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Grumpy Old Men


In the UK recently we had a TV programme with the above title. It featured a selection of British male celebrities in the 45-55 age group, talking about the things that make them grumpy. Apparently men in that group are the grumpiest in the country. The 'stars' included Bob Geldof, Michael Grade (the new BBC boss) and various other lesser lights.  Basically they talked with great enthusiasm about the things that get them angry.

I found it quite enlightening as I have often thought that I was being a bit unreasonable getting worked up over the things that irritate me.  It was very reassuring to discover that I am not alone.  I'm only just (2003) into the lower end of the age bracket, but I am clearly heading for a grumpier future.

I won't trouble you with what made the men grumpy, as many of the topics will be included in my own list. For a long time I've been meaning to list the things that annoy me, but I thought I was being overly eccentric (me?!). However, the TV programme 'Room 101', (named after the idea George Orwell had of having a place to put all the things that you hate), has made such lists popular. It's sort of the antithesis of the song 'These are a Few of my Favourite Things', popularised by Julie Andrews.

As an aside, I'll comment that the so-called celebrities, with the exception of the ones I mentioned above, were hardly major celebrities.  That's my first grump, the quality of 'stars' is on the decline.  The number of C-list publicity seekers, who are only famous for, well, trying to be famous, is on the increase. At one time it was true that 'In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.  These days, five minutes of fame makes you a mega-star.

Without even trying hard my list includes the vociferous minority, job interview processes, falling standards in the diction of BBC news readers, school uniform, customer service, 4x4 vehicles, political correctness (that's going to be a long rant...), and the whole mobile telephone culture. This last features so highly in my list that it gets its own article.

That's without all the little things, such as UK yob culture, including non-personal stereos, feet on train seats, pavement cycling at high speed, dog mess, pavement parking, litter, short pint measures, unfunny comedians who just shout and swear, automated voice mail systems, and people who moan about England, but still live here.  Anyway, let's get on with my specific grumpies...

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