Thursday, 31 October 2013

Britain, no country for old men, is also no country for obese old women


British women are dying earlier than some of their counterparts in other European countries including Portugal, Greece and SloveniaAn article in the 'Daily Mail' today was entitled :
Britain ranks just 21st in the women's expectancy table

It was based on a report for the World Health Organisation compiled by academics from University College London, which, for the first time, provided a detailed comparison between the overall health levels in more than 50 countries in Europe and shows that Britain ranks 21st out of 53 for female life expectancy rates – just behind Greece, Slovenia and Portugal. This means women in Britain enjoy less old age than their counterparts in Europe.

The statistics show that, British women :

* have an average life expectancy of 83 years which is two years shorter than women in France, Spain and Italy – as well as a year shorter than the average in Cyprus, Malta or Andorra.

* have, by way of explanation, obesity levels which are the worst in Europe, with 23% of them considered 'too fat', double the European average.


* compare badly to British men, who although they have an average life expectancy of 78, are placed 11th in the table.

Professor Michael Marmot, from University College London who chaired the study believes the country’s failure to tackle rising obesity levels is partly to blame for the disappointing figures and said :
"For obesity, particularly female obesity, we are absolutely dreadful. It’s dramatic and appalling that we have such high levels of obesity. We really are storing up big problems there. We are doing very badly. Why we eat so unhealthily is a much more broader and complex question. We think there are things we can do to change that but we’ve not done very much so far."


life expectancy
My earlier post on obesity in old men :

Saturday, 18 February 2012



Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to two old actors, Robert Hardy and Michael Jayston and one old rock guitarist, Peter Green

Robert is 88, Michael 78 and Peter is 67 today.

A personal thanks from me to :

* Robert, who I saw on black and white tv in the BBC series, 'The Age of Kings'  as King Henry V in 1960, when I was 13 and he was 35 :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r2bcfFzC88

* Peter, who I heard with Fleetwood Mac playing 'Man of the World' on a 45rpm vinyl record in 1969, when I was 22 and he was 23.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_dg6TRNxg4

* Michael, who I saw at the cinema in 'Nicholas and Alexandra' as Tsar Nicholas II in 1971, when he was 36 and I was 24 :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW3dVvPgQ-c

* Robert once again, who I saw on tv in 'Winston Churchill : The Wilderness Years' as Churchill in 1981, when he was 56 and I was 34 :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAphLIIJr4c




Monday, 28 October 2013

Britain in the winter of 2013-14, still a country full of cold, old men

In Britain, with winter approaching, four of the 'Big Six' energy companies have raised their prices of gas and electricity by about 10%, before the surge in demand, with the average combined bill now standing at £1,267 per year. Executives from the firms, which have been accused of acting as a cartel, will appear before Members of Parliament tomorrow to defend the sharp rises. Apparently, these companies operate with small profit and if Angela Knight, Chief Executive of 'Energy UK', is to be believed : “The profits here are, what, four to five per cent, four or five pence in the pound. That isn’t particularly big” and the companies were also making large investments in Britain and therefore had to have an “operating margin”.

Against this background the charity, 'Age UK' has :

* in a survey, found that 28% of pensioners said that their 'main concern' was keeping warm in the coming cold months and on that basis 3,000,000 old men and women fear they will not be able to do this in their own homes this winter.

* highlighted the fact that 36%  of old men and women aged 60 stay or live in just one heated room of their home to save money and 30% say they avoid heating rooms like the bedroom, bathroom or living room because they are worried about the cost.

* warned that cold weather and poorly heated homes increased the risk not only of influenza but also of heart attack and stroke and there are about 24,000 excess deaths, mostly of old people in a typical British winter, many of them preventable.

* said though its Director, Caroline Abrahams, that : “It’s vital for older people to keep warm, both inside and outside their homes in the winter months. Being cold, even for just a short amount of time, can be very dangerous, as it increases the risk of associated health problems and preventable deaths during the winter.”

* stressed that one of the main causes of cold homes for old people in Britain is poor insulation, with some of the worst levels of home energy efficiency in Europe.

