Monday, October 09, 2006

Whatever Happened to Living Fast - Dying Young and Having a Great Time Doing It? - Croydon Hounslow

People of Britain, I am deeply worried about you! I have just been informed that 40% of you would happily give up sex in order to guarantee living to the age of 100. In addition to this, 42% would give up travel and, a little less staggeringly, 39% would give up eating and drinking whatever they wanted in exchange for a ticket to their own centenary.

Let me just square this with you. What you are saying (the 40%-ish who responded in this way at least) is that you're so desperate to live for a century that you'd be happy to spend that 100 years sitting at home, celibate and nibbling on a lettuce leaf? I despair of you! My only hope for the future of the country is that the other 60% are filthy minded, junk food guzzling, hard drinking, promiscuous... Oh hell, basically we're talking about Keith Richards, ok?

Many people balk at the idea of the country being overrun by Keith Richardses, and possibly rightly so, after all I can't think of anyone who could stand to be surrounded by that level of cragginess without beginning to feel like a displaced mountain goat, but if this research is accurate it's not the craggy Keiths that we have to worry about, it's the Cliffs!

That's not exactly fair, because Sir Cliff Richard is a famously well-travelled man who, for all his faults (or lack thereof, depending on how you feel about abject blandness) could never be accused of opting to sit at home twiddling his thumbs. So in effect, 40% of our national population is MORE boring than Sir Cliff Richard, a man whose back catalogue was famously banned from airplay on that ceaseless pursuer of exciting and innovative new music, BBC Radio 1, for being TOO DULL!

It's tempting to blame the government for this societal dearth of imagination, to argue that the ever increasing legislature and PR campaigning against the twin evils of drinking and smoking, once famously and controversially described by the then health secretary John Reid as one of the “very few pleasures in life” available to poor working class Britons, has given rise to our current fetishisation of healthy living as the pinnacle of modern existence. On the other hand we do live in a democracy, flawed though it may be, and our government focuses on issues like these because they win votes.

Yes, people, it's a sad thing, but we have no one to blame for our dullness but ourselves, and so I'd like to make this last, desperate, impassioned plea to us all to take a leaf or too out of Keith Richards' book (if not, perhaps, out of his pipe); after all, he's well over a hundred years old anyway!

Croydon J Hounslow works for a UK online dating service

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