E-Newsletter Exclusive: A Note From The Old Man Who Sits at the Bar

Nigel Oakins

28 Dec 2021

A hotchpotch of random thoughts from a mind that has contemplated better days

To misquote William Faulkner, the past is not dead, it’s slouched over a martini at the Koktail bar. And while I am (mis)quoting famous writers then how about, “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila floor,” from one of the great and grouchiest of American comics, George Carlin, who just got better and grouchier with age.

Age is a funny thing. I have a theory that when it comes to art, music, sport and mathematics (but not comedy) that if you have not reached your creative best by the time you are 30, then you are never going to make it. I mean, name one popular musician whose songs got better as they got older. Tell me which physicist or mathematician came up with a theory that proved anything (let alone everything) or deciphered an unbreakable code past their 20s. It is just not happening. But that never stops us thinking if we keep at it the best is yet to come. Sorry, it definitely isn’t.

“Wait,” you may say, “since you quoted Faulkner, let me throw Lady Macbeth back at you, ‘yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?’” To that I say, look how badly that goes wrong when you see Mick Jagger still bouncing around the stage as he approaches his 80s. No, I am sorry, we old folk at the bar should know our place and keep our wisdom to ourselves...

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