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Reality Bites -

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(generated from captions) have reached a certain age. WOMAN: These women to wear a mini ra-ra skirt, No longer young enough

for an afternoon whist drive. but not yet old enough to settle

They're a little bit menopausal, a little bit fed up. What they are is grumpy. in Britain today The thing I hate most about how difficult it is to be old. are old people whingeing on It's (BLEEP) great to be old! of 'Top of the Pops' saying, It's important to sit in front "What is that?! What is that?!" mail-order catalogues. And I've become the target of the notification, "You are now a frump!" And it's like an official I hate packaging. with the computer. I get in a complete rage getting hot. I mean, I can feel myself committed an illegal action." And the messages, like, "You have minding my own business. Sorry? I'm sitting here I have done nothing wrong. I do think you should be able who give you poor service. to smack the legs of people Just like that. say anything to people, I don't very often in very grumpy glares. but I have an extremely good line BY STEALERS WHEEL PLAYS 'STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU' Everything gets up their nose. niggles at them, The sheer drudgery of everyday life and puts them in a bad mood. winds them up especially all that technical stuff Nothing works, our lives easier, more convenient. that's supposed to make It's everything and everyone. My tea ready yet? Young people get up their nose, irritate the hell out of them too. and, then again, old people are just stuck in the middle. It seems like these middle-age women between the two other generations. Sandwiched miserably Obviously, it's the law to loathe and detest the young, for people over 40 as we now have to call them. or "young people today", they're on a scale of awfulness But these days, wouldn't comprehend. that our own parents Mum, what's for pudding? seem so feebly dull by comparison, For a start, they make your own youth

we were so daring, so wild. and when we were young we thought it didn't amount to much more When, in fact, at the local youth club. than a spot of ping-pong Annoying or what? with young people is say, The worst thing you can do "Yep, when I was your age..." instantly, for saying that. Because they just hate you,

Their age is unique. You were never their age. to ever have been young, They are the first people they're going through and the experience is much more profound and resonant you could have gone through. than anything with young people. So never, ever try and connect to be insufferable. I expect young people It's their duty to be insufferable. at the traffic lights If somebody pulls up next to you and the whole car's going like this. and they've got a boom box playing "Young people, what are they like?" You're thinking, And you look... to be making eye contact with them You don't actually want because they don't see somebody 20 years ago. who was fantastically hip and groovy They don't know that. woman with a toddler in the back, They see a sad, angry, middle-aged and bad shoes. and sort of stains on her clothes They're never doing with their time anything remotely useful

up the place to annoy us even more. except lolling about and cluttering apart from lack of enthusiasm. I can more or less forgive anything sort of body-and-soul inertia... I despise people that have ..and that. very depressed, it feels. They're, like, really downtrodden, like, you know, And you start talking to them, "What's wrong with your life?" And they're, like... (Mumbles) "You know what I'm saying?" And you go, "I'm sorry?" old-fashioned values - What's happened to plain, morals and stuff? Maybe they all need to go to Brownies with old Brown Owl and Akela, and learn how to tie a reef knot such a waste of food. instead of being Now you get on the tube,

you can be 8-months pregnant, you can be pregnant, people don't give up their seat. carrier bags of heavy shopping, You can be carrying multiple nobody gives up their seat. they all need sending to the North. You see, all these young people, by Northern mothers. They need to be re-brought up and have a paper round, Mothers that make you do things, and take out the bitty bucket. half this country's problems. My mother could solve young people as an alien species, Best thing to do is just treat which is what they are, of about 12, 13 to 20, 21, and between the ages just ignore them, really. And teenage girls - oh, my God! attitude problems for their mothers. They save their special (Rings doorbell)

What?! Nice of God to plan things is going through puberty, so that just as your daughter you're at your hormonal worst. a house can take. There's only so much door slamming They titivate themselves and make themselves look marvellous, and straighten their hair the dishwasher downstairs - great. while we're loading It all makes us look even frumpier, on a sun bed next to them on holiday. and then you have to go and lie

Thank God for sarongs! Still, there are compensations. we have more money than they do. On the whole, cotton, frilly hats on their heads They have to wear those silly, stacking shelves at the supermarket when do their Saturday jobs as a waitress - marvellous. or those awful nylon pinnies a bit of dirt on that, thank you. I think you'll find that there's Take that away, please. any mental arithmetic. Duh! And, obviously, they can never do So, when we get to the till, as a matter of course, we like to offer them the odd change to put them in a flummox.