I find that I have focussed, over the last three winters, on the fact that Britain is and continues to be a country with a shameful abundance of cold old men and women  :

In January 2013 :
Britain is a country where fewer old men than usual will die from the cold this winter because of a charity called Age UK and 'Spread the Warmth'
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/britain-is-rich-country-and-one-where.html

February 2012 :
Britain is no country for the cold, old men who will die this week
 November 2011 :

Britain, no country for poor old men who can't afford to heat their homes in what might be their last winter... fear not !

http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/britain-no-country-for-poor-old-men-who_17.html

December 2010 :

Britain in a harsh winter is no place for old men

http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/britain-in-harsh-winter-is-no-place-for.html

December 2010 :

Britain in the grip of severe winter weather is not just no country for old men but for anyone

http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/britain-in-grip-of-severe-winter.html

February 2010 :

Britain this winter has been no place for old men but one with plenty of advice from the Government

http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/britain-this-winter-has-been-no-place.html


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Britain is no country for those lonely old men who once enjoyed companionship in an English day care centre

Should Government Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, be accused of hypocrisy for saying that British people don’t care enough for their lonely old men and women ? 


Richard Furze, Chief Executive of the charity 'Friends Of The Elderly', clearly thinks he is when he says : "Policy rhetoric about preventative services without funding is surely hypocritical. The Government should not be too quick to tell others what more they should do when they are cutting funding for services such as community transport and day centres that are a lifeline to so many older people." 

 Is he right ?

The facts are that :

* day care centre figures from the 'NHS Information Service' show that in 2010 there were 88,498 old people using centres in England, which fell to 68,160 by 2012 and 55,655 by 2013. 

*  In some regions such as the West Midlands, the numbers plummeted by 52% per cent while the drop was 46% cent in London.

'Yes', he is right, despite the fact that a Department of Health spokesman weighed in to support his Secretary with : "Day centres can provide a valuable service but the wider problem of loneliness needs to be tackled by a change in attitude by society. There is no substitute for each and every lonely person having someone to visit them."


This wouldn't cut much ice with old men in Derby where the BBC reported :
The last remaining day care centre for the elderly in Derby could close because of spending cuts.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-24036210

 
 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to a retired and resilient old movie actor called Bob Hoskins

Bob, who brought his tough presence to his films, had a tough London upbringing, received only limited education and he left school at the age of 15, but with a passion for language and literature instilled by his English teacher, is 71 years old today.

What you possible didn't know about Bob, that he :

* was born outside London in 1942 in the thiird year of the Second World War in Bury St Edmunds, Suffok, the son of  Elsie, a cook and Robert, a clerk and communist sympathiser and then from two weeks of age was brought up in Finsbury Park, London.
 
* reminded me of my own youth in Deptford, London, when he said : "Our flat was tiny. I had a put-you-up in the front room. We had a bath in the kitchen. The point is you didn't really know anything else; that's how life was. I looked around and all my mates were the same. It was a very skint area."

* after leaving school at the age of 15, was a market porter in Covent Garden (left) and, as he said at the age of 25 in 1967, "trained to be an accountant and thought this is not for me, so I bummed around. I worked on a kibbutz in Israel and travelled the world".

* said of his youth : "There was a lot of crime, of course, in the Forties and Fifties - robberies, old people getting mugged. There were gangs around Finsbury Park (right) and Haringey. They had knives and coshes and sticks. It was quite violent and it didn't take a lot to get into a fight. You just had to look the wrong way. We were all thugs. If I wasn't an actor I'd probably have been a serial killer or a burglar - something like that".

* started acting 'by chance' in the late 1960s in his mid-twenties, when a friend, an aspiring actor,  took him along to an audition after which as he was given the lead and said : "The first night an agent came to see it and he said, "Look, you've got to take this up professionally." So I said, "Get us a job and I will." "

* said : "I became a professional actor overnight and then I thought, I've got to learn to do this, because people are paying to see me. So I read the experts. I read Stanislavski and that seemed obvious; I read Lee Strasberg and that seemed like looking busy to impress everyone. And I found out that men are completely emotionally crippled - we can't express ourselves - so I started watching women. I became an actor by becoming a stalker."

* had his first major tv role was in 'On the Move' at the age of 34 in 1976, an educational series intended to tackle adult illiteracy, in which he played Alf, a removal man who had problems reading and writing.

