Tuesday 31 August 2010

Britain is a country whose old men remember a once young Irish musician and say "Happy Birthday" to Van Morrison

Van Morrison is 65 today.

Things you probably didn't know about him, he :

* was born George 'Ivan' Morrison in Belfast, Northern Ireland where his father was a shipyard electrician and his mother had been a singer and tap dancer in her youth.

* listened to his father's huge record collection, amassed during his stay in Detroit in the 1950s and grew up listening to Jelly Roll Morton, Ray Charles, Lead Belly, and Solomon Burke and later said : "Those guys were the inspiration that got me going. If it wasn't for that kind of music, I couldn't do what I'm doing now".

* had his first acoustic guitar when he was 11 and a 12 formed his first band, a skiffle group called 'The Sputniks', named after the recently launched Soviet satellite and played at some of the local cinemas with himn contributing most of the singing and arranging.

* at 14, talked his father into buying him a saxophone and took lessons in tenor sax and music reading.

* left school at 16 in 1960 with no qualifications and settled into a job as a window cleaner while he continuing to play part-time.

* At 17, toured Europe for the first time with 'The International Monarchs'.

* helped to create the band 'Them' in 1964 which took its name after the 1950's horror movie 'THEM !

* had 3 chart hits with : "Baby, Please Don't Go" in 1964

and "Here Comes the Night" and "Mystic Eyes" in 1965,

though it was the b-side of the first called "Gloria" which became the classic.

* when 'Them' split up he started his solo career with "Brown Eyed Girl" in 1967 and 40 years forty years later in 2007, it was the fourth most requested song of DJs in the US.

Here it is performed by an older Van :

My favourite : "Have I told you lately" :

Monday 30 August 2010

Britain is no longer a country for a band of old men who enjoyed 'The Last Of The Summer Wine' in Yorkshire

After 37 years and 295 TV episodes, that gentle sitcom : 'The Last of The Summer' was broadcast for the last time last night. It told the lives and friendships of 3 old men in the Yorkshire village of Holmfirth.

It's hard to believe that I was 26 years old when the first episode was broadcast all those years ago :

The Summer Wine's charm and beauty were in and from the characters and the Yorkshire landscape.

Here is a flavour of the characters :

and the landscape :

In the last episode neither 'Nora Batty' in her ill-fitting hosiery, nor 'Compo', her wooley-hatted admirer shall make an appearance since they have long since died. However, 89-year-old Peter Sallis, still playing grumpy old Clegg was still there.

' The series was :

* in its 1980s heyday, the Sunday night TV institution which attracted audiences of 19 million.

* and still is, an enormously successful export for the BBC, showing everywhere from Arkansas to Afghanistan.

* the longest-running comedy programme in Britain and the longest-running sitcom in the world.

* filmed in Holmfirth, in West Yorkshire, where the show helped the town flourish after the end of its textile industry and busloads of fans visit the 'Last of the Summer Wine Museum' and either take refreshment in the 'Wrinkled Stocking Tea Room', or get their picture taken on 'Nora Batty's Steps'.

Sunday 29 August 2010

Britain is a country where old men can safely walk a coastal path called 'The Saxon Shore Way'

I'm walking the ancient path called 'The Saxon Shore Way'. It follows the line of what was, in the post Roman Britain of 1500 years ago, the shoreline which was open to attacks from the Saxons who crossed the North Sea and carried out raiding parties on the coast of Kent and Sussex.

As a walk for old men, it has the twin virtue of both being 'safe' and being free from screaming kids. On top of that, it also has interest and beauty.

My walking companion is my friend D.B. and we are doing it bit by bit. In fact, we have now walked the distance of about 100 kilometres, on 14 separate occasions, in all seasons, since 2003. When we walked on Friday I thought the end was in sight and the port of Sandwich was our last destination, but D.B. informed me that we were only half way there and the end of the walk was at Hastings which, based on our present progress, means that we shall finish in 7 years time when I am 70, after having started as a sprightly 56 year old.

Friday's walk took us along part of the Kent shore of the Wantsum Channel which 1500 years ago separated Kent from the Isle of Thanet.

The photos I took indicate the peace and quiet and 'Englishness' of the landscape :
Bales of silage after the harvest and ready for winter animal feed.

Rape seed ready for harvest to be crushed into oil.

The Saxon Shore path through the wheat, the 'Spirit of Dunkirk' little boat on the River Stour which no doubt evacuated soldiers from the Dunkirk beaches at the start of The Second World War in 1940 and the 1841 Methodist Chapel.

Testimony to an old man's mistake in misjudging a muddy track for a firm track:

From Wikepedia :

Thursday 26 August 2010

Britain is a country where old men who have left it don't miss it

First the figures :

There are now an estimated 900,000 British 'expatriot pensioners' living away from Britain.

