Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Farewell, Club Young: There Is No Chase for Youth More Futile Than That of the Mid-Forties Man Who Thinks He Still Looks Cool

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Farewell, Club Young: There Is No Chase for Youth More Futile Than That of the Mid-Forties Man Who Thinks He Still Looks Cool

Article excerpt

I am six weeks away from ignominy, invisibility and anxiety. In late January 2009 I will be entering the September of my life. Forty beckons insistently from the dark corners, and I feel the inevitability of my obedience. No sooner will the leaves be turning brown in the autumn of my forties than I will be counting the days until my own life's Christmas. And then I will be looking back, sucking a cough sweet, looking for my reading glasses and wondering where my life has gone. But before then I must pack away some of the accoutrements of youth, hand back the membership card of "Club Young".

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

First things first: I can no longer dress like a 20-year-old trapped in a late-thirty something's body. I will have to retire my Adidas tracksuit tops, my couple of hoodies and most of my bling tastic Evisu jeans (even the ones with embroidered skulls tumbling down from the back pocket to the heel). There is nothing sadder, no chase for youth more futile, than that of the mid-forties man thinking he still looks cool. cool is better to be called a cab and sent home than be allowed to hang around much past midnight. Obviously this callous but canny cull of clothing will leave a huge gap in my wardrobe. But fear not. I already have my eye on a couple of nice cardigans and a pair of very comfortable-looking slacks with nice pleats. All need now is some driving gloves and a really comfy pair of shoes ...

I was up in the north-east of England for a dinner earlier in the week. Apart from Paul Daniels and Captain Cook, Middlesbrough has little to offer the world other than a warm welcome and a mid-table football team. I was speaking at the conference of the Network of Independent Advisory Groups, a national collective of volunteers who help and advise various police authorities on their approach to minority and special-interest groups. …

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