JCT

Posts Tagged ‘Midlife’

Reclaim cool bars!

In Food & Drink, midlife on September 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Why should cool bars be the preserve of the young?

I’m the first to admit I don’t get out enough these days, but that doesn’t mean to say when I do go out I only want to go to child-friendly restaurants, book groups, or pub quiz nights. In fact only the last of those do I go to with any enthusiasm. Read the rest of this entry »

#74 Tweet sensations (twensations?)

In Social Networking on February 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Or ‘how I learned to stop worrying and love Twitter’.

Although I’ve had an account for about a year, solely to alert more people when I have a new blog post, it’s only in the past three weeks that I’ve actually started using it properly.

On previous visits I’d felt like I was at a party where I didn’t really know anyone. I was hovering on the edge of a circle of cool people, hoping they’d notice me, eavesdropping on female national newspaper columnists and comedy panel show regulars exchanging witticisms (ie slagging off common people) about #MBFGW and XFactor, or discussing the exact Pantone card code of Claudia Winkleman’s face. Read the rest of this entry »

#65 Most used words

In miscellaneous on December 19, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I’ve just taken that Facebook diversion that everyone seems to be distracted by today – Your Most Used Words in 2010. Perfect for those of us who are supposed to be doing pre-Christmas cleaning, pre-Christmas emails, or pre-Christmas Christmas card writing. (Obviously post-Christmas-Christmas card writing would be a waste of time, though the more pedantic among us might argue that at any point you are always post one Christmas and pre the next. Unless it’s Christmas Day.) Read the rest of this entry »

#56 Oh dear…

In midlife on August 28, 2010 at 11:41 am

There’s nothing like being on the cover of a magazine to make you realise how old you look. Even with all that photoshopping, tonnes of slap, and sucking my belly in really hard, I’m still thinking: fewer pies, more expensive moisturiser. Read the rest of this entry »

#54 Shoot

In Kids, midlife on August 11, 2010 at 10:14 pm

It’s not every day that a national newspaper wants to shoot me for the cover of its magazine – and there are many, many reasons why, as anyone who has ever seen, or tried to take, a picture of me will testify. Read the rest of this entry »

#53 The Midlife Manual

In midlife on August 6, 2010 at 10:46 am

With The Midlife Manual due for publication on 2 September (‘Don’t turn 40 without it!’), my co-author and I are now obliged to start blogging, tweeting, facebooking, and no doubt stumbling, digging and didgeridoing by way of trying to raise its profile enough to encourage someone to buy it.

As we are continuously being told: ‘no one buys books any more’. In fact my co-writer was made redundant from his position of Books Editor of a leading listings magazine for precisely this reason, though strangely (and perhaps illegally?) I notice they have since employed a new ‘books editor’ suggesting that even if people don’t buy books, they still want to read them. Just as people no longer want to pay for music, but they will always want to listen to it.

Sadly we are no Radiohead and can’t afford to offer our creative output for download at a nominal 1p (plus we happen to like the physicality of a book), so the socially networked marketing campaign must begin. Read the rest of this entry »

#51 Feet

In midlife, White collar denial on July 21, 2010 at 10:33 pm

It’s hard to relax while an Eastern European woman is wrapping your feet in cling film.

It was my first proper pedicure (I know! At my age!) and while the results were silky smooth, there is nevertheless someting culturally uncomfortable about having somebody working on your feet.

Perhaps its the supplicatory position required by the practitioner, or latent imagery from Sunday School stories of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet (John 13: 3-17 if you’re interested), made slightly scarier by the fact that mysterious groups such as the Seventh Day Adventists, Anabaptists and Amish still practice it. (I’ve never had my shoes shined either.) This is all made even more awkward when you consider that this is a woman who is brilliant at her job (Hell, I don’t even HAVE a job) and whose services cost more and are more in demand than those of a freelance journalist. Read the rest of this entry »

#48 Life, death and nostalgia at the car boot sale

In Gratuitous nostalgia, midlife, Tales on June 14, 2010 at 11:29 am

I thought a car boot sale was just about getting up too early on a Saturday and making a quick bit of cash; turns out they are a philosophically-charged hotbeds of self-examination, rites of passage, relationship diplomacy, and even life and death.

