It’s six months late but I’ve finally got around to claiming my state pension and I suppose because that officially makes me an old geezer I’ve suddenly become aware of a wave of resentment being aimed at us oldies by sections of the media over the so-called triple lock which promises a rise in the pension rate of the highest of 2.5per cent, prices, or average wages.
On present figures, based on the average wage, that could be as high as 8.5 per cent which apparently is our fault because whoever goes back on the pledge will, of course, lose the grey vote, although the Tories could write a guarantee in Rishi’s blood that the triple lock will not be compromised and I still wouldn’t vote for them next year.
My generation is being looked upon as the last one for which owning a home is the norm. On a nightly basis I am listening to journo rentagobs on TV news shows conveniently ignore the fact that there are still huge numbers of elderly people out there who are struggling to pay energy bills and eat.
Even the ones who were smart enough to invest in a home and pension themselves up to the eyeballs from early adulthood (like my parents, who bought their three bedroomed semi in 1967 for the princely sum of £3,200 when my dad was 32 and mum 30) just end up watching everything they worked over 40 years for get eaten away by depressing nursing homes that charge through the roof while treating them like cash cows with zero respect.
The triple lock may be little more than a political bargaining chip, but anyone who thinks it won’t get ditched once the next election is over is exhibiting a naivety that belies their age.
Seventy-five hours on the run after a screenplay worthy jailbreak leading to airports and docks on high alert and motorway traffic brought to a standstill as police frantically tried tracking down former soldier Daniel Khalife, who had been in Wandsworth Prison on remand awaiting trial on terror charges.
Four days at large and where was he? On a bike barely half an hour away in Northolt.
Not exactly criminal mastermind material, is he?
Fifty years ago next month I walked onto a stage for the first time with five guys who were 10-15 years my seniors to begin a life I had already been in training for since before I could walk or talk. This journalism lark is what I do but a musician is what I am, from 18 months old when I could distinguish my folks’ records by the labels to being able as a two-year old to pick out a tune on any instrument I could get my hands on – my dad’s harmonica, my cousin’s guitar which he would lie on the floor so I could move my fingers up the neck, my granddad’s piano in Bristol and various toy trumpets.
It’s not something I ever considered to be a choice. I had to do it. I was drawn to musical instruments like a magnet and could play by ear years before I had my first lesson.
It has been the constant irresistible force in my life and as I have become more and more aware of time passing a fear, actually it’s more mortal dread, dominates my thoughts: What if this is it? What if this is the only chance I get to feel this rhythm beating in my chest and know what it is?
I’m not afraid of dying when my time comes as long as I still recognise my loved ones, but I am terrified of maybe not being a muso anymore.
Stupid TV quiz answer of the week
Q: In the story Alice In Wonderland, which spiny animal is used as a ball in a game of croquet?
Q: The 2020 US presidential election candidate Bernard Saunders is known by which name?