the till to work it all out for them. Which means they can't just rely on Result! with a team of very young people, JENNY: Recently, I was working annoyed me and some of the younger women to the point where I thought, satisfaction I can get from this - "Well, you know, the only "because I can't wear their jeans, with their boyfriends - "I can't get off "I could probably get them sacked." Which isn't very nice, is it? Well, what chews me up about teenagers, is they look so stupid. It's wonderful to be able to sneer at them. I love the bit where they've got their jeans, those great, huge, baggy jeans, with the hems on the floor, and all the stitching's gone in them and they've all been caught in the rain. JENNY: Another thing I'd stop, as well, is hoods. I'd make hoods illegal. All these young boys today, they think they're hard because they've got the hood up. Well, it wouldn't take much,

a little bit of government legislation, cut all the hoods out of every single piece of clothing. We know why you've got your hoods up. Because when you go into that shop and you think, "Oh, there's the security camera. Hood up." Well, no hoods. Hoods off. There. But revenge is usually short-lived. On the whole, they make you sound like your mother. They make you complain about pop music and 'Top of the Pops'. The worst thing about getting old is you become a cliche. You become a cliche of what you didn't want to become - i.e. somebody who sits and shouts at the television. So, when 'Top of the Pops' is on, you know, and those silly boys, you know... ..doing this dance, "Look, I'm pointing at my dick. I'm pointing at my dick." I'm saying, "We all 'king know your pointing at your dick!" God's sake! (Sings) # Come on # Baby! # And then, you know, Justin Timberlake comes on. What is the point of Justin Timberlake? Who is this person? He's beyond untalented. Christina Aguilera, she's the one who wears just her knickers, basically, doesn't she? At least pop music was good when we were young, quality stuff. When people danced onstage they had real style, real rhythm, real presence. The Shads! Way-hey! Well, they did, didn't they? Obviously, we want to give young people today one big, hard, collective telling off - to sit them all down and give them a piece of our collective mind, with no answering back or butting in or flicking their hair. But that's not allowed. So, rather than idiotic suggestions like making them all do a spell in the army or bringing back the three 'R's, much more effective would be to make young people do all the dreary and tiring things in life they make us do. Leaving us free to do something more interesting, like writing to Radio 4, enrol for the Open University

and check our lottery tickets.

I seem to be constantly doing very dull things when I know that I could be doing more interesting things. Why is it the prerogative of the young to behave badly? And why, when you get over 50, are you somehow supposed to have seen the light

and drink the required number of alcohol units a week? You know, you don't smoke too much, and you wear sensible Rohan-type clothes in beige! (Laughs) See, swearing, that's not attractive in an older person, is it? Swearing's alright in young people, but in older people it just looks sad. My mother swears all the time. But you either look like a mad person or just... Well, I suppose I look like a mad person. When I was teaching and got very cross, I used to do long swearwords all along the corridor. So, I would start going, "Ffff..." And then I'd go, "Fuuuu..." When I got to 'ck' I was at the end of the corridor

and nobody understood what I had said. I'd been able to sort of roar all the way along. Young people today have far too much time on their hands, nothing to do. Nothing except texting each other endlessly and pointlessly. Text messaging, what's that all about? People walking down the road doing this.

You know, it's not necessary. And the banality of the stuff, "C U l8er question mark."