* in the same year, came to wider attention in the original BBC version of Dennis Potter's drama Pennies from Heaven as philandering 1930s sheet music salesman, Arthur Parker, who escapes from his dull life by fantasizing elaborately choreographed musical numbers in which he and the other characters lip-sync to original recording of popular 1930s music.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcCIVcmqFs8


* played a convincing and menacing London gangster in 'The Long Good Friday' in 1980 and delivered a wordless screen masterpiece when he is picked up and taken to his execution by a IRA gunman, played by Pierce Brosnan in his first screen role.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVVrZJaN1IU

* in 'Mona Lisa' in 1986, won the wider approval of the critics and a 'Cannes Award', 'Best Actor Golden Globe' and 'BAFTA Award' and an 'Academy Award' nomination for Best Actor.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdEOkAZlV3M

* in 1988 played Eddie Valiant, who investigates a murder involving the famous cartoon character, 'Roger Rabbit'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAnNvnViJpo
* in August 2012, announced his retirement from acting due to his ongoing battle with Parkinson's disease.

* kept his cockney wit and self-deprecating humour and once said : "I'm just a short fat bald guy who got lucky. Where's the glamour?"

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Britain, already no place for old men is also no place for children

Dame Sally Davies, England's Chief Medical Officer has produced a damning report, 'Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays', in which she has said that the country should be 'profoundly ashamed' that child mortality rates in some of the poorest parts of the country were three times higher than rich regions. She makes the following points, that :

* death rates for kids under 17, run at 21.1 deaths per 100,000 in the deprived North-West and poorer London boroughs compared to 7.9 deaths per 100,000 in rich areas.

* the growing problem of vitamin deficiency was illustrated by the return of rickets, with about 800 cases a year, a childhood disease which affects bone development and causes bowed legs and is caused by a vitamin deficiency because children are eating less fish and eggs than in the past, widespread use of sunscreen and the fact that children are spending more time indoors.

* the mortality rate for to 0 to 14-year-olds is among the worst in Europe with five more children dying every day than in the best-performing country, Sweden.

* the fact that 12.5% of toddlers are obese, as are 17% of boys and 16% of girls aged up to 15, raises the prospect that the ‘long-term consequences are massive’.

Rickets, a scourge of Victorian Britain (right) was virtually eradicated after the Second World War mainly because, during and after the War, baby boomers like me were were given food supplements such as cod liver oil, a practice which stopped in the 1950s.


I could well have been in this queue of primary school kids lining up for their weekly dose of a nasty spoon of cod liver oil followed by a nice spoon of sweet, malt extract.

Dame Sally has asked the National Institute for Health and Care to examine whether or not it would be 'cost-effective' for the Government to pay for all children to receive daily drops of tablets containing vitamins A,C and D.

She concluded her report with :
' We cannot waste the lives of children, we need to ensure we have a healthy population able to ensure our continued economic viability; we need to make sure our children start school ready and able to learn, and leave school fit for work. Such strong evidence should never be ignored: rarely in health are there such opportunities to improve lives as well as show economic benefit – surely addressing this means acting not just because our hearts tell us to do so, but because, with increasingly clear evidence, our heads should also encourage us. '

So Sweden, already the best country in Europe for old men is also the best place in Europe for healthy children.

 

My earlier post :

Britain is no country for old men 'confirmed' by the United Nations Global Age Watch

Monday, 14 October 2013 http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/britain-is-no-country-for-old-men.html

Monday, 21 October 2013

Britain is no country for lonely old men looking for a champion in a Government Health Secretary called Jeremy Hunt

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will warn a million elderly are left forgotten and isolated because friends and relatives fail to visit themJeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health is certainly not a man 'of' the people for he was :

* born in the elder son of Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt, a Commander in the Royal Navy working inside the Ministry of Defence.

* was educated at Charterhouse School, a fee-paying boys' public school where the fees today for 'day' boys stand at £27,210 per year and where he was Head Boy.

* attended Magdalen College, Oxford University where he became involved in conservative politics and where our Prime Minister, who had attended the fee-paying boys' public school, Eton College and our Mayor of London who had also attended Eton, were his contemporaries.

