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Young Fogeys grow old gracefully

Features | By Will Self


In the 1980s, Will Self mocked journalists who worshipped the past. But they’ve remained ageless, while he’s become a burnt-out shell

‘Why are we racing to be so old?’ warbled prematurely-ageing punk uber-nerd Elvis Costello in Two Little Hitlers, unleashed on the world in 1979. Why indeed? For the vast majority of Baby Boomers who had any truck with the zeitgeist, the equivalence between miserably old and irredeemably square was axiomatic. Born in 1961, by the time Elvis was adjuring me I was so ensorcelled by the fact of my own avant-garde juvenescence, I couldn’t seriously imagine a world of the future in which people still did any of the following: sing ‘God Save the Queen’; wear suits and ties (or, alternatively, suits and pie-crust collars); not smoke marijuana on a more or less hourly basis. ...


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