10 Reasons Why I Think I’m A Clapped Out Has Been And 10 Reasons Why I Think I’m Not.

(Suggested by Hg; seconded by dg)

Now fully updated.

Oh Gawd, me aching head. So much for yesterday’s “midnight curfew and don’t let me go to the club“…

…which became an “OK, 1am curfew, and how often am I in town on a Friday night anyway, I DESERVE a little fun in my life”…

…which became an “OK, I’ll just wait until they play the Scissor Sisters, because IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO MY PERSONAL GROWTH AS AN INDIVIDUAL THAT I DANCE TO THIS SONG IN PUBLIC AT LEAST ONCE IN MY LIFE”…

…which, and why did I ever pretend to myself that it would ever be otherwise, became a stupid o’clock stop-out…

(…and they never even played the Scissor Sisters, curses curses, what sort of a gay club are they anyway…)

…which would have been fine, except that I’ve been providing weekend cover for work since 9:00 this morning, as previously arranged…

…so, yeah. What an incredibly daunting list of suggestions this looked like this morning. But I shall go with the “list” option. When the going gets tough, etc.

Still. TEN reasons apiece, you say? Making TWENTY reasons in all? Well, now that my professional labours are done for the day, I shall give it my best shot.

10 Reasons Why I Think I’m A Clapped Out Has Been.

Coming soon, after a shower, a train journey to Derby, a lift to the cottage, and lunch. And a nice sit down with a cup of tea and the papers. And a little lie-down. And a little snooze. And, um, nearly two hours’ sleep. And a pub supper.

And a nice relaxing morning reading the papers in bed with a cup of tea. And, um, oh I know, let’s watch last night’s X-Factor while K’s out entertaining une grande fromage from Les États-Unis. And… oh bugger, this isn’t going away, is it? Right then: sleeves rolled up, palms spat into, let’s do it.

1. After a big night out, it takes me more than 24 hours to recover coherent thought patterns.

(“Recover coherent thought patterns?” Hmm. Well, let it stand.)

2. As Leonard Cohen once said, with an admirable economy of expression: I ache in the places where I used to play.

3. The blight of middle-aged Man Hair has descended: ears, nostrils, and yucky sproutings of pube-like growth on my formerly baby-smooth chest. As a long-time staunch opponent of chest-shaving, having to run a Philshave round me nips kills me, man.

4. Running with this theme: ten years ago, I wouldn’t have had the slightest compunction about entering myself as a contestant at the White Swan’s Amateur Strip Nite (my regular Wednesday night haunt during the spring and early summer). Hell, it would have been only right and proper to “give something back” to my community. Because – and my heterosexual readers will simply have to take this on trust – it’s really not that big a deal, and un-erotic almost to the point of wholesomeness. In any case, it’s not as if I haven’t been naked in public before: in German parks, Ibiza beaches, and… oh, all manner of places really (ahum). At the end of the day, it’s just a willy. Nothing that we haven’t seen before, many, many times.

However, and pushing the willy to one side for a moment: to expose my flubbering baps to all and sundry at this time of life, whilst arguably “liberating” in certain respects, would really be too cruel an imposition upon the good folks of Limehouse. Why, I haven’t even danced with my shirt off in over four years. There comes a time, doesn’t there?

5. I am now of the firm opinion that Top 40 chart music will never again regain the standard of excellence that was set during its golden period: namely, from January 1979 to June 1984. In particular, 90% of all commercial hip-hop, and an increasingly large proportion of contemporary R&B – two genres which I used to love – leaves me stone cold at best. As for current trends in dance music – a genre in which I used to be an expert – I haven’t got the faintest inkling of a clue. I’ve become the guy who only dances when they play something massive like the Scissor Sisters (if they play the Scissor Sisters – see above), reserving my longer workouts strictly for wedding receptions.

6. My grip on celebrity culture is rapidly fading. I have no idea what Lindsay Lohan looks like; I would struggle to recognise Jessica Simpson; and when Orlando Bloom appeared on Ricky Gervais’s occasionally brilliant but worryingly patchy Extras a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t realise he was the celebrity cameo until someone mentioned his name. Hell, I couldn’t even name any of the members of Westlife – and they’ve had twelve Number One singles, for crying out loud.

