Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Wrinklies of the World Unite

Ken Clarke the Nottinghamshire MP returned to the Shadow Cabinet this week. He is a Tory (boo) and sixty eight years of age (hooray). Which set me thinking more than usual concerning getting old. Now I'm one of those people who read the obituaries daily. if you don't see your name there you're ok, at least for the time being. And I've began to realise how many of us old 'uns are about. (The average age of motorhomers is sixty three; I wonder what is the average age of bloggers.)
Few of us retire gracefully. World leaders are a case in point. They seldom let go of the reins, at least not willingly. Old Fidel (82) limps on, courtesy of his brother. Kim Jong il, (68) of North Korea also limps on, possibly by virtue of cardboard cutouts, and dear old Gadaffi will be seventy in three years time. And as for Mugabe (85 next month) he's going to outlast us all, given the chance.
Though bits fall off or shrivel up daily it may be that you are only as old as you feel. The entertainment world is interesting where ageism is concerned. Des O'Connor (77) fathered a child a year or two back yet is a youngster compared to Charlie Chaplin when he had his last child. And look at the number of show business personalities who swap old for new. Rod Stewart (64), and Bruce Forsyth (80) are cases in points whilst Ronnie Woods, a mere sixty one year old, of Rolling Stones fame seemed literally out of his mind in the company of a new young twenty year old female 'friend' when pictured recently. Plus its cost John Cleese (seventy this year) a lot of money to continually 'trade in' but it doesn't seem to stop him. Do old men 'adopt' a younger women for the intellectual stimulus they offer, I wonder. Answers on the back of a stamp, please. (I was in a pub last year. An old, deaf chappie regaled everyone within ear-shot, unintentionally, with a tale as to how his viagra, obtained on prescription from the doctor, only 'half worked'. We were quite aggrieved when he left us with the story incomplete.)
We all get old but are often surprised that our heroes also age. What have James Fox, David Frost, Trevor McDonald, Melvyn Bragg and Clive James in common? They will all be seventy this year.
Some stars fade from constant view and we seldom notice even after years of exposure. Bernard Cribbens (80), (Richard Briers (75), George Cole (83) Lionel Jeffries (82), Jimmy Savile (82), Molly Sugden (86) and Alan Whicker (83) are cases in point. Others seem to have been there from time immemorial and seemingly go on for ever. Examples include Ken Dodd (81), Jean Alexander (82), Liz Smith (83), Peter Sallis (88 next month, now noticeably non too mobile in Last of the Summer Wine), William Roach (76), Annette Crosby (75 next month), Rolf Harris (78), Dennis Norden (87 next month) and Barry Humphries (75 next month)
Some people are old and look it. Joan Rivers (75) might be funny but I don't think I'd like to see her first thing in the morning. But some carry their age well. My wife thinks Sean Connery (78) is marvellous but she's never seen him without his hairpiece. (Ok, ok, so I'm jealous.) Leslie Philips (84) is still a sex symbol to some, for goodness sake. And who would have thought Michael Caine anywhere near seventy five. Come to think of it Sophie Loren (74) and Joan Collins (75) always look well, though I suspect you would have to see them as they got out of bed (please!).
We are reluctant to leave our youth. Thus Bamber Gascoine (74) is, in our eyes, forever comparing University Challenge. We still view Wendy Craig (74) and Susan Hampshire (71) as if in the bloom of youth and Cliff and the Shadows are forever young. (Elvis would be seventy three had he lived, perish the thought.)
Incidentally Vince Cable is the same age as Cliff (68). I personally think Mr Cable is far superior to the young inexperienced twerp who replaced him as leader of the Liberal Democrats. Whose name incidentally I can seldom remember.
I also think Alan Bennett (74) is wonderful, David Bellamy (75) fascinating, Terry Wogan (70) funny and Michael Parkinson (73) is no doubt talented.
This blog initially was not intended as praise for wrinklies, far from it. But the more I think about it the more I think they still have much to offer. The young should respect their elders for there is much they can learn. I listen to the elderly and I respect them. But remember, the trick is not to knock about with them too much, for occasionally they do go on a bit!


Clippy Mat said...

Those are some of my favourite people. I grew up with them. It's hard to think of them as old now, but I think for me they are forever young.
Nice post Ken.