It's difficult to imagine that number, so to help, here are 100 expats :

* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *

Now, if you blink once a second at the 100 expats 9,000 times, you would have seen them all and if you translate 9,000 seconds into hours and minutes, you would have been blinking continuously for 150 minutes or 2.5 hours.

That should give you some idea of the number of 'retired' men and women who have left these shores.

If we assume that the number of old expat men balance the number of old expat men, then you would have blinked 1.25 hours for the old men.

Where are they ? :

* nearly 300,000 in Australia.

* 115,000 in Spain

* under 75,000 in France.

Against this background, an article in the 'Daily Mail Newspaper' this week announced that :


Apparently, a recent survey, carried out for the Nat West Bank by the 'Centre for Future Studies' which questioned 1,300 retirees, shows that :

* seven out of ten Britons who have retired abroad are happy with their new country and likely to stay there.

* fewer than one in five who have gone to live in France, Portugal or Spain are considering returning home.

* nine out of ten of expat retirees live among the natives of their adopted country rather than among fellow Britons in communities of exiles.

* the trick to a happy retirement overseas may be planning ahead with the 'highest levels of satisfaction' among those who were employed in their new country before giving up work.

* among those in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. who worked in their chosen country before retiring, fewer than one in ten thought they might go back to Britain.

* Nearly 150,000 British citizens left the country last year to live abroad, many of them after giving up work.

* Among expat pensioners in France, Spain and Portugal, who mainly left Britain after they retired, just 16 per cent thought they might return.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Britain is becoming a country of old 'Txgenerians'

Apparently, a new study shows that pensioners are taking to text and e-mails to share their major news rather than newspaper announcements.

15% over the 65's surveyed said they preferred to used text messages to break news with friends and family. Of those, a quarter said they would rather use the medium to break bad news and half said sending good news, such as the birth of a child or an engagement, was acceptable by texting.

The pensioners, dubbed ' Txtgenerians', say the reasons for using the new technology ahead of a face-to-face meeting include the time it allows to compose thoughts and the ability to send news to more than one person at once.

One 76 year old texting lady pensioner, said:

"I've done my best to keep up to date with technology and I've found that if I want to get hold of my family easily, especially my grandchildren, that texting them seems to get the best response when they're busy. I haven't gone as far as sending photos or checking emails on my phone ,it's best to take it one step at a time, but I don't have a problem if they send me news on text."

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to an old Scot called Sir Sean Connery

Sean Connery the film actor is 80 today.

Things you probably didn't know about Sean, he :

* has been polled as 'The Greatest Living Scot,' and proclaimed 'Sexiest Man Alive' by 'People Magazine' and in 1999, at age 69, was voted 'Sexiest Man of the Century'.

* was born in Edinburgh where his Protestant mother was a cleaning woman and Catholic father a factory worker and lorry driver.

* left school and became a milkman delivering milk to doorsteps and then joined the Royal Navy and had two tatoos which read : 'Mum and Dad', and 'Scotland Forever'.

* was discharged on medical grounds and worked as a lorry driver, labourer, artist's model for the Edinburgh College of Art and a coffin polisher.

* helped out backstage at the 'King's Theatre' in 1951 and became interested in the proceedings.

* took up bodybuilding as a hobby, entered the 'Mr. Universe Contest' in 1953 where one of the other competitors mentioned to him auditions for a theatre production of 'South Pacific'. He applied and landed a small part.

* was a keen footballer spotted by Manchester United and offered a contract worth £25a week which he turned saying later : "I realised that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30, and I was already 23I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves."

* was filming with Lana Turner in 1958, when her possessive gangster boyfriend, believing that she was having an affair with Sean, stormed onto the set and pointed a gun at him. Sean disarmed him and knocked him flat on his back and then had to lie low after receiving threats from the gangster's gangster boss.

* had his breakthrough in the role of secret agent James Bond in 'Dr No' in 1962 and played the the character in seven commercially successful films.

* was considered doubtful for the part by Bond's creator, Ian Fleming who said :
"He's not what I envisioned of James Bond looks" and "I’m looking for Commander Bond and not an overgrown stunt-man," and added that he was "unrefined".

* was given stylistic tuition by Director Terence Young, who apparently took him under his wing, took him to dinner, showed him how to walk, talk and even how to eat.

Here are the trailers for :

'Dr No' 1962 :

'From Russia With Love' 1963 :

'Goldfinger' 1964 :

'Thunderball' 1965 :

'You Only Live Twice' 1967 :

'Diamonds are Forever' 1971 :

'Never Say Never Again' 1983 :

His interview with Barry Humphries :


The Gaurdian Newspaper while drawing attention to his birthday and his films said that :

'did he in each one display the chameleonic skills that habitually define the actor who survives six decades in this fickle business that we call show? He's more of an old-school star, fitting the part to his strengths rather than subsuming himself within it.
What does that mean? He plays Sean Connery, mostly.
It's all part of the magic that makes him him. So we shouldn't touch on his controversial status as a tax exile while supporting Scottish nationalism, whiffs of misogyny, or accusations of violence – strenuously denied – made by his ex-wife?

