Saturday 18 November 2017

Call me old-fashioned

By David Medcalf

Call me old-fashioned. No offence taken. Old-fashioned is a fair description for a middle-aged man who thinks that pop music ended in 1986. Before you ask, 1986 was the year Paul Simon released 'You Can Call Me Al'. We all have our landmarks and that is mine, which comes with the unshakeable belief that it has all been downhill ever since. My pop perspective is laced with pity for those poor souls - now well into their forties and stuck in a nineties time warp - for whom Oasis is their principal point of musical reference. What on earth is a wonderwall anyway?...

I am old-fashioned, looking at my wrist rather than my phone whenever I want to know the time.

I am old-fashioned, preferring loose leaf to tea in a bag, whether the bag is square, round or pyramid shaped.

I am old-fashioned, instinctively measuring weight in primitive pounds or stones rather than in the kilos which make so much more sense.

I am old-fashioned, expecting to talk to someone behind a counter whenever I go into the bank.

Old-fashioned and vaguely proud of it.

I did something really, really old-fashioned the other day, something I had not done in ages. I bet you cannot guess what it was.

'Did you eat steak and kidney pie?' you ask.

What a lovely idea! But no one gets to eat authentic home-made steak and kidney pie these days, more's the pity, because no one bakes steak and kidney pie any more. And the main reason for this is that kitchens no longer come equipped with the Thing which used to stand in the middle of the dish to prop up the pastry. My late mother used to cook steak and kidney pies which were sublime, using the Thing - a simple ceramic device, just the right height - which she inherited from her own late mother. The Thing somehow never made it down to the next generation and the tradition was lost.

'Did you complete a journey guided by a road map rather than a navigation app?'

I did, actually, now you mention it. But that doesn't count because I use real maps all the time. Listening to a computer generated voice telling me to 'take the third exit' or 'do a U-turn as soon as possible' drives me daft.

'Did you play golf using a wooden club with an actual timber head?'

Gosh, you are good at this game. Yes, indeed, I find that the technological advances made in sporting equipment much over-rated. If I cannot reach the green with my lovingly crafted Christy O'Connor five wood, then I am damned if I will attempt the shot with a gaudy, mass-produced piece of plastic. Harrumph!

'Did you wear a pair of corduroy moleskins?'

Uncanny! You must have seen me! They were there at the bottom of a drawer and I was delighted to find that they still fitted all these years later. Very comfortable they were too. Okay, you get full credit for that guess but now I will reveal the old-fashioned indulgence I allowed myself at the weekend.

I had a old-style bath.

There are homes being built in the 21st century that have no bath. The shower has completely taken over as the primary means of ablution. The notion a good long soak has been largely confined to the history books in the helter-skelter of modern existence.

Gone are the days when Radox sold enough of their bath salts to justify taking out ads on national television. Gone are the days when Hollywood starlets posed seductively in the bath beneath a welter of bubbles to preserve some measure of modesty. Gone are the days when whole football teams jumped into a communal bath after the match.

On Sunday, in defiance of all trends, I took a vagary, emptied the tank of hot water into the tub, and had a bath for the first time in heaven knows how long. It was great, truly transcendental. I emerged an hour later, wrinkled as a walnut, as relaxed and as clean as I have been since Paul Simon released 'You Can Call Me Al'.

Or you can call me old-fashioned.

Wexford People

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