Kitty said...

Blimey Ken ... seeing the ages of all those famous people has reminded me I'm not 21 anymore. (Denis Norden - is he really that old?!)

There is a lot to be said for the process of ageing - I'm much more laid back than I was 20 years ago, when Denis Norden was only 47 ;-)


fizzycat said...

Good people, somehow they seem more genuine.
I have decided to follow your blog. As a blogger you write very informative posts, which are fun to read.
I found your blog when tagged by
Mad Asthmatic a small time ago. Sadly I bring the news she passed away, I belive at the weekend. carma sent me the news via MA's blog. Emma and hers posts, will be missed.

Troy said...

Respect Ken!
I'm also very impressed with your research (or do you have an army of OAPs working for you on your blog?). I feel a lot younger at 53having read this posting. Thanks!

ADDY said...

I can't believe some of those ages, but then they were already famous when I was a slip of a girl.

Mean Mom said...

Rich, elderly, male showbiz personalities are always handsome. It's no surprise that they are never short of a young attractive partner.

Debbies-English-Treasures said...

Hi grumpy old Ken,
Thanks so much for your lovely coment!
I`m so glad that you like the look of my blog!
Although I have to give credit to my hubby... he taught himself how to design websites, mine included and he knows quite a bit about computer programing.
I told him about you, and he said that he will like to help you in anyway he can... if you ever need any computer advise or whatever...
By the way... Sadly I don`t own a caravan site, but funnily enough my husband is a caravan and motorhomes engineer for Stewart Longton`s caravans.
Site was short for website.
Need to change this on my profile, as you aren`t the only one who asked me this!

Debbie Moss

david mcmahon said...

The phrase ``forever young'' comes to mind.

And we have so much to learn from them, Ken ....

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi Ken,
There are some wonderful people on your list! I couldn't believe that Rod Stewart was that age already! and good old Mollie Sugden! There are so many classic talented British comedians and actors that I never get to see anymore... they are all frozen in my mind in the year 1999!
Loved the bit about the old man and the Viagra! I would have loved to have been listening in on that conversation! haha
All the best and rock on!

Marian Dean said...

Hi Ken
Yes back trying again, my grandson (Heck!) has been giving me nudges.
Still have been keeping up with your blogs, you were my first so you are special in my heart.Ahhhh!

J.J said...

I popped over here fresh from reading poisionous comments elsewhere on the web about Madonna who does not it seems have the decency to grow old gracefully now she has turned 50, so this is a breath of fresh air in comparision.

Don't know about about the comment that Rich, elderly, male showbiz personalities are always handsome though - although fair do's - I am still traumatised from seeing pictures of Paul Daniels (70) on the beach.

Grumpy Old Ken said...


We think everyone else gets old but not us!


Perhaps Denis is a cardboard cut out too!


Welcome. How sad your intro coincided with such sad news.


Books, dear boy, books. No wonder I get nothing else done.


Very true i'm sure!

Meam Mom

And I bet they're no happier than us.


Welcome. Thanks for the offer. Your husband might like to glance at blogs dated 7 dec, 15 Nov, 16 June.
I am eventually going to do two more blogs. One is a selection of short stories. Can you suggest a SIMPLE but effective template. remembering I'm technically useless.Just pointing me in the right direction would help.

Welcome. How on earth does a massive enterprise like yours come across my little blog! Hope you like it.


Do you ever go to amazon etc There are some very nostalgic tapes etc on there.
You might find interesting. Also


Thanks for the kind words. You will have me blushing.


hi, welcome. I always think everyone looks old except me! Havent seen the pictures of Paul daniels but i can guess. Young wife though!

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Hi Ken,
Thanks very much for those links to the websites! I didn't know about those and will now go and have a look!

Nota Bene said...

...fascinating read...Those are big numbers! But some of those people have been the same age for fifty years (Bruce Forsyth for example), and others will never be old, no matter what - Ronnie Woods, Rod Stewart, etc. And I'm convinced that your age is whatever your mind set is. Funily enough I was writing about middle age on my blog last week.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

The Brit
Hope the sites were interesting. A bit old for you, though, young man that you are!

Nota Bene
Very true, though the body falls to bits, bit by bit!

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