The Skids Under The State (Pension) : why the CSJ Report needs to be binned (but not recycled).

The Skids Under The State (Pension) : why the CSJ Report needs to be binned (but not recycled).

Topicality
It was in August 2019 that the UK’s Centre for Social Justice produced its study Ageing Confidently : supporting an ageing workforce. The innocuous title gave no hint of the foolishness within. But the CSJ conclusions nevertheless attracted loud applause across media and one can be confident that, throughout the emphatically un-roaring Twenties with which we are all to be engaged, more reports of this colour and purpose will arrive. The effect will be to pin under continuous fire all those lobbying for generous benefits for the grey in our midst. The CSJ recommendation that the state pension threshold should rise to 75 within ca 15 years may sound outrageous to those lobbies now; very soon it will be banalised as it echoes round think tank town and policy wonkerville…
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How to grow old badly : a non-beginner’s guide (or The Tale of Dr. Fernoux).

How to grow old badly : a non-beginner’s guide (or The Tale of Dr. Fernoux).

Philosophy
Some decades ago, the UK Government issued a special 50p coin in celebration of the national membership of the European Community. On the tails-side the imprint was of hands joined in a circle, symbolising continental togetherness. You could buy a gift edition with the coin mounted, as I recall, on a velvet bed in a wee red box. The object might seem very superannuated if viewed now. Back in that day, I gave the gift version to a French friend of mine. As he was privately wealthy, I had been worried that he would take it as a trinket. However, a long time after I had, officially and forever, left that town in Burgundy, I called at his home one day, dangerously unannounced. His wife showed me into his study…
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Prospero’s Punchline : or the necessary rise of silver-speak in pursuit of perfectible ageing

Prospero’s Punchline : or the necessary rise of silver-speak in pursuit of perfectible ageing

Topicality
  Imagine this. If you are aged between 55 and 65 there is a reasonably strong chance that one of the major cancers is coming your way. Perhaps, after having done quite well in life, you have already retired away from that old daily grind which used to devour so much of your focus and energy. Gardening is your greatest pleasure these days along with mindless novels about the grizzled but brilliant Norwegian detective, the one with a drink problem and a teenage daughter who still blames him for her mother’s suicide. Suddenly one day, you get a letter summonsing you to the hospital. Soon you are sitting in a consulting room so functional that it would have been a disgrace even in Soviet Russia, as the tired and emotionless…
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Extra Time : 10 Lessons for An Ageing World / Camilla Cavendish

Extra Time : 10 Lessons for An Ageing World / Camilla Cavendish

Scholarship
The parade of celebrity dust-cover reviewers clearly saw something in Extra Time which I missed. For by page 132 the book was being slammed shut while cool was recovered. The author had been meeting one Professor Leonard P. Guarente of MIT. And then the poor reader gets this: “Does he look 64? It’s hard to tell. Balding, but spry (sic), in a check shirt and faded jeans, kind eyes twinkling owlishly (sic) behind rimless spectacles, he could be younger or older (sic)”. Nobody should be asked to pay for journalese so inert and so pointless. Extra Time is jammed with the kind of observational banality so popular in American non-fiction that it should be the object of serious import restrictions. Even more tellingly, the book does not really have a…
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Those Grey Track-Suit Bottoms : time to whip them off  –   and get the over-65s committed to sport.

Those Grey Track-Suit Bottoms : time to whip them off – and get the over-65s committed to sport.

Topicality
  Let’s get down on it. If the UK has a sport-and-exercise problem, then it is a problem not so much of youthful indolence but of ageing unsuccessfully in these, our not-modern-enough times. Sport England tells us that formal inactivity - we are talking here about those NOT doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity sport per week - defines much of the Third Age. Some 30% of those in the bracket 65-74 are inactive; some 48% in the 75-84 group; and 71% among the over-85. As Dr. Sharon Moalem says in his book The DNA Restart: “If you stop moving intensely (sic), what you’re telling your body is that it’s time to stop being a burden on others – it’s time to die”. Whatever this older generation needs, it is…
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A lot of knowledge is a dangerous thing : or how wisdom can age…

A lot of knowledge is a dangerous thing : or how wisdom can age…

Scholarship
Heavens above! One just does not know where to start. This is a book so badly conceived, written and edited that it should never have made it out of pulp. All the distinguished persons whose applause rings through the promotional blurb - some favourably name-checked in the text - should consider their position as celebrities and opinion-leaders. On the Future rises not very far above vanity-publishing. All copies should be bundled and shot back to the Big Bang. Proof? Shame on the people at PUP for letting pass into hardback a work with so many disembodied sentences, devoid of self-awareness, as dull as dark matter. Here is a sample (drawn from the dozens available) - coming not from someone passing through a writing-course novitiate but a Cambridge don and the…
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The Binning of Granny’s Dressing Gown :  an evolution of feminism, sexism and catwalk-attire for all ages

The Binning of Granny’s Dressing Gown : an evolution of feminism, sexism and catwalk-attire for all ages

Topicality
When does an incident become a trend? At what point do a couple of pebbles rolling down the mountain start an avalanche? How do we know when the atmospherics of the day suddenly suit seismic shifts? When the two pebbles plop purposelessly into the pond below just so often  -   are we right to conclude that they signal nothing save a barely troubled equilibrium? Or, when and how do today’s news headlines really matter to the forecaster? This is a story here about the shifting dimensions of ageing. We toss out the following pebbly-titbits: In late 2018, the US lingerie chain Victoria’s Secret is subjected to a bruising assault by an alternative and self-consciously feminist underwear brand called ThirdLove. Other commentators join the virtual demo. The core complaint is that…
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