Sunday 31 July 2011

Britain is a country which says "Goodbye" to Silvio Narizzano and old men remember his 'Georgy Girl'

The film director, Silvio Narizzano, who has died at the age of 84 will be forever remembered for his film, 'Georgy Girl' which he made in 1966 with the late Lynn Redgrave, James Mason and Alan Bates. He stands to the right of Lynn in the photo.

The film trailer :

Lynn singing 'A Whole Lotta Woman' :

What you probably didn't know about Silvio was that he :

* was the son of an Italian-American family, born in Montreal in Canada, gaduated from unviversity and joined the Mountain Playhouse in Montreal and then the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, working as an assistant to Norman Jewison before he came to Britain to work in tv.

* diected his first feature, the Hammer horror film 'Fanatic' in 1965 which was notable for being Tallulah Bankhead's last movie and first in 20 years and after being seen in harsh unflattering closeups said : "Darlings, I must apologise for looking older than God's wet nurse."

* made 'Die! Die! My Darling!' with a young Donald Sutherland in 1965 :

* made 'Georgy Girl' in 1966 and followed its triumph with a western called 'Blue', starring Terence Stamp in 1968, which opened to withering reviews but remained his favourite film :

* after directing a 'Miss Marple Mystery', 'The Body in the Library' for the BBC in 1984, found that his work began to tail off.

* suffered from bouts of depression and found some comfort at a Buddhist retreat in Chislehurst in Kent and later a Bible study group in Greenwich, where he lived a semi-reclusive life.

Message to 'English Rider' in California : "Yes, I do read and appreciate your comments"

Spot on 'English Rider'. Yes, the 'New Seekers' provided the song for Georgy Girl.

Saturday 30 July 2011

Britain, no country for a blog called 'Britain is no country for old men' ?

The graph and figures for this blog indicate the rise and fall of its popularity over the last 12 months with the number of visits indicated by the yellow bars and the number of page views indicated by the red.

Is it time to say "Goodbye" to a blog called : 'Britain is no country for old men'?

VISITS total so far : 34,245

PAGE VIEWS : 51,988

Friday 29 July 2011

Britain is a country which says "Happy Birthday" to David Warner and old men remember him as 'Morgan' when he and they were young

David Warner, actor, who has appeared in many films, is 70 years old today. He was 25
years old in 1966 and I was a 19 year old student living in Brighton, when I saw him starring with the beautiful Vanessa Redgrave in 'Morgan : A Suitable Case for Treatment'.

What I didn't know about David when I saw the film was that he :

* was born out of wedlock in Manchester where his father owned a nursing home, brought up by each of his parents and eventually settled in with his Russian Jewish father and stepmother.

* was educated in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire and then trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and made his stage debut at the Royal Court Theatre in 1962, playing 'Snout', in Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', directed by Tony Richardson.

* made his film debut in 1963, as the villainous Blifil, in 'Tom Jones' and in an early television role, starred alongside Bob Dylan in the play 'Madhouse on Castle Street'.

* joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1963 and was cast as Henry VI the 1966 season and also Hamlet.

Then came 'Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment' which established his reputation for playing slightly off-the-wall characters.

The film trailer :

* In Highgate Cemetry at the grave of Karl Marx with his Mum, played by the wonderful Irene Handl :

* Being put to bed by his Mum :

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Britain, no country for old men today, was one for the first ones 30,000 years ago

Professor Rachel Caspari of Central Michigan University has a theory. It says that :

* most of our prehistoric ancestors died before the age of 30 as a result of disease, famine, injury or childbirth.

* then, 30,000 years ago the number of adults seeing their 30th birthday soared and around the same time our hunter-gatherer ancestors went through a major change in behaviour.

* artwork became more sophisticated, tools became more complex and food production shot up.

She is unsure why people started living for longer but some experts have claimed that food-gathering skills improved around the same time.

