Idle Eye audio will appear here until I’ve stopped dicking around with the new website and taken it live. We’ll aim to put up a new one every fortnight, maybe more. Who knows? Anyway, let’s kick it all off with Wolf of West Norwood, an oldie but goodie. Let us know what you think. And here are some written credits in case you miss them at the end: Rupert narrated it, Donald produced it (& composed the music) and I wrote it. Very straightforward.
It’s harder than you think, being your own boss. Try it sometime and see for yourselves. Traditionally I have been pathetic at organising my day, which is why I usually get other people to do it for me and hopefully throw in a few quid at the same time. But right now, I’m out of the plane without a chute and unless I sort something out pretty quick, I’ll be land pizza before you know it. There are, however, little tricks you can employ to create the illusion of structure, some of which I shall outline below for anyone in the same predicament:
1) The old ‘leaving the flat’ ruse is a bit of fun – Get dressed in a hurry, swig down a mouthful of instant coffee (leaving the rest) and, if you’re feeling bold, give yourself a quick peck on the cheek. Then walk around the block a couple of times and come back in, panting and complaining bitterly about the inefficiency of whichever rail network you weren’t on.
2) Create a few formal breaks. These will prevent you from atrophying at the computer and provide the added bonus of allowing you to catch up with all the latest gossip. It’s important to stay in the loop.
3) The Reward System, albeit rather primitive, is a great incentiviser. That call you made to Virgin Media Customer Services took a while, right? Have a sweetie. Made it through thirty emails about erectile dysfunction and/or PPI? Have another sweetie. Anything whatsoever to do with the Inland Revenue or TfL? Crack open a bottle of single vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir. Actually, make that two.
4) Stay focused. Tempting though it may be to stray with another episode of Inside Health and discover you’ve probably got shingles/leg ulcers/something irritable going on with your bowel, you’ll only spend the rest of the day on the med sites and give yourself PTSD to boot.
5) Draw the curtains. Because the people you can see outside are almost certainly having more fun than you, will be rich in Vitamin D and couldn’t give a monkey’s that your delete key has packed up again. For them, life is one big picnic. For you, it’s an eternal game of chess. Against Magnus Carlsen.
6) Nothing of interest will come through your letterbox and no-one of interest will ring the doorbell. Ever. Hold your nerve.
7) Facebook and Twitter are not your friends. They are the Trojan horses of the internet, willingly invited into the workplace where they bed in and beckon, stealing your time and reason. Like Mata Hari. With cats and babies.
After these, you’ll need an endpoint. Something to neurotransmit a strong signal to the brain, telling it to pack in the chores and loosen up a little. Sex, recreational drugs, alcohol and repetitive pop tunes have always been popular with the young, but if, like me, you find yourself in your twilight years, The Archers seems to work okay. In conjunction with the above.
The Persians deliberately weave a flaw into the corner of the astonishingly beautiful rugs they create because they believe that only Allah is truly perfect, and it would be a bit of a slap in the face if they try to emulate him/her through their Earthly offerings. Readers, I am that rug: I got it wrong about Glastonbury (as I did with the Olympics and the once Scotch, then Brit, now re-Scotched Andy Murray). As a weathervane for the zeitgeist I can get seriously off-kilter sometimes and hands up, I’ve done it again. Not that I’m admitting it to those who dragged me there, kicking and screaming blue bloody murder to the permanent detriment of their weekend – Good Lord, no! Some things must remain between you and I, and I beg you to keep schtum on this one.
Despite the mud and the mucus, the filth and the fury, the long-drops and the long marches home, I reluctantly acquiesce that it was all reasonably acceptable. Being little more than a soldier ant in a ruthlessly efficient outdoor entertainment machine was, to be fair, somewhat daunting initially. And last time I frequented the place it was a squalid haunt of low-lives, drug dealers and hippies trying to locate my chakras. Particularly after bedtime, which it then seemed churlish to adhere to. However Glastonbury, like all things, has evolved.
