Tag Archives: Age

Youth Don’t Leave Me

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I may well have slipped onto the slide of middle-age and am currently flying past every marker Cliff-Richard_2225978bon route. This week’s marker was, at first glance, something only the young do: waiting for concert tickets to go on sale to ensure purchase. Then I realised I was over 40 and my chosen concert was to see an old heart-throb (yes I used that word) Mr Robbie Williams, who by the way has also passed the 40 mark. As a teen I humoured my mother and her love of Cliff Richard, thinking not so secretly that he was passed it and my mum slightly embarrassing in her love for him. I have become my mother. So has Robbie Williams become Cliff Richard? I imagine he thinks not. When weighing up the evidence I concluded that 25 – 30 years ago Sir Cliff was in his 40s, an ageing heart-throb who was and to some, still is, a superstar. Check – Robbie too. My Ma was over 40 and although never his number 1 fan did have a very soft spot for him. Check – I have loved Robbie since he first appeared in his underwear with his Take That buddies back in the early 90s. In conclusion, Middle Age.

RW poster_habI started calling the ticket line 2 minutes before the tickets went on sale. When I stopped calling 45 minutes later it was still engaged. Luckily, old I may be but clued up in the ways of t’internet I am also. The website not so much crashed as got stuck, sent me back instead of forward, made me register with them 3 times (3 different email addresses) but eventually I stumbled through the Hebrew and ascertained that I had indeed bought the 6 tickets I had intended to. Yes, I have a number of other ‘we’re not middle-aged, we’re too young’ girls (and one boy(straight!?)) coming with me. Ah, but did I buy 6 or have I inadvertently bought 12? Due to the incredibly annoying website I had to wait another 3 hours to get the email confirming my purchase and as it stands 24 hours later I am now the proud owner of 6 tickets.

This year has been quite a year for this old dear. I have been to see Justin Timberlake (what a professional) and Lady Gaga or is that GaGa. The latter concert we left early due to our inability to see the stage and therefore the distracting dancers that would have entertained where the music failed. Sorry Gaga fans, just not my thing, but it was free. I have also finally downloaded music onto an ipod that has been sat in its box since last April. I won’t embarrass myself by ‘fessing up to what is on my playlist. Oh. Dear. No.

I have mentioned previously that I am no muso. I leave that to my incredibly knowledgeable and infinitely cooler friends. Problem is, they too are getting on and so therefore they must also be dropping in the cool stakes. I can rule out riding on the coat tails of knowledge from teenage kids as mine are still one foot in nursery rhymes and the other in Gangham Style. The radio stations in Israel have 30 records and after 2 long car rides I have heard them all and no “(I’ll Never Be) Maria Magdalena” by Sandra (1985) does not count as cool, it never did.

I therefore must admit to myself that I am indeed middle-aged, my children will think me article-2512569-1999C82100000578-667_634x867ultimately uncool and Robbie, I still love you, grey, married, over 40 and with kids and damn it I will love you when you get your knighthood and we are both in our dotage. I hope that relative peace stays intact until May and the Israel haters don’t put you off. There are a lot of us not middle-aged-middle-aged fans waiting for you.

Last Night

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I have a new best friend, in my dreams.  In my dream he is rich and famous, enormously (suprisingly) talented.  He lives in New Orleans (surely that should be Memphis) and he wants to be my best friend.  In my dream he is Justin Timberlake.  Oh woe is me.  I have a teenage crush at 41.  Last night I joined an assorted crowd of JT fans in a park in Tel Aviv to see my new best friend in concert.  At the end of the concert I was shocked by the talent and professionalism.  I had enjoyed bobbing up and down to the music, I even raised my hands above my head at certain moments.  He can sing, play guitar, play piano, dance and lets face it he is easy on the eye.  He wasn’t however my new best friend.

Then I went home to sleep.

