A Peep Into the Future – The Hope is in the Past

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

So, it started with me finding this little article on the internet which explains that mental acuity does not start to collapse until the age of sixty and, being sixty three, it set me off thinking about what I might already have forgotten: what might, quite recently, have become beyond my mental capacity.  I cannot complete a Sudoku, but then I never could.  I would ask you to remember that my own understanding of mathematics is only just a little less tenuous than Boris Johnson’s grip on reality.  I constantly end up with two sixes in the same block and a corner, somewhere or another, with nothing but the numbers they gave you to start with and ‘fuck fuck fuck’ scrawled across it in ballpoint pen.  I’m not totally certain whether this is a symptom of a rapidly deteriorating brain, but then I wouldn’t be, would I?  I’m trying very hard to remember what I could do a mere forty-two months ago that I can’t do now and the only thing I can come up with is the ability to remember what I was doing forty-two months ago.

What I am able to do with alarming frequency is to stumble across internet stories that predict my all-to-imminent decline and demise.  Seconds after reeling away from the realisation that whatever my brain was once-upon-a-time good for, it no longer is, I stumbled onto this little beauty in which scientists seek to relieve the anxieties of the ageing by revealing that they are close to discovering why people suddenly become frail at the age of seventy.  This is six and a half years away (I cannot work that out in months without a calculator, and I’ve no idea where I’ve put it).  Less than the delivery time on the average SCS sofa.

And now I discover that, at sixty three, I should actually be long dead – although I’m not entirely certain what, exactly, an Airedale is*?  According to the Bible I’ve got six and a half good years left in me yet – although, if I’m honest, I don’t think the Bible actually says how good they will be.  It just gives me three score years and ten to play with (although no idea of why that’s not three and a half score years) but no idea of how I would be best placed to employ them.  I could really do with some kind of timetable for my life:

  • 0-20 years – grow up
  • 21-40 years – teach my children to grow up
  • 41-60 years – teach my grandchildren to grow up
  • 60+ years – grow up.

If I have less than seven years left, I have no intention of spending them like a ‘grown up’.  I truly hope that my mind and body will not retreat fully into childhood, but I’d be very happy to recapture the spirit of ten-year-old me.  He did not spend a single second worrying about ‘decline’.  If I’m honest, ten-year-old me didn’t waste a lot of time fretting about the future at all, he just got on with today.

Of course, ten-year-old me didn’t have the internet, but I’m pretty sure that if he did, he’d have had the common sense to ignore it.

*It’s a dog apparently, so I guess that means that I’m ok for a while yet, although by my calculations – I found the calculator in the fridge – if I was a dog, I would actually be 441 years old and therefore far less keen on ‘walkies’.

N.B. as I write this, two and a half years down the line, a growing sense of some sort of natural immunity and here I am with Covid.  My wife succumbed three days ago and since that time we have lived in face-masked isolation, swabbing down and disinfecting for all our worth.  Oddly, my symptoms are completely different to hers: is this a different strain or merely a different reaction to the same one?  I have no idea, but rest assured everyone, unlike 5G masts** I don’t believe there has ever been a case of Covid being caught from WordPress.  Please read on – normal service will continue.  As much as it ever did…

**Yes, this is a joke.  I have not gone completely mad!

Odds and Sods – Why the White Rabbit?

I need your help.

I September 2019 I published a post entitled ‘Making Up For Lost Time: a Soapy Head, a White Rabbit and a Black Hole Paradox’ (You can read it here.)  It was a fairly unprepossessing thing – just me postulating, as usual, about something that I did not understand: Time on this occasion.  As most of these things do, it started off with a real – if insignificant – incident and, once I’d started to write about it, well, you know how it goes, don’t you; you’ve been on these journeys with me before.  I could live with what I had written, or else I wouldn’t have published it.  Its reception at the time was more lukewarm than school custard, but with another post to write and publish, I never gave any particular thought as to why.  If people like what I have written, that’s gratifying; if they don’t, it’s understandable.  I was not nominated for the Booker after all.  Its fate, as with most of what I write, was death by neglect – except, for some unfathomable reason, it has not died.  It has come to life as some kind of zombie post: tottering, arms outstretched, onto my list of most-read posts almost every week and I have no idea why.

