I'm not a grumpy old man, just an out of synch hippy

Friday, 28 September 2012

Can't they see I'm just right for Romeo?


Another commercial audition today. I was “Wizened old man in petrol station.” I wizened about as best I could while refraining from whizzing. These days I sometimes feel my entire acting range is shuffling before the camera, sniffling, grunting and scratching my head.

This is what old men are supposed to do, you see. I’ve been up for “Weatherbeaten old boy”, “Grizzled old storekeeper”, “Eccentric bushy-eyebrowed old guy”, “Wispy-haired old professor”. I can be eccentric, I can feel that weather on my face, I can really capture the essence of bushy-eyebrowedness. Inside. Yep. I can stoop. I can shuffle. I can even snuffle. My tut-tutting has won awards. Except it’s not what I am.

Up to about four years ago I was still doing quirky dads, neurotic vicars and mad academics. There was variety. I was once up for a “loveable and knowledgeable Cheese Judge”. I’m not sure how loveable I am, I don’t know that much, but I am a great judge of cheese. As Stanislavsky said, “It’s all to do with Truth, especially when it comes to Camembert.”

The trouble is all these commercials are written by guys about 32 years old. Faced with anyone over 50 their eyes glaze over and all they see is a blurry mass of wrinkles and a stoop. I don’t live in a Home (Mrs K might disagree), I don’t wave my stick at teenagers and I don’t mutter to myself (except when “Downton Abbey” is on).

You see, the real me is a fresh-faced, boyish, nubile young Adonis. It’s just a matter of persuading these casting directors….

Thursday, 13 September 2012


Are you a bona fide baby boomer?


The three at the back are genuine kids. The thing on the  girl's knee is  Caspar.

I’m a pretty inclusive person (I’ve even been known to talk to teenagers) but I have a strict definition of “Baby Boomer”. We are people born during late World War 11 and up to the mid 1950s. For five years our Dads had been fighting Hitler and our Mums chucking hay around. They needed a break and for the next five years they were at it like rabbits. Hence, us.

If you’re not sure whether you’re a genuine Boomer or not, take the following test:

1)      Do you say “Cooooooooool” or do you pronounce it as “Kule?”
2)      Do you still instinctively jump up when the CD ends in case the needle has got stuck in the groove?
3)      Do you regard “Reality” as something you wake up to, rather than a mind-numbing TV show that puts you to sleep?
4)      Do you still automatically upend your trousers before cleaning in case a coin has fallen into the turnups?
5)      Do you know what turnups are?
6)      Do you intersperse your conversation with inadvertent Bob Dylan quotes?
7)      If someone says “Bieber” to you, do you envisage an exotic feathery boutique (and not a pimply underage singer)?
8)      Do you still sometimes wake up in the middle of the night pondering what “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” really means?
9)      Do you moan that modern music has no tunes, then realise that it’s just what your Dad used to say?
10)  Can you whistle?

If you have 9-10 “Yes’es” then you’re an authentic Baby Boomer. A big peace sign to you and can I call you “Man”, man (or ma’am)?

If you have 7-8 “Yes’es”: You’re trying hard and are quite convincing. But I bet you can’t name every track on the Beatles’ first LP. Still, I’ll wave a friendly joss stick at you when I see you.

If you have 6 “Yes’es”: Mmmm. More work needed. Learn all the words to “Desolation Row” and come back to me next week and quote it in full.

Below 6: Sorry, you’re not a Baby Boomer. You’re a baby.

Sunday, 9 September 2012


Is it a phone? Is it a car? Is it an app?

Went to a Promenade Concert this week with Mrs K. I left My Teenage Self cringing in the bedroom. “Classical music? Yuk”  he said, spitting out the chewed-up fingernail in his mouth, “They’re not even old – they’re dead.”

Listen to me, MTS, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto rocks. There are killer tunes. There are solos Eric Clapton would have trouble getting his fingers round. There’s lots of Ludvig’s stuff you could bang your head to.

Except you don’t at the Proms. People just listen. That’s what I like about them. Unfortunately some of the crapness of modern life has been seeping in. It’s getting a bit “Whoooh!”. People clap in between movements, which is really dumb because the piece hasn’t finished. You don’t clap Hamlet halfway through “To be or not to be” (“Whahey, that was one great iambic pentameter!”) If you’re applauding, you ain’t listening. If Coldplay launch into one of their hits and everyone roars, it’s because they can’t bear to hear it.

Mobiles twinkle across the Albert Hall like glow worms. Soon they’ll be waving them over their heads and filming the violinist. Promenade floor? Mosh pit, more like.

The orchestra was playing Schoenberg. Schoenberg, I know -  gives me a headache too. Too tricky altogether, apparently, for the two young guys in front fiddling with their iphones. Guy 1 started whispering to guy 2. I leant forward to hiss “Phones down and shut the **** up”. Then I saw what he was googling.

It was “Atonal music.” “It’s the same theme as his Piano Concerto” he was saying. Young bloody people. They don’t even misbehave properly. 

Monday, 3 September 2012


“Hair” today

What makes them think they'll all fit in the taxi?

Believe it or not, it’s just under 45 years since “Hair” opened. It was bollocks, but some people said it was the theme music of my generation.

Let’s listen to what those guys in the hippy tribe would be singing today…..

Ain’t got no teeth    ain’t got no eyesight
Ain’t got no breath    ain’t got no knee joints
Ain’t got no muscles  ain’t got no hair
Ain’t got no liver

Ain’t got no memory   ain’t got no wind
Ain’t got no hearing    ain’t got no hips
Ain’t got no friends left   ain’t got no six-pack
Ain’t got no reflexes

And what have I got?
Why am I alive anyway?
Yeah what have I got
Nobody can take away?

Got my cramps
Got my nose hair
Got my prostate
Got my spleen
Got my dyspepsia
Got my false teeth
Got my prescriptions

Got my bad breath
Got my aches
Got my floaters
Got my shrink
Got my bar stool
Got my check-ups
Got my alimony

Got my spectacles…… Hang on, I did have them somewhere, now where did I put them?  Give me a minute, I’ll find them, they’ve got to be…..