Rhodri Marsden: Legs & Co offer a troubling reminder of the vagaries of ageing

Life on Marsden
  • @rhodri

BBC4, bless its gorgeously parochial britches, has been showing 35-year old episodes of Top Of The Pops every week for the last year or so, allowing me to become nostalgic for a time when I didn't have a mortgage and occasional acid reflux.

 But it's also prompting niggling anxiety that I should have achieved more in the years since Legs & Co delivered over-literal interpretations of "Disco Inferno" by dancing with discs and fire. If the 1977 me could see the 2012 me, he'd say, "Why are you always slumped on the sofa in your pants watching the same Top Of The Pops as me?" To which I'd reply, "Shut it, or I'll give you a list of bad stuff that's going to happen to you before you're 40."

Too many of life's boxes remain unticked. It was only 18 months ago that I breathed in helium and talked in a squeaky voice for the first time. I'm now old enough to drive a vehicle weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, but have I bothered? No, I haven't. And I haven't had children, which isn't something that can be remedied by signing up for evening classes at South Thames College, probably.

The thorny subject of kids looms daily in the minds of single, childless human beings of my age. Men generally attempt to postpone the issue by pointlessly pursuing much younger women. They're terrified of women of their own age who want children, but are unwilling to have their options narrowed by women who don't. "Women of 25 are a good option," they muse, incorrectly. "They will like me. I have life experience. I can wirelessly stream music from an iPad to a remote speaker. I will play it cool by sharing none of their interests, checking my prostate and walking around in a malodorous fug."

Women, meanwhile, cast their gaze around at these men who, years ago, would have been begging them for a date. And discover that they're now sending messages on internet dating sites saying things like, "Mmm, you look nice and young," watching old episodes of Top Of The Pops in their pants and generally drifting on a sea of procrastination and false hope until the age of 60, when the chances of finding a woman of childbearing age who's willing to have sex with them is approximately nil. Men are idiots. But we knew that already.