You know, we're not talking philosophy here. It's just another way to say, "I'm standing on the corner opposite the bus stop. "Where are you? See you in McDonald's." Irritatingly, young people do have their uses. We need them to set our videos for us, to get us onto the web to do the Tesco shop, and to show us how to use our mobiles. PHONE PLAYS 'MEXICAN HAT DANCE' Ooh! I don't know how! Now? RINGING STOPS And why don't computers ever work for longer than a couple of days without needing some attention? And have you ever solved a computer problem by going into the 'help' directory? Yeah, right. You turn them off, give them a rest overnight and they still refuse to work the next day. Which means that you have to go and get the man in. Pants! Pants! Pants! Unlike most women of my generation, I do love computers. But I do get terribly angry with things like when it freezes. You know, it freezes? And the messages, like, "You have committed an illegal action." Sorry? I'm sitting here minding my own business. I have done nothing wrong. It's you that have frozen. Something's gone wrong in your innards. How dare you blame me? I really resent it when, occasionally, it tries to take over my life and little signs will pop up and they'll say things like "We have located the software that we'd like to update." Go away! Go away, I'm busy! I'm doing something else. I'm eBay. I'm trying to buy some vintage shoes. I'm on Amazon. I'm trying to buy a book. I get in a complete rage with computers. I mean, I can feel myself getting hot. I get all hot. I can feel myself, you know... My hair's standing on end, I look like a clown and I'm trying to control myself, trying to control myself, shouting... And you switch off and you reboot and all this sort of thing. I tell you, I have felt sometimes... My study is on the second storey at home, and I have felt sometimes like opening up the window and hurling this computer out. And the only reason I don't do so is for concern for the people down below because if you're gonna be brained, please, not by a computer. And then the other thing is email. You get on the email - endless adverts for penis extensions and toyboys and... I mean, what is that all about?

Ooh, there's an idea! Now I'm starting to see the point of it all. Sometimes technology can come up with some real breakthroughs. Although, some of us refuse to be drawn in to computers at all, and insist on being very, very low-tech. Monica is my typewriter. She still has a black band, you know, little ribbon, that goes in the thing. And she, touching wood, she never breaks down. And she types away. She's typed all my big books.

Well, in the house - I type in the shed at the bottom of the garden -

they're all effing and blinding in the house because their computers are down. The latest thing is apparently something called iPods, which is not in the freezer section like it sounds it should be but is the poshest, cleverest sound system ever -

that's so small it fits into the gap in your front teeth

or some such nonsense. I see people walking down the street with these white headphones and these iPods. What's that? What's an iPod? (Laughs) It's some sort of a mini jukebox. It's like a Sony Walkman which has digitally got - as far as I can tell, I could be wrong - all the songs you've ever wanted to listen to in a little machine. I know women who say, "Oh, my husband comes home and he, like, sits with his iPod." And I would say, "Honey, your marriage is in trouble." You need to actually sort this out. That is a problem. Can I just say, my father has an iPod. But he's got the time. He's got the time. He's got the manual. He's a man. He can do iPod. I can't do it. I'm a middle-aged woman and I'm grumpy. It's Julian from Falls Marketing. It's no good us whingeing on about mobiles. That just makes us look sad and old.

But why can't people try to keep the drivel they talk on them to themselves? I thought I might wear my black one. Yeah, with the high shoes. I don't understand why we have now

a complete collapse of any reticence at all. People get on board trains and they sit down and they pick up their mobile. And they hold this hugely loud often quite personal conversation -

without any attempt to lower their voices. And you hear people talking about their love-lives. And then another occasion I was on a train and a guy got on, and he set up his computer and he got out his mobile phone and he made about 10 business calls. And, eventually, I said to him, I said, "Are you paying extra?

"Have you hired this as office space, this train?" And he said something about, along the road, "Well, there's a compartment for you don't have mobiles." "you know, where they and it's packed And I said, "Well, I've tried that, from jerks like you." "because people wanna get away Last week on the train... ..a man started on his mobile phone in his company telling all the other executives about a forthcoming staff away day. us all to death with that, And then, having bored things, you know, and write memos. he then went on to order lots of and I said, I got up, I went over to this man (BLEEP) working day with me. "Thank you for sharing your busy, and then I write. "But my job is reading "So just keep it quiet."

And he just paused momentarily, this stupid little headset on, and then he had "Oh, sorry about that. and he went, "Some nutter just came up to me." that we start to write in? Is it any wonder, then, at total strangers or be sarky, It's not enough to glare you put pen to paper. You know it's going to end in tears, manager or to the chief executive but you write endless letters to the and enter into a correspondence and out of your system. to get it all off your chest to green biro land. You're on your way a hell of a lot of letters. I do write I haven't really got time to do it, also gets rid of all my rage. but I find it in my complaining. I've become more vocal

