Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Feeling my age

I thought it was because my birthday on Friday that I felt I’m getting old. But it’s worse than that. And no, it wasn’t because I saw a policeman and realised he looked younger than me (although that has happened as well recently). No, it was this morning I was listening to the radio, minding my own business when I realised exactly why I’m feeling my age.

It was the last story on the Today programme: three commentators including one of the MPs I used to work for, Norman Baker, and the IPPR’s Simon Retallack. They were talking about climate change.

Simon was one of the students in my International Relations class at LSE during my first year. Even then he was an ecological militant. I can’t remember a political conversation with him which didn’t turn back to environmental issues one way or the other. And frustratingly, he was always so self-assuredly right in his views – a regular politician.

This morning wasn’t the first time he’s popped up in my radar. The same happened a few weeks ago on Newsnight. And if having a visual or audible reminder that your generation is steadily getting older (and supposedly more respectable), there’s also another survivor from that same shared class in October 1995: James Crabtree, who seems to appear everywhere these days, from TV to print.

Was it something in the water or in Geoffrey Stern’s teaching? Maybe it was because we all ended up on the student paper. I don’t really know, other than to say that there’s something unsettling about seeing your peers in the media; it makes me feel I’m getting older.

You may well ask how old I’m going to be on Friday. Only 29, for goodness sake! Were I at least another five or ten years older it would be OK – there just seems something odd about seeing people my age burbling away, no matter how knowledgeable they might be.

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