Born in 1954, Winston Churchill was in government and rationing was still in effect. Around me everywhere moth eaten holes on the landscape, bomb sites all over the neighbourhood. Most of the time when i look back on my childhood i see things in black and white, and being 60 gives me the warm glow of nostalgia, a deep place of emotion, a cradle of tenderness where i can remember all the good things and hardly see the bad. The benefits of being 60 are hard to clarify, a Bus Pass, for someone who doesn’t really take the bus, and a Rail Card. I recall my Mother’s 60th a fine night out in the Spreadeagle Restaurant in Greenwich. She was so jolly that night fluffed up with her three sons around her and her loving husband Sid. I still feel the age i was then, i can’t do the maths but i was maybe in my 20’s. In the photographs i look happy enough in my gold cardigan. Happy days. Now im 60 and it takes some thinking about, my first thought is that i have never really been settled in adult life for longer than 10 years, and that was when i lived in Peasmarsh. I have been friendly with removal men and storage spaces all my life, i have been tied to a suitcase. I can pack at a suitcase in the dark if needs be. My roots have not been planted in any one place for very long, whatever long is. In the next quarter of my life i hope to find home and that place where roots are planted nurtured and loved. If that does’t happen then thats ok too. Home can be within. I have no fixed abode.
Being 60 is no big deal as i still feel and act like a 20 year old, not always a good thing, and recently i have learnt to argue more, but i refuse to wear my jeans up just below my tits. Some tits. Im Victor Meldrew, moaning is a well oiled tool, to argue and stand ground is all new on me, im new at moaning, i hear you laugh. The car that parked too close so i can’t open my door to get back in, that now upsets me enough to leave more than just a polite note. My anger tap has sprouted a leak and im furious and exhaling more than ever. I make odd moaning noises when i stand up, or lean over to pick something up, i exhale more than i have ever done, like the gas coming out of a hotter balloon on decent to a nice green field. In 30 years time i will of coarse be 90, but thirty years ago was when Squeeze recorded Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti and it was a year before my Mother died, she was ill with cancer. That seems almost like yesterday although it was in a part of my life when darkness was a friend, and there i found fear and sadness. 30 years on and life is as it should be, its in the now more than it ever has been, and even though i have a few creeks and bruises this old ship is still able to sail through most storms.
Being 60 means i wear glasses, glasses i just sat on and broke, I think that when i take them off do i look like a man who wears glasses who has taken his glasses off. So what can i now expect. More trips to the Doctors with this and that, more scans and more time in the what if mode. Generally speaking my health is good and all i need to do is walk more, and eat less, although im not a bison or a Coyote. I can expect more of an even playing field to roll my dice upon, a place where i can see what happens more than i usually do. Life is to me packed into each day, like that Bang in the toy gun, it all pops out and im meant to react but there is no need as i knew that would happen. Whatever she brings we sing. 60 is a time to plan for the future and learn from past mistakes, and there are so many to chose from. Somehow i let myself down and let myself be abused and used by the soft touched or the bullies. I have all i need, more shoes more socks and shirts more of everything is what i need less in life, all i need is this moment to hang around a little more, for each moment to be twice as long, like in them olden days when 6 was 9 and i was in my twenty’s like i am again now.
I don’t drink or take drugs, so whats in it for me, i don’t do dangerous things, i never have. Its time to reflect and own the past, with all of its mistakes and all of its treasures. The children, i love them, they will see me through this quarter as will Louise, but i will not out live the dog or even see more than two possibly three more World Cups. I will see a new bridge across the Thames i will see space travel perhaps, i will see more of the same and the disappearance of modern music in any other form than by streaming. My work will live on as some passing digital page or cloud, a sound so shallow and without information of how what when and how it was recorded….it will just be there. To write is to express how i feel and i hope i can do that until i lose my marbles and flop into the big easy. I won’t learn to paint or do gardening, i think, although you ever know. I won’t be a subscriber to Saga magazine, unless im on the cover. Behind me a thousand laps of the pool in front of me how many left, so i can’t touch the deepness of the journey without being in the journey itself. To let go of all things and trust that whatever happens happens, and life will always be a mess, good or ill. In the last quarter i will get to know me and know what i can do to improve myself for the loved ones around me, because they are all there is. Being 20 is not a struggle, who knew. Its a struggle to know what 60 really means. Im sure i will find out. And then there’s the simple life.