By 7am he was my best friend.  I was enjoying myself so much, hanging out in a cafe with him, introducing him to my family, being introduced to his friends that I asked my 3 year old to let me sleep a little more rather than admire the art work she had done for me and wanted to be stuck on the wall,  This surely is a mid life crisis.  I am already looking forward to going to sleep tonight so I can hang out with him again.

In very recent years the major acts are starting to add Tel Aviv to the concert circuit.  Slowly, slowly they are returning after the 2000 intifada and the fear of being accused of political/religious bias kept them away.  Now the instagrams of stars at the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock or floating in the Dead Sea are appearing on a weekly basis. Rihanna liked the Dead Sea so much she was still floating in it when she should have been on stage.

 

My first job in Israel back in 2005 was for a music promoter.  I was in charge of looking after the ‘stars’ from the moment they landed their private jets until we breathed a sigh of relief when they climbed back on.  It was still too soon for the really big names to come so unfortunately I didn’t meet the Madonnas and Elton Johns of the world.  My first band was Faithless who were actually very nice.  Their lead singer was a little demanding but by the time they left I was quite a fan.  The other bands were famous but I had to look them up before they arrived (I ain’t no music officinado).  Some were more demanding than others, ‘I want the tent dressing room to be swathed in white silk and filled with white lilies’ – the “star” in question was one of many acts at a festival, had a 3 song set and was in the ‘dressing room’ for precisely half an hour.  When she left I picked up the lilies which had been thrown on the floor and trodden on.

These backstage riders are actually negotiated before the arrival of the acts.  The promoter and the manager thrash out whether the stars will get French champagne cooled to a certain temperature or not.  In true Israeli fashion we agreed to everything and then provided a version of the requests.

My personal favourite moment was when Phil Collins arrived.  We had a police escort to the

hotel from the airport (why?) which was very exciting.  We weren’t allowed to address ‘Mr Collins’ directly and there were to be no tip offs to the press and no unauthorised photographs.  When the cavalcade arrived at the hotel the entrance was packed with the paparazzi (I was confidently assured that they had been tipped off to boost ticket sales).  The hotel manager came to greet Mr. Collins and the hotel photographer was summoned to take the official hand shake photo.  Collin’s manager was turning puce. The piece de resistance was the cake the hotel had prepared and presented to Mr Collins so he could cut it – again, why?  The cake was decorated with a life size sugar paper photocopy of Phil Collins’ face which he then proceed to stick a large knife into.  Classy.  Collin’s manager then demanded that the whole band, techies, entourage, et al be moved to another hotel.

So back to my bezzie mate.  I have tried to online stalk him just so I know where he stayed and I have wondered what was on his rider.  As I know him so well I think he would just ask for water – he’s no diva.  The one surprise is the fact that my crush is purely platonic.  That’s what age does to you.  I wasn’t the oldest at the concert I am happy to report but my friend’s 9 year old shattered my idea that I was doing something vaguely young and cool by asking,’who is Justin Timberlake?’.  Even Justin is too old for da kids.  Back to dreaming then.

 

Confessions

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Confessions

December 14th, 2013

“Would you like the same present for your birthday that I got you last year?”,

“what was it? pyjamas? yes I like new pyjamas”,

“no, sellotape*”

(*that’s scotch tape to my American friends)

And with that it all came rushing back, the trauma and turmoil of this time last year when I turned 40.  I actually thought that the set of coloured biros and coloured sellotape was a sweet, albeit interesting choice of present but as No. 1 son had obviously chosen them himself I was all the more appreciative.  It was a small highlight in an otherwise dark day.  I didn’t like turning 40.  Having started writing my mutterings on the run up to my new decade I had thought I had it well under control. Looking back I now see it was a huge rite of passage  and only now, as I turn 41 do I think I am really OK with being ‘old’.