What she is sure about is that for first time old men and women survived and their arrival would have given our ancestors a massive boost as they babysat, made tools, taught skills and most importantly passed on vital wisdom on human relationships.

She told the magazine 'Scientific American' :

‘Living to an older age has profound effects on the population sizes, social interactions and genetics of early modern human groups and may explain why they were more successful than other archaic humans such as the Neanderthals.’

Here in Britain, Professor Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum in London and author of 'The Origin of Our Species', has said that old men and women :

* passed on knowledge of poisonous food, the location of water supplies and important
skills such as toolmaking.

* importantly, knew the distant relationships with other tribes so it is
easier to negotiate rules around access to water holes or to land rich in game.


Professor Caspari's article in 'Scientific American' provoked this response from 'Raghuvanshi1' in India who wasn't having any of it :

'Elders are nuisance to young generation. As world changing so fast knowledge of older generation is useless for young people. Older people are helpless and no one care about them. Extreme old age is curse to old man. He is victim of many disease, some time old people unable to move, want help of another for everything. No one prefer this kind of hopeless life'.

'I ask you simple question why are more old people are suffering from demented, paralysis and other incurable diseases in Europe and America compare to India and China? We Indians take care more of our old parent then you. I wrote generation gap and that is anyone can see all over the world'.

So maybe, Britain 30,000 years ago was and India today isn't a place for old men.

Britain is no country for an old Prince called Charles who has passed his "sell by date" when it comes to new technology

Prince Charles' recent remarks about the 'march of technology' will strike a chord with many old men.

Presenting operational medals to soldiers from the Army Air Corps, who had returned from their first tour of Afghanistan, Charles, their Colonel-in-Chief admitted that he was "not one of the PlayStation generation" and joked that like many fathers felt that he was "past his sell by date".

Visiting Wattisham Airfield, in Suffolk, where his son, Prince Harry, is undergoing training with the Army Air Corps, he said:

* I was lucky enough to have a flight in an Apache a few months ago. I had to be shown how to strap myself in and just about every other aspect of the aircraft by my youngest son.

* I found I am past my sell by date when it came to controlling such a sophisticated aircraft.

* I am not part of the PlayStation generation which seems to be vital when getting to grips with the controls of an Apache.

* I couldn’t read the writing on the dashboard so I was constantly peering at the display.’

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to Mick Jagger and old men fondly remember the 1960's when they, like him, were young men

Mick Jagger, who is 68 years old and was born just outside South London in Dartford, Kent, while I was born 4 years later about 10 miles up the railway line in Lewisham in South London.

Here we both are in the year 1965, when he was 22 and I was 18.

Things you possibly didn't know about the early Mick, that he :

* had a father, Joe Jagger, who was a teacher and a mother, Eva, who was born in Australia and was a hairdresser and an active member of the Conservative Party.

* was raised to follow in his father's career path but later said : " I was always a singer. I always sang as a child. I was one of those kids who just liked to sing. I was in the church choir and I also loved listening to singers on the radio – the BBC or Radio Luxembourg – or watching them on TV and in the movies."

* in 1950, when he was 7, became friends with a classmate called Keith Richards at Wentworth Primary School in Dartford.

* in 1954, went to Dartford Grammar School and lost contact with Keith until, after a chance encounter, they resumed their friendship in 1960 and discovered that they had both developed a love for 'rhythm and blues music', which began for Mick with Little Richard.

* left school in 1961 and moved into a flat in Chelsea with Keith and a guitarist called Brian Jones and where they made plans to start their own rhythm and blues group, while he studied 'business' at the 'London School of Economics' and considered becoming either a journalist or a politician.

* made his first appearance with the others in 'The Rollin' Stones' group, named after a Muddy Waters tune at the Marquee Club in 1962.

* in 1963, left the LSE in favour of a musical career with the now, 'Rolling Stones' and with the encouragement of Andrew Loog Oldham, began with Keith to write songs like 'The Last Time' :

* saw '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' establish The Rolling Stones image as defiant troublemakers in contrast to The Beatles' 'lovable moptop' image.