No. Let's leave it here. Happy birthday then, Sir Sean'.

Monday 23 August 2010

Britain is a country where old men can go back to the year of their 'heyday' like '1975' and rejuvenate !

The B.B.C. has recreated a 'psychological study' from 1979 called 'The Counter Clockwise Experiment', which was devised by Ellen Langer and, using old men in their 70's and 80's, 'apparently' demonstrated that old people forced to relive their heyday would start to think and feel the way they did then. In other words, the ageing process can be reversed by simply 'thinking younger'. For this purpose it recruited :

Kenneth Kendal, the ancient newsreader at 86.
Lional Blair, actor, choreographer, tap dancer and television presenter at 78.
Dickie Bird, old cricket umpire at 77.
Derek Jameson, former broadcaster at 80.
Sylvia Sims and Liz Smith,erstwhile actresses at 76 and 88.

They went to a mansion in Buckinghamshire which was set in '1975' and kept away from modern gadgets, distractions and the news.
It was at this time that they were at their 'physical peak' and enjoying 'career success'.

This what they looked like when the went into the mansion :

The result was that : they improved their results on physical and mental tests and the resulting t.v. programme : 'The Young Ones' is to be broadcast in September and here's one old Brit who shall be watching with interest. Particularly so, since this is what he thinks they looked like when they came out of the mansion :

Here's the link where you can hear Ellen Langer talk about the original 1979 experiment :


The Daily Mail Newspaper which has a purpose in believing that Britain is no country for old men

There was an article in the Daily Mail this weekend entitled :

'Murdered in a country that has betrayed its real heroes'

It centred on 90 year old Geoffrey Bacon, who was murdered returning to his modest flat in Camberwell where he was attacked from behind by a 'cowardly thug' who took £40 and his bus pass before punching him to the ground and locking the door behind him.
Here he is pictured with his wife Annie during the Second World War.

Now Daily Mail is a right wing paper with a right wing agenda and Geoffrey's 'murder' was made to serve that agenda.

One of the things we find out later in the article was that Geoffrey wasn't murdered at his flat, but died 11 weeks later and that his son Philip said his dad "died of a broken heart after injuries sustained in the attack".

However, being led to believe he had been murdered at his flat, we were told that :
* as the Spitfire and Hurricane fighters flew over London yesterday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, they stirred many memories of the heroes, 'The Few', who changed the course of our history.

* in Camberwell, South-East London, an unsung hero of World War II was also being remembered by his devoted children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Alas, not just for his selfless service during that war, but for the brutal way he was murdered.

* he had volunteered for secret missions behind enemy lines and was a driver for both Montgomery and Eisenhower.

* the killer may have been sleeping rough on the bench he had dedicated to his sweetheart and wife Kitty, from whom he had been inseparable.

At this point Geoffrey is brought back to life when we are asked to consider :
* who could have blamed him if, in his dying days, he wondered what he had fought for all those years ago?

We then we get the full blast of 'Dail Mail' rhetoric :
Was the sacrifice worth it to produce a country with an educational underclass so ignorant they wouldn't even know what the Battle of Britain was; so ambivalent about their past they have no respect for those who secured our future? A generation so drenched with a sense of victimhood and entitlement they think mugging an old man is a legitimate way of making a fast buck?

The article went on to tell us that 'the real tragedy is that you only have to pick up your local paper to see many more victims like Mr Bacon, elderly targets brutalised in their own homes because they make easy prey'.

It then cited the :
* 89 year old woman, murdered in her home in Essex.

* 67 year old man, attacked from behind, robbed and left to die in the street.

* 81 year old, fatally mugged for her handbag as she walked home at 8pm.

Of course, we have no way of knowing if any of these incidents are true.

Apparently :
* these were men and women who fought and worked and paid their taxes and struggled and raised their children. Who took care of their families and had pride in their communities. Unsung heroes all, betrayed at a time of their life when they had a right to expect safety, dignity and respect.

* as we remember the sacrifices of 'The Few', we should also say a prayer this weekend for the many, like Mr Bacon, who fought for a country they must now scarcely recognise.

Naturally, we would sympathise with Geoffry's family over their loss and at the same time not sympathise with the views expounded by 'The Daily Mail'.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Britain is a country of fewer and fewer old men who, when young, fought in the Royal Airforce against the German Lutwaffe in the Second World War

Here they sat yesterday, R.A.F. 'Battle of Britain' veterans from 1940 and in the middle, the 93 year old, Dame Vera Lynn, 'The Forces Sweetheart' from The Second World War.

