I am old, I am old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

 

I used to look forward to growing old. I had this glowing picture of me, with distinguished grey hair and a kindly twinkle in my eye, distributing Good Advice to my children and grand children, while my wife sits by the fire, knitting and stroking the cat, ( but not at the same time, obviously.) I would be looked up to, the family patriarch. My grandfather (only one, the other died years ago) was like that.

Well I got the distinguished hair. It’s a bit thin on top, but I have lovely silver sideboards. I look like the meeter – and-  greeter that the BBC wheels out  to meet  political bigwigs, who have come to have their noses tweaked by John Humphries. He looks like an ambassador. I could do that.

I’m a bit short on wisdom though. It’s not quite that. I have wisdom but….it’s irrelevant.  I can talk about the Elizabethan theatre, the history of my city of York, the wingspan of a Supermarine Spitfire ( 32’ 6”) if you’re interested, or the back catalogue of the Stones – but no-one is really interested any more. I do not understand the social media. Why do they all talk to each other in unintelligible abbreviations ? What’s wrong with the phone ?

Why do they have to take a picture of themselves every three minutes ? Do they doubt their very existence ?

I still use email. For special friends, I will write a letter. Remember ? That pen and ink stuff ? I can sometimes use Twitter, but it’s a matter of stab and see where you get to.

And all this is entirely irrelevant. It has always been the same. We old codgers have had our day because that’s  evolution, man. We’re irrelevant now, and extinct soon.

And we asked for it. Take one tiny aspect of daily life – fashion. Fashion is for the young and for elegant mature ladies. Not old guys. Beards are fine for hipsters, with tartan shirts and climbing boots. But any man over sixty should never grow a beard- you should have got that out of your system forty years ago. Look at Jeremy Corbyn ( difficult, I know, but do try) He looks (a) as though he’s forgotten to shave and (b) like Dr Shipman the Mad Medic. It’s a uniform – they all look the same.

Old geezers should never, under any circumstances, show their legs. Old male legs are indistinguishable from chicken legs in Sainsburys. And the shorts they  wear !  Great bags of canvas rippling in the breeze ! It just looks wrong, guys ! Get a pair of nice chinos and a summer jacket and you look like a film director.

And don’t wear replica football shirts either. You look like a wazzock. Stretched tight over a beer belly and balanced on skinny legs, you do not do yourself justice. And don’t wear sandals, don’t wear socks with sandals – just quit the whole sandal thing. Without, your feet look like lumps of  squashed haddock.And the toenails ! Chipped and splintered and discoloured like lumps of Roman rooftile.  And with socks ? No ! The horror ! The horror !

Mind you, I have come a fashion that is totally the fault of Young Dudes – and that is a too tight suit with shoes – but no socks ! Can you imagine what it’s like in there ? Slippery and reeking with footpong ! Is this likely to pull the birds ? Maybe -how should I know ?

No – it’s time to step back and let them get on with it. 

Every twenty four hours a day becomes history.

That’s profound, that is.

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The Donald Trump Drinking Game

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It’s very simple.All you need is a tv permanently tuned to American (ie Trump) Election coverage. You also need a lot of alcohol – pick your poison.

Every time The Donald uses one of the following words or phrases you must have a drink :

Hunerd percent

Strong

Believe me.

If The Donald refers to himself in the third person ” Trump  says…” you must have two drinks.

Happy electioneering !

 

 

 

 

 

“Hair today and Gone tomorrow” or “The Last Trump”

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I’ve been watching Trump quite a lot recently. After all, I’m a Brit – and if he becomes President, the chances of Europe turning into a nuclear wasteland will edge up quite a few points. So I have a vested interest here. I don’t know anything about his policies (mind you, I suspect he doesn’t either.) I’m interested in the superficial stuff- the way he talks, his gestures…his hair.

It’s silly hair…candyfloss hair…a wispy concoction held together by StrongFast hairspray. Nobody believes it. It’s a joke, and everyone knows it…including, I think, him. His hair is like a red flag to a bull. “ Go on ! says his hair, “ I’m silly hair ! OK ? You wanna make something of it pal ?” His hair is in your face, in a manner of speaking.

His walk. The other candidates walk badly, all of them. They shuffle onto the stage, trying not to trip over their own toes, and scurry to the safety of their lecterns. But Trump walks in slowly, deliberately, head up, checking out the crowd. A gladiator stalking into the arena, a professional wrestler pacing round the ring, seeking whom he might devour. The more I think of it, the more I realise that’s it ! Unable to present himself as he really is, he borrows massively from the theatrics of the ring. His opponents are entirely unimportant – he plays to the crowd, telling them what they want to hear, shocking them with profanity ( Ooo !Doris ! Isn’t it lovely to be shocked by profanity !) He feels their unarticulated pain.