Later, in 1992, at the age of 49 Mick said of these early years :

"I wasn't trying to be rebellious in those days; I was just being me. I wasn't trying to push the edge of anything. I'm being me and ordinary, the guy from suburbia who sings in this band, but someone older might have thought it was just the most awful racket, the most terrible thing, and where are we going if this is music?... But all those songs we sang were pretty tame, really. People didn't think they were, but I thought they were tame."

Memories of the 1960's, when Mick and I and all the world were young.

Monday 25 July 2011

Britain is no country for sad old men who once fought for it in the Second World War and now think they have lost it

Nicholas Pringle, a 33-year old Tyneside writer was curious about his Grandmother's generation and what they did in the Second World War and 3 years ago sent letters to local newspapers across the country asking for those who lived through the War to write to him with their experiences.

He rounded off his request with this question: 'Are you happy with how your country has turned out? What do you think your fallen comrades would have made of life in 21st century Britain?'

The 150 replies he received he published as a book and their message was that those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the War would now be turning in their graves.

There was the occasional bright spot - one veteran describes Britain as 'still the best country in the world' - but the overall tone is one of profound disillusionment.

A sailor who fought the Japanese in the Far East said :
'I sing no song for the once-proud country that spawned me and I wonder why I ever tried.'

Another ex-serviceman :
'My patriotism has gone out of the window.'

Another said :
'We old people struggle on pensions, not knowing how to make ends meet. If I had my time again, would we fight as before? Need you ask?'

So what are the fears of these old men which I repeat but do not share ? :

* 'This Land of Hope and Glory is just a land of yobs and drunks'

* 'People come here, get everything they ask, for free, laughing at our expense,'

* Politicians were generally 'liars, incompetents and self-aggrandising charlatans'

* 'Our British culture is draining away at an ever increasing pace and we are almost forbidden to make any comment.'

* 'If you see youngsters doing something they shouldn't and you say anything, you just get a mouthful of foul language.'

In one letter in the collection, a Royal Air Force mechanic quoted a poem about comrades who fell in battle:

'I mourned them then,
But now surviving in a world,
Indifferent to their hopes and dreams,
I grieve more for the living.'

Sunday 24 July 2011

Britain is no country and Europe is no continent for old men

Research commissioned by 'Age UK' has shown that 'age' is the most widely experienced form of discrimination in Europe with 64% of those interviewed in the UK and 44% across Europe, judging 'age discrimination' as a serious problem.

The Report, ‘A Snapshot of Ageism in the UK and across Europe’, was based on data from 55,000 people from different age groups in 28 countries.

It made the following points, that :

* old men and women in Britain are more likely to report experiencing lack of respect, such as being ignored and patronised, than being subjected to more blatant forms of discrimination, such as being insulted or abused.

* the majority of those interviewed across all counties said they would find it easier to accept a suitably qualified 30 year old as a boss, than a 70 year old with exactly the same qualifications.

* 35% said they had experienced unfair treatment because of their age, compared to 25% who had experienced sex discrimination and 17% who had experienced race discrimination.

* some 64% of those interviewed in Britain judged age discrimination as a serious problem, compared with 44% across Europe and the British figure was second behind that of France at 68%.

Michelle Mitchell, Director of 'Age UK' said:

" The research shows the disturbing levels of age discrimination in Britain and Europe. The British Government must not loose anytime in pressing ahead with the ban on harmful age discrimination and ensure that older people have equal access to goods and services in the public and private sector.

As well as strong laws we need a change in attitudes. It is time to stop treating older people as second class citizens. We need to look beyond someone’s age at their individual strengths and strive for a society which enables older people to remain active and independent."

