The Ready for Ageing Alliance has set out an 11 point prescription to help individuals prepare for ageing. Point number 9 in the prescription is:
Keep up to date with the kids: The world is changing around us. Keep your mind active and engaged, from new digital technology through to new attitudes. Make sure you aren’t missing out and take every opportunity to talk to younger people. Try to get yourself online. Listen to One Direction (at least once).
Yes, be a groovy grandparent and impress the kids with your knowledge of One Direction! You know it makes sense. You're over 50, getting longer in rotten tooth and grey-haired, cut adrift from what is cool...and the kids aren't impressed by your insistence that The Beach Boys or The Clash constitute great music. Don't let your brain rot from over-indulging in all that saccharine nostalgia for the music of yesteryear, you old fart.
So what if the kids laugh behind your back at your pathetic attempt to be modern, at least you try, eh? And don't come out with that Classic Rock nonsense because there's no such thing any more. Astral Weeks means nothing. Neither does Kind Of Blue or Pet Sounds. They are the musical equivalents of home-made jam and basket-weaving.
As for that wild music of your youth, it's already antiquated - turning rebellion into sounds for the old folk's home. "Put on some NWA, they like that", says the nurse. But sadly, they won't even have retirement home sing-along sessions in the future because every old person will be locked into their own musical world with personal players. This is a shame because they won't be sat 'round singing 'White riot!' or 'Fuck the police comin' straight from the underground!'.
All old (over 50) people need to keep their minds 'active and engaged' and One Direction will do just that. Put Sinatra or Aretha Franklin aside, just for a while. They might be good, but listen to these boys...the harmonies, melody and rich tonal variation of those voices! You see? If you don't see, you'll remain on the road to cerebral ruin.
As for the few of you who prefer obscure nonsense like Stockhausen, Bach or Sun Ra, that's all well and good but it doesn't mean a thing to the kids and no-one else in the old folk's home will understand it either. So you lose on both counts. Isolation in old age is a real problem. Listening to that kind of music will only isolate you further. Whilst your peers are extolling the virtues of Paul Weller you will be left trembling (even more) with indignation at their failure to recognise the brilliance of Gesang der Jünglinge. Is that what you want? To be alienated from other old people as well as the music of the times? No, you don't.
Reading is a good way to keep the brain nimble. JK Rowling is recommended, as are other popular authors. If you don't read books, try one. They're very good for you. Except James Joyce...or Thomas Pynchon. They'll only make you more confused than you already are.