Whatever happened to the silly season. Traditionally, hacks and the media obliged to employ them are so hard up for hard news stories in August that they resort to all sorts of crap to fill their newslists. It’s where we get the phrase ‘skateboarding ducks’ from, although I have no doubt at all that somewhere in Tarahoma, Iowa, some idiot is as I write (or you read) fine-tuning his programme to get a troupe of ducks to dance the
But, as usual, I have digressed. I began by asking whatever had happened to the silly season, and I did so because August has been anything but news-free: there is the ongoing trouble in Libya and Syria, the discomfort of America’s East Coast who were forcefully taught that not being poor and black doesn’t save you from the ravages of a hurricane, the tragedy become farce but now again become tragedy of the imminent collapse of Europe’s economy what with all the tippy-toeing around the problems of the euro, the widespread looting here in Britain, the shock to the U.S. that as far as the ‘credit ratings agencies’ are concerned, that country’s government and how it runs the economy is no more trustworthy than your average Mid-West snake oil salesman. And finally, as it were to add insult to injury, there’s the fact that for the fourth year running summer here in Britain has been a complete washout. So take your talk of silly seasons and shoved it where the sun don’t shine. We should, of course, look on the bright side: after Channel 4 finally canned Big Brother, reasoning that the programme has run its course, served its purpose and that the station was in danger of flogging a dead horse, up popped Five to buy up the rights and carry on regardless. And, I’m happy to report (though I must admit when I tested the waters, I could stand no more then seven minutes of it) it is even worse than it ever was.
. . .
OK, so as I’m not even 62 and shan’t even reach that oh-so-glorious milestone for more than two months, I am being a bit previous as we say here in England (though my father will be turning in his grave to hear me adopt the phrase, once the slang of uneducated ruffians, then a knowing number adopted by educated ruffians, and now not far off what you might well hear in a BBC Radio 4 commentary, still every-so-slightly jokey, but with overtones that the speaker might be a tad dull but he’s most definitely also a tad street. Christ, the petty nuances of modern life. But I was going to rattle on a little about began ‘old age’ and so I’d better get to the point sharpish for fear of being prematurely diagnosed with the onset of dementia. Now why would I consider pontificating about old age. Well, for one, the increasing number of vague and not so vague aches and pains my body suffers daily. And what’s all that about? Lord, there was a time, it seems no many years ago, but was most surely at least 20 when, if needs be, I could shag all night and still go to work after just two hours sleep. I was - this is, I think important - still unmarried and would, admittedly, spend the rest of the day feeling like a rag doll, but that isn’t the point. But now? Now the first steps downstairs for my morning cup of tea are tentative, to say the least, with my heels feeling as though I had spent the previous ten hours running non-stop. Then there is my growing stoop. What’s all that about then? It has got to the point where my son, still only 12 but sadly just as facetious and heartless as I was at that age, feels the way I get up from a chair and walk is worth at least five minutes of remorseless ribbing. And what makes it all the less bearable is that no amount of loving advice along the lines of ‘don’t laugh to much, my lad, you’ll get there, too, one day, mark my words’ makes the not a blind bit of difference. He is just a young lad enjoying the last few months of life pre-puberty when everything is a hoot, and I can’t see him paying any attention at all to my wise advice for at least an other 30 years, by which time I shall be dead, or if not dead, in no state do do much except slobber over my soup and repeat myself till even the most charitable of my nurses loses patients.
So what is it all about? I go to the gym three times a week