The question is : " Is Jeremy Hunt a man for the people and in particular, old people ?"
 If the speech he made last week is anything to go by, warning that a million lonely old men and women are left forgotten and isolated because friends and relatives fail to visit them, then the answer is : "Yes ! "

Jeremy :

* Cited the example of Asian nations, where there was respect for old men and women and families took responsibility for grandparents and did not leave caring to the state.

* also cited that  according to the 'Campaign to End Loneliness', there are 800,000 people in England alone who are 'chronically' lonely.

* said : "In those countries, when living alone is no longer possible, residential care is a last rather than a first option and the social contract is stronger because, as children see how their own grandparents are looked after, they develop higher expectations of how they too will be treated when they get old. If we are to tackle the challenge of an ageing society, we must learn from this."
*  also said : "It will only start with changes in the way we personally treat our own parents and grandparents. Each and every lonely person has someone who could visit them and offer companionship. A forgotten million who live among us – ignored to our national shame."

* "Some five million people say television is their main form of company – that’s 10% of the population. We know there is a broader problem of loneliness that in our busy lives we have utterly failed to confront as a society."

Jeremy knows a thing or two about Asia because he spent much of his twenties in Japan and his wife is Chinese.

But hold on a minute : 
* isn't it true that in recent years, things have been changing in some of the growing cities in China with fewer believing they have to look after their elders ?
* as the middle class expands, don't many of them find they have little time to care for their parents ?
* Isn't it true that a poll has found that around a quarter of Chinese senior citizens now live alone ?

What about the points made following Jeremy's speech by, Caroline Abrahams, a Director of the charity 'Age UK' who referred to the financial cuts made by very same Government of which Jeremy is a member :

"We are extremely concerned that cuts to local authority budgets are exacerbating the problem of loneliness because they are causing the closure of many support services for older people, like lunch clubs, which can be a lifeline for those on their own. These cuts are also pushing to breaking point many families who are trying to care for their older relatives in the absence of adequate support. Caring is often a 24/7 role that can have a huge physical and emotional impact on the carer."

So, Jeremy, who is a minister in the Government who suggests that Britain should adopt the Asian model of families looking after old people to counter their loneliness at no cost to the taxpayer, is also a minister in the Government which has sanctioned budget cuts which have exacerbated the problem of loneliness for old people.

Question again : "Is Jeremy Hunt really a man for old people ?"
Answer : Clearly, by implication : "No !"

 My earlier posts about lonely old men in Britain before Jeremy decided to highlight their plight :

* Britain is no country and a country for more and more lonely old men
Saturday, 6 April 2013

http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/britain-is-no-country-and-country-for.html

The charity, 'Women's Royal Voluntary Service' has produced this report :

loneliness-amongst-older-people-and-the-impact-of-family-connections
It looks at the correlation between the distance old men and women live from their family and their feelings of loneliness and reveals that :

* as a result of  the fragmented nature of families today, a  large number of over 75 year olds have their closest children living  a substantial distance away from them. 

* 82% of children who have moved away from their old parents have done so for work reasons.

* nearly three-quarters of over 75s who live alone 'feel lonely'.

* those old men and women who live alone see their children less often than those who live with their spouse.

* 342,000 old men and women over 75 said they felt 'trapped in their own home' through lack of suitable transport.

* the situation has been exacerbated by cuts in public tansport services which has hit 14% and now 10% said they get out less because they have no way of getting out by themselves, have lost their independence and 6% had 'increased feelings' of loneliness in 5% of isolation.
* Britain is a country in the grip of an epidemic of lonely old men
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/britain-is-country-in-grip-of-epidemic.html
 
An article in 'The Daily Mail' yesterday was entitled :

Old Age Pensioners 'spend 100 days a year 'on their own' as campaigners warn of 'loneliness epidemic' among nation's elderly

It was based on a survey of over 1000 old people commissioned by 'Associated Retirement Community Operators' into the extent of loneliness among them which concluded that : 
  
*  more than 66 million hours are spent alone by people aged over 65 in Britain each day, equivalent to each person over 65 spending more than 100 days alone each year..
 
* 24% felt lonely 'some' or 'most of the time'.

* almost one in five (18 %) of over-75s said that they 'sometimes go a whole weekend without seeing and speaking to another person'.

