Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stories For Boys

Today, while trying to avoid the mental roadblock (or the traffic lights that seem have become stuck on red as I've been wont, of late, to phrase it) the milk-churn of thoughts has been trying to grasp (what I consider to be) one of nature's weirdest side-shows.

Men and women of a certain age... dressing and acting whereby they pretty much parrot their children.

Weird... don't you think?

The thought process (which formulated a number of years back while idling about in a Surrey-suburban shopping Mall one wet, Saturday afternoon) was somewhat brought back into focus by earlier today seeing a headline concerning a new book called Men to Boys - The Making of Modern Immaturity by a bloke (worthy no doubt) called Gary Cross. Great surname that - perhaps that was what attracted me to it in the first instance.

Anyhow... according to him, they (adults but men in particular) have transmuted what was formerly a stage of life into a lifestyle with no end in sight.

Those are pretty long words for me and dangerously close to gobbledygook-speak for my liking but, I think I get the gist of what he's driving at.

And certainly enough for me to start thinking that I'm in agreement with this Cross bloke... because, nowadays... it seems that that parents somehow seem to aspire (hell, I used that word yesterday and more than once)... can't think of a better one so... off we go again... they seem to aspire to a state of almost perpetual adolescence.

Why? I'm bemused. Don't grown-ups want to be... errrr... grown up? Seems not.

Look at it this way then... these are just random examples... Soccer-dads who get very very worked up, standing behind the white-touch-line, egging on their children... to such a degree that its not unknown for punch-ups between parents to occur - Your Jimmy tripped my Billy... If I were on that pitch, I'd have flattened you. No you wouldn't 'cos I'd have nailed you first... and so on and so forth... And the Mums are just as bad. Handbags with the half-time oranges anyone?

Hoodies... how often do you see dad's in hoodies? Far to bloody often. And Mum's aping the dress-sense of their teenage daughters, with jeans that are far, far too tight, moulded over birth-given hips to the extent that they look like caricatures of their siblings.

Nothing seems sacred anymore... teenage daughter X dresses (in her mind) to thrill and kill at thirty paces only to find Mum, five steps asunder, wearing a similar(ish) outfit that makes her look like a clown.

Getting off on the same music... another weird one. Time was when my son was so heavily into Ibiza re-mixes played at volume eleven that he'd lost track of the fact that any other form of music existed. He'd play me stuff that - even to a musically liberated mind such as I have - was, to me, beyond help. Don't you get it Dad? he'd ask. Nope... sorry. Ahh, that's 'cos you're old. Thats fair enough... I am. Older anyway.

Its a bit like my parents blanching at their first sight on TV of The Beatles or The Stones or... heaven forbid, Jimi Hendrix.

For many years and in various homes I've lived in, a startling portrait of Jimi - the original artists' proof that became the cover for The Ultimate Experience - hung on the stairs. Why there - well, basically, it was too bloody big to hang pretty much anywhere else and besides, I really wasn't into the idea of it being hung in (say) the dining room or drawing room because I didn't much want a room like that to look like an outtake from a record shop.

A beautiful, some might say stunning piece of art that it was (is) but... it scared my aged Mother every time she saw it when she came to stay.

Which is a sort of opposite of what one tends to see around one nowadays... with parents seeming to want nothing more than to stay as young as their own teenage children, by sharing in their choice of TV, music and computer games.

A bit peculiar, I reckon. Plus, when I was a load younger and my own raft of grey hairs were way over a distant horizon, I loved the fact that my Dad (in particular) couldn't get a grip on Monty Python. He hated it. Quite right - he was old (in my mind) thus... don't come near what I like. I'd have hated him coming into the pub with me in the days when it was de-rigeur to wear jeans with bell-bottoms that would put a sailor through all shades of blue-shame wearing similar to mine. Hated it..? No, I'd have been bloody humiliated.

And, can I make head or tail of much of what my teenage daughter has on her own i-Pod currently? Nope... At least sixty per-cent is of bands I've never heard of. She'll play me stuff - some I like, some I don't. But, the point is, I don't get off on it / or pretend to be into it 'cos I want (need) to ape her developing musical tastes. Equally a shed load of stuff I like, she loathes - one day maybe she'll arrive at the same conclusion I have with regard to (say) Puccini... maybe in time she'll learn to love Opera as I do... maybe not... and, more importantly, it doesn't matter.

None of this makes her or me / me or her any better or worse than anyone else but... at least there is no pretending or aping.

But, nowadays... look around any urban environment and... there's too much evidence of that, of older wanting to be young in some kind of bizarre never grow-up recreation and its there for all to see.

I do, however, love the idea of being Peter Pan but... isn't that in the mind as much as anything else? I reckon so. The whole growing old disgracefully bit... thats for me. Oooops, another digression...

Somewhere I came across another take on this whole adolescent / adult scenario... and, I just found what I'd written down in amongst a whole heap of Project X notes... which, I suppose, goes to show just how wildly my mind wanders from time to time.

Anyhow, this is a early-teen explaining their thoughts on what they reckon it'd be like to be an adult.

When you're properly grown-up you don't have to do stupid things like hobbies... you don't have to worry about tidying your room because you live in your own house... you don't have to worry about finding a girlfriend and how to do things with her because you have a wife and children... you can tell other people what to do, and you can say things like 'take my word for it'.

And... you can grow a moustache.

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