About Time, By Irma Kurtz

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The Independent Culture

Having moved to Bloomsbury after two decades in Soho, Kurtz describes herself as a "last-time buyer". Her book about "growing old disgracefully" should have been great: a sassy broad reports from the final frontier. But the results are disappointingly bland.

The 85-year-old painter Jeffrey Smart tells us, "We are the only species that knows we are going to die. That's why I love my dogs... because they don't know." Former Soho pub landlord Norman Balon declares, "Getting old is coming to terms with the fact that you're going to die soon."

Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall says, "Nothing is better than this wonderful new love affair with your grandchildren." Kurtz's own contributions are equally trite: "We must hold on to the present tense, it is as close as we come to a perfect tense, even when we misuse it. Now alone holds promise."