They were commemorating, almost to the minute, the 70th anniversary of Prime Minister Winston Churchill's House of Commons speech in which he praised the courage of the 'Battle of Britain' pilots, of whom 498 died in 1940 fending off German air attacks on Britain.

Churchill's famous lines :

What happened :

Things like this in 1940 :

And yesterday i 2010 :

* as 'Big Ben' struck four , a Hurricane and a Spitfire swooped low over the rooftops of Whitehall.

* nine of the surviving veterans sat on gilt chairs , glasses of champagne in their hands, outside the Cabinet war rooms where Churchill had his bunker under the Treasury building.

* they sat a few feet away from a stationary Spitfire.

* actor Robert Hardy declaimed a portion of the speech anew, with no sibilant left unhissed, perhaps even more dramatically than Churchill himself did at the time.

* Lady Soames, Churchill's youngest and last surviving child, recalled hearing the speech as it was made on 20 August 1940 and maybe the last person still alive to have done so. "It is very moving for me to be here today," she said. "Seventy years ago I was in the House of Commons and heard my father … those words ring like a bell and will do so for a very long time, I am sure."

P.S. :

From Pilot Tom Neil :

The voice of Vera Lynn :

Douglas Bader's notebooks :

Hazel Greogory's memories as a German 'bomber plotter' over Kent :

What was it like to fly a spitfire ?

Friday 20 August 2010

Britain is a country which once had Dylan Thomas and now has Sylvester Stallone

At the age of 64 Sylvester Stallone is fighting hard to stave off age and has taken a bunch of aging Hollywood stars with him and his new film 'The Expendables' will be transported across the Atlantic to us in these small islands.


Apparently, for Stallone, and my quotes are from a critic :

* at 64, after his heyday as 'Rocky' and 'Rambo', his 'physique and facial features seem frozen into a kind of immobility'.

* his film 'The Expendables' is 'a very old-fashioned B-movie with gruesome and extreme violence including, decapitations, knives through gullets and people exploding'.

* his script went through 100 drafts.

* he, never a clear speaker, 'spends most of his time grunting'.

* there are two big 'dialogue' scenes one where he meets up with his two 'Planet Hollywood Co-investors' Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

* 'perhaps this is meant to be like that memorable scene when De Niro and Pacino sparred with each other in 'Heat'.'

* the badinage is 'so laboured that it never sparks into life'.

* in the film the big acting moment comes when Mickey Rourke,'playing a former mercenary turned tattoo artist who has a long speech about the moment in Bosnia when he lost his soul'.

* has made a film with 'a dated attitude towards women who are are helpless damsels who must be protected with maximum violence'.

' he 'remains a true primitive, and this film is aimed quite shamelessly at males who like to see hot babes, big weapons and lots of things blown up real good'

'or anyone more sophisticated, it resembles not so much an all-star movie, as one of those packaged concert tours consisting of old pop groups you thought were long since deceased'.

* * ** * * *

Now I turn to a Welsh poet called Dylan Thomas who, like Sylvester 'raged against the dying of the light' and produced this poem :

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright,
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way.
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan in his own words :

Dylan or Sylvester ?

Who shall be remembered in a hundred years ?

And as a P.S. here is someting special and very beautiful from John Cale :

Thursday 19 August 2010

Britain is a country of fewer and fewer old men who, when young, fought Japan in The Second World War

Last Sunday British Veteran Soldiers gathered to commemorate victory over Japan in the Second World War in 1945.

Those survivors of 'Far East Campaign' attended a Cenotaph Memorial Service to mark 65th anniversary of the end of the conflict.

It must have been very moving.

On the command of "march", they moved forward in their wheelchairs and past the Cenotaph.

They represented the dwindling number of soldiers from the conflict which took the lives of 30,000 British service personnel, including 12,500 in prisoner of war camps.

At the ceremony :

* Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron laid wreaths.

* four buglers sounded the last post.

* Viscount Slim, the son of General Slim, Commander of the 'Commonwealth and Empire Forces', read the Kohima Epitaph, written following the Battle of Kohima near the border of Burma where 4,000 British troops and almost 6,000 Japanese troops died. He said : "When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today."

* Prince Charles saluted and the Prime Minister stood head bowed in front of a rank of veterans bearing standards, including that of the Burma Star Association, which represents veterans of the War against Japan.

* A lone piper from the Scots Guard played a piece specially composed to commemorate Kohima before the service concluded with a reception for the veterans.

* Among the veterans was RAF serviceman Peter Proctor, 88, from who said :
"I think it's very important to keep the memory alive. They were the 'Forgotten Army'. When the war ended in Europe there were great celebrations, people were saying the war is over, but it was still going on in the Far East."

