Young At Heart

Mrs Stroke Bloke and I have been catching up with the BBC Scotland documentary series Rip It Up: The History Of Scottish Pop.

In a sufficiently leisurely fashion that we haven’t reached this yet:

A deathless classic, I’m sure you’ll agree.

[For the most leisurely stroll through Scottish pop possible, check the Apoplexy Tiny Letter.]

It’s good to be young at heart. I know this, because I’ve recently read that Public Health England has found that

[f]our out of five adults have hearts that are more damaged than they should be for their age, putting them at greater risk of early death.

Brad's botox finally gives up
‘Tell me about it. I’m seven!’ – Benjamin Button

Doesn’t that mean that one in five adults is fortunate enough to have a heart that is less damaged than it should be at their age, meaning they should be congratulated?

In any event, study is a pretty hifalutin word here, because what they seem to be talking about is a bunch of people completing an online test which will then calculate their “heart age”. You can have a go at the link above, if you’re so-minded.

Obviously, I had a shot because I’m a morbid goth at heart and my impending death entertains me.

The shades help
Andrew Eldritch in 1987: heart age 3,692, chronological age 28

It turns out that, given my history of stroke, the heart age calculator claims not to work for me. But I played with my answers to wring a result out of the thing anyway, and it turns out that my heart gave up the ghost and I died about six years ago.

Uncanny, eh?

You're really raising my BP here, Public Health England
Well, it’s a bit bloody late for that, dontcha think?!

Aye, there’s the rub. I’m sure that what Public Health England is trying to do here is, make people stop and think about their heart health and what they’re doing about it. Give them a right good scare and frighten them into behaving properly.

However, as long-suffering readers may be aware, I’m behaving so well that the local practice nurse has to make up some rubbish about mackerel in order in order to make my blood pressure monitoring appointment worthwhile. And still this online tool tells me that if I’m not dead already, my heart is even older than my chronological age.

When you think Gary Oldman is Dracula and not Commissioner Gordon
HAHAHAHA! How is that even possible?

If that’s the case, I might as well enjoy the few minutes I have left by lacing a filterless Lucky Strike with heroin, putting it in the blender with some liquid LSD, and injecting it directly into my eyeballs.

But y’see, here’s the funny thing. My heart may be made of cracked, millions of years old sandstone, but I do feel young at heart. Although my brush with death may have cured my fear of death, I still want to hang around and do more stuff.

Hold on, is that an *oily* dead fish?
C’mon, do something

So while – in my case – having Public Health England try to scare the shit out of me is kinda counterproductive, having a young metaphorical heart seems like it might be helpful. I mean, I’ve already done all the dumb stuff I shouldn’t have done. Why don’t we look forward with a sense of purpose and optimism?

I was recently telling someone about Claudia Hammond’s theory of the reminiscence bump, and they were kind of interested by it. I’d recommend revisiting this post if you’re not familiar with it. But, long story short, novelty keeps you young.

When are they putting lard back into Irn Bru?
Oh god, I feel OLD

Funnily enough, it turns out that The Bluebells set a good example in that regard. Lawrence Donegan went on to be the bassist with Stroke Bloke favourites Lloyd Cole and The Commotions, and a golfing correspondent with The Grauniad. The less said about his stint as House of Commons assistant to Brian Wilson MP, the better.

David McCluskey uses music therapeutically with a wide variety of people which, unsurprisingly, supports wholeheartedly. Sometime member Craig Gannon was also a sometime Smith, including on this M********-free track.

You might well cry
Then this happened…

The Bluebells got involved with another bête noire, Volkswagen, when Young At Heart was used for a TV advert. All’s well that ends well, though. The re-issued single hit number one for four weeks in 1993, and the band reformed again in late 2008-early 2009 to support hero Edwyn Collins at a show in Glasgow.

Doesn’t the very thought make you feel young and alive?

Oh god, no.

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8 thoughts on “Young At Heart

  1. So, if you’re young at heart, are you willing to listen to advice from Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith? I’m sure they will encourage a lot of shouting, and other forms of Bobby Gillespie therapy.

    Also, Andrew Eldritch has no heart. Never did. He only survives by drinking the blood of young goths.

    Finally – Novelty doesn’t do much for my mental state, but Transmission gets me moving most of the time. No matter what happens, we’ll always be younger at heart 5an dearly-departed Ian. Poor Dead Soul…

    1. Thanks, Joyce! It is, isn’t it? But, careful you don’t laugh your arse off right into the survivor’s favourite myth, Foreign Accent Syndrome.

  2. You have yer Half Man Half Biscuit, I have me Wombats. Let’s dance to Joy Division, everyone! 🙂

    More importantly… I missed this bit of wisdom the first time around.

    “The explanation for the phenomenon instead comes more clearly into focus when we consider the reminiscence bump, the other phenomenon whereby we vividly remember experiences we had between the ages of 15 and 25. Which is why your favourite album came out when you were seventeen.”

    Lo and behold, I did the calculations, and my favorite album was released when I was seventeen. I’m sure you can guess it: released in 1988 by an Australian band, whose lead singer was not bald (and still isn’t).

    And yes, many of my other favorite albums were released between my ages of 15 to 25. I feel so… predictable?

    1. Ah, I was all ready to join the pile-on with a two-footed, studs-up, waist-high challenge on The Herald, then I clicked on the link and found that they’d just tabulated the results of a popular vote. (Which for today’s Scottish newspaper industry is some Pulitzer Prize-winning shiznit.)

      When I clicked through to see their writers’ choices I still got booted out for trying to read more than three articles in a month, so more fool me. They wanted £1.74 pw to see more.

      Aaaaaanyway, I’m going to be a bit controversial and say that if you sat an infinite number of Stroke Blokes in front of an infinite number of computers for an infinite amount of time and told them to come up with their top ten Scottish albums, they’d probably hit on that list by lunchtime. Except they’d still only be pretending to get The Blue Nile. My list as of 22:45 on 19/9/18 in this week’s post. I look forward to your apoplectic rage.

      Also, is that Australian album Tender Prey? If so, I like the cut of your 17 year-old jib. My 17 year-old self was devouring And The Ass Saw The Angel. Which the gainfully employed, Manhattan-dwelling version of me reading it some years later thought hadn’t aged well. (The moral of this story probably being, Don’t Trust The Man.) Nice to be reminded of that Wombats track, btw.

      1. Not Tender Prey, but Starfish by The Church.

        Nick Cave got better as he got older, in my opinion. Favourite album by far is Dig Lazarus Dig!!!

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