So This is Fifty…

spain_traffic_signal_r301-50-svg…and what have I done. Not a lot it seems. So it seemed a good opportunity to revisit my blog, my last post was in 2012 after all.

So here I am, me at fifty. Fifty!! How did that happen. One minute I was, well.. thirty, OK thirty-five maybe, and the next…”Howay 5-0!”.

I’m sure it didn’t just happen, I have, after all had 49 years and 364 days to prepare for it. But it feels that way. This is probably because one puts such traumatic ideas such as ageing, out of one’s mind, it is something that happens to other people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wholly opposed to ageing, as Dave Allen said:

I don’t mind ageing, not when you consider the alternative

But the thing about fifty – is that it is really starting to sound old. Proper old. In my youth, fifty was another country – so far away and distant and hard to get to, and populated by people who dribbled and rode round on mobility scooters. Even forty has a certain glamour, the age at which life apparently “begins”. But what has fifty to recommend it? It is only ten years away from the decade of the free bus pass and Tena™ pads.

And this generation doesn’t do old. Maybe they never did and I was just too young to notice, but the older you get, the more you notice how everyone is so… young. In jobs for example. That’s if you’re lucky enough to have one post-fifty. Walk into any office, certainly in London, and 90% of the staff will be younger than you. Including your boss. And policemen. And policewomen.

And media, music, YouTube, TV, Twitter – everyone who has anything to say, sing, blog, tweet or dance about seems now to be younger than you.

Which means your world is becoming that bit colder, harder and lonelier. In the world of the young, you start to stand out like a sore thumb.

You realise, at fifty, that many of those dreams you had as a youth, are now sliding, irrevocably and finally out of view. The dream of writing a hit song, of being an acting superstar, of appearing on Top of the Pops (if it even existed) of just even being vaguely recognised in your field of expertise… well son, if it hasn’t happened by now, it probably never will.

What’s more death is closer.

It seems this last year (2016) surprised a lot of people because people were dying. I think we had perhaps forgotten that people die, but certainly there seemed to be a lot of it about, particularly amongst the rich and famous. As William Shatner (who perhaps surprisingly, hasn’t to date, died) pointed out, we’re gonna die:

Of all the celebrity deaths in 2016, the most shocking to me personally was the last, that of George Michael. I wasn’t the biggest GM fan in the world, I never much liked Wham! but I own the albums Faith and Listen Without Prejudice and totally respected him as an artist and singer.

But his death really affected me, more so than any of the others, and I think it was partly because it was so close to home. At 53, his death was only three years away from my latest birthday. It was a shock. I wanted to go back in time and put my arms round him and tell him to get well, that everything would be OK. I felt an inexplicable affection for someone I’d never met. I cried floods of tears over the laptop listening to this:

I don’t think we should necessarily think of the deaths of these people as a tragedy though. These people have had the privilege of unimaginable success in their chosen trajectory. These people have had the oxygen of attention, sometimes unwelcome but nonetheless something most of us can only dream of, particularly in today’s world of nanosecond attention span. These people have had a chance to live. To live a life as it should be and not merely surviving in order to exist. We know that’s not always a bed of roses but nothing is.

The real tragedy, I think, is with the rest of us. The rest of us whose lives they made better. The rest of us in the daily grind, plodding, plonkering, struggling, shit-shovelling, arse-kissing, grovelling, waiting, watching, commuting, sucking up to the highfalutin. It’s us, whose deaths will go largely unnoticed and whose lives will not amount to a hill of beans that are the tragedy here.

But enough already with all this doom and gloom! ‘Tis a new year and as such there should be hope afresh and such (OK it is now February, but I did start this awhile ago). So how shall this post resolve and what emotional climax shall it end on?

I don’t know, but in the spirit of Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Of course that’s all very if you can remember who you are at “close of day”.

So on that note I am going to resolve to… well, carry on, carry doing stuff. Doing stuff that will be largely ignored, but hey, hasn’t that always been the way.

I think I’ll restart blogging, if nothing else it will be practice for that novel I intend to write. Maybe I’ll write some more music. Oh, and I should get a job.

But I’m not going to make any promises or set myself any goals, I can really do without the pressure, and I don’t want to get too ahead of myself… if 2016 has taught me anything, it’s that “none knoweth the hour”.

As Motorhead’s matchless Lemmy, who incidentally missed the 2016 celeb death-fest by mere days, said “If you think you are too old to rock ‘n roll, then you are.”.

So think young. And keep rockin’.

Job Post: Front End Web Developer

Employer: God

This position is based in Heaven, although working from home is also an option. But you’ll probably prefer to work from the office due to the great views, floating on clouds and being served hot buttered toast and coffee from beautiful angel beings.

