The Oldie: Celebrating The Sulphurous Glory Of Old Fartdom
October 4, 2002 12:09 AM   Subscribe

The Oldie: Celebrating The Sulphurous Glory Of Old Fartdom If you're a sozzled, bilious and deeply reactionary misanthropic Brit who's over 80, hates anything foreign (specially Americans) and stubbornly refuses to die just for the pleasure of spiting the youngsters, then The Oldie is definitely the magazine for you. It couldn't be more "out of synch" with the "cool" MeFi "demographic" but it does share the same in-your-face fuckwittedness and I love it. Its unofficial editorial manifesto, drafted by the late, great Auberon Waugh, says it all:
1. Inveighing against the ignorance, idleness, stupidity, dishonesty and sexual incompetence of the young. 2. Insulting the young in any and every manifestation. 3. Insulting the old who seem to be deferring or otherwise sucking up to the young. 4. Promoting the idea of "age fascism" whereby the young are automatically seen as inferior. 5. Denouncing new things, new ideas, modernism in any form, especially anything proposed in the name of youth or by someone under the age of 40.[More inside]
posted by MiguelCardoso (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
To get you started (not that I expect many here to be interested...) I suggest you read:

1) Patrick Newley's account of the meeting Of two English queens: Quentin Crisp and Douglas Byng;
2) Nicholas Wollaston's tale of two friends eaten by crocodiles;
3) The Marquess of Aberdeen's guide to the best bordellos of days gone by;
4) Richard Ingrams's reflections on The Oldie's first ten years (which includes the Auberon Waugh letter I quoted.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:19 AM on October 4, 2002

Hey, there's nothing inside! Oh, wait a minute... Oh, well. Carry on. Old people--they've got no respect and the music they listen to is just simply melodious.
posted by y2karl at 12:21 AM on October 4, 2002

Auberon Waugh had some nice things to say about Cyril Connolly or so I remember from a post of yore.
posted by y2karl at 12:23 AM on October 4, 2002

Thanks Miguel. I was just dipping through and found this little article about how the internet is growing up. I haven't read the rest yet, and maybe I'm older and more sozzled and misanthropic than I thought, but I reckon that has to be worth a read however old you are.
posted by walrus at 1:22 AM on October 4, 2002

In 1945, when the militant feminists of Paris demanded, and got, the closure of all the bordellos, just one remained open...

My favourite, a chestnut-haired beauty, was fluent in several languages. She once lost her professional cool and called out in her extremity, ‘Ach, mein Gott!’ Tactfully I didn’t remind her that the Germans had left, defeated.

posted by delmoi at 1:26 AM on October 4, 2002

Definitely a refreshing change.
posted by Frasermoo at 1:30 AM on October 4, 2002

Are there any demographics for the MeFI community? It would be interesting to know how old we are.

Don Factor, age 68 1/2
posted by donfactor at 2:09 AM on October 4, 2002

I am if not venerable at least old enough to know better, definitely sozzled and misanthropic, but not particularly bilious. Can I still have a cookie?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:25 AM on October 4, 2002

There's slippers'n'gin journalism for oldies-in-waiting, and other young fogies, at The Idler.
posted by liam at 3:21 AM on October 4, 2002

Miguel, I don't think you're using fuckwittedness in the right way. Pigheadedness or something like that is maybe what you want.

As for the Oldie. Well, it's not for females is it?
posted by Summer at 4:41 AM on October 4, 2002

This is classic and shall be my phrase for the day.

"I think making any sort of effort in one’s life is a mistake." - Quentin Crisp
posted by grabbingsand at 6:07 AM on October 4, 2002

I'm old! Gimme money!

Wow. It's like the crotchety bastard child of Private Eye and, um, Guideposts or something, isn't it?

That said, Cyril Connolly is one of my heroes and I still miss Auberon Waugh.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:22 AM on October 4, 2002

For you, octobersuprise, from that post of yore--Auberon Waugh on Cyril Connolly.
posted by y2karl at 7:32 AM on October 4, 2002

I'm with Summer - the proper use of fuckwittedness would be something like, "Ed Ness is one tough geezer. If I were you I wouldn't fuckwittedness."
posted by madprops at 7:53 AM on October 4, 2002

it's not for females is it?