7. In blogging terms, I’m strictly ancien régime – and my site layout is now so old that I have to apply for planning permission in order to make even the slightest change. (That recent upgrade of the RSS feed logo? Months of paperwork. Months.) As today’s bright young things whizz past – sometimes pausing to pay their respects, en route to the studio – I am left with readership figures which have remained more or less static since the first half of 2004. I’m like the local government middle manager who has been promoted just above his natural level of competence, while his former graduate trainees have all landed sexy positions in the private sector.

8. After twenty-one years in IT, I’m still making my living from IBM mainframes – occasionally dipping into something really daring and modern like creating an XML file, so that the cool web kids can snatch it off me, run away with it, and make it look all sleek and gorgeous on a browser. Object-oriented programming? It gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. Look, it’s quite simple. Data consists of fields, held on records, stored in files, and accessed via index keys. End of!

9. A lot of my “best” clothes are over three years old, if not five. (My best shoes are a whopping six years old.) I’ve stopped putting my lenses in every time I go out for the evening, and have become so lackadaisical about trying to look hot and shaggable that I even go to gay bars with my specs on. (Or “cruise shields”, as I used to call them in the 1980s.)

10. I am automatically suspicious about every new technological advancement, partly on the grounds that “we didn’t need that sort of thing in my day”, and partly because new functionality scares me. (My upgraded phone handset has been sitting unused in the bottom of my satchel for the past two months, while I muddle along with my decrepit old black-and-white Nokia.) I’m going to become one of those impossible old people, who resist all attempts from well-meaning younger relatives to make their lives easier. (“Remote control? Very kind of you dear, but I like the exercise…”)

…And 10 Reasons Why I Think I’m Not.

1. Although it might take over 24 hours to recover from them, at least I still have big nights out from time to time. In the past year alone, I’ve partied in London, Manchester, Athens, Hangzhou… and I’ve stopped in the village pub until nearly midnight on, ooh, at least a couple of occasions. Ever the circuit boy, me. Buxton, Bakewell, Ashbourne… you name it.

2. I still get to play in the aforementioned achy places, even if it’s more crown green bowling than snooker these days. From “potting the pink” to… oh, I can’t be arsed. I’m sure you’re all more than capable of making up your own ball-based double entendres. Do I have to do all the work around here?

3. There might be unsightly pube-like sproutings on my chest, but at least they’re not compensating for any thinning on top. My grandfather on my mother’s side retained a more or less full head of hair into his nineties, so there are grounds for hope. Not that I have any aesthetic objection to hair loss, when neatly groomed (quite the reverse, in fact – grrr!), but I’ve got the wrong shaped head for a zero crop. Honestly, it would look awful.

4. The baps may be flubbering, but the abdominal jut has been arrested and the arse is still firm and pert. (Did I ever tell you that my bare arse once ended up advertising a safer sex awareness campaign? Ooh, there’s a story for you. I shall add it to the list.)

5. The singles charts may be in irreversible decline, but my enthusiasm for new music is undimmed, and I can still get all worked up over a good gig by a hot new band in a small venue. Now, some people might say that this was arrested development, or an attempt to cling onto my lost youth – but I simply don’t see why one has to subscribe to a youthful lifestyle in order to enjoy youthful music. In fact, I positively thrive on the contradictions.

6. Who needs an externally imposed celebrity culture anyway, now that we are all self-created micro-celebs in our own nano-universes? The spirit of punk lives on! This is an HTML tag, this is another, this is a third. Now form a weblog!

7. Once a highly respected and influential destination blogger, always a highly influential and respected destination blogger. That’s just the way it is. Some things will never change.

8. Having “heritage” IT skills is actually rather retro-chic. After all, nothing dates as quickly as the currently fashionable. “Push” technology, anyone?

9. Lackadaisical about hotness and shaggability I may have become – but then, people are so much more attractive when they stop trying so hard. As I was reminded on… well, never you mind.

10. At least I know the names of most of the scary new technological widgets, even if I run a mile from actually using them. How many of the rest of you got to fondle a pre-release Nano, huh? Huh?

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