Having just filed the last tranche of the 40,000 or so words required for the forthcoming book Welcome to Midlife, which I’ve co written with the far more literary than myself John O’Connell, (published by Short Books this autumn), I thought I’d make a bit of much needed cash at the school car boot. (Writing books is a privilege, but it pays bugger all.) Read the rest of this entry »

#32 Pub Quiz

In midlife on February 17, 2010 at 12:11 am

As cheap and cheerful entertainment goes, the pub quiz is king. Apparently quizzes now run a close third behind darts and snooker as Britain’s most popular bar room sport, with almost half the pubs in the country now hosting one. find a pub quiz near you

I’ve no idea whether pub quizzes are a British phenomenon (though it should clearly be a 2012 exhibition sport) and the few sources I can find suggest they didn’t really evolve until the 1970s, but a generation who grew up with Top of the Form, Blockbusters and Ask the Family got given Triv one Christmas and is now lapping up Weakest Link and  …Millionaire. (Or QI and Celebrity Mastermind if you like to think of yourself as an intellectual.)

The pub quiz I go to is less than 150yds from my front door. This is what passes for a Big Night Out for me these days. It is held in one of the area’s last unreconstructed boozers, or at least half unreconstructed: a curious hybrid where the front half is stripped tables and Sky Sports, but the saloon remains exactly how it was 20 years ago – red velour banquetttes, wildly patterned carpet, wonky frosted glass wall lights, mismatched wallpaper, and a nicotine brown ceiling which, bearing in mind the even tone and the fact that smoking has been banned for two and a half years now, must actually be painted that way. Apparently they do occasionally renovate, it’s just that they always renovate it exactly how it was.

It once flirted with a wine list, but soon reverted to its red v white arrangement, though to be fair they did upgrade from the previous house vintage, the worryingly named  ‘Esperanza’. As far as cocktails go, you are looking at a spirits shelf that contains things called ‘Aftershock’ and ‘Micky Finn’. It has even been known, on more than one occasion, to run out of bitter.

This is not a ‘destination pub’, it is a local. If you lived on the other side of London, you wouldn’t choose to come here. If you lived on the other side of the main road, you’d possibly consider nearer options. But I don’t. So I go.

Some pubs boast celebrity comedy pub quizzes, we have a man with holes in his socks. But he’s a nice man who compiles the quiz out of a sense of civic duty, gives £1 of our £1.50 participation money to charity (the rest goes into the jackpot),  and is always smiling. There’s the usual rivalry between two teams who take it in turns to win, but when the top prize is a crate of beer and the second a bottle of wine to share, no one else really minds. It’s more fun just to pick sides and cheer them on.

When the ugly rumour circulated last week that the quiz, or rather quizmaster, might go as the management wanted to ‘try a new format’,  there were strong mutterings on the local gossip forum.

So if you can’t get there before the end of this month, or live on the other side of the main road, you can still replicate the experience by painting your ceiling brown, pouring yourself a Spitfire, arguing over a witty name, and answering these (most of which our team got right):

Who claimed ‘An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.’

Who said: ‘I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.’?

What was the last No1 of the 1980s?

In which city is the Hallé orchestra based?

The name of which capital city translates as ‘I see a mountain’?

Which poet wrote about ‘Matilda who told such dreadful lies’?

Where did the Beatles give their last public performance?

If you were to sail west from Lands End, which country would you hit first?

‘Is it a book you would wish your wife or servants to read?’ Which book?

Which two countries fought the battle of Flodden?

And because there was always a waterways question: What river does the Scottish city of Perth stand on?

The jackpot question,  ‘Which 1980s band had a singer called Fish?’

 

 

 

 

 


ANSWERS

(look away now)

Who claimed ‘An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.’

Agatha Christie

Who said: ‘I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.’?

Isaac Newton

What was the last No1 of the 1980s?

Band Aid II

In which city is the Hallé orchestra based?

Manchester


The name of which capital city translates as ‘I see a mountain’?

Montevideo


Which poet wrote about ‘Matilda who told such dreadful lies’?

Hilaire Belloc

Where did the Beatles give their last public performance?

On the roof of the Apple building, Savile Row, 1969

If you were to sail due west from Lands End, which country would you hit first?

Canada

‘Is it a book you would wish your wife or servants to read?’ Which book?

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Which two countries fought the battle of Flodden?

Scotland & England

And because there was always a waterways question: What river does the Scottish city of Perth stand on?

Tay

The jackpot question,  ‘Which 1980s band had a singer called Fish?’

Marillion

#15 The great mince pie challenge

In Food & Drink, midlife, White collar denial on December 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm

December is here, which means mince pie season. Hurrah!

Surrounded by delis and upmarket bakeries as I am, the pickings are rich. But I have a moral dilemma: how much is too much to spend on a handmade mince pie during a recession? Read the rest of this entry »