I don't know, Summer. Oldie women tend to be more cantankerous and unashamedly reactionary than men. Muriel Spark, P.D.James and Beryl Bainbridge are three outstanding novelists who've written for The Oldie. And in the British Council library here in Lisbon, it's always one of the blue-rinse brigade who's reading their one copy of the magazine.

Thanks for putting old clever clogsme right about the fuckedwittedness. Pigheaded is exactly the right word for them!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:14 AM on October 4, 2002

And Germaine Greer too, no?
posted by Grangousier at 8:16 AM on October 4, 2002

Maybe women do read The Oldie. It's just that when I think of Auberon Waugh and Richard Ingrams I think of wood-panelled mens' clubs, gout, cigars and public- (boy's) school humour. Mind you, I read Private Eye and that's a similar demographic.
posted by Summer at 9:13 AM on October 4, 2002

Grangousier: Yes, Germaine Greer! She's become quite a reactionary old bird herself, hasn't she? I venerate her, though. She's just chosen another way of being radical.

Summer: Private Eye is probably all male, all (minor) public school, all drunks. Richard Ingrams is a non-smoking, non-drinking vegetarian who's a bit of a prig - the opposite of Auberon Waugh, with whom he didn't get on well. Although he was a great Eye editor (because he actually encouraged investigative journalism, specially by the great Paul Foot) he eventually fell out with Peter Cook and left to found The Oldie because he didn't much enjoy the jokes.

Politics apart, The Oldie has an Old Labour feel to it, with its veneration of the working class of yesteryear and fascination with popular comedians and singers of the 30s and 40s. All contributors seem to be poor and down on their luck so I'd say its demographic was quite distinct from, say, The Spectator's.

I find Private Eye hilarious but my English women friends don't. It is extremely misogynist and written by men who know very little about women - so I'm glad and surprised you enjoy it, Summer! If you start reading it when you're a student, then you're hooked for life, I suppose...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:41 AM on October 4, 2002

[Germaine Greer]'s become quite a reactionary old bird herself

Mmm. I think it's just that she doesn't suffer fools gladly, and never has - the late sixties/early seventies fools were all right wing, so she appeared very left wing, as time has gone on all manner of idiots have crept from the woodwork across the political spectrum, so her profile has appeared to change.

She usually seems to be right, even if that makes me uncomfortable.

Nuff spec' to Ms Greer, as I believe the young people might say.
posted by Grangousier at 9:57 AM on October 4, 2002

I find Private Eye hilarious but my English women friends don't

I'm always being told I have a masculine sense of humour, usually by men who think women don't have a sense of humour at all. I often find Private Eye arrogantly smug and cynical in the worst way, but it says the stuff no-one else does, so I still read it. For me it's not primarily a humour magazine, it's about keeping an eye on the pompous and hypocritical. If something's seriously amiss in the country you know where you're going to hear it first.

She's become quite a reactionary old bird herself, hasn't she?

You wouldn't say that if you'd read The Whole Woman. As Grangousier rightly says, she doesn't suffer fools gladly and doesn't automatically follow the left just because she's expected to. She's her own person and my complete heroine.
posted by Summer at 12:04 PM on October 4, 2002

I not only read The Whole Woman - I read (and loved) The Change. In hardback! In fact, I think I've read everything she's written - including all her Telegraph farming columns. As I said, I venerate her. Being a bit of a reactionary myself, my use of the word is far from negative.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:45 PM on October 4, 2002

Hey you snot nosed kids!
Get off the lawn!
I'm not gonna tell you again!
You disrespectful little twerps!

come back inside, Joe

Lookit those damn kids!
How many times have I told them
to get off the lawn!
They’re gonna stomp on all the weeds!
Get off the lawn!
Damn kids!
Oh lookit out there!
Now those kids got bottle rockets!
Get off the lawn!

posted by ZachsMind at 4:59 PM on October 4, 2002

Thanks for the link, y2k, the Lewis bio is good. One of my favorite Connolly comments--I've just dug it out--is Frank Kermode's:
"Connolly was charmingly selfish and incredibly unreliable, literally out to lunch most of the time, usually in expensive restaurants with someone else paying. He rarely rose before noon, and was out or entertaining most evenings; he was constantly enjoying the sweet melancholy of competing and time consuming amorous claims ..."

And speaking of old birds, she was another favorite of mine.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:53 PM on October 4, 2002

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