Thursday, 30 January 2014

'Old Man' - Neil Young (1972)

“Old man, take a look at my life,
I’m a lot like you.
I need someone to love me the whole day through.
Ah, one look in my eyes and you can tell that’s true.”

Never grow old. That’s what my Grandad used to tell me. Usually while he was contorting his aching limbs in to the cupboard under the stairs to find some fuse wire or an old tobacco box full of screws. Yes, I offered to help. But as I’m sure you know, grandparents keep everything in special places that only they can find and are impossible to describe, so there’s no point trying to look for them.

Growing old though is something I’ve always relished. I felt like an octogenarian when I was just fifteen. Possibly as I was keen to escape my teenage years. But mostly because living with my grandparents was so enjoyable. I was eager to get to their age.

This was foolish, of course. Never wish your time away. My Grandad told me that too. But following his advice to never grow old will require inventing some kind of Marvel-style super serum that may well be beyond me. I need to hang out in more labs with evil geniuses. In the meantime, I’ll stay young the best way I know how... by being open to new ideas, experiences and adventures. And keeping limber by climbing in and out of hall cupboards.

Footnote: This was one of my Grandad’s favourite songs. He would have been 93 today. Written by Neil Young for the caretaker of his Californian ranch, Louis Avila. Neil will tell you more (in a wonderful early performance, from the BBC archives)...

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