I'm not a grumpy old man, just an out of synch hippy

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Men's dress rant

Not a good look

I hate summer. It brings out the worst things in life. The new Big Brother series. Ice Cream vans. And, God help us, mens’ legs. Especially old mens’ legs.

If I was Prime Minister, my top priority would be to make it an offence for men over 50 to wear shorts. Varicose veins and knees which look as if they’ve been put through a rock crusher would be classified as a threat to public health and morality and showable only in darkened rooms to a private audience. Failure to observe this would be an ASBO offence.

The wearing of sandals with uncut toenails, however, would incur the death penalty. Men would not be permitted to make like Rosa Klebs. If that’s your method of mowing the lawn, fine, but step out of the house like that, then – chop. I mean heads, not nails.

T shirts would grudgingly be permitted for males over 50, but only if no flesh is visible between the bottom hem and the belt. Having a beer belly which forces the bottom of the T shirt to nudge upwards would not be deemed an excuse. Exposure of pubic hair would be classified as Aggravated Navel Exposure - maximum penalty fifty lashes.

Now to the gravest matter of all. Today I saw a man, who shared Bill Nighy’s age group but not dress sense, with sagging man boobs, wrinkled arms and an underarm crow’s nest, wearing, and my trembling hands can barely type this, a Bruce Willis vest. Everything was revealed.

There’s only one solution for men like that. Stick their head on a pole and display it over London Bridge. It won’t look pleasant, but at least we won’t have to peer at the rest of their bodies.

All this is making me retch as much as it is you. I’m doing it out of pure public spiritedness. Make me PM and I pledge to enact all the above.

And then I’d go on to the lesser stuff such as eradicating poverty.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Dancing in the Patio

                                                        Inside, they're rockin'

“What do old people do at parties?” That’s an idle question My Teenage Self would ask occasionally, in between doing more interesting things such as spraypainting his bedroom slippers silver and flicking his fingernail dirt at the settee.

I’m in a position to report back to MTS. I was away at the Kirwood sister’s place in a Gloucestershire village over the weekend where we went to a do with friends down her lane.

Here’s my answer. “When they go to parties older people put on 60s pop music, drink beer, muck about and talk rubbish. Sound familiar?”

We also talked about holidays in Portugal and Mrs K’s choir singing. “Boring and trivial!!!” snorted MTS. “You didn’t talk about anything really important.” “Such as?” “Such as…such as… such as whether John Lennon wears contact lenses. Or did Derek Abbot at the end of the street really do 69 with a girl?”

“How about this?” I replied, “We also talked about the visit of Rowan Williams to the village the next day.” “HUH! I bet you didn’t roll a single joint. I bet no one puked over the roses. I bet you didn’t play Jimi Hendrix so loud that the neighbours called the police!”

“That’s because we were the neighbours. And what’s so bad about puking over roses? It fertilises them. Though I suppose it depends what’s in the puke.”

“Huh,” he snorted again, “A bunch of nobodies.”  “One of them was a District Councillor,” I answered hesitantly. “Traitor! Mixing with authority figures!” screamed MTS
I explained how we actually talked to each other, were still able to remember most of it the day after and how no one at any stage hunched over a mobile phone or glued themselves to their ipod.

He’d be OK about that. He hasn’t a clue about those things either. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Ambulance music

Not Jazz



Just got back from the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. The politeness of the Danes teeters on the brink of criminality. If you scratch your head on the street ten of them will jump on you and ask if you want any help.

It didn’t stop them from flashing their mobile screens during the big gig at the Royal Theatre, though. Or the woman behind me sticking her bare feet up next to my head. Her toenails were lacerating my earlobes. But these were almost welcome distractions from what was happening onstage.

The support act were what you’d call ambient. This means they sounded like a whale in labour bumping into an iceberg. I guess they passed for jazz because they had a couple of saxes and introduced each other after every number. They all had the same floppy-on-one-side-of the-head haircut and were about 26 (that’s the total age, not the average). Their idea of improvisation was to play the same turgid three-note riff at slightly varying speeds. Needless to say, the audience whooped, roared and clapped. Their age was about 460 (again, a total, not including us).

You know you’re in trouble when a band’s name is more creative than their music. This lot were called Morons on Mogadon.  Well, they should have been.

Anyone under 30 should have to pass a test before being allowed to be in charge of a concert seat. Before that your musical tastes are still at the “Mummy I want a Curly Wurly bar” stage. Well, mine were. I remember going to hear The Crazy World of Arthur Brown in 1968 and thinking it was the greatest gig ever because he set his hair alight.

The main act in the Copenhagen Royal Theatre was guitar maestro John Schofield. Proper music. Nothing to do with ambience, nu jazz, fusion sounds or folky-hip hop grooves with a touch of acid house and a hint of baby vomit. But he was held up at the airport and we took  refunds. Typical.

On the way back to the hotel we popped into a bar and sang along to a cheesy covers singer doing “American Pie.” Compared to M on M - musical ecstasy.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Every day’s a bad hair day

                                                                It's just not me

Haircut today. These days I leave it for months. It’s lost its fun. Gone are those happy decisions: Jon Lord mane, David Bowie mullet or Kevin Keegan frizz? These days I come out either nondescript smarmed-down or nondescript wispy. It’s been a successful cut if I can look in the mirror without reaching for a crucifix.

I had a woman this time. She was about 25 and approximately Polish. That’s fine. Poles are nifty at skidding a plastering trowel round a wall so I felt sure she could whisk a pair of scissors round my head. And a woman isn’t going to ask embarrassing questions about wanting something for the weekend.

OK, her conversation wouldn’t have got her on the Jonathan Ross Show: “And so we are feeling good today, yes sir?” But she snipped away with panache. Then she said “Is that so good for you sir?” and held the mirror behind my head. I groped for my specs as without them it’s a bit like looking through a windscreen in a blizzard. I stuck them on and gaped.

I had a mat of hair flopping over one side of my face with a six inch fringe drooping over my right eye. She’d given me an Indy band cut. My hair looked like a hamster slipping off the edge of a cliff.  I had a stark choice. Either an emergency administration of botox to make me look 20, or a drastic trim off the top of my head to make me look 60.

 “Noooo!” she cried. It was her masterpiece and I wanted her to desecrate it. I normally give barbers free rein but I put my foot down. A few snips later and I could face the streets. It’s all been another brutal reminder I’m way too old to look like a rock ‘n’ star.

Next time I’ll ask for a Miles Davis cut. It’ll look just as ridiculous on me but I’ll enjoy their confusion as they won’t know who the hell he is. And the music’s a lot better.