A friend who uses neither computer nor tablet, nor even a mobile phone, has given me an idea.
Up to the year 2000, she worked from her bedroom at home on a computer during a period in the evolution of these beasts when they were rapidly increasing in physical bulk. It’s hard to believe, in these days of miniaturisation, that a single PC plus printer/fax could take up half a bedroom, but for those with short memories or who are too young to remember, just look at what was involved:
You also needed a proper desk and office chair to be able to work comfortably for more than about an hour a day, plus somewhere to store piles of paper, large floppy disks and lever arch files for printouts. Software was also not what it is today, and modem speed was tortoise-like. Needless to say, on retirement, she was heartily glad to be rid of the lot and restore her bedroom to the comfortable lady’s boudoir of yore. In a sense, though, baby went out with the bathwater. She resents being forced into a Luddite position and accepts that at some point she will simply have to learn to use a mobile phone and possibly a tablet, however reluctantly, and thus every so often will ask me to explain some concept or other she hears about.
“What’s the difference between a blog, Twitter and Facebook?” is a typical question, as she reports hearing about Zoella’s million-pound mansion. Then:
“How come you aren’t earning a fortune with your blog?”
I explain that my blog is just a vent for me to compensate for not having a captive audience at home to listen to my ramblings, and that it has no lucrative purpose. I admit that I wouldn’t know how to earn an income from it, and quite honestly have no desire at this stage of my life for either fame or fortune – they bring rude intrusive fans and the taxman into your life. I’m happy with my little following and the occasional pat on the head in the form of someone reblogging a post or – as at the moment – the Jewish Museum of Vienna borrowing one of my translations to accompany an exhibition. Acknowledgment from those I respect is sufficient reward.
I add that Zoella is young and pretty, and much more fun to look at in her vlog than I would be: who on Earth would want to see a fat old granny? UFO – Ugly. Fat and Old! BAZOOM! Light bulb moment! Rephrase that idea: is there a potential public for the style vlog of a baby-boomer with a BMI in excess of 30?
Well, Silver Surfers unite!
Saga magazine for the over-fifties has one of the biggest runs in the UK, so the age-group public is there. And how many of Saga readers are slender enough to carry off the fashions flaunted by their well-preserved middle-aged models? Surely there must be more dumpy little men and women than willowy ones among the readership? Many older people are still subsidising their young adult children, and we are all having to survive on our pensions, meaning that the cash doesn’t flow quite as merrily as Saga writers appear to think. So wouldn’t it be fun to launch a vlog at that target?
I don’t see myself as a fashionista, by any means, but I do know that I shouldn’t try to imitate Tina Turner or Aretha Franklin even if we are contemporaries. But how many of us older women still have that thirty-something self-image and dress accordingly? Unless our children or grandchildren are brutally blunt we still mince around wearing too-tight garments over sagging boobs, ballooning bellies and billowing bottoms. And makeup remains the same as in the eighties. Or even the sixties. Others go to the opposite extreme and try to hide under baggy cardigans and pleated skirts.
I could hold a mirror up to nature and maybe do someone a favour, but what do I have to offer? Is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? I could start by getting out of these jeans and T-shirt, and stop putting my hair in a ponytail: do I think I’m 17 or something? Time for a candid selfie, my “Before” photo, to be published once I’ve achieved my transformation 🙂 . And then I can think about vlogging.