* Earlier, the Prime Minister said:
"They fought and suffered around the world in ferocious conditions ... They witnessed incomprehensible horrors. They lost their lives – and many were imprisoned. And they did all this for us – to protect the freedoms we all enjoy today."

The Fourteenth Army, was the largest ever assembled by the British Empire and Commonwealth numbering more than half a million men, 340,000 of whom were from India, 100,000 from Britain and 119,000 from the East and West African colonies.

Stephen Spielburg's 1987 film 'Empire of the Sun', was was based on the author J.G. Ballard's memories of life in a Japanese camp for civilians in the Conflict :

And more :

David Lean's 1957 film : 'Bridge Over The River Kwai', dwelt on life in a Japanese prisoner of war camp :

The men sang these words in their head :

Hitler has only got one ball,
Göring has two but very small.
Himmler has something sim'lar,
But poor old Goebbels has no balls at all.

And more :

Tuesday 17 August 2010

'Britain is no country for old men' : my inventory for 2009

When I started this blog in May 2009, I said that I had 'time to look around, turn over stones and see if this country of ours is, or ever was, a country for old men'.

I am still looking.

The 'unexpected' pleasure which this blog has given me is, that there are people in other countries who have read my postings.

So I ask myself : who are you today from ? :

Thailand, Bangkok

Romania, Calarasi


Australia, Melbourne

Finland, Salo

United States, New York

Denmark, Arhus

Switzerland, Schnenwerd

United States, Colorado

United States, Utah

The fact is, that I shall never know.

I have grouped my postings below under the following headings, mostly so that I can keep track of what I have posted and possibly because it might be of some interest to someone somewhere :



Britain 1940 - a country for old men
Shakespeare's England was no place for old men
Was Victorian Britain a Country for Old Men ?

Thoughts from an American Poet and an American Pre...

Birthday Boys and Girls, do you know the date of t...


Safe places and unsafe places
Is Colombia a country for old men ?
Wembley Stadium - a safe place for older men
Herne Bay - a place for the very young and the old...

China - a country for old men

Born in the U.S.A.
Do you know anyone who would buy these T-shirts ?
The U.S.A. - a country where Old Men advertise the...

Germany - a country for old men ?
Bavaria is a county for old men
Germany is a country sympathetic towards old men
Bavarian families- the secret to happy old men
Germany-no country to cross the 'Geritol Gang'.
Berlin - a city with a supermarket for old men
Bavaria is a county for old men - confirmed
Goodbye Bavaria and your happy opas and omas
Old men in the U.S.A. - beware the 'Searle Freedom...

Britain's West Midlands is a 'county' for Old Men
A Wiltshire hamlet where time stands still
Britain today in 'A Tale Of Two Cities'.

'Dennis the Menace' is alive and well in New Zeala...


Invisible at a petrol station
Big business banking on poor memory
In house communication.
Telephone banking
Rogue Trader from Hell
Rogue Trader from Hell : Part Two
A mantra for the elderly
The good trader
Sad beard, black beard, grey beard, no beard.

One virus hoax and a Grumpy Old Briton

Britain in 1965 - a London School called 'Eltham G...

Old Brits- do you know the date of the most import...
The battle of the blogs Part 3 : 'small animals' v...
I wanted a list of the posts I've published since ...
To blog or not to blog ?
The battle of the blogs : 'small animals' v 'old p...
The battle of the blogs : Part 2 : 'small animals'...


The soothing balm of age

Dandling in Britain today
B.T.- No company for Old Men or Old Women
Who profits from being old ?
Urban Britain is no place for old men at night.
Why can't democracy in Britain be a place for old ...
Should the title be : ' Britain is a country for y...
Monarchy - a place where elderly people can do use...
Britain's 'baby boomers' today
Google indicates that Britain is a bleak country f...
Britain - a country where old men drive new conve...

Britain is a country where burglars should beware ...
Britain - a country where the class to which old m...
Hot old men in Britain, relax, your Government has...
Britain - a country where Big Business entice Old ...
Baby boomers, we are 'The Pig in the Python'.
B.B.C. is no company for Old Women
Britain's Tescos - no company for complaints
Britain's Old Timers - you are not alone !
eBay is no company for old sellers

Britain - even less of a country for future old me...
Britain - a country to profit from lots more old ...
Britain - a place for old, daytime drivers
Britain - a place where philosophy can help old me...
Britain's hospital wards - no place for sick, old ...

