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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Time's Winged Chariot



Let's hear it for life. Let's beat the drum for that continuing heart beat, that feeble but vital pulse, the murmured word as the blood is suctioned away.

Too much death recently, far too much. Head chopping, body shattering, unexpected, undeserved death is hitting our iPads, iPhones and Samsungs like a flock of incontinent magpies feasting on a harvest of over-ripe figs.

I have to admit my erotic dreams featuring me and Lady Penelope and "Stingray" are often certailed by the Grim Reaper at the bottom of my bed reminding me that I'm almost out of my three score and ten.

The reports of deaths of those in their early, middle and late sixties give me cause for pause. The fact that Robin Williams topped himself doesn't help. It just highlights the existential threat that we older folk face.

Let's face it (if only we could) death is a bummer.

Frankly as a child of the 60's I'm in a double bind. My passport to being a child of the age of Aquarius was Love, Love,Love. Constant bonking, or in my case constant thoughts of constant bonking with all those beautiful babes. Thoughts are as real as deeds says the Good Book. The fact that I didn't get a million miles near having it away with Jane Fonda in Barbarella is no salvation. I am damned.

Which makes me extremely angry. Because of all those missed opportunities to bed those fab dolly birds in '66, '67, '68, '69 etc. - but didn't because I thought God was looking over my shoulder and would have had a front seat. 

I should have joined a cult. One of those "Sex gets you to Heaven" cults. I thought about it as I was sitting my Maths finals at University. It was obvious that I was going to get a pretty crap degree, if I passed at all. My mates, who for some reason appeared to have no problem with three hour papers in large rooms with hundreds of other brains, had careers marked out. More importantly they had nookie on tap - lovely, long legged, long haired, doe eyed beauties - and me, nothing. A lonely bedsit in Dollis Hill.

Can you blame me? Had I the balls I'd have been on a plane to L.A., Paris, Marrakesh or taken the Last Train to Clarksville and joined a boiling, bum bouncing, barrage of testosterone. But no....I tried to become an actuary.

Which in an interesting way brings us back to death. That's what actuaries are all about. Making money out of dying.

This morning I hit upon "The Sounds of the Sixties" with Brian Matthews. It was on the Beeb's iPlayer. I have no idea when it was actually broadcast because it was a podcast. There I am time shifting with a DJ who is still broadcasting in his 80's.

I'm surrounded by the echos of my youth. Brian Matthews, Cliff Richard and Tony Blackburn, who was on "The One Show" this Friday - all in the final trimester of their moral coils, their vales of pain, their "out, out brief candle".

To cap it all, there are old London Routemaster buses running around the streets of this great city of ours with a massive blown up visage of 74 year old Ringo Starr. I thought it was for an AgeUK campaign but apparently he's modelling John Varvatos' Fall/Winter collection. Time and the Ages of Man have been cast adrift.

It's all the Doctor's fault - this rip in the space/time continuum. His rebirth has peeled away the onion skin of my experience and I'm staring at the Final Frontier and singing along to Herman Hermit's "I'm Into Something Good" at a Warner's Holiday Camp somewhere dreadful in 1964.

And those songs about dying: they really get to you when you're young: ironic or what? "Leader of the Pack", "Terry", "Knocking on Heaven's Door", "Missing You", "The Monster Mash". 

It becomes profound and moving when someone close to dying sings about it. "Hurt" by Johnny Cash is one such performance. Watching him singing/talking this song is so intense it hurts.

No, as that great 20th Century American philospher once said "It's not the men in your life that matters, it's the life in your men." She knew what she was talking about.

 




5 comments:

Steve said...

As I'm one of the fortunates going to see Kate Bush next month I immersed myself in the evening of archival footage that the Beeb kindly broadcast on Friday. How young she looked and I can remember it all when it was all new and "out there". And now she's in her 50s and I'm 5 years away from that reality myself... 30 years have zipped by and I wonder if I have made the best possible use of my time. Scary questions are being asked by the still, quiet voice inside my head.

Barry Coidan said...

That voice in your head appears to be very unquiet and jittery.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I do enjoy this blog. Your avoidance of casual sex in your youth is refreshing to read about. Lady Penelope was a puppet as I recollect

Barry Coidan said...

Dear Anon, was she?

Jack the Hat said...

Had my fair share back then thanks to my sunny personality