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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Re-Assigning the Kilo : or kneading the malleable science of life measurement

Philosophy
The Victor Is Mature In 2018, a Dutch man aged (?) 69 invites a court of law to affirm his right to re-assign himself as (?) 49. His application is made on the basis that his life-chances (in business and in love) are depleted by the official information that he is 69 when/since he actually feels in himself that - such are his health, wellbeing and confidence - he is much less than that. So, his wannabe writ would run, he should have the right to declare himself to be 20 years younger than his birth certificate would indicate - just as a man of whatever lifestage might wish to re-identify as a woman. If gender is a fluid scale then why not age? I am healthy, virile, competent and…
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Take the silver from the surf : why older citizens should travel less.

Topicality
OK. You and your delightful spouse are each 70 years of age. Of an evening, you love to pull out your respective bucket-lists (travel section) and discuss which foreign adventure should come next. Among many other outings over the recent years, you have already been once to Machu Picchu; twice to Iceland; five times to NYC; eighteen times (sic) to Paris. You have seen the Alhambra, the Mona Lisa, Petra, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Monaco Grand Prix. You tried the Oktoberfest at the age of 65 but had to acknowledge that you could not keep pace with the younger drinkers. Today, you have a notion to give Kenya a try as your next destination and plan to buy the latest guidebook in Stanfords for a gander. In the…
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