Thursday, 30 December 2010

A Longer Life

So, one in five of us currently living in the UK are likely to survive beyond the age of 100. I didn’t sign up for this kind of nonsense. If I were still active, independent and financially viable (all three, of course, two out of three is not acceptable) then I suppose that I could live with it, but that seems increasingly unlikely. Housing and employment (yes, employment, we are surely going to be expected to work longer) issues are bound to raise their ugly heads. Plus, pensions and NHS resources are already stretched to the limit with no great prospect of things improving.

I think, perhaps, that the biblical idea of “three score years and ten” is cutting things a little too short in the modern era, “and twenty” seems more reasonable, but “and thirty” is really starting to push your luck.

Who knows what the overall impact will be in global terms and, more importantly, what knee jerk reactions will be contemplated by the authorities of the future. The realities of Soylent Green and Logan's Run are beginning to seem less and less outrageous as the years march on!

Interestingly, it seems that Japan is already experiencing problems related to excessive longevity. Is this something that we will all have to live with in the future?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

10 Rillington Place

There have been a number of notable killers associated with the Royal Borough of Kensington (and Chelsea!). From the John Haig, the Acid Bath Murderer to Neville Heath, the sadist but perhaps the most famous of all is John Reginald Halliday Christie . Even if you’re not familiar with the name you will probably know his address.

10 Rillington Place is one of the most notorious locations in London and was the scene of eight murders between 1943 and 1953.

As a local, I have always been fascinated by the events that took place in this house. Despite the fact that much of the story predates my birth and that Christies life ended on the gallows in Pentonville Prison before I reached my second birthday, it was still part of the local folklore when I was at primary school. That was probably helped by the fact that my school was not much more than a 10 minute walk from the scene.

In the 1961 book of the same name, Ludovic Kennedy publicised what he saw as the terrible miscarriage of justice associated with this address. Although the true facts are still unclear, this did eventually lead to the posthumous pardoning of a man executed for one of the murders.

I have deliberately avoided going into the details of this fascinating, and controversial, case. If you are at all interested, I would recommend reading 10 Rillington Place by Ludovic Kennedy. Plus there is a great deal more information (and, of course, misinformation) available on the internet.

For a very real sense of the time and the place of these events visit 

Thursday, 9 December 2010

John Lennon

Just a thought………………..on this day, 30 years ago, I was in Indianapolis, Indiana. on the final leg of a two month trip around the States. I woke in my motel room to hear of the death of John Lennon. I had, inevitably , been a fan of the Beatles (the Stones too, just to destroy the myth that you could only like one band or the other) and I also liked much of his solo work, but I wouldn’t have described myself as a hardcore Lennon fan.

A little while later, I found myself driving down the road with tears streaming down my face, not entirely for the death of the man but, perhaps, for the death of something much deeper. At that point I was no longer a youth, in fact I was rapidly approaching my 29th birthday, but the shocking news seemed trigger the realisation that things had changed and would never be quite the same again.

So, what’s my point? Nothing of any significance really. It’s just that in recent years I had always
 believed that I had become sentimental as I’d grown older. Perhaps I was wrong and, in reality, I always have been.