This time last year I was stricken with  a throat infection and determined not to miss out on the surprise gathering my husband had planned for that evening (yes, sorry I did know) I stuffed myself full of every over-the-counter remedy possible, plus a healthy dose of my 2-year-old’s antibiotics.  Yes, that was a secret too, which one year on I am not ashamed (well only partially) to admit.  I figured that if antibiotics started working in 24 hours then 1 dose the night before and 1 the next morning should do the trick.  I hadn’t counted on the enormous amount of sugar in an adult size dose of children’s antibiotics.  My kidneys ached for days and I worried silently of the permanent damage.  That’s how desperate I was to celebrate my big 4-0, I know, I know, sad and shameful. I also drank a lot of water – I mean a lot for weeks afterwards.  Rather goes to show that with age does not come sense.

The good news is I made it out that evening and my drama training stood me well as I don’t think anyone suspected I knew what was in store (least of all my darling husband who was v proud of himself).  By that time, slightly high on medication and a couple of glasses of cava I had a lovely time.  Not so much the next day.  Then the hangover and realisation that I could no longer consider myself ‘young’ really kicked in.  Goodness knows how I’ll be at 50.

I spent yesterday thinking about the ‘must do’ list I created pre-40 and thought about what I had achieved in my 41st year.  I have finally taken up exercise and have surprised myself by enjoying it.  It has meant I have gained weight which I am reassured is muscle but I’m not so sure.  I have worn shoes with heels much more than I did.  I have tried to be less sensitive about other’s opinions (still trying) and I have gone from 1/4 time job plus full time parenting to 3 jobs and only partial full time parenting (hooray for kindergarten).

December 15th, 2013

So what about today I hear you ask, how is the birthday so far.  Well, I have had 2 cards and one happy birthday.  I am not sick, not stressed about my age – 41 somehow sounds younger than 40 – go figure. I have not taken any medication, mine or the children’s and I am 100% sure that no surprise gathering is being planned. I am in fact quite calm. No doubt I shall be receiving colourful sellotape, or some other comedy present from the childers this afternoon (it’s actually very useful), I am presuming cake and candles will make an appearance and I am happy to report that I am in a far better place on December 15th 2013 than I was on the same date in 2012.

Happy birthday to me.

Take My Advice

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19861986.  The year of the Chernobyl accident and the Challenger space shuttle disaster, Reagan was President of the US and Margaret Thatcher was the UK’s PM.  Scrunchies in the hair and acid wash jeans, hair sprayed flicks and very bad perms – on both sexes. Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, that was 1986.  I was 14, in High School in the North West of England.

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I stumbled upon a chat show recently which I had automatically dismissed because it is hosted by Amanda De Cadanet and is called ‘The Conversation’.  If that’s not enough to put you off then I don’t know what is.  When I flicked onto it one evening I was seduced by the calibre of her guests, all A-listers, and that alone was enough to keep me watching to find out why they were being interviewed by an ex ‘it girl’ – how little did I know of A.D-C’s A-list friendships.Conversation

I would be lying if I said I loved the show, some guests are way more interesting than others and sometimes the bare foot, crossed legged love-ins are nauseating but what I do love is the last question she asks her guests at the end of each episode, ‘ what would you tell your 14 year old self?’

It gets me every time.  What would I tell my 14 year old self? Grow out the perm, any snog at the school disco is not better than no snog at all.  You are not, nor ever will be cool (and that’s OK), so quit while you’re ahead. Hmm so much worldly 40 year old wisdom I could pass to that poor gawky 14 year old, not that she would listen because what self respecting 14 year old listens to anyone over 18?

I have seen 8 episodes of the show so have asked myself this question at least 8 times and I still don’t have an answer.  I’m loathed to admit that there might just be quite a lot of the 14 year old me still ruling inside my head.  I certainly haven’t come to any Zeitgeist of spirituality with a deeper understanding of ‘the self’ or the role of women as most of Amanda’s guests seem to have done.  Frankly when it came to Miley Cyrus expounding on the ways of the world and her advice to women I did dry heave a little.

