The ideal playlist for death cleaning

BEFORE I forget, here’s an idea I want to run past you. I hope it’s an original idea but I’m sure it isn’t. There may even be protocols in place for it, but I’ve never seen them or read about them.

What I have read about is the use of music to take people in care homes back to their heyday. It cheers them up and, even or particularly in those with dementia, makes a connection.

However, who chooses the music? Imagine you were sitting there with your brain in neutral, as it has been for years now, when someone in a short white jacket breezes in and with a big, wide smile says: “Wake up, ye crocks and dotards! We’re going to take you back to your heyday with sounds from your younger years. So, pin back your hairy lugholes. Here it is: rap music!” Gah!

Or maybe it would be that awful pop music with these helium-voiced female singers accompanied by the monotous drum beat from Hell. As my mother died from dementia, and already I can’t remember names I was given 30 seconds ago, and my liquor intake sends hundreds of brain cells fleeing to the lifeboats every night, I do worry about my future.

So my idea is this: on a piece of paper or your computer (putting the information on a USB stick when you’re done), you jot down a list of your favourite music (first), films and audiobooks.

Then, if you have to leave your house and go into care, the authorities pick up the papers or USB stick and see that it goes to the home.

With regards to the authorities finding this then, as long as Remainer MPs don’t obstruct the legislation, or liberals start taking everyone to court, Parliament could enact a protocol in law that says: “Yea, and verily, with regards to the heretofore and aforesaid, the papers or stick will always be placed in the top drawer of the aforementioned chest or breast of drawers.”

Now, all this might mean more work for already hard-pressed care assistants but we, the aforementioned dotards, would be quiescent and happier, which would surely make their lives easier instead of us pushing the emergency button and, when they arrive, just staring at them steadily for 30 seconds before saying: “A-wibble.”

Apart from which, with any luck, robots will be doing all this work by the time I’m wheeled into Happy Dodderings. They could be programmed to keep the selections varied. You could go off even early Genesis if their albums were played to you relentlessly. And there’d be a danger that, on learning that Fanny and Alexander is five hours and 12 minutes long, errant humans just put it on a loop for you.

In addition, these days, you could nominate a digital radio station that specialises in your niche musical tastes (death metal carol-singing or whatever).

It might even be fun drawing up your list before you go gently into that bewildered night. Already, I’ve sometimes thought about which books would go into my one permitted bookcase. A lot of Tolkien and PG Wodehouse, with Knut Hamsun’s Hunger, I suspect, and The Wind In The Willows, a James Herriot, a Rosemary Sutcliff, the first Narnia, an Asterix and a Rupert The Bear. Sure I’ve forgotten several hundred.

In Sweden, they call thinning out your possessions when you get old “death cleaning”. It sounds such fun. I’m looking forward to it. I’m not greetin’. I’ve just got something in my eye.

Anyway, in the meantime, this has just been a thought. Now, what did I come in here for?

Younglings are from Mars

BEFORE getting old, we’ve one more battle to fight: against the young. They’ve been questioning the wisdom and authority of their elders and betters lately, and this surly posturing must be crushed before they force us all to listen to Bernard Sheeran, if that is the name.

I jest, of course. In many ways, I think today’s younger people are better than us and I like them, apart from the snowflakes. It’s this latter designation that has got the more militant younglings up on their hind legs, with the result that they’ve coined the expression “OK Boomer” as a dismissive retort to opinions spouted by anyone in the 55-75 age group.

The odd thing about this is that, online, you get the impression it’s as often as not folk their own age calling them snowflakes, generally for their uber-sensitive politics.

My view, if you want it (readers’ chorus: “Naw!”), is that as with the rancour surrounding Brexit, it’s the lack of an external war against alien enemies that is causing this inter-generational conflict. Once the Martians invade, the world will be united once more and everything will be fine – if we could just be rid of these tentacled rapscallions.

The power of bickering

MIND you, bickering is an essential of life for you Earthlings. I’ve always found it odd how you effect to deplore violence and conflict, yet the former is found in nearly all your movies and the latter in all your literature.

As for bickering, a sort of low-level, nag-nag arguing, I have observed during my unplanned stay here that the strongest marriages are founded on it. When everything is hunky-dory, that’s when you know that something’s wrong.

A survey by Smart Energy GB, which was principally interested in arguments over heating and lighting but took in all other issues, says families bicker five times a week on average, with messiness being a prime cause, followed by doing the chores.

What to watch on telly is another one, as is taking too long in the shower. But it’s my view – no, listen – that while you’re having these little tiffs you’re at least not going nuclear and ending up divorced.

Indeed, it occurs to me that they should teach bickering in schools, including the essential arts of tactical understatement, strategic exaggeration and, above all, keepin’ the heid.

Right, I’m off to wash my tentacles. No, tentacles, madam. Oh, forget it.