"This isn't working for me." I now say,

my ex-husband. It's very good. This is my sentence. I learnt it off You smile because, of course, psycho when you're complaining. it's very easy to sound like a sorry. This isn't working for me." But if you smile and say, "I'm

quite a kind of positive reaction. You usually get to slap people a little bit - And I do think you should be able obviously, not break skin or bite. you're allowed to bite people. I don't think

I do think you should be able

who give you poor service. to smack the legs of people Just like that. complaining big-time, Of course, if you get into

it culminates in you buying something

into Victor Meldrew territory. that puts you firmly and utterly and totally Something that is entirely bad for your image. A personal shredder. the catalogues start coming, Inevitably, with personal shredders in. most of them you don't like them, At first, you pretend one or two things you like - then subtly, slowly you start to see things you can see that are useful. Then, bingo! You're hooked. You start to read them late at night, by the side of the bed collect a little pile and asterisk the things you want. Not that they ever work or fit, to the post office twice a week and you end up going to take the wretched stuff back. But what is even worse, of the mail-order catalogues. is that I've become the target notification, "You are now a frump! And it's like an official now available for you to wear." "And here are the hideous things more now because I think, I've found I do read catalogues I wouldn't have to go to the shops." "That's awfully convenient. like a little beige top It's sort of when you see something nice, actually. I quite like that." and you think, "That top's quite just to see how it looks, And then you order it it suits you or whatever. and it's very nice, goes, "Ooh, could you get me one?" And then your mum looks at it and Oh, no, Mummy. No, no, no." And that's when you think, "Oh, no. going with Damart. Oh, I've got a terrific relationship which is wonderful. At Damart, I buy thermal vests,

extraordinary garment the other day, But they sent me a most I've ever seen. which is the coolest thing (Laughs) It's a midi mauve housecoat. you've got huge shoulders, And they always assume you drop straight to the ground. battleship bust and then that like a brick shithouse. You're actually built to fit a brick shithouse. And they've clothes you can never get into it. Even when it arrives end up stabbing it with scissors Everything is packaged so that you and doing yourself a nasty injury. or taking a breadknife to it I worried about screwing. In my youth Now I worry about unscrewing. Going... (Grunts) Not a... Won't work. Can't do. in the shop. You buy an ordinary product

mint sauce or something. You know, nothing grand, Something quite normal. and you put it there, And you take it home and then when the lamb is served, you think, "I'll open this bottle now." "I'll open this bottle now!" with the plastic round the lid? You know those bottles And you have to find that bit it'll tear down. where if you just, you know, to try and loosen it up, And you hold it under the hot tap and prise it open, they sell you gadgets to try to the next-door neighbour and you take it round "Can you open this for me, please?" who's a strong man, and say,

finish up in A and E. No wonder people You enter the twilight zone, you don't feel like you did at 35. you don't feel old and But everyone else seems to think or a coach trip that, suddenly, you'd like a cruise or a magazine about pension plans. Wrong! I don't like to class myself as old. buying a copy of the oldie magazine. I'd hate to be caught I've even seen one, I mean, I don't think but that would really upset me. to knuckle down Suddenly, you're supposed to a cosy Mills and Boon short story or some easy-knit cardigan patterns. are middle-aged women And someone assumes your role models they are looking good for their age. whose claim to fame seems to be that Don't even start me on her. JANET: I hate Felicity Kendall. A hamster. You know what she looks like? She's got that mimsy little face. I can't stand the woman!

Miriam Stoppard! And I really super loathe out at the moment There is a magazine Defying Age'. called 'Miriam Stoppard's that she's young and happening, And just to prove

fly-away hair, she's got the Meg Ryan hair, you know, which Lulu has. Looks miles better on Lulu and it looks absolutely crap on Miriam Stoppard. And I hate this whole industry that's grown up that persuades women that when they get older you wanna look like one or two role models. Just as we also falsely assume that young people wanna look like Britney Spears or whoever. Why do I wanna look like Hannah Gordon or (BLEEP) Miriam Stoppard? Hang on, some of us would kill to look like them, but hey-ho. Then there's really old people. Everyone seems so much more sympathetic to old people