* over half of respondents (54%) said they felt 'unable to talk about this loneliness with their family' or 'their children' (46 %).

* London was the loneliest place in the country to grow old, with over 65s spending an average of 7.8 hours on their own each day.

In addition, the survey challenged the widely held belief that the main concern for older people is 'staying in their own home', because when asked : 'what worried them most about getting old ?',
'poor health' came out top  at 32%, while 'having to leave the family home' most concerned just 4%.

Jon Gooding, Chairman of the 'Associated Retirement Community Operators', said:
"We are in the grip of a loneliness epidemic. People are fearful of their declining health, and yet appear to be unprepared for old age. Couple this with the fact that in 2033 there will be 3.3million people over the age of 85 in the UK and it becomes clear that we face a momentous challenge".
 
The Report could be coupled with another in the newspaper last year :

 More than three million elderly people face a life of loneliness because of family break-ups and a lack of friendly neighbours

This time the research, commissioned by 'Age UK' and based on 1,000 respondents, concluded that :
  * around three and a half million old people face a life alone and without help or friendship from their neighbours
because, either they 'do not want to be a burden 'or think their neighbours 'always seem to be busy'.

* warned that loneliness affects physical health and can be as damaging as smoking or obesity to an old  person.

* 700,000 people aged over 65 say they are 'often', or even 'always lonely', and the same number 'do not know their neighbours at all'.

* over half of all old people see the television as their 'main form of company'.

* during winter, isolation can also intensify, having an adverse effect on physical and mental well-being with some studies showing that feelings of loneliness can be equivalent to well-established risk factors such as obesity and smoking.

Another article in January this year was entitled :

'Loneliness map' to help isolated elderly amid concerns of effects it has on nation's health

It made the following points, that :

* Government Ministers are trying to measure loneliness amid concerns it is having devastating consequences on the nation’s health and the Department of Health is drawing up a map which will pinpoint which areas of the country have the highest levels of isolation.

* there is growing evidence that loneliness can cause health problems and lead to higher rates of dementia, heart disease and high blood pressure and depression and also leads to people going to their hospital or doctor more frequently, just for the company  and they are more likely to move into a care home earlier.
 
* For the first time, officials will ask local councils and National Health Service  Trusts to carry out surveys of the levels of loneliness within their communities and if they are found to be high, authorities will be urged to provide extra support such as befriending services and transport to day centres.

* Norman Lamb, the 'Care and Support Minister' said:
"For the first time we will be aiming to define the extent of the problem by introducing a national measure for loneliness. We will be encouraging local authorities, NHS organisations and others to get better at measuring the condition in their communities. Once they have this information, they can come up with the right solutions to address loneliness and isolation.".

* Laura Ferguson, Director of the 'Campaign to End Loneliness'  said :
 "Loneliness is a major health issue. An effective measure of isolation and loneliness is an important step to improving the lives of the hundreds of thousands of older people who are chronically lonely. This national measure can only help those making local health and care decisions to prioritise loneliness as a health issue, and one that they will tackle."

* Dr Anne Hayden, a GP in Dorset, said she trimmed £80,000 from the NHS’s budget by setting up a 'befriending scheme' for old patients who frequently came to the surgery, who did not have any obvious symptoms and doctors suspected were 'lonely' and felt 'unable to cope with life' and as part of the scheme, volunteers visit the patients and help out with jobs around the home as well as offering advice and support



* Britain is no country for 100,000 lonely old men on their own today
Christmas Day 2011
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/britain-is-no-country-for-100000-lonely.html


My posting on December 16th about a large number of old men on their own at Christmas was based on figures from 'Friends of the Elderly' is confirmed by a poll for 'The Centre for Social Justice'. This also found that 250,000 old people are on their own today and working on the basis that old women outnumber old men my conservative guesstimate for the men is 100,000.

So, if we take a hypothetical old man called 'Joe' and ask why he is alone this Christmas we find that :

* like 2 out of 5 men, Joe is separated from his wife who remarried and his children have to divide their time between him and their mother and possibly her husband's family, so they might be stretched 3 ways at Christmas.

* Joe's ‘silver separation’ from his wife in 2009, constituted 2 of the 11,500
over-60s were granted a divorce in that year.