In my opinion, Amanda’s guests have two things in common, success and confidence. So I’d like to tell my 14 year old self; you’re great, you’re smart, you’re beautiful. You’re cool, you’re funny, you’re talented.  You’re loved, you’re lucky, you’re healthy, you have choices.  Even if only half of these were true a little bit of self confidence goes a really long way.

So today’s question to you is, what would you tell your 14 year old self?

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A Tale of Two Bootcamps

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We are a house in recovery, I am recovering from my first sports injury, my husband is recovering from a gruelling week in the army and the children are re-adjusting to having daddy back home. I would say that I far prefer my bootcamp to hubby’s.

Mummy bootcamp.  So to the injury, not only is it my first injury it’s also from the first bit of sport I have done, in my life, ever.  Unless you count a small dalliance with popmobility (how 90s) at university, I have never been one for sports, exercise and perish the thought exercise classes.  PE lessons at school were dreaded and consisted of perishing on a Northern England all-weather pitch with a hockey stick – not sure why it was called all-weather because as I recall there was only one kind of weather; cold, rainy and sometimes snow.

Having struck 40 I thought it high time to bite the bullet and try to exercise my sagging limbs and even saggier stomach (carrying twins for 9 months has left me somewhat in credit on the stomach skin front).  So off I trotted (having toyed with the idea for 6 months) to bootcamp.  Twice a week. For an hour.  Every week.   To say I was petrified before lesson one is an understatement.  I did warn the instructor that I wasn’t concerned about being slow, I was more worried that they may have to take me home by ambulance.  Luckily 2 months in I have survived, so far, and dare I say I enjoy it.  Shock horror.  Have I missed a trick for the last 20 years?  Could I be an athlete disguised for the last 20 years as a lay-about?  Probably not, but I am not as crap at it as I had imagined and yes I really do actually like it.

Due to my inexperience in the world of exercise I quickly sustained my first injury due to my trainers, ill-suited to the rigours of bootcamp.  It came as quite a revelation to uninitiated me that there were different shoes for different types of running…hmmm.  Equipped with a new pair bought at great expense to the management from a store that filmed the backs of my feet running on a treadmill – yes really – I am quickly recovering and awaiting the arrival of muscles.

Daddy bootcamp.  Now this is the real deal.  Every year for a few days , weeks and sometimes a month the young men of Israel are summoned back to the army to train and serve as reservists.  I say young but it rather depends on what you call young, for some this holiday/ordeal/bootcamp goes on til age 45 and for some, beyond.  In my husband’s case it’s until age 45.  This past week his unit has been walking up and down hills carrying 40 kilos in the boiling heat, hiding in bushes, orienteering and generally practising for something  I would rather not think about.  Like his dearly beloved (that’s me), hubby is no sportsman.  He likes sport, if he can watch it on the TV and when I say sport I am talking every sport from rugby to basketball, darts and snooker to bull riding (yes really), but like yours truly he doesn’t take part, not recently anyway.  I should add (to keep him sweet) that he does work 6 days a week and is on his feet for 99% of the time so the opportunity (time) to play is limited.  Take this into account and you can see that army training for him is all the more gruelling.  No sleep for 3 days and hiking through the mountains must certainly put his non too active body through its paces.  He is not alone of course, most men in combat units do it to keep them battle-ready.  Sad really that it is necessary.

Now he is home and the kids and I are getting used to him being back.  He is full of thorns and blisters but seems chirpy enough, I do believe he quite enjoys it .  No doubt like me he is happy that he completes it without too much ill effect, possibly he is as surprised by his physical prowess as I am by my own (prowess is perhaps pushing it).  His next bootcamp is a few months off, mine continues as I endeavour to train my  lazy limbs.  Can’t wait to see what I’ll look like when, for the first time since I was around 15, I can say I am 100% physically fit.  Here’s hoping.