Or maybe i should do the opposite, fuck it, start drinking, order up some crack, listen to The Grateful Dead all day long. Swim naked in a lake, buy a motor bike. Maybe go to India on a vacation to discover who i really am, or perhaps being me and being 60 is all there is and thats fine and dandy. Seeking change wont change things, it never has for me, i have to let the waters take me and in doing things this way i will discover what worked and what did’t work. I love my brother, i love my kids and i love Louise. I love Glenn and i love my job, being that bloke on stage at 60 is a real buzz, i feel complete in many ways. There is much to do but when you reach this age you think hold on what is there to do? dropping out is not an option, being the old me is not an option, i have squared that one away. So is it that being 60 gives one the chance to just look back and take in all that is. Reflecting is wonderful, i feel safe and loved by all of the above. Even though it have no fixed abode.
But i get up and feel my weight, i know im out of shape as i plod into the day like a small Rhino. I exhale once more and breath like a Dolphin coming up for air, i waddle like a Penguin to the car and there i sit like a Fox all the way to London and back, maybe five hours a day. A whole day a week. Like a Mouse i nap in the afternoon where i can, in the car, on the sofa too small for me in my study. Im never a Lion or a Tiger, im the hunted, a walker not a runner. My land is short mapped, its here there and everywhere. As clouds race across the Downs on their way to London i can see that Winter is a magical warm place, a nest of ambition and hope. And i think about the New Year and all that revolution stuff. My lower back aches as i rock in my chair, my head is a fruit bowl. The light of morning is broken by a long shadow, the clouds of winter roll by. I can hear guns, men with guns in a field shooting birds and maybe each other. Its a right racket. In the countryside i feel like a Vole leaping out for a short walk in the mud, and then scurry back home to do the dishes. Im there again, doing the dishes, an old dance with a new twist. How many days are there, its a complete mystery to me, but this day is special its a day of being and doing and thinking and rolling in the rhyme. The pain diet looks tasty but the pain is not there. I can see into the past and i can feel the hurt that i dished up. That pain came back to nail me. Above me a plane cuts across the sudden sky, the shooting peters out, like Fireworks at the end of an event.
The Marmalade sky looks calm and at peace as this ship runs aground in a field, surrounded by green sodden hills and empty naked trees, this is where you will find me. The sound of tiny footsteps as a dog moans for a walk, shingle covered in mud, tyre marks and jets in the sky, they leave veins on the blue arms of the Universe, this is where you will find me. FIP on the radio, children play with their eyes on screens so small, no books dog eared here. Warm heating holds the atmosphere as a mother holds her child, the slight sound of passing voices, a rare event on the corner of this field, this is where you will find me. Sunlight soaks the dust in its hands, beams of light shaft across the room unveiling the cleaning dilemma and the mind of a sulk, dead spiders curled up in the darkness of of a skirting board, footprints from a muddy cat. Guitars standing idle like cranes on a dock. Books unread, inside one hundred stories, this is where you will find me. A rib of high cloud strectches across the World, there it is high, there the wind is silent, there the jets carry people who eat snacks and watch screens, they look forward to earth and being home, this is my home here in the place where once animals roamed, they would hunt, but now they are hunted. The muscular hill its bones mapped out by walkways and paths trodden by passing sheep, this weight and this green is so cold and so wonderful, i feel safe here now, and this is where you will find me. A bird. A plane, and the sky. this peace walks by my side as i dip into the moment that is present in my mind, the one that will keep me where i need to be where i have to be, and where i am. This is all i need today, this view this treasure and this love. I may be never without a home.
Being 60 is all of the above and much much more, happiness is everything, my how i love to play and sing. Happiness is love. Being 60 is love. Nothing much has changed, although a deep emotional shift seems to have taken place from this place, this place where you will find me.
“Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. Just look and just listen. No more is needed. Being still, looking, and listening activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you. Let stillness direct your words and actions.” ET.