P.S One redeeming feature about Britain, revealed by the Survey :

British people were shown to be above the European average when it came to believing the importance of being unprejudiced towards other age groups, however, while older people in Britain were looked upon as more friendly than by the rest of the Europe old people were also thought of as being less competent.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Bitain is a country where old men living in care homes in a 'parallel universe' have a champion in a young gerontologist called Alisoun Milne

Alisoun Milne, 'gerontology academic' and author of a new book on care homes, has said : 'Older people are still invisible in care'.

"Most of us run a long way from contemplating old age because we don't like to think of ourselves, or those close to us as being ill or needing care."

Alisoun became interested in working with older people after spending time on a mental health unit in South London when training to be a social worker. "I remember being horrified by that part of the hospital where the oldest patients were confined," she recalls.

"With a few notable exceptions, the least trained, least motivated staff appeared to have been parked there. It was the least nice building with the shoddiest furniture. I felt very sad and it opened my eyes to the lack of attention that we pay to the elderly – almost as though we'd dismissed them. It made me realise that there's a parallel universe out there and lots of people with extensive needs but no voice."

In 1993, Alisoun moved into academia, having concluded that she was better able to give them old people a voice through research, writing and trying to influence policy.

Does she think there has been much improvement since the late 1980's when units like the one that she had visited began to be closed down?

"It's a mixed picture," she says. "The Alzheimer's Society has been very successful in getting its feet under various desks and tables and society as a whole is more aware of dementia because more has been written about it."

Nonetheless, she feels strongly that there are too many "invisible" people in care. "Care homes are part of the community but don't feel part of it," she says. "Residents could be seen out and about a bit more, as they are in some of the best homes, but that depends on having good staff ratios and well-trained staff."

Things aren't quiet what comedian Matt Lucas would have us believe :

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Britain said "Happy Birthday" to an old baby boomer, rock guitarist and astrophysicist called Brian May

Brian Harold May was 64 yesterday.

Things you possibly didn't know about Brian, that he :

* was an only child, grew up in Hampton in London, his father was a draughtsman at the Ministry of Aviation and at school he formed his first band called 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'.

* when he was 21, formed the band 'Smile' which contained drummer Roger Taylor, who also went on to play for 'Queen'.

* formed 'Queen' in 1971, with Freddie Mercury, John Deacon and Roger and went on to write, among other songs, 'We Will Rock You' and 'I Want It All'.

* after the 'Live Aid' concert in summer 1985, was phoned along with his band mates by Freddie who proposed writing a song together and the result was 'One Vision', with Brian on music, Roger on lyrics and Freddie as producer and arranger.

* following the death of Freddie in 1991, chose to deal with his grief by working hard, first by finishing his solo album and then touring worldwide to promote it.

* has worked extensively with stage actress and singer Kerry Ellis after he cast her in the musical 'We Will Rock You'.
With Kerry Ellis in Hyde Park in 2010 :

* earned a doctorate in astrophysics from Imperial College in 2007 and is currently the Chancellor of Liverpool 'John Moore's University'.

* appeared on the 700th edition of the tv programme,'The Sky at Night', hosted by Patrick Moore and on which the Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, said: "I don't know any scientist who looks as much as like Isaac Newton as you do" to which Brian said : "that could be my after dinner comment, thank you very much".

* in 2009, published a book entitled 'A Village Lost and Found: Scenes in Our Village', a collection of stereoscopic photographs taken by the Victorian photographer T. R. Williams and sold with a stereoscope.

* formed a group called 'Save Me' to promote decent treatment for animals with a particular emphasis on preventing hunting of foxes and the culling of badgers and said in an interview in 2010 that he "would rather be remembered for his animal rights work, than for his music or science".

* was ranked at number 39 on the 'Rolling Stone' Magazine's list of the '100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time'.

'Save Me' with Kerry Ellis :

Monday 18 July 2011

Britain's is a country which says "Happy Bithday" to Brian Auger and old men remember the beauty of Julie Driscoll

Brian Auger, jazz and rock keyboardist is 71 today.