The role: HTML4 Developer, God’s new homepage

 

Skills required: HTML4, CompuServe animated GIFs, a bit of PaintShop Pro or similar.

Righto, I’m God. First up, I don’t have a beard and I’m not a woman. I’m not a man either, I am a supernatural being and as such defy all earthly description, so get with the program and listen up. I’ve decided to catch up with the 21st century and get me a web site. I’m getting a bit tired of all the know-it-all clever dick atheists out there who think I don’t exist, so I’ve decided I need to do a spot of PR and networking. But I’m definitely not using that stupid Twitter thing, I’ll barely get one Bible verse published on that and I’m a very busy being.

So I’m opting for a good ‘ole fashioned homepage. Thus I need a developer. You’ll need to know HTML, version 4 is fine, to my mind it hasn’t got any better since then. And you can forget all that testing business, by the time it’s all been tested and what-not I’d have decided to scrap it and start again, and besides that I’d have fallen asleep. And I don’t want any of that poncey JavaScript stuff either, that really makes my foot itch with all that fancy stuff going on, I can barely tell the page has changed. No, I like to see a nice big white screen before the next page appears otherwise I don’t know where I am. But animated GIFs are fine, so please bring them to the party, and if you’re good with the <blink> tag that’ll be grand – I need to make it at least a little visually appealing.

Right I think that’s about it. Send your CV by reciting it in the form of a prayer, starting with the words “God’s New Homepage”, it’ll get to me. The successful applicant will get an early hours visitation, probably from my Son, so don’t alarmed, he’ll just want a quick chat.

Anyways, good luck, and no arguments – I’m God and if I kick you in the nuts you’ll know about it.

 

It’s All About Stuff To Do

What is life really about? I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s about stuff to do. And here’s where all the problems start.

The thing is, the only thing we really need to do, is eat something and wash it down with some water. Once you’ve done that, you’re dandy. Sorted. Except you’re not, because after that, you start looking around for something to do. You say to yourself, Now that I am satisfied, I need something to do.

Of course, for our ancestors, most of the stuff they did was in pursuit of getting that meal and a cup of water. This was good, because they didn’t have to think too much about what to do. It was decided for them. Also, because it took so much of their time, this gathering of food and water, they didn’t have much time left over to decide what to do with. So they went to sleep. All was well.

But as time went on and it became easier to get fed and watered, people looked for other stuff to do. People started dancing, singing, painting, drawing, drinking alcohol, having sex, fighting, writing and putting on plays. Pretty soon there was loads of stuff to do.

And so industries and companies sprung up to provide the people with places and services for them to more efficiently do the things they wanted to do. So now people were needed to run these organisations for other people to do stuff.

This began to take away time from the people facilitating the other people’s stuff to do, from their stuff to do. This makes these people unhappy. Chances are, at this moment, you may be in a place or situation where you are doing stuff you don’t want to do. The reason  for this, is you are doing stuff that allows other people do stuff they want, or imagine they want, to do. It’s not the stuff you want to do.

So to make you less unhappy, the people for whom you’re enabling the doing of stuff, are paying you money. This money buys you stuff, to do stuff with. It buys you stuff to do, maybe a holiday, maybe to drive a car en route to doing stuff, maybe pay for your phone that you use to arrange doing stuff. You’re kind of doing a trade of stuff to do.

But at least, even though the doing of stuff to enable other people to do stuff is not what you want to do, it does at least give you something to do. Which is at least partly the idea. For this reason many people get so used to doing stuff for other people, that frankly they are lost when they finally reach an age at which they are let off from doing it. They no longer have stuff to do. Many die quite soon after.

But some people are really lucky. Some lucky people find that the stuff they want to do is providing stuff or stuff to do for other people. These people are very happy. Except that they can end up spending so much time doing their stuff, that it leaves no time to be with the people who want to do stuff with them. So the people who want to be with them have no stuff to do. They leave the lucky and happy person making that person unhappy. So unhappy that they can no longer do the stuff that made them happy. So now they have nothing to do. They have to find something else to do, which is often to go into therapy.

Most wars are over stuff to do. One country doesn’t have much stuff to do, or perhaps they are poor and not in a position to do much stuff. They want to do more of what the other country are doing. So they invade and this gives them something to do. For a while they are happy.

Who knows, maybe we could all be happier by doing nothing, at least some of the time. And remember, whenever you’re at work and stressing about getting stuff done and it all seems so important, you’re just running around so other people have some stuff to do. It’s really no big deal.