Yes, it is vast and yes, it is seemingly commercial. But there are no Audi stalls here, attempting to flog you a luxury vehicle in the most inappropriate of places. No Costa, no McDonalds or Coke, miserably shoehorning their bullshit product in with anything popular they can access in order to maximise reach. For the most part (and I grant you, there are a few exceptions), the on-site businesses are small and endearingly homespun. You do not resent spending a couple of extra quid to keep these guys going. And this in itself would be enough. Perhaps a thumbs-up from this rusting ancient, best suited to keeping an eye on his portfolio in the pink paper, is not the best festival accolade out there. But it doesn’t matter, really it doesn’t.
If you fancy seeing out your ticket price in a hessian shack listening to ’70’s prog rock powered by punters on bicycles, then good luck to you: It’s there for the taking. Failing that, head off to Shangri-La when the main stages shut down and gurn the night away on substances for that authentic Hieronymus Bosch experience. Again, it’s your choice. The trick is knowing which buttons to push and which ones to let go of, and no-one really minds if you screw it up. It’s all part of the deal. Despite myself, being in a field with thousands of people yelling “ED…IS…DEAD!” at the Pixies felt curiously liberating. But if you think for a minute I’m going to let on now that I’m home, dream on…
“See that two bedroom flat in a quiet residential area about eight miles from where it’s at? That’s mine (when I pay off the mortgage in 15 years). I also own a decaying car that’s older than me, take painkillers once a day if the back’s playing up and I owe £132 in council tax. When I was 26, I was selling sandwiches off a bicycle in the Farringdon area for less money than my niece makes in an afternoon, couldn’t hold down a girlfriend and drank myself to sleep most nights. Like it?”
On reflection, perhaps I’ve left it too late to enjoy the nefarious lifestyle portrayed by Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese’s latest epic. Sadly, the days of ludes, ladies and Lamborghinis are long gone but the thirst for excess never completely abandons you, particularly if you haven’t had it in the first place. So here’s a checklist for any senior slickers out there that will not hand over the baton:
Wellman 50+. The Holy Grail of oral healthcare. Neck one of these beauties with a couple of Omega 3’s and you’ll come up smiling for 24 hrs. What’s more, you can drive all you like and still operate the Stannah. Recommended.
HSS Equipment Hire. Mandatory for any lifting gear necessary to winch yourself into position at those liberated office parties. Consider also Streatham Cars for an unhindered lift to A&E shortly afterwards.
Acme Pool Cleaning. If you do happen to get caught short at an all-important client meeting, these guys are discreet, fast as lightning and have on-site fabric care facilities. Includes Dralon®.
Ladbrokes. You like to gamble. But that itch never got properly scratched, right? Instead of pissing away someone else’s blue-collar quids on the never-never, these horses will keep on comin’ atcha until the end of time. Simply smoke 5000 tabs a week, lie to your wife like you used to and blow the housekeeping fund in less time than it takes to say ‘divorce’.
Saga Magazine. No more Hustler, no more Penthouse. But keep it real with Saga, the only monthly you can read under the duvet by torchlight without getting your head stoved in. Now subtly laminated for guilt-free enjoyment.
Viking Direct Office Supplies. Sell me this pen.
Fred Olsen. What’s this? Are you serious? A yacht!!! (With maids, cooks, 1300 paying guests, easy access toilets on all levels and occasional live music and/or comedy in the theme bar.)
Methuselah Homes UK. When your hellraising days are finally behind you, why not reminisce with like-minded chums in one of our ‘off the beaten track’ tailor-made units? Don’t worry, we’ll change your name and contact details for you, it’s all part of the service.
And for all of the above, there is no fee. We wrinklies must stick together, rallying fervently against the relentless onslaught of youth and taking whatever tablets they give us to keep us going. Senility is a state of mind, not an ailment. You can have that one. You’re welcome.