Editor's comment July 2013
PUBLISHED: 15:46 18 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:53 18 June 2013
I strolled out of a garden centre the other lunchtime just as a motorcycle gang roared into the car park. A dozen strong, clad in leathers astride throbbing, belching metal beasts - a truly intimidating sight. For a second or two, a scene of carnage flickered across my mind. Inside, a café full of peaceful pensioners were getting stuck into their meat and two veg. Outside, the Wild Bunch had arrived to shoot the sheriff or some such malevolence. This could not end well.
And then they took off their helmets. Grey hair, grey beards, spectacles and at least one hearing aid. I doubt if one of them was below the age of 65. Not so much the Wild Bunch as the Mild Bunch. Their bikes were vintage British classics. If they had tattoos they would have been in Latin.
And that caused me to think about our preconceptions of age and how while we’re all getting older, we’re also getting younger at the same time.
Let me explain. With improved nutrition, a better environment and advanced medical care, our elderly population is rapidly expanding. People no longer ring down the curtain and join the choir invisible in their mid-60s unless that horrible beast cancer gets them. Life expectancy in the UK is now around the 80 mark.
In addition, the nature of old people is changing. Many of us are children of the Fifties and Sixties; that Mild Bunch will have been ripping up cinema seats at their local Odeon when Marlon Brando mumbled his way onto the silver screen in 1953. This generation is not content with a packet of Werther’s Originals and some nice comfy slippers. They’re into hang-gliding, mountain-climbing. Or even hang-gliding off mountains.
This generation is also comparatively wealthy. Many economists think the Baby Boomers have cleaned up at the expense of subsequent generations. Many people can afford to retire at 50 or 60 (especially, it seems, anyone who worked in the public sector). The rest of us can now, if we want, work on until our declining mental faculties call a halt.
And this is all very good news for local businesses, and for magazines like Cotswold Life. That disposable income has to go somewhere, and on this patch a large part of it goes to our advertisers. That, allied to excellent editorial content, is why we are a successful publishing business at a time when so many others in this sector are struggling to survive.
But we could always do better, and that brings us to the point. There’s an open invitation both in this month’s magazine and on our website (www.cotswoldlife.co.uk/survey) for you to let us know what you like and don’t like about your magazine. Please do take advantage of it. We value your opinions and what you have to say will help shape Cotswold Life in the immediate future. We can only continue to be successful if we’re in tune with our customers.
Many thanks in advance. Don’t make me have to send the Mild Bunch round.
Follow Mike on Twitter: @cotslifeeditor