Things you possible didn't know about Brian, that he :

* in 1965 Auger formed the group 'The Steampacket', along with Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll, Vic Briggs and Rod Stewart.

* with Julie and the band, 'Trinity', he went on to record several hit singles, notably a cover version of David Ackles' 'Road to Cairo':

and Bob Dylan's 'This Wheel's on Fire':

* in 1969 they appeared performing in the USA on the nationally telecast '33⅓ Revolutions Per Monkee'.

* in 1970 he formed 'Brian Auger's Oblivion Express', which had the future 'Average White Band' drummers Robbie McIntosh and Steve Ferrone, as well as guitarist Jim Mullen.

Saturday 16 July 2011

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to a quintessentialy 'English' comic actor and ex-Goody called Tim Brooke-Taylor

Timothy Julian Brooke-Taylor is 71 today.
Things you possible didn't know about Tim, that he :

* was born in Derbyshire, England, the Grandson of Francis Pawson, a church parson who played centre-forward for England's football team in the 1880's.

* was the son of a mother who had been an international lacrosse player and a father who was a solicitor.

* was educated at Winchester College and studied at the University of Cambridge. where he read law and mixed with other budding comedians, John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Bill Oddie in the University 'Footlights Club' of which he became President in 1963.

* moved swiftly into BBC Radio with the fast-paced comedy show 'I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again' in which he performed as the screeching eccentric Lady Constance de Coverlet.

* performed in the TV series 'On the Braden Beat' taking over the slot vacated by Peter Cook in his guise as E L Wisty, a reactionary right-wing city gent..

*in 1967, moved to the comedy TV series 'At Last the 1948 Show' with Cleese, Chapman and Marty Feldman and co wrote the famous 'Four Yorkshiremen' sketch :

Plain Clothes police women sketch :

* took part in 'The Goodies' in 1970 which was a huge television success, running for over a decade on the BBC.

* appeared with Oddie and Garden, in the Amnesty International show, 'A Poke in the Eye' during which they sang their hit song 'Funky Gibbon'.

Clips from Tim's career :


Tim was expelled from an all-girls school at the age of five, being one of just two boys in the school, whose antics in the Brownies proved so chaotic that it was recommended that they leave.


Friday 15 July 2011

Is Britain a country like the U.S.A. where baby boomers think old age begins at 70 ?

An article in the British newspaper the 'Daily Mail' the other day was entitled :
Middle age doesn't stop until you're 70! Today's over-50s show no sign of slowing down.

It repeated the following points, which had been made by an American study by '', an online network for 'mid-lifers', about American post Second World War 'baby boomers', that they :

* believe that their 'middle age' will last until they are 70, retain their intention to cling to their youth and after drawing their pensions are refusing to quietly see out their days as generations before them had.

* with improvements in health care, are able to spend more time with their grandchildren, travel and do the things they have been putting off for years because of work commitments.

* find their biggest worries were, that :

- illness would take away their independence (45%)
- they would lose their memory (44%)
- they would lose their financial self-sufficiency (41%)
and only 18% say they worry about dying.

The implication in the article was that British baby boomers would share the same attitudes as their American counterparts but do they ?

Well, this old baby boomer answers with qualified : "Yes"

P.S. a Baby Boomer cartoon :

P.P.S. My earlier posts about baby boomers :

Baby Boomer Millionaires :

Baby Boomer polluters :

Baby boomers beware David Willetts : Part One

Britain is no country for old and poor baby boomers who are about to retire :

Born in the USA :

Britain is a Country awash with books about the crimes against and the abuse of old men and women

A Google search of books relating to 'Crimes Against Old People UK' produces a rich trawl of current literature on sale and indicates the growing levels of crime against them in Britain today.

