Old-fash­ioned? Me? Fair enough. Let’s come clean and count the ways

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - OPINION - with David Medcalf med­der­s­me­dia@gmail.com

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.

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