 

If you are based in or around Tel Aviv and fancy a go at bootcamp visit http://bootcampisrael.com/

Run with the dogs tonight

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By the time you reach the grand old age of 40, have children, a family car and some kind of pet you will probably also find yourself living in suburbia.

No, you initially won’t want to, you prefer the bright lights of the city or the simple living of the remote countryside but there’s a good chance that your work, the schools, the kid’s friends, your extended family are all there, in suburbia.

So kicking and screaming or just with a sigh of resignation that’s where you will find yourself.  You will actually quite like it.  It’s easy.  Everyone is like you, or at least in your time of life, in your situation, in suburbia.

The parks are handy, there’s a local leisure centre to start the kids on their way to Olympic success, the after school activities and neighbours willing to take in your kids and keep an eye out for them makes you feel safe.

In suburbia there are teenagers, toddlers and tweens, lots of babies, a few old folk and some young marrieds, if you are single you are probably divorced or in the process, anyway you have kids so silly to move back to a city. Better to be in suburbia.

If you’re lucky during a holiday you may spot some 20 somethings but they make you feel old.  When they aren’t around you can pretend you are still young, fashionable, slim, not living in suburbia.

You may occasionally venture into the city but usually during the day, rarely at night when you will have to be back by midnight, driving. When you do go to the city at night you are shocked by the diverse mix of humanity that you haven’t seen for so long now you live in suburbia.

But it’s quite good to be home at midnight, sober.  You don’t need to look for an hour for parking, no-one’s been sick on your doorstep, there is quiet, a distant cry of a baby, perhaps a toot of an owl.  Your family is safely tucked up in bed and you will realise that at this point in life you don’t really mind living there, in suburbia.

Don’t leave me this way

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A new discovery about parenting raised its ugly head recently that I hadn’t yet considered.  My childers are still of nursery age, in Israel they are 6 before they start school.  I pick them up and they are with me for the afternoon from 4pm onwards, but what happens when they start school?  In Israel school is a morning thing, something us Brits can’t get our heads around.  School finishes in general around 12.30, so what happens afterwards, where do all the children go?  Here’s my horrifying new discovery, after age 8 or 9 (3rd Grade) they go home, ALONE.  OK not all of them (Grandparents, stay at home parents, working from home parents aside), but in general it is perfectly normal and acceptable for 8 and 9 year old children to take themselves home from school on foot or by school bus and spend the afternoon alone or with siblings until a parent arrives.

Like most modern countries, the majority of families have 2 parent’s working, if you are a single parent then of course you also work, so in essence that means you always need someone to take care of your children after school finishes at lunchtime until you can get home from work at 5pm, 6pm or shudder 7pm and later.  For pre-school, Grades 1 and 2 that means after school clubs which are privately run and are costly (especially if you have more than 1 child), or a babysitter.  Once they reach the 3rd grade  after school club is no longer available and a large majority of children here take themselves home, feed themselves their lunchtime meal (crisps and chocolate?) and entertain themselves.

This is no criticism on the parenting here, children and family life here is treasured and Israel in the main is a very safe environment for children (security issues aside).  It is a very child friendly nation, one of the reasons I like it here. There are very few cases of abduction and pedophilia in comparison to the States, the UK or Canada for example. It is out of necessity rather than choice that kids are left alone at what I would consider a very young age and I presume it is so commonplace that it doesn’t seem an issue.  However I can’t help thinking about accidents, about burglary, about bullying and quite frankly right now the idea of leaving my kids alone (when the twins reach 3rd grade their brother will be 11) quite simply horrifies me.  Perhaps I will think differently when they get to that age.