* Fleecing Grandma and Grandpa: Protecting Against Scams, Cons, and Frauds

* Elder Abuse Work

* The Abuse of Older People: A Training Manual for Detection and Prevention

* 67 Ways to Protect Seniors from Crime

* Ageing, Crime and Society

* Crime, Abuse and the Elderly

* Frauds Against the Elderly

Thursday 14 July 2011

Britain is a country with an old actor called Patrick Stewart and Captain Jean - Luc Picard of the Starship Enteprise

Britain said "Happy Birthday" to Patrick Stewart who was 71 years old yesterday.

Things you possibly didn't know about Patrick, that he:

* was born Yorkshire, where his mother was a weaver and textile worker and his father, a Regimental Sergeant Major in the British Army.

* has said that his father was " a very potent individual, a very powerful man who got what he wanted. It was said that when he strode on to the parade ground, birds stopped singing. It was many, many years before I realised how my father inserted himself into my work. I've grown a moustache for Macbeth. My father didn't have one, but when I looked in the mirror just before I went on stage I saw my father's face staring straight back at me."
Playing Macbeth in 2008 :

* as a child, endured poverty and disadvantage and in 2006, made a short video against domestic violence for Amnesty International, in which he recollected his father's physical attacks on his mother and the effect it had on him as a child.

* is a patron of 'Refuge', a charity for abused women and talks about his father's violence when he was a child :

* attributes his acting career to an English teacher at his junior school who "put a copy of Shakespeare in my hand and said, 'Now get up on your feet and perform'"

* left school at the age of 15, got a job on a local paper where he would attend local theatre rehearsals during work time and then invent the stories he reported.

* on becoming bald as a teenager, has said that : "I believed that no woman would ever be interested in me again. I prepared myself for the reality that a large part of my life was over" :

* left the paper and after a period with the Manchester Library Theatre, served as member of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1966 until 1982 appearing with Ben Kingsley and Ian Richardson.

* took roles in many major tv series without ever becoming a household name.

* in 1987, began his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and worked on the series until 1994 and later said that when he went to his first 'Star Trek Convention' he " had expected that I would be standing in front of a few hundred people and found that there were two and a half thousand people and that they already knew more about me than I could ever possibly have believed. ”
Captain Picard Day :

* was made a 'Knight Bachelor' in the 2010 'New Year Honours' for 'Services to Drama'.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Britain is no country fo old men in Southern Cross care homes who are the casualties of private equity loan sharks

The Daily Mail an article today entitled :

Thousands could lose their care home this Christmas with 'lives at risk' as Southern Cross shuts down 752 homes to be handed to new operators or landlords

It made the following points, that the 31,000 old men and women who are residents in 500 Southern Cross care homes :

* have been left with no idea who could be running their homes and facing the possible trauma of moving.

* have not been given an assurance by the Prime Minister’s spokesman that they would be able to remain in their homes only one merely saying that they will not end up on the streets.

Ros Altmann, of over-50s group 'Saga', said :

" These people are not parcels in a warehouse, they are vulnerable people who stand to lose the stability of living in the home they have got used to.
Elderly people, who are often confused, often cannot cope with the trauma of moving –and that can kill them."

Judy Downey, of the 'Residents’ and Relatives’ Association', said :

"Just saying no one would be made homeless is no more than you would expect of an animal. What we want is for an assurance that people would receive the best care possible in the homes they are in."

The Paper's editorial comment made these poits, that :

* the bankruptcy of Southern Cross is a morality tale of our times.

* like the banks before it, the fortunes of the company were founded on a mountain of debt and the glib assumption that property prices would rise for ever.

* for 'Blackstone', the rapacious Manhattan-based private equity group which bought Southern Cross in 2004, it was truly a golden goose.

* by the time the group sold out in 2007, they had taken hundreds of millions of pounds out of the company, stripped its property assets and saddled it with crippling long-term rental obligations.

* as a result, come the credit crunch, the company simply buckled under the weight of its debts.

* such immoral profiteering by private equity sharks, provides ammunition to those who believe the private sector can’t be trusted to provide care for the elderly.

P.S. I had a posting about Southern Cross in June :