Rock on

The other night we were watching a TV series that featured an old people’s home. Well you have to watch something during lock down. Actually, it was a murder mystery and just happened to feature the old folk’s home. Look at me being totally un-politically correct. I should probably be calling it a care facility for people who are generationally challenged. Anyway, getting back to the thing that struck me when I saw it. I realised that we tend to revert to the music and culture of our youth once we are in our twilight years.

I know that anyone who has met me will find this hard to believe, but I was a teenager in the 1970’s. Incredible I know, I just don’t look old enough. In that dim and distant time, the new thing that burst onto the scene was Punk Rock. I know that other musical styles continued, but Punk thrust its way, literally kicking, screaming and spitting onto the world stage. Which meant that it influenced my generation big time. I guess there were a number of musical styles competing at the time. Heavy metal, progressive rock, psychedelic, soul, punk etc. and I was not a fan of Punk myself. But I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen when all the Punk Rockers from the 1970’s reached their 80’s in about 20 years’ time and needed to be cared for.

Let’s imagine that future and these aging Punks are shoved into the kind of homes that exist now. I can see it clearly, one lot of aging Punks (the quieter ones) are snoozing, stretched out comfortably upon loungers on the lawn. They are listening to The Sex Pistols on their headphones. The sun is warming their shaved heads and shining through the torn clothing. Another lot have a bit of spare energy and decide to cause havoc, feeling things are far too cosy; whatever happened to the anti-establishment revolution. They want to feel that radical challenge of their youth again. This lot of aging Punks set about causing mayhem, overturning coffee tables, spilling drinks, flicking the resting Punks ears and shouting at the staff:

‘Where’s my cream tea?’ and ‘when’s dinner?’

The most radical one’s shout:

‘We hate everything!’

The staff ignore them. But the quite Punks look up from their stupor and gaze around dazed, wondering what’s happening. They realise it’s those blasted noisy lot again and go back to sleep or switch the tracks to The Clash. At least they try to, why did their grandson have to give them a digital music device; what was wrong with a CD player?

Meanwhile a new arrival, Jen, has very reluctantly agreed to conform to the request of her daughter and just walked in with her daughter to be booked in. Her daughter is hoping the owner/manager will not notice that the safety pin holding her mums skirt up is failing in its job and displaying Jen’s brightly coloured underwear. But the manager, Chelsea, has seen and is very used to such things. She actually has a bigger problem with the bright red Mohican haircut. Not because she thinks anyone should be limited in choice; she just doesn’t want to laugh…. too much. It just looks wrong on a 78-year-old. Besides Chelsea will forget all about it the moment she has signed Jen in. Chelsea is a millennial after all. (read my blog 8 seconds if that comment puzzles you)

It will be such a challenge for the millennials who will be in charge of the care homes by that point; or just own them. They will all be in their 40’s and 50’s. I’m not sure who will have the shortest concentration span. The next generation who will be the carers are just being born or are babies now. I wonder what they will be called? Twingies? Twozies? Anyway, that isn’t up to me. But I do know about millennials and they will be in charge; that should be fun. I am in no way insulting millennials, they are fantastic. They have a freedom of expression I wish I had and I hope a good sense of humour, they are just not great at concentration.

In the current set up of care homes music time is a gentle affair with renditions of ‘We’ll meet again’ or maybe old kid’s songs. But not so with this coming generation of aging punks. Will some folk try and pogo, dislocating their knees, or worse breaking bones? I never liked being spat on in the 1970’s, so let’s hope that at least is left in the past. Will poor hearing mean that the music will be louder than the 1970’s; surely not. I was physically shaken at concerts in my youth. What music will they have? Can they all agree? Will the desire to not conform be too strong? Haircuts should be interesting, a mixture of part shaved heads, and the bright Mohicans. Clothing doesn’t bear thinking about. I guess it will at least be cheap. Unless they go for the pseudo Punk re invented fashions that cost a fortune. At least if they just wear any old rubbish and tear it to pieces it will not break the bank. But will it cover everyone’s embarrassment.

Picture the scene:

One of the new generation of carers who will no doubt have an even shorter concentration span than a millennial, let’s call her Kayliza, says:

‘everyone into the lounge, its quiz time.’

The group of twenty inmates, I mean guests, are corralled, persuaded, encouraged and driven into the lounge. Carol, shaved head, T shirt full of holes, safety pins and a short skirt, is last to take her seat and looks around puzzled, ‘why are we here,’ she asks Malcolm, he is wearing faded jeans and a studded jacket, his hair, what there is of it, is blue and spiky. He shrugs and looks at Kayliza, who is deeply engrossed in something on her; oh, I need to write sci-fi now as we are looking 15 to 20 years into the future. She looks at her Gzip, it’s imprinted on her hand and handles all her social, financial, gaming and business transactions.

A few minutes go by and nothing happens. Greg, an aging Punk in his ripped jeans and torn dirty jacket, pipes up:

‘oi! what we doing gal?’

Kayliza looks up slightly annoyed from her Gzip, ‘um, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s coffee time.’

She looks at Tylay another carer just walking in.

‘Ty, why are they all in here again?’

Tylay just shrugs, he was just hoping it would soon be the end of his shift. He is focussed on his major gamsesh that evening.

Jen the new arrival walks in, everyone stares jealously at her massive bright red Mohican. She sharply nods her head in time to an imaginary tune as she walks towards her seat. Part way there the safety pin that had valiantly tried to hold up her skirt springs open and her skirt falls to the floor. Jen looks completely unfazed and just pulls her skirt up. Greg gives a wolf whistle but soon stops at the withering stare he receives from Jen.

‘Never seen a pair of knickers before.’ She snaps.

‘We have,’ said Kayliza, trying to bring order, ‘but it’s best not to display them in public.’ Then she returns to her Gzip.

Jen just snorts and sits down. Louise asks Malcolm again, ‘why are we here?’

Yes, the combination of poor concentration for the carers and the normal memory problems of old age for those who will be in a home could make for a fun time. Add in the variety of fashions, musical styles and beliefs and you have the recipe for a very interesting situation. Or maybe not.

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Note: Please don’t take offence. I write these blogs as a bit of fun. They are not meant as a judgement on any group. I also realise a lot of sadness has happened in care homes. But I firmly believe laughter is a great tonic and we need to be able to laugh at ourselves. It releases tension. That is something we all need at the moment.

Author: Mike Nevin

I decided to write about the funny side of being cared for. I am a full time wheelchair user with daily carers. It's my experiences with my carers that inspired this blog.

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