When I made my discovery I started asking around, both Israeli and British parents, what their take on the situation was, maybe I am just over-protective. In the main the Israelis think its normal, some have grandparents who call in, generally there is an older sibling, these are the days of mobile phones and they can constantly track where their little ones are.  The Brits, like me are appalled, especially those whose children haven’t reached this age yet.  The Brits were convinced that in the UK leaving a 9-year-old alone is in fact against the law.  Not so.  A quick bit of research reveals that there is no age specified by law in the UK when you can leave your child alone, however, ‘it is an offence to leave a child alone when doing so puts him or her at risk.’  Hmmm, what’s risk ? A bit more googling revealed that in Australia, Canada and most States in America also don’t have a minimum age, New Zealand however, says at 14 a child can legally be left alone or in charge of younger children, which rather puts into question my safe environment in Israel theory – surely New Zealand is uber safe?  I did discover one source that said children under the age of 6 cannot be left alone in Israel.  I’m not certain how reliable the source is but even so,  SIX?  Oh my good lord.nintendo ds

Let’s put safety to one side for a moment, I am sure many will argue that it is perfectly acceptable.  My next question-to-self was, what do they do?  Homework?  How many 9 year olds will do their homework without coercion?  (and by the way they have a lot of homework apparently, probably due to the fact they are only taught for half a day ie 3.5 – 4 hours a day).  I would hazard a guess and say computers and TVs play a large role, but I am no expert, my childers are still too small.  I know what I would do.  Also, if they are home totally alone with no siblings, don’t they get lonely?

When I was 9 school finished at 3.10pm.  I lived opposite my primary school and as my Mum worked shifts as a nurse, some days she picked me up.  On the days she worked in the afternoon my Grandma would be in charge and I would take myself back to her house (15 minutes walk away) or she would be at my house cooking up a storm (her culinary expertise was legendary – once she cooked custard in a pan she had cooked carrots in, forgetting to wash in between.  What are these orange things in the custard Grandma?).  I am 99.9% certain that I wasn’t left to fend for myself until I was in High School (aged 11) and my older brother was then in charge (age 13).  I should add that my younger sister (then 6) went to a child minder, we didn’t take responsibility for her until she was at least 9.

I think my horror and surprise was due to a few factors; yes safety, yes the question of amusing themselves, getting themselves home safely etc but also it’s just so strange that in a country where kids rule and family is sacred there is this illogical lack of support for working parents once school is out – why oh why do the schools finish so early? Especially because school is 6 days a week here.  Yes you heard right, kids go to school on the weekend so the parents get a morning to themselves.

If  we are still in Israel when our eldest gets to 3rd grade I don’t know what we’ll do.  Who knows what our situation will be then.  Right now I just feel sad for all the kids home alone every day (although they probably love it) and for the parents who must worry non stop, or maybe I am just being too damned soft…  What do you think?

Homeward Bound

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Youth is a state of mind.  I know you know that but it’s taken me a while to see it.  It doesn’t matter how you look (although it helps), it doesn’t matter if you are married, single, divorced, have kids, not have kids.  Its all in your head, or maybe just mine.

You may not want to be 16 or 26 again but wouldn’t it be nice to have that feeling of youth?  That ‘I want to dance and even if I look stupid it doesn’t matter’ feeling.  Maybe you have it.  I categorically don’t.  Recently I was at a gig – I even feel old saying that word.  It was a small affair in a small venue and the age group was predominantly under 30.  I spotted a number of ‘I am young and I don’t care’ outfits; the patchwork flowery waistcoat (on a male) gave it away, the smell coming from some energetic dancers was also a telling sign, the fact that they were dancing at all was evidence enough;  I shuffle, if I’m pushed (literally) or sense I look more conspicuous if I keep still.

I am trying to pinpoint the time when I lost the ability to  throw shapes on a dance floor just for the madonnasheer enjoyment of it.  Once in an outdoor nightclub in Turkey I remember dancing to Beyonce with a feeling of utter joy – I was certainly crazy right then – I didn’t give a hoot who saw me or how terrible my dancing was.  I was young, I was on holiday and I simply didn’t care.  I wonder if that’s how Madonna feels all the time.  What other reason could she have for flashing her bits on stage or wearing high cut leotards at 54?  oh yes she’s Madonna.

