Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I don’t know Carlo Strenger but in my book he’s been talking a lot of sense in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner lately. I would even say I take great comfort in what he’s been saying.

Essentially, he reckons that a “midlife crisis” is unlikely for most folks although “midlife change” is inevitable, but not in a dramatic, potentially harmful way.

That’s because Carlo, a psychoanalyst, psychologist and associate professor at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, reckons middle-aged workers of today are more laid back than the young thrusters making their way in business.

And there was a section from the Harvard Business Review quoted in many newspapers that I particularly liked pointing out there was a trend for big companies to “rely on outside consultants (and this) was particularly good news for mature, independent professionals.” Woo-hoo, if that’s an appropriate response from a mature, independent professional.

No, I’m acutely aware since I set up in business that an older head, my own, has helped me considerably, to stay calm and to play to my strengths. At one time I was, yes, honestly, a young buck, who was eager to learn but had difficulty sometimes listening to the learned. I didn’t know everything and the older pros who took time to help, guide and calm me down knew that – their patience and know-how and willingness to share was unbelievably beneficial and they asked nothing in return.

Eventually, I did learn to listen, absorb and make use of the knowledge offered. It paid off.

Today, conversely, I’m listening intently and appreciatively to the young entrepreneurs and business people at the cutting edge of digital, social, whatever media you want to call it, and they are really good instructors as I reckon I’m learning steadily and surely. And they enjoy sharing what they’ve learned, too. The mix of the experienced and youthful exuberance is vital, I suggest.

Anyway, back to Carlo. The Daily Telegraph summed up his words perfectly by reporting: “The midlife crisis is being replaced with a graceful ‘midlife transition’ as increased life expectancy and good job prospects take the sting out of ageing.” That’s good to know.

And the paper’s coverage of Carlo’s findings goes on: “…an increasingly confident and resilient generation are embarking on productive ‘second lives’ as they reach 50, aware that they still have 30 good years ahead of them.”

I’m over 50, a father to a three-year-old son – and 31-year-old and 28-year-old sons – this is very good to know, indeed.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


NEW stamps featuring ten classic British album covers are out now and this blog offered its own alternatives last week to those officially selected.

Paul and Duncan - thank you, gentlemen - also contributed their very interesting suggestions and, as both chaps know a thing or two about music, I was intrigued by their choices. Some on their lists were on my original one, too, but left out as I was only allowing myself ten.

This week, again in no particular order, here are ten album covers from across the Atlantic that could grace stamps, I would suggest. Again, if anyone wants to send in nominations, that would be great. Anyway, here goes:

Harvest Moon – Neil Young
Transformer – Lou Reed
Nebraska – Springsteen
Blood on the Tracks – Dylan
Car Wheels On A Gravel Road – Lucinda Williams
Dixie Chicken – Little Feat
Copperhead Road – Steve Earle
Hot Rats – Frank Zappa
Brighter Than Creation’s Dark – Drive-by Truckers
Surf’s Up – The Beach Boys

Thursday, January 07, 2010


NEW stamps featuring ten classic British album covers are out now – Led Zeppelin IV, Ziggy Stardust, Let it Bleed, Screamadelica, Tubular Bells and London Calling are among the selection.

The stamp issue, we’re told, “explores some of the most potent graphic images of modern times, many of which have provided a visual soundtrack to people’s lives. Many of the most significant graphic designers of the last 40 years are represented by this selection of ten iconic album covers.”

Some of the choices are interesting – Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” cover has been ignored in favour of “The Division Bell” and Zeppelin’s more distinguished I and II covers lose out to IV. The Stones’ “Let It Bleed” would have been one of my choices, too, however.

But, in no particular order, here are ten British album covers I have selected as an alternative:

Hats – The Blue Nile
Solid Air – John Martyn
Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin
Turning Point – John Mayall
Meat Is Murder – The Smiths
Hunky Dory – David Bowie
Thick As A Brick – Jethro Tull
Argus – Wishbone Ash
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
New Boots and Panties – Ian Dury and The Blockheads.

What would you choose? I’d be really interested to find out. British only, please; will do a US follow-up on my next blog.