when, in fact, all they do is get in our way, dither about and generally faff on. Everything they do is such a big deal. Lots of huffing and puffing, which means you end up doing it for them. They hog the road and hold you up, dithering about. They dawdle on the pavement, chatting and chirping, and everyone thinks they're so cute. Well, I assume some people think they're cute. Not! You've been waiting for 0.5 hours in a queue, and it's Christmas Eve and you're exhausted and you've got last-minute shopping. And then this old person goes by with a basketful of groceries, says, "I'm old. Can you let me past? "I've gotta go past 'cause I've gotta go "'cause I've gotta claim me pension." Or something. And they shame you into saying, "Oh, yes, alright." And I actually want to kill them. I really can't stand old people who bang on about being old and their rights and how they should have this and that and respect and what it was like in the young days. I don't think the past was better. I think what might happen next year is gonna be better than what's already happened. So I'm a positive kind of old person, not a negative one. Old people have all the time in the world, but all they seem to do is watch soaps or fall asleep in front of the telly. And if they do manage to help out, it has to be in the ad break. Unfortunately, the older we get, the harder it is to cope with technology.

So we find ourselves having to write down important telephone numbers on bits of paper.

When you get to this age, you urgently need to write down the prime minister's name in case an evil social worker asks you out of the blue if you know it. And if you don't, they cart you off to the old people's home sharpish, probably don't even give you time to pack. When I get to 75, if I'm losing it, if I'm incontinent, if I'm senile, give me a plastic bag. I'll put it over my own head because the one place I'm not going is in an old people's home. I tell you what I'm gonna do when I'm old. Assuming I've still got most of my faculties, me and my friends are gonna buy a gorgeous property together.

We're gonna have a helicopter on the roof to whisk us off to film premieres, gallery openings and so on. We will all have our own rooms, whatever the latest technology is, with our own DVD players or our finest moments. so we can look at And, then, by night we'll party. Neat plan. on the NHS by then. Perhaps they'll do helicopters most of us are heading But, meanwhile, for the kind of all-night party with one of the other widows, that involves dancing bust to bust or a wild 'Scrabble' tournament. some Roy Orbison karaoke, to get out of a chair Already we're starting that old people do. with the same sort of momentum

We do a bit of huffing and puffing like they do, when we pick things up off the floor, long for a nice sit-down. and, generally, of afternoon naps, these days. I do tend to take quite a lot but about three or four o'clock, Don't tell anybody,

of being me. I think, "Oh, I've had enough I'll just go and have a little..." "I've had enough of everything. just dribbling all over the pillow. And the next thing I know I'm Oh, I do like that. It's not all bad. getting into the pictures as an OAP With any luck, by the time we're the all-day nappy thong they'll have invented will be the norm. and sex-kitten support stockings that don't make us grumpy, There are one or two things that make us joyful - and that nature stuff. the outdoors, gardening Ordinary sights, struggling in a bramble, like a butterfly significant and moving. will strike me as terribly I like talking about the weather. you only talked about the weather You know, it used to be that and so desperate, if you were so bored the most feeble kind of small talk. and making, really, in the fact that it's a nice day, But now I'm definitely interested and it makes me happy. and I'll turn around and say, I'll talk to people at bus stops, the wait." "Oh, it's awful, isn't it - Have you been waiting long?" (Sighs) "Oh, dear. And now I get chatty. think about me now. I don't care what people

I don't care if people say, that she should said that." "How outrageous Because I'll be dead soon. that when you grow old People always assume you're somehow more sensible.

taking drugs, getting drunk, Well, what's wrong with old people you know, being excessive? behaving really badly, having sex - of being the age I am now I think the big plus very crucial lessons in life, is that, you know, you have learnt but you know through experience. which you always knew in theory, what the future is going to hold. Such as, no, you don't know to make the most of each day, You do have and you're a fool if you don't. That's an upside of being older. you like for days on end You can wear all the dirty underwear and no-one's gonna notice. on a Friday night with the old man, To me, the idea of being home

and if the kids are in, you know, and a nice bottle of wine, and an Indian takeaway there's something on the telly. and we're all there and, you know,

I'm in my dressing gown. Ooh! Oh, I like that. a weird dressing gown. I mean, it's not It's not sort of, you know, one of those quilted old-lady ones. It's Kath Kidson. It's quite a funky dressing gown. Don't get me wrong, you know. Not that old!

'WALKIN' BACK TO HAPPINESS' BY HELEN SHAPIRO PLAYS Closed Captions provided by Captioning and Subtitling International Pty Ltd