The question therefore has to be how do I get it back – not that I am planning on wearing a leotard any time soon.  I know people older than me who act and feel young.  I know younger people than me who act and feel old.   Perhaps the responsibility that comes with age is the reason and waistcoat wearing stinky dancers at gigs just haven’t got to the stage of  responsibility yet.  

ozricI will soon be away from my usual responsibilities of life, alone in my old home town with old friends.  Will I catch a glimpse of the young me and be able to harness it and bring it back to real life? We’ll see.  Lets hope I don’t stop washing and buy some suspect Ozric Tentacles waistcoat in Camden Market whilst I am away in a flush of re(un)discovered youth.

This will be the first time in 5 years I have been back and I am getting nervous – can you tell?  I’m not sure why, apart from the obvious fear of not knowing my way around the tube or getting lost in Soho.  Possibly the real fear is that everything will have changed and I am subconsciously expecting it all to feel the same.  The UK is not the country it was 8 years ago when I left, nor is London the same city I knew and loved.  However some of the people I love are there and changed or not I can’t wait to see them.  I may feel older but I am also wiser and some reminiscing over a glass of wine (no pints of Stella for me these days) could well be just the ticket to rediscovering the feeling of youth.  London here I come.

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Here’s Looking at You, Ma

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mateus-roseLast week I saw some long lost photos of my family circa 1978. We are not a photo family; my parents’ house has only started resembling a family art gallery since the arrival of the grandchildren; when we were growing up the walls, sideboards, and mantelpiece were photo free. As a result these photos were long consigned to a box in the loft and only get an airing every decade or so.

One of the photos is a picture of my parents with my brother and myself at around the same age as my kids are now (my sister came much later), so of course I made the obvious leap to compare my life with theirs. The parentals look good; young, fresh faced. The fashions are atrocious and yet somehow current (apart from my brother’s patterned shirt and tie combo) but what drew me to the photo was the image of my Mum;  the woman she was in the picture, not that much younger than I am now. I don’t remember the woman in the photo I was too young, I remember her as she was a few years later, she looked very different – with the 80s came the perm – and she was older and had another child and life had moved on.

I’d like to have known my Mum as she was then, stocking up on superfluous orange and lime tupperware_1green storage containers at the Tupperware party, checking out the neighbour’s house as a member of the babysitting circle, having a chinwag over a glass of Mateus Rose. I wonder if we would have liked each other? I’d love to hear what she said about her 2 small children and to hear her gossip about her husband – actually maybe not the last bit. Like all grandmothers she now says we were model children; we ate what was put in front of us, we slept through the night from 6 months etc etc She professes to not remember us giving her any trouble at all. The memory can do amazing things over time right?! More likely we were also snotty nosed, non-sleeping, fussy, noisy, fear inducing toddlers; most toddlers are, albeit to different degrees.

My children at 40 won’t remember me exactly as I am now, possibly a good thing – sleep deprived and battle weary. They will remember the Mum of their teenage years and the old Mum they will know as adults. 
It would be wise not to forget the people we were when we were young and u-hum carefree, (although I am not sure I was ever carefree, it’s just not in my nature), whether you have children or not. Youth is indeed wasted on the young and as Mr Robbie Williams quite rightly pointed out ‘before you know it, it’s been and gone too soon’.
So in lieu of finding the car from Back to the Future and meeting my Ma from the photo, on today’s to do is to up the Skype activity with the parentals, book a trip back to the UK and recapture some of the pre-children Katie for my childers to meet, I think they might like her.

In Search of a Good Pub Story.

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Prologue.
My first full-time job after university was as a runner in London.  Back in the mid-90s the film business in the UK was experiencing a renaissance, successes like Shallow Grave, The Madness of King George, Four Weddings and Trainspotting meant that anything out of the UK was hot and Soho in London was the hub of all that was film and TV.  As a keen, naive runner lugging film canisters and Beta Max tapes from one editing facility to another I was very much on the outskirts of all that was cool – not much chance of me hanging out with Hugh Grant or Ewan McGregor but still it felt pretty good to be where it was ‘at’ for the first and only time in my life (to date).