Bawling, wheedling, cajoling, he persuades them to follow their hearts and check their brains in at the door. Vocally he’s good, very good – he runs from full-on tortured bull to creepy uncle – and he uses his hands – stabbing out a finger, lips belled out like a trumpet, then making a funny, odd little gesture, circling his thumb and forefinger- it’s almost feminine.

 

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No-one could deny he’s a brilliant entertainer.

But has he got the chops for The Real Job ?

It’s 4am. A red phone in the White House Situation Room starts ringing. The Duty Security Officer picks it up. One of the Northern radar stations has picked up what looks like a multiple missile strike from over the Pole. On the other hand, it could be a flock of geese, or the Moon- it’s happened before. The Duty Officer dashes up stairs to the Presidential bedroom and bangs on the door.
“ Mr President ! Mr President !”
A grunt which sounds like “ What the f..”
The man goes inside, tells his story to the humped form in the bed.
“ What are we going to do, Mr President ? What are we going to do ?
The President reaches out an arm to switch on the light. His pink jowls are shadowed with stubble, stringy yellow hair hangs round his face. He looks bewildered.
“ What are we going to do ?”

 

What’s in a name ?

What’s in a name ?

I’ve always been an enthusiastic follower of American Presidential elections. I remember the night Barry Goldwater was defeated, and the civilised world breathed a huge sigh of relief. I remember Richard Nixon, with his Joker-like face, flinging his arms wide in what looked suspiciously like a crucifixion. I follow American politics because they are the people with the big stick.

On the way I’ve made a small collection of odd names. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being rude, but what is it with American names ? Particularly American politicians ? They tend to be short and snappy, easy on the tongue, like Jo Biden, Mitt Romney ( Mitt ?) but some do fall over the edge of the waterfall and end up in the maelstrom beneath.Let’s look at two political journos for a start.

Charles Krauthammer for instance. Charles Krauthammer ? Why do I want to put “ Nazi Smasher” after his name. It’s so …out there…so LOUD.

And what about Wolf Blitzer ? Wolf ? If he’d been born in England he would have been called Derek, or Nigel. Imagine some small boy knocks on the Blitzer front door- “ Excuse me, Mrs Blitzer, is your Wolf coming out to play?”

And after them comes a covey of representatives – Zach Wamp for instance- Half Man Half Sound Effect…Zach ! Wamp ! And after him comes Bart Stupack ( provides quality frozen meats) …then Michael Crapo…you wouldn’t would you..you just wouldn’t ,and the unfortunately deep voiced Mike Gravel.

We won’t even mention Randy Bumgardener.

But I confess, we have our own wierd names too. A Tory MP Jacob-Rees Mogg ( notice the double barrel name,) so old fashioned that his peers call him The Member for the Eighteenth Century, has named his latest child….wait for it….

Alfred Wulfric Leyson Pius Rees- Mogg.

Poor kid. Never mind. By the time he’s fifteen his mates will be shouting “ Oi ! Moggsy ! Are you comin’ to the footie tonight ?”

Why we should feel sorry for politicians

Democracy is a creaky old machine, but it’s the best worst choice.Don’t bother to vote- and you let the loonies in.I’ve just done my bit . A cross against the name of a decent man who cares about his constituents and who, for the next five years, will enjoy modest affluence and total anonymity.

We demand the impossible from our rulers. We want a Rolls-Royce health system, but we don’t want to the extra taxes it requires. We want a financial safety net for all those in poverty, but jib at the thought of means testing. Scotland appears to want independence and a hefty financial leg-up as well. We want the lolly, the cake- and we want to keep our sixpence too. We want our politicians to be as saintly as St Francis and as cunning as Machiavelli.

I’m sure most of them come into the trade with the highest intentions,but in the end, do they stand come up against the old conundrum – do the ends justify the means ? Do they stand up for what they believe in?Or do they bow their heads and become lobby fodder ? The campaign certainties of Red and Blue fade into a world of grey.

We need politicians who are prepared to compromise.I want politicians who will horse-trade, who will engage with the other parties.I want hard headed men and women who can balance their party loyalties with the needs of the whole country. I don’t want charisma – simple competence will do me fine.

And will I get it ? Look at the party leaders, all of them…..it makes you weep.