I have re-read it a number of times, to try to glean from it an essence that I can revisit.  Nothing.  I have checked out the tags: not a single mention of vitamins, keep fit, or diet – nothing that would explain why people keep stumbling across it: because that is what must happen.  I have even considered the possibility that some poor soul keeps getting it each time they log onto WordPress – a kind of Groundhog Day blog, which, I am almost certain, would ensure that I, personally, would never try to log on again.

The subject of time has seeped into many of my posts, because I find it so very difficult to understand.  Scientists say that it does not exist; that it is a manmade construct.  If that is the case, what lies between now and then?  What sits between lunch and dinner on a rain-soaked Sunday afternoon (other than Carry on Camping, of course)?  What is the pub landlord banging on about when he rings his bell of a Friday evening?  How do we get older?  Astro-physicists tell us that the Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago – and if that’s not time, then I don’t know what is.

Anyway, White Rabbit was far from my first – and certainly not my last – plunge into the unfathomability of time, which has nagged away at me for several posts (all of which, if time really does not exist, must have been written simultaneously – showing a distinct lack of imagination on my part.)  It cropped up most explicitly in Dog Years, which I have also just re-read, and I, for one, remain none-the-wiser. 

Whilst Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit was also obsessed with Time, the quote I used at the end (from White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane) was clearly about drugs.  Could that be part of the reason for the on-going interest in this post?  Well, no, I don’t think it can.  The world is full of drug references.  Why would a single, oblique reference in an unknown blog entice new readers in? 

I have to confess that it is highly likely that I am missing the one, certain and bleedin’ obvious reason.  (Perhaps the title is very similar to a different blog that is worth reading.)  Maybe you too have inadvertently stumbled into my White Rabbit post and you could tell me what you were hoping to actually read at the time.  I would be so pleased of your help…


On holiday, last year, I was talking with a family member about the plethora of great songs either explicitly about or obliquely referencing drug use.  We listed many and I compiled for him a ‘Now That’s What I Call Drug-Refrencing’ CD for Christmas.  Here’s the track list.  Try it on Alexa – she’ll be thrilled to play it for you:

1.      White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane (Slick)
2.      One Way Ticket – The Darkness (J. Hawkins/D. Hawkins/Poullain)
3.      Elephant Stone – Stone Roses (Squire/Brown)
4.      Bad – U2 (U2)
5.      White Light/White Heat – Bowie (Reed)
6.      China Girl – Bowie (Bowie/Pop)
7.      Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – Beatles (Lennon & McCartney)
8.      Happiness Is A Warm Gun – Tori Amos (Lennon & McCartney)
9.      Cocaine – Eric Clapton (J. Cale)
10.      Medicine Jar – Wings (McCulloch/Allen)
11.      Golden Brown – Stranglers (Stranglers)
12.      Itchycoo Park – Small Faces (Marriott/Lane)
13.      Meet Me On The Corner – Lindisfarne (Clements)
14.      Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed – Thin Lizzy (Lynott/Gorham/Downey)
15.      Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix (Hendrix)
16.      Perfect Day – Lou Reed (Reed)
17.      Gold Dust Woman – Fleetwood Mac (Nicks)
18.      Morning Glory – Oasis (Gallagher)
19.      Dealer – John Martyn (Martyn)
20.      Waiting For The Man – Velvet Underground (Reed)
21.      Roll Your Own – Jethro Tull (Anderson)
22.      F.U.B.B. – Wishbone Ash (Wishbone Ash)
23.      Day In The Life – Beatles (Lennon & McCartney)

Some of the versions I’ve included are covers (Bowie’s version of ‘White Light/White Heat’ easily eclipses the V.U. original).  I left out ‘Heroin’ by Velvet Underground, because it wasn’t a ‘hit’ record* and, to be honest, as Lou Reed wrote about little else, I could have simply copied his Greatest Hits compilation.  Similarly so the mid-period Beatles.  Also, I have just realised that I left off ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ by the Shamen – for no other reason than I am probably too old for it.

*Although Lou Reed’s version on ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal’ is as close to a ‘seminal’ recording as I can cast my mind to.

Anyway, there it is.  I now predict lots of new readers – or a knock on the door from CID at least…