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Simon Kelner: Never mind the intermission, when's the menopause?
Much of the nation returned to work yesterday, reunited themselves
with colleagues, and, I'd hazard a guess, had very similar
How was it for you? Great, thanks. Presents? Terrific. I got some really good receipts. And wasn't Downton Abbey brilliant? Not really. It was the laziest, corniest, most cliché-ridden piece of television drama this side of Crossroads. Oh, and why is my computer not working?
Yes, life was back to normal in the offices and workplaces of Britain yesterday, with the additional benefit that we were all able to complain about the weather, too. I am not one for new year resolutions, although I have resolved to eat less meat, and to start acting my real age (the wrong side of 50) rather than the age I think I am (24). I am encouraged in this (overdue, some will say) ambition by the news that, apparently, 50-somethings are a highly desirable demographic grouping for those hoping to flog consumer durables and now, it seems, also for Hollywood.
According to reports, no longer is the latest Seth Rogan or Zac Efron vehicle the holy grail for movie producers Instead, impressed by the surprise box-office success of The King's Speech, they are focusing on a raft of films – starring such teen heart-throbs as Judi Dench, Tom Courtenay and Maggie Smith – which have older cinemagoers in mind. Dustin Hoffman's forthcoming debut as a director is about four opera singers living in a retirement home (not exactly The Hangover, is it?) while The Artist, which has just opened in Britain and is already tipped to be a commercial and creative blockbuster, harks back to the era of silent films.
Andrew Collins, the film editor of Radio Times, who, I suspect, is a man of a certain age, was extremely positive about this latest development. "Films these days are all too tailored for an imaginary teenage boy," he told the Daily Telegraph (who else?), and went on to explain how much he enjoyed Terence Davies's The Deep Blue Sea. "It was lovely to be able to sit down in a cinema and enjoy a grown-up film containing no violence and no explicit sex, with patrons" – yes, patrons! – "who were over 50, and in many cases over 60."
This got me thinking. If Hollywood is serious about this, plot lines will surely have to change. Instead of glossy rom-coms and stories of teen love, get ready for a whole new genre which will play to the interests, habits and attitudes of the over-50s. Bill Nighy starring as a man who can't remember why he went upstairs in the first place. Or Liam Neeson in a mystery which revolves around someone who has to get up several times in the middle of the night to go to the lavatory. Or Helen Mirren as the woman with a dangerous addiction to The Archers. And how about Gary Oldman in the starring role in a film in which all the leading characters complain that text messaging has led to a decline in written English, particularly among young people? I could go on. But I'm off to the premiere of Does Anyone Know Where I Left My Glasses? Happy New Year!
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