ThisLifecastThese were the days of the groundbreaking BBC series, This Life, about a group of 20 something lawyers living together in South London.  My friends and I loved that show and I think, thought to a degree we were living it, not that we had the money of trainee lawyers, but that we were in London, house sharing, working, experiencing stuff every day that as newly graduated first jobbers we were just not used to (no matter how hard some tried to convince otherwise).  Age 22 in the big city with no authority – no wonder they made a show about it.

One night I went to a party in the basement of some club at the end of Carnaby Street, I was wearing borrowed pvc spray on trousers (eeugh on all accounts), a sheer sparkly mint green shirt and some unsuitable shoes.  The shoes were unsuitable not because they were too high or too small but because they were the only other pair of shoes I owned outside of my ‘work’ shoes (trainers).   I reckon I thought that the trousers would distract any prospective shoe viewers, I do have long legs.  The only recollection of the party I have is that it was dull, full of people I didn’t know including the ‘friend’ I went there with and way too cool for me, but those were the days when I was so eager to experience everything London had to offer I would have gone to just about anywhere I was invited to, if it were free.

Gratis, I attended screenings of art house unknown films, gigs and comedy shows, Red Lionfootball games, museum exhibits I also spent an inordinate time in the pub – The Old Coffee House in Beak Street and later the Red Lion in Great Windmill Street.  I was determined to squish as much as I could into my life which is pretty hard on less than a hundred quid a month.  The truth is that the other 98.5% of my life was spent at home watching my portable TV wrapped in a duvet to conserve fuel costs.  Fond memories of searching coat pockets for loose change to buy a pint of milk/bag of crisps/ 10 Silk Cut or a bottle of Kwik Save’s wine of the week come flooding back.

The benefit of working in TV and film post production was that a) I wandered around the West End all day in all weathers so would easily pass The Knowledge (the London black cab drivers exam) for that part of London b) My wanderings resulted in many celeb sightings which was pretty incredible for a small town girl like myself c) I felt a part of what was happening, albeit as an inside outsider.  The downside of all this was a) I was paid 100 quid more than the cost of my rent and monthly tube pass b) I was a skivvy to every jumped up musician, director, voice over, actor that set foot in the editing house I worked in and c) I was panicking that my degree was actually a waste of time – who needs a degree to hang around outside an edit suite whilst those inside got drunk, stoned, high and fail to produce the tape I was waiting for.  Remember these were the days of very few mobile phones; internet, email etc were not part of everyday life, Britain had yet to go digital (I was carrying Beta Max tapes for god’s sake) so walking the streets meant you actually looked around you and you couldn’t bitch or brag to your mates at a minute by minute rate.  Makes you pause for thought right?

1997 saw the Vanity Fair Cool Britannia  issue which made everything in Britain suddenly cool britannia - Geriofficially cool – even the Spice Girls and Tony Blair (not so much now).  The magazine was published in March 1997, I left London mid April to travel the world and re-think my career.  When I returned 18 months later I caught the scrap ends of the zeitgeist but the time was over.  Many of my friends had moved on or away and taking the first crappy job that came along as long as it was vaguely related to your career of choice was no longer enough.

The friends I made then are some of the most incredible people I know and in many ways it was an amazing time; the music, the buzz, the feeling of starting out. You can’t replace that. It was also exhausting, mentally demoralising and highly emotional for the group of friends I was part of. We all cared too much about what others thought of us and were trying too hard to look like we didn’t care, after all this was the age of Liam Gallagher. If I’d stayed any longer I could well have imploded, or become an escort to raise the rent money.  Shudder.

Still it all made for a good pub story and at the end of the day that’s all any of us were really after.