Late Life Crisis - February 2020

Suicide Bridge. Known as such to many Londoners. The point between Crouch End and Highgate where Hornsey Lane passes over Archway Road. The sides now protected from potential jumpers through fearsome fences. A design of these, according to the Ham & High local newspaper, considered by the Highgate Society to be aesthetically unpleasing.

Aesthetical considerations in preventing suicides. As a friend observed tartly, the aesthetics of fence design is surely something reflected on by the poor person thinking about trying to end their life. I pass up and down Highgate High Street fairly frequently. Should the Society's efforts be focussed on trying to get revitalised this sadly moribund stretch of road?


In my efforts to rediscover some modest jogging, I now have a route round a local park. The problem is that I live at the top of a hill, and doing the return up the hill is a little too much just now. On the other hand I do not want to contract a cold voluntarily through walking back without extra clothing.

Perfect solution to this. Carry a fleece inside my small rucksack. And it has a double benefit. I sense that my running is more a plodding, so with rucksack on back it might look as though I am delberately weighting myself to intensify the exercise? Probably no one would be fooled.


I admire Matthew Parris's writing, and especially in the recent Times piece where he pointed out that Boris Johnson isn't eloquent. The gist of the insightful observations is that the man has a talent for verbal exuberance that gets an audience's sympathetic attention, but that he is not good at explaining things in a rational way with clear argument. My own metaphor is of someone daubing paint on a canvas in the hope that the product impresses as art.

PS It is good that we are now treating him as a grown-up and not calling him in folksy fashion by his first name. After all, he is Prime Minister...

By way of balance, is not Rebecca Long-Bailey a dead ringer for Denise fron The Royle Family?


Oxford University Student Union has apparently banned parties with themes of vicars and tarts; pimps and hoes; foxhunters (and foxes?) etc, for fear of upsetting sensitive undergraduates. A minefield of debate, but what other options are there? A test would be to find a theme that could not be judged offensive by any section of society. Good luck with that.

Is all this just student unions getting their knickers in a twist? But I probably can't say that as it is potentially offensive to anyone whose underwear occasionally is in a tangle.


And on the subject of underwear, or rather lack of it, I enjoyed Mary Beard's BBC two-parter Shock of the Nude. In one segment she encounters Gustav Courbet's full frontal and more female figure in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Just at the end of her erudite analysis of the work, she throws in the comment: "Pretty in your face, isn't it?". Innocent or less innocent? Am I excessively innuendo-attuned? The wonderful thing about our Mary is that we will never know what caused her to put that line in the script.


And finally, it is bye bye Sussex Royal. Megs and Harry visited the county infrequently it appears, and the Royal has now been kyboshed, ostensibly by virtue of Government rules but I suspect also a convenient smokescreen for the wish of the Palace. Anyway, as one commentator has pointed out, the brand name does sound rather like a potato.



As always, a good mix of interest and humour. Having been a Samaritans volunteer for over a year, I was particularly interested in the bit about Suicide Bridge. I really liked the painting analogy - very apt!

Thank you Graeme. And good on you for the Samaritans work.

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