Britain is no country for old men who can't hear o...
Britain's 'Sunday Times' is a place for Old Men
Britain - a country where it is not dishonest to d...
The B.B.C. is no Company for Terry Wogan's Old Gee...
There are still 'Reasons To Be Cheerful' in Britai...
Britons, your life in 6 words
Britain's Tescos - no company for complaints Part ...
Britain Today in a Tale of Two Supermarkets

Britain is a country where some remarkable and or...
Will Britain under Conservatives be a better count...
Last of the Summer Wine but not bought at Tescos
Britain in 2109 will be a country full of old men
Conservative Britain is no place for tommow's old ...
Britain is neither a country for old villains nor ...
The Pension Service - no problem, a problem, my pr...
Britain is still a country for one remarkable old ...
Britain is a country where yesterday's elderly her...
Britain's schools are no places for older teachers...
Britain is a place for old urban squirrels
Britain is a place for old urban foxes
Britain is a place for old urban herons
Britain is still a country for the old men who onc...
Britain's Google is a healthy place for the brains...

Britain is a country where old men count birds in ...
Britain is a country verdant with grumpy old men
This blog has made this old man famous in Sweden a...
Britain is no country for old men confirmed
Britain's Baby Boomers beware David Willetts : Par...
Why is Britain no country for cold, old men ?
Britain is a country where yesterday's radicals ar...
Britain is no country for children who need to be ...
Britain in 2016 will be no country for old men who...


Laughter - a tonic for all Old Men
For young and old - one thought and three tonics f...
Nine thoughts and One laugh for the day
Laughs for the day - courtesy of President Bush
Laughing Clubs for Baby boomers ?

Today's Laughter tonic from Pete and Dud and the 6...

Is Britain still a country for Captain Pugwash ?


Paul, Deliah and I.

Happy Birthday Old Timers !
Happy Birthday Old Thespians

Happy Birthday to Dick Francis and the other Old T...
Happy Birthday, to Peter Green, 'Man of the World'...
Britain says " Happy Birthday " to Old Timers, who...

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to Tony Blackburn an...
Britain said Happy Birthday yesterday to Richard B...
Britain says "Happy Birthday" to Clive Dunn, Jimmy...
Britain says " Happy Birthday" this weekend to som...


A role model for Britain's Old Men - Nathan Birnba...

Britain in 1964 - a place for Manfred Mann

Britain's Old Men you have a champion in Joan Bake...
Britain is still a country for the voice of Vera L...
Britain needs Lord Layard and Gareth Malone as a M...

T.S.Eliot, Britain's 'Favourite Poet 'and the dil...
Hats off to Chuck Berry, that remarkable Old Ameri...
Hats off to the voice of American crooner Andy Wil...
Britain is no longer a country for Barry Letts who...
Britain is no country for three old heroes called ...
Britain is no longer a country for Phil Archer of ...
Britain is no longer a country for Ludovic Kennedy...
Britain today - Weller's or Sting's ?
Is Britain Today more a country for Paul Weller th...

Saturday 14 August 2010

Britain is a country where old men pay tribute to an old guitarist called Eric Clapton

Seeing the You Tube clip of Eric Clapton playing 'Brothers In Arms' with Mark Knopfler at the 'Tribute to Nelson Mandela' Concert in 1985, reminded that I had seen him playing with 'John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers' at the 'Summer Hop' at the University of Sussex in the mid 1960's, where I was studying for my history degree.

I can't remember much about his playing, but I do remember that he had 'mutton chop' sideburns and was very much taken by the female 'Jay Twins', the daughters of the then Government Minister, Douglas Jay, who was running the Board of Trade.

At the age of 65, Eric, like me has joined a new band called 'Old Men of Britain'.

Things you probably didn't know about Eric, he :

* was born in Surrey, the son of 16-year-old Patricia Clapton and a Canadian soldier who shipped off to war prior to Eric's birth and then returned to Canada.

* grew up with his grandmother and her husband believing they were his parents and that his mother was his older sister.

* received an acoustic guitar, for his 13th birthday and on finding learning the steel-stringed instrument very difficult, nearly gave up.

* left school in 1961, studied at the Kingston College of Art and was dismissed at the end of the year because his focus remained on music rather than art.

* started performing in the pubs around Surrey and when he was 17 joined his first band called 'The Roosters'.

* joined 'The Yardbirds' in 1963 and left them in 1965 as they had their first hit with 'For Your Love', on which he played guitar.

* joined 'John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers', in 1965 and with them his playing established his name as 'the best blues guitarist on the club circuit'.

* was deified him with the famous slogan, 'Clapton is God' spray-painted by an admirer on a wall in an Islington Underground station in 1967.

* said 1987 : "I never accepted that I was the greatest guitar player in the world. I always wanted to be the greatest guitar player in the world, but that's an ideal, and I accept it as an ideal".

* left the Bluesbreakers in 1966 and formed 'Cream', one of the earliest supergroups with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker and began to develop as a singer, songwriter and guitarist.
Strange Brew : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hftgytmgQgE

* formed 'Derek and the Dominos' in 1970 and had a massive hit with 'Layla' inspired by a Persian story called 'Layla and Majnun', whose tale of a young man who fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful, unavailable woman, reflected his infatuation with George Harrison's wife, Pattie Boyd.

