Like a latter day Canute I do my best to keep the incoming tide of mortality at bay. Whilst the noble king was demonstrating that he did not have supernatural powers this Canute has decided that the solution is to bury one’s head in the sand so, in due course, he will be drowned by the implacably advancing tide….but not as yet. As the anniversary of another year of life beckons I find myself well and truly past the allotted number of years suggested by the Bible although why I should take any notice of that particular declaration when I have paid little or no heed to anything else suggested in that best seller surprises me which brings me neatly to the subject of this ramble which is the iconic Joan, now Baroness, Bakewell. Our chance meeting yesterday was a complete surprise. I was rushing around the kitchen making some dishes for supper later in the day when, all of a sudden, there she was on Radio 4, chatting to me about my harvest years which is the most fucking brilliant term for being over the hill that I can remember hearing and I purposely chose the defining profanity as profadjective as no one was a more convincing and respected advocate of permissiveness than was Joan. I equally purposely used the past tense to qualify her being an advocate of permissiveness as, in 2010, she criticised the side effects of the sexual revolution of the 60’s by declaring ” “I never thought I would hear myself say as much, but I’m with Mrs Whitehouse on this one. The liberal mood back in the ’60s was that sex was pleasurable and wholesome and shouldn’t be seen as dirty and wicked. The Pill allowed women to make choices for themselves. Of course, that meant the risk of making the wrong choice. But we all hoped girls would grow to handle the new freedoms wisely. Then everything came to be about money: so now sex is about money, too. Why else sexualise the clothes of little girls, run TV channels of naked wives, have sex magazines edging out the serious stuff on newsagents’ shelves? It’s money that’s corrupted us and women are being used and are even collaborating.” with which I wholeheartedly agree. The following link will take you to Joan reading the last chapter of her book “Stop the Clocks” which is well worth a listen…..if you’re getting on a bit.
- the Bakewell tart image was used as Joan was described by Frank Muir as “the thinking man’s crumpet”, a soubriquet of which she was not enamoured….but like jam, glacé cherries, icing sugar, almond paste or any of the other delicious ingredients of this tart, it stuck.