* doesn't get much consolation from the Centre's Executive Director, Gavin Poole,who said: "Today’s findings are heart-wrenching. We know about the tragic impact of family breakdown on the youngest members of our society but now we’re seeing the consequences for older people. For so many to spend Christmas Day alone while their family celebrates elsewhere is a modern tragedy."

* along with half of those polled cited the television as his main form of company


* Britain is no country for old lonely men at Christmas
Friday, 16 December 2011
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/britain-is-no-country-for-old-lonely.html


Some 500,000 old people, many of them old men, are facing the prospect of spending this Christmas alone.

A survey by the Charity,'Friends of the Elderly', has revealed that a quarter of people would not be inviting older relatives or local residents to their Christmas 'dos' and more people are keen to help animals than old people.

The survey also found that 44% of people said they simply 'did not have the time' to visit an older person, while others said they 'could not be bothered' to visit or felt older people 'already received enough visits'.

The survey found that for the majority of people Christmas is 'about spending time with family and friends', while a tenth highlighted the 'religious aspect' with the same number saying it is 'about shopping'.

Richard Furze, the Charity's Chief Executive, said:

" The effects of isolation on older people, including loneliness, depression, feelings of low self-worth, poor health and diet, can be devastating, with isolated individuals being less likely to obtain the services they need or seek help. We understand that people are incredibly busy today, and especially at Christmas, but we urge people to get more involved with the older people around them - and not just at Christmas."

Sadly, Richard, I fear that Britain in future will have more and more old men on their own at Christmas and pictures like this will be become less and less common.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Britain said "Happy Birthday" to an old Irish born actor called Michael Gambon aka Albus Dumbledore

Michael, who has given pleasure to audiences working in British theatre, television and film over the last 50 years was 73 years old yesterday.

What you possibly didn't know about Michael. that he :

* was born in Cabra, Dublin during the Second World War, where his mother was a seamstress snd father an engineer, who sought work in the rebuilding of bomb damaged London and moved the family to Mornington Crescent.

 * as a boy, on the instigation of his father, became a British citizen, but was brought up as a strict Roman Catholic, attended St Aloysius Boys' College (left) and then a school in Kent, before leaving with no qualifications at the age of fifteen.

* became an apprentice toolmaker with Vickers Armstrong, then at the age of 18, began to study drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and gained a BA in Classical Acting at the age of 21 in 1961 and along the way acquired a fascination and passion for collecting antique guns, clocks, watches and classic cars.

* made his professional stage d├ębut in the 1962 Gate Theatre Dublin's production of 'Othello' playing 'Second Gentleman' and at the age of 23, caught the eye of star-maker, Laurence Olivier, who was recruiting for spear carriers for his new National Theatre Company and was recruited along with the also young, Robert Stephens, Derek Jacobi and Frank Finlay.

* after three years at the Old Vic with the National Theatre, was advised by Olivier to gain experience in provincial repertory theatre and 1967 joined the Birmingham Rep and was given the title roles in 'Othello',' Macbeth' and 'Coriolanus'.

* on tv, played a romantic lead, the swashbuckling Gavin Ker (right) in the BBC series 'The Borderers' from 1968-70 and as a result was asked by 'James Bond' producer, Cubby Brocoli, to audition for the role in 1970, to replace George Lazenby.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXguwtZQYGQ

* in 1970s, played comedy in Alan Ayckbourn's 'Norman Conquests' ; serious theatre in  Harold Pinter's 'Betayal' and in 1980, at the age of forty, played in John Dexter's stage version of Brecht's, 'The Life of Galileo', of which Peter Hall said he was "unsentimental, dangerous and immensely powerful", the Sunday Times : his performance "a decisive step in the direction of great tragedy... great acting" and fellow actors paid him the rare compliment of applauding him in the dressing room on the first night.

* became a household name as Philip Marlow in Dennis Potter's tv series, 'The Singing Detective' in 1986 for which he won a BAFTA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tSB6JV0yCM and starred in Peter Greenaway's controversial film, 'The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkqOgFGle_c


* in 1992, played a psychotic general in the Barry Levinson film, 'Toys' and he also starred as Georges Simenon's  detective Inspector 'Maigret' in the ITV series. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-MnWXEVwAE

* In 2004, at the age of 64, played the lead role, 'Hamm' in Samuel Beckett's post-apocalyptic play 'Endgame' at the Albery Theatre, London and the following year finally achieved a lifelong ambition to play Falstaff in the National Theatre production of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2.

