course, my collection isn’t all head-banging rock and TB 303 banging dance choons, I have my mellow side too. Why, only this morning while walking to the shops I was delighted when random play threw me the musical coupling of Lemon Jelly’s “In the Bath” with Müm’s “Green Grass of Tunnel” and I’ve been feeling stupidly blissful ever since. And despite the whole silly drug connection, who could listen to Spiritualized’s “I think I’m in love” without grinning at the beautiful simplicity of it and the cleverness of the lyrics? You’d have to be dead, wouldn’t you, which – let’s face it – may be the next stop once you hit the granny ‘n’ granddad farm but what’s to stop you from enjoying it while you can?

Whoops… I’ve just realised this weeks’ ‘mixed bag ramble’ has turned into a bit of a Desert Island Discs. Nowt wrong with that particularly, but if I’d known it was going to happen I would have given you a heads up at the beginning. Having said that, if this had been a proper Desert Island’s Discs I would definitely have mentioned Mark Lanegan by now, and of course, Kim Deal (I just want a girl as cool as Kim Deal, as the Dandy Warhols so eloquently put it) and Kristin Hersh, whose “Hips and Makers” album saw me through one of the rockiest patches I’ve ever narrowly survived in my life, and……

Anyhooo, sorry for being a bit self-indulgent, but then I guess that’s the very nature of blogging, isn’t it – the assumption that other people will be interested in your news and views? If you were, I’m glad to have given you a few minutes pleasure, and if you weren’t then thanks for persevering to the bitter end regardless of your disinterest. Maybe next week’s missive will be more up your alley, pally.

For anyone interested, here are some links to the bands and musicians I’ve mentioned. If there’s anyone you don’t know (unlikely, but you never know), check them out – you may find something you like. I’ve not necessarily linked to the songs I highlighted as YouTube can be a bugger like that. I know, I know, I should really have a Spotify account or something by now. Stop nagging…

UNDERWORLD

DEATH IN VEGAS

IAN DURY

P J HARVEY

LEMON JELLY

MÜM

SPRITUALIZED

MARK LANEGAN

KIM DEAL

KRISTIN HERSH

IN OTHER NEWS: I’ve just remembered I ended last week’s blog with a rather half-hearted promise to develop the “Tunbridge Wells Gift Shop” theme. I did, as is evident from this post, get bored with it (I’ve a very low boredom threshold), but now feel guilty as several people have shown quite an interest. I’ll bung up the stuff I’ve prepared already sometime over the weekend if I get the chance, but will probably give the ‘Gift Shop’ it’s own page rather than a one-off blog entry so I can develop it as and when the fancy takes me or whenever my butterfly brain alights on another idea that makes oi larf. Watch this space…

t 2

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*For the benefit of younger or stupid readers, this is a reference to an episode of Fawlty Towers (Warty Towels) where Joan Sanderson as Mrs Richardson complains about the view from her bedroom window…

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