Thursday, 28 November 2013

Dear John

I caught a discussion on BBC Breakfast yesterday about the price of show tickets. Never mind the second mortgage needed to see the Monty Python reunion, it was guest John Robb, the writer, journalist and musician, who held my attention. Here's a man in his early fifties, with a distinctly severe haircut,  in a jacket just as sharp, open neck black shirt and big-buckled creepers... and he looks great. You can see he's getting older (as we all are) - he's more lined with a heavier brow and a little rough around the edges.  That's fine, it suits him.


I don't subscribe to the idea of being an old punk; those days are over and, the way I see it, they were meant to be short-lived.  Can't see the point in trying to look exactly the same as I did decades ago - apart from anything else it seems to lack imagination. However, I love to see someone getting older without completely losing their edge, and I reckon John's doing that.

It's about how you age, isn't it?  It inevitably brings more creases, but that doesn't mean you stop ironing them out of your clothes. You don't have to start wearing shapeless trousers and beige anoraks, unless you really want to, of course. Not every man could (or would like to) carry off the John Robb look, I'm sure, but I'm so glad someone can!

And, personally, I love to see a few age lines on a man's face.

'We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.'
George Bernard Shaw



9 comments:

  1. I don't really know the guy in question but it's true that some people just wear into the most beautiful patina while the rest of us fall apart like neglected ruins (are there any other kind?). I am speaking for myself there, the condemned sign cannot be far off!

    I tend to avoid the company of old punks, old mods, old any youth craze (is there anything more dating than sticking to the fashions of your youth?) as the few of my acquaintance tend to be stuck in a very "youthful" (ie competitive) mindset too. It all reminds me of the days before I felt comfortable in my own skin and wore proto-Goth war-paint as a way of coping, like hiding behind a mask. Every conversation seemed like a battle and we all had to be so edgy, funny, witty...bitchy. Fine back then but now it just wears me out.

    I guess for some people it's all about their last connection to their youthful rebellious side though? I have always believed in that George Bernard Shaw quote, doesn't matter how conservatively (with a Small 'c' I hasten to add!) you dress as long as you don't stop the mischief ;o)

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    1. I do agree - a 'youth craze' should be just that! I just like the way some people naturally retain whatever bit of edge it was that got them into the youth craze in the first place, or whatever it was about the youth craze that got into them - without actually continuing along the obvious route, which, as you say, is so dating. People like John Robb seem to have got it - they carry it off regardless of age - and I love it. Ultimately it's all about who you are and not what you wear but there is that point where the two meet, I think.

      Oh no I couldn't be doing with conversations like battles either - not in any context - who can be bothered?! I'd like to think we all grow out of that but I've realised not everybody does...






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  2. I know, surely if we reach our forties we have earned who we are by now! We shouldn't feel the need to keep proving ourselves and measuring ourselves against impossible yardsticks. That's why this guy guy looks good with a punk edge, he doesn't give a damn... as opposed to those who defiantly cling to a style that they hope is hiding who they really are... I am not making much sense, am I? :o)

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    1. You are making sense, Yve! :-) I know what you're saying; I think the thing is that it can be quite a subtle difference between looking liking the 'oldest swinger in town' type thing (god, even using that phrase must date me!) and just having something that sets you apart without being contrived. 'Defiantly clinging' has a desperation about it, just carrying it off naturally doesn't...

      I too hate the whole thing of measuring ourselves against others and impossible yardsticks, I think it's worse now than it's ever been in so many ways, especially for women, and I'm actually really grateful not to be young any more for that reason!

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    2. You are so right, the pressure on the young, especially girls, right now is crazy. I feel really sorry for them as there seems to have been a real resurgence of the Bimbo in the last decade or so. I worry that young girls are getting the message that it's cool to be someone's "Bitch" or that they should be valued only as some guy's accessory. Doesn't seem so long ago we were all fighting to be taken seriously and I though we had come so far... then you see Miley Cyrus and know something has gone kinda wrong!

      Sorry, I wandered a bit off topic there! Vivre those like John Robb who can mature and evolve their distinctive style as they age, rather than have to set it in concrete or abandon it altogether ;o)

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  3. I think you have to be able to carry it off....'mutton dressed as lamb' comes to mind....but there is nothing wrong with a little edge....but is there anything worse than 'old farts' wearing 'that' single earing or getting 'that' tattoo or having 'that' lottle pony tail.

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    1. It is a subtle thing, yes! I've just replied to Yve above with how I see it - the 'mutton dressed as pony-tailed, pierced, tattooed lamb' is trying too hard and it shows, whereas the guy with that natural edge is just... well... fine. In fact, very fine, by me! ;-)

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  4. Never understood "getting work done" - weird. I watched Manilow on that Children in Need thing the other day - what the hell??!?!?! Barry Mannequin more like, more plastic on stage than in my vinyl collection - and it just frankly looked awful compare with say Robert Plant who may look a touch weather beaten but much more authentic.

    I never bothered to look at the Python tickets - I had years of seeing many many gigs - I think now I'll just go to little local ones from now on, much better value and I'll at least be in the same postcode as the performers

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    1. Totally agree, Furtheron. When I see someone who's "had work" I actually think it makes them look *older* due to the very fact that they obviously felt they should do something to try and make themselves look *younger*. Ironic! Plastic faces (and bodies) just look horrible to me... plastic, exactly...yeugh... And you have to wonder how long they're going to last, all this cosmetic surgery hasn't been around long enough for us to know, really, has it?!

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