* in 2002, played President Lyndon B. Johnson in the tv film, 'Path to War' and was nominated for an Emmy Award for 'Best Actor in a Mini-series or Movie' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQFApw8t7Y8 and the following year played the principal villain in Kevin Costner's Western film,'Open Range'.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uFarFM9sow

* played Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts's Headmaster, in 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' in 2004 and also
'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' in 2005 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=304ZYrWPx9w and the four succeeding  Potter films from 2007-11 and said that when playing Dumbledore, did not "have to play anyone really. I just stick on a beard and play me, so it's no great feat. I never ease into a role—every part I play is just a variant of my own personality. I'm not really a character actor at all."

Not really a character actor at all ?

Friday, 18 October 2013

Is Britain a country where old men would want a Tikker death watch ?


Fredrik Colting, the Swedish creator of the 'Tikka Death Watch' has said that the idea came to after his Grandfather passed away: "It made me think about death and the transience of life, and I realized that nothing matters when you are dead. Instead what matters is what we do when we are alive.”

Apparently, the $39 watch comes with a simple actuarial quiz and on the basis of your you are given an estimate of your time left on Earth. You punch this number into the watch and then, without ceremony, it begins its final countdown towards your death.

Built by a group of 'designers, free-thinkers, lovers and life-afficionados' the concept behind the Tikker is to remind you of the important things in life. 'All we have to do is learn how to cherish the time and the life that we have been given,' says Tikker’s Kickstarter page, 'And the best way to do this is to realize that seconds, days and years are passing never to come again'.

When interviewed by the 'Daily Mail', Fredrik called his creation the "Happiness Watch" and said that : "The occurrence of death is no surprise to anyone, but in our modern society we rarely talk about it. I think that if we were more aware of our own expiration I’m sure we’d make better choices while we are alive."
Tikka's sell :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxKLAxUzozY

My survey of old men in Britain this year would indicate a number of old men who certainly would not like to be reminded on their wrist how many more years they would continue :

with being abused : Britain is 'no' country and 'a' country for more and more abused old men
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/britain-is-no-country-and-country-for.html
Sunday, 6 October 2013

with dementia : Britain, no country for old men suffering from dementia today, will continue to be, for more and more of them tomorrow http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/britain-is-no-country-for-old-men_29.html
 Sunday, 29 September 2013

* without care : Britain is no country for old men in 'care homes' which provide neither 'home' nor 'care'
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/britain-is-no-country-for-old-men-in.html
Monday, 26 August 2013

* through long, cold winters : Britain has been no country for the old men killed by the winter and cold, cold spring
 http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/britain-has-been-no-country-for-old-men.html
Thursday, 30 May 2013

in a state of malnourishment : Britain is no country for hundreds of thousands of old men in need of nourishment in their own homes
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/britain-is-no-country-for-hundreds-of.html

* in a state of debt : Britain is no country for the more and more old men falling deeper and deeper into debt
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/britain-is-no-country-for-more-and-more.html

* in a state of loneliness : Britain is no country and a country for more and more lonely old men
Saturday, 6 April 2013
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/britain-is-no-country-and-country-for.html

* under a chemical cosh Britain is no country for old men in care homes and under a chemical cosh
Sunday, 24 February 2013
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/britain-is-no-country-for-old-men-in.html

In addition, the watch would be of no use to either those old men who are going to die unexpectedly :
Britain is no country for more and more old men who continue to die unexpectedly before their time
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/britain-is-no-country-for-more-and-more.html
Tuesday, 30 July 2013

or those whose watch would give a false reading because it wouldn't note that they lived in Manchester :
Britain is no country for men in Manchester where preventable illness will kill them before they reach mature old age
http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/britain-is-no-country-for-men-in.html
20 June 2013

P.S. American, Jordan Cooper's 'You Tube' rant against the watch. Warning : Lots of bad language, but very funny :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkCxM1x-XyQ