* married Pattie Boyd and wrote 'Beautiful Tonight ' :

* fought heroine and then alcohol addictions in the 1970's.

* courted controversy by making remarks from the stage in 1967, supporting the politician Enoch Powell's efforts to restrict immigration to the UK.

* performed with Tina Turner at Wembley Stadium in 1987.

* performed in the Tsunami Relief Concert held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, in aid of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

* in 2002 at 54, married a 23-year-old store clerk from Ohio, is the father of 3 daughters and in 2006 wrote the song 'Three Little Girls', about the contentment he has found in his family life at home with them.

* was ranked fourth in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the '100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time'.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to Mark Knopfler

Mark Mark Knopfler lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the rock band 'Dire Straits', which he played in from 1977 to its disbanding in 1995, is 61 today.

Things you possibly didn't know about Mark : he :

* was born in Glasgow, Scotland to an English mother and a Hungarian Jewish father, an architect whose communist sympathies forced him to flee his native Hungary.

* settled in his Mother's home town of Blyth in the North-East of England when he was around 7 years old.

* attended 'Gosforth Grammar School' and while there, was was inspired by his Uncle Kingsley's harmonica and boogie-woogie piano playing.

* formed and joined anonymous schoolboy bands in the 1960's and at the age 16, made a local TV appearance as half of a 'harmony duo' along with a friend from school called Sue.

* displayed a flair for English and in 1967, studied journalism for a year at Harlow Technical College.

* got a job in Leeds as a junior reporter on the 'Yorkshire Evening Post'.

* decided to further his studies and eventually went on to graduate with a degree in English at the University of Leeds.

* worked as a part-time lecturer at Loughton College and played music with mates in a band called the 'Café Racers'.

* moved to London and joined a band called 'Brewers Droop' which made an album called 'The Booze Brothers'.

* played on an old acoustic guitar with a badly warped neck which had been strung with extra-light strings to make it playable and which he found impossible to play unless he finger-picked it. He later said : "That was where I found my 'voice' on guitar."

* made the first demos with 'Dire Straits' in 1977 including 'Sultans of Swing' which, when it was released, became a chart hit in Europe, the United States and Canada and finally Britain.
Lyrics at bottom of posting.

* released 'Making Movies' in 1980, which contained 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Dire Straits Live' in 1983 which sold over 500,000 copies.
Lyrics at bottom of posting.

* released 'Brothers in Arms'in 1985.
Lyrics at bottom of posting.

* made the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and the first C.D. to sell a million copies.

* made a world tour in 1985–86.

* joined the charity ensemble 'Ferry Aid' on 'Let It Be' in the wake of the Zeebrugge ferry disaster.

* regrouped with 'Dire Straits' in 1988 for the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium and sang 'Brothers in Arms'.

* wrote the music scores for the films 'Local Hero', 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' and 'Wag the Dog'.

* was ranked 27 on the 'Rolling Stone' magazine's list of '100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.'

* sold over 120 million albums with 'Dire Straits'

Well Mark, like millions of other old men, I am so glad that you got out of journalism and lecturing and got into music. Thank you.

Sultans of Swing :

You get a shiver in the dark,
It's raining in the park but meantime,
South of the river you stop and you hold everything.
A band is blowin' Dixie double four time.
You feel alright when you hear that music ring.

And now you step inside but you don't see too many faces.
Comin' in out of the rain you hear the jazz go down.
Competition in other places.
Oh but the horns they blowin' that sound
Way on down south, way on down south London town.

You check out Guitar George, he knows all the chords.
Mind he's strictly rhythm he doesn't wanna make it cry or sing.
Yes and an old guitar is all he can afford.
When he gets up under the lights to play his thing.

And Harry doesn't mind if he doesn't make the scene.
He's got a daytime job, he's doin' alright.
He can play the honky tonk like anything.
Savin' it up for Friday night
With the Sultans... with the Sultans of Swing.

And a crowd of young boys they're fooling around in the corner.
Drunk and dressed in their best brown baggies and their platform soles.
They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band.
It ain't what they call rock and roll.
And the Sultans... yeah the Sultans play Creole.

And then the man he steps right up to the microphone,
And says at last just as the time bell rings :
"Goodnight, now it's time to go home".
And he makes it fast with one more thing.
"We are the Sultans... We are the Sultans of Swing".

Romeo and Juliet

A love-struck Romeo sings the streets a serenade,
Laying everybody low with a love song that he made.
Finds a streetlight, steps out of the shade,
Says something like, "You and me babe, how about it?"

