Pass!

One of the phenomena I’ve noticed in the process of getting older is the process of things passing me by. Some of them pass by from my not having noticed them, some from my not liking them and some from my not knowing about them in the first place.

Is this a natural part of ageing? In his dotage my father took impressive steps into the world of new technology when he not only mastered some elements of word processing but also managed email [albeit in a somewhat antiquated manner, beginning all mails with ‘Dear’-letter fashion, unable to quite take in the informality]. He never got to grips with surfing the net, fearing the exposure of his personal details, perhaps his previous role as secretary to the parish council or membership of the village history society.

The phenomenon of ‘Things passing me by’ has crept upon me despite efforts to keep up. I feel it is the tip of a large iceberg, the top of which is visible, the underparts carrying a mass of culture, technology and who-knows-what-else I cannot even dream of. But here are some of the items on the top-the visible-part of the obstacle:

  1. I know what a smartphone is. I own one. But aside from texts it is rarely used, or even switched on, except for an occasional look at internet, as long as it is not too onerous to access. Most of my smartphone is a mystery. I don’t use the camera. It took me over a year to be able to swipe to answer a call [my call-answering is still not reliable]. I haven’t been able to memorise the number. It has passed me by.
  2. I understand that apps are applications. I just don’t use them. It seems that as soon as I have made the effort to acquire one something else has superseded it. ‘WHAT?’ friends and relations cry, ‘You don’t use ‘Picsnap’ or ‘Instabomb’? How do you manage to live? Surely everyone does ‘Smype’? No, they don’t.
  3. Hit TV programmes. I like thrillers. I like corny, old-fashioned cop detective shows, [like soon-to-be-axed ‘New Tricks’]. I can’t get to grips with ‘Game of Thrones’-nor do I want to.
  4. Talent shows. X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent et al. Contrived, hyped and wearisome. The only exception I make is for ‘Strictly’. I recognise few of the ‘celebs’ but I like the dancing, although the programme, with its padding, pretend humour and feeble, contrived banter is nowhere near as good as it was in the beginning. I do not, however feel enslaved to watch every episode.
  5. Contemporary music. By which I mean Rapping [I know it is all social comment/poetry and all that, but I can’t conceive of the likes of Tiny Someone, Master Monotony or Kanter East as actual music], Plastic pop [of the ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ band kind] and that monotonous, thrumming, repetitive techno you are so often assaulted by in European bars. Give me a blast of Eric Burden delivering his stark rendition of ‘Bring it on Home to me’ any day of the week.
  6. Piri-Piri chicken, Nando’s etc. Where and when did Piri-Piri spring from? I went into a Nando’s for a coffee once.
  7. Dresses worn with leggings. No. Pass by. Please.

If all this sounds curmudgeonly it is probably because I am becoming a curmudgeon. Kay Sera.

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Lost in the Fog of Incomprehension

                I think I may be turning into my mother. It is an unnerving thought. Why do I suspect this? Well, in a somewhat painful acknowledgement I have to confess there are many aspects of today’s fashion, culture and lifestyle I simply do not understand at all, and this lack of comprehension elicits the same pitying expression and incredulous remarks from my offspring as I once presented to their grandmother.

                There are the same, mismatched conversations about film, TV or music; the same confusion over technological issues; the same enquiries of ‘you mean you’ve never heard of…?’

                I remember breezing in from school as a thirteen year old, slinging my satchel [yes, reader, a satchel-and not the current Fiorelli or Mulberry type] down and delightedly regaling my mother with a seedy tale about a girl who’d been yanked out of class for flaunting a necklace of love bites.  The sad truth for those of us in thrall was that we all wished it was us, since it was indisputable evidence of a steamy encounter with a member of the opposite sex…! There was no possible method of self inflicting these fetching, purplish-blue bruises even if one was gifted with a talent for contortionism. My mother’s reaction? She was bewildered.

                “What? Biting?…Why would anyone bite someone?”

                I told her. I explained that it wasn’t a bite, it was a suck, but she remained resolutely mystified-and somewhat disapproving that I’d related the incident. At least, in this respect I differ from her, that is I am reasonably shock-proof. How can I be anything else? I was a teenager in the sixties.

                The following is a random sample of some things that mystify me.

 

Puffa Jackets.

I don’t get these. For anyone who is not anorexic they render the body obese. To wear one is to resemble the bulbous ‘Michelin Man’. I don’t doubt they are warm-but then so are bedsocks, and balaclavas.

 

Teenage Vampires.

I’ve read ‘Dracula’. It was great. I enjoyed the Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. But the plethora of viewing of ‘Twilight’ ilk is all total bilge…[to me!].

 

Rapping

I should probably not include rapping in this list, since it has been around for so long-but it still does not pre-date my musical tastes. I have never understood its appeal, being neither poetry nor music.

 

Shots

As far as I can make out, this is simply a way to get strong alcohol down the gullet without tasting alcohol, hence the bizarre flavours. You only ever see people tipping them down their throats, as if imbibing nasty medicine-which it might just as well be.

 

Tattoos

I agree there is a modicum of fascination about someone who is covered in inky pictures, but I’ve yet to see how they enhance anyone’s appearance. It looks eccentric to the point of farcical to sweep up the red carpet towards the Oscar ceremony in a Balenciaga gown with a lurid tattoo on the bare shoulder or exposed leg-and a related body decoration-

 

Piercings

Yes I do have pierced ears, although only one, discreet hole in each. The worst are those studs in the indentation of the nostril that simply look like a nasty boil on the nose, or dangle from the nose like snot. Similarly, I can’t see anything attractive about those HUGE cotton reel things that young men wear in both ears, forming a large, gaping circle in each.

                I could go on, except that it may well turn into a rant, which would be unseemly. It’s not, you understand, that I disapprove of any of the above, more that I can’t see the point of them. But hey-each to their own. [oh and I know how irritating old people can be!]