Juliet says, "Hey, it's Romeo, you nearly gave me a heart attack!"
He's underneath the window, she's singing, "Hey la, my boyfriend's back.
You shouldn't come around here singing up to people like that...
Anyway, what you gonna do about it?"

Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start,
And I bet when you exploded into my heart.
And I forget I forget the movie song,
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?

Come up on different streets, they're both the streets of shame.
Both dirty, both mean, yes, in the dream it was just the same.
And I dreamed your dream for you and now your dream is real.
How can you look at me as if I was just another one of your deals?

When you can fall for chains of silver,
You can fall for chains of gold.
You can fall for pretty strangers,
And the promises they hold.
You promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin, yeah!
Now you just say, "Oh Romeo? Yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him".

Juliet, when we made love, you used to cry.
You said, "I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die".
There's a place for us, you know the movie song.
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?

I can't do the talk, like the talk on TV
And I can't do a love song, like the way it's meant to be.
I can't do everything, but I'll do anything for you.
I can't do anything, 'cept be in love with you!
And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be.
All I do is keep the beat... and bad company.
Now all I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhyme,
Juliet, I'd do the stars with you any time!

Juliet, when we made love you used to cry.
You said, "I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die".
There's a place for us, you know the movie song.
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?

And a love-struck Romeo sings a street-suss serenade.
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made.
Finds a convenient streetlight, steps out of the shade.
He says something like, "You and me babe, how about it?"

You and me babe, how about it?

Brother in Arms :

These mist covered mountains,
Are a home now for me.
But my home is the lowlands,
And always will be.
Some day you'll return to,
Your valleys and your farms.
And you'll no longer burn,
To be brothers in arms.

Through these fields of destruction,
Baptisms of fire.
I've witnessed your suffering,
As the battles raged higher.
And though they hurt me so bad,
In the fear and alarm.
You did not desert me,
My brothers in arms.

There's so many different worlds.
So many different suns.
And we have just one world,
But we live in different ones.

Now the sun's gone to hell,
And the moon's riding high.
Let me bid you farewell,
Every man has to die.
But it's written in the starlight,
And every line on your palm.
We're fools to make war,
On our brothers in arms.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Britain will soon become no country for younger and younger 'old' men

I read in the 'Daily Mail' newspaper :

Over 50 and on the scrapheap: As recession bites, a record rise in older workers condemned to long-term unemployment

It made the following points, that :

* 'The Recession' has created a generation of 'over 50s' who are condemned to long- term unemployment.

* the number of older workers trapped in a spiral of joblessness has soared by more than 50% in a year to the highest figure in a decade.

* a total of 170,000 job-seekers over 50 have been out of work for at least 12 months.

* older workers have been the biggest victims of a 'recession panic', which saw businesses slash costs by getting rid of 'long-serving' and, most significantly, 'more expensive' staff.

* the figures renewed claims of widespread prejudice against older workers, who are unfairly seen as slow and unable to keep up with new technology. *

* the revelations also make a mockery of Government pledges to abolish the official retirement age and allow people to work on into their 70s.

* much of the focus of 'Government Economic Policy' is based on a concern for thousands of young graduates who will struggle to find a job in the coming months.

Much of this has been highlighted by the charity : 'Age Concern'.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Britain's old men : two laughter tonics which shall be good for you

With this one we laugh along with the babies.

I'm not sure about this one. Do we laugh at the boy and along with his Mum who appears to be laughing at her son ?

Laughter is good for you because it :

* is infectious and far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze.

* when shared, binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy.

* strengthens the immune system, boosts energy, diminishes pain and protects from the damaging effects of stress.

* is a medicine which is fun, free, and easy to use.

* triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals which promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

* improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Britain's old men, consider the benefits of joining a laughter class :


Monday 9 August 2010

Britain is a country which needs more old men like Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood is an 80 year old American.

I read that he :

* made a personal appeal to Chancellor, George Osborne, expressing 'great concern' over plans to abolish the UK Film Council.

* wrote that, scrapping the UKFC would spark a 'mass exodus of American movie makers from Britain'.

* praised the 'vigorous support' of the UKFC for helping his latest project starring Matt Damon.

* said that the UKFC was instrumental in providing the crucial information to make the decision to shoot in Britain.

The facts :

* the Government wants to axe the 'Film Council' in a 'cost-cutting' drive to pay off Britain's £900 billion debt.

* the Council was set up in 2000 and receives £63million a year in 'lottery' and 'grant' aid.

* 55 actors, including Bill Nighy and Timothy Spall have launched a campaign to save the Council and Clint has weighed in with his letter to the Chancellor.

A Treasury insider said: "It's not often we get a letter from a Hollywood superstar".

So where are David Putnam and Michael Winner ?


P.S. For those who remember 'Rawhide' on black and white t.v. in the 1960's, here he is : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WArD9zfwjMYri9tain B