Our two youngest grandchildren visited today for an overnight stay while mum and dad, heavy metal fans both, go off to a ‘gig’ in Birmingham. The youngest child, eight years old, immediately asked to be connected to a Wi-Fi so he could play a game; the older eleven-year-old granddaughter was already connected and was already playing a game.
It led to a general discussion on games, with granny and me reminiscing about the old computer games we played some thirty-seven years ago – we vividly remembered Pacman which was familiar to the children.
But the games are playing now are totally beyond my capabilities. They are, by and large, all very fast action requiring much faster reflexes than I have these days, with a lot of really quite realistic gunfire, explosions, blood and destruction; nothing of that is to my liking, visually they are very like the cartoons which the children frequently watch on television. Big and bright, bold colours, incredibly rapid action and, I think, very rapid speech. I can’t keep up with them, but the grandchildren can so I suppose it’s all a function of age.
In a few minutes of contemplation while granny puts on the kettle for a much-needed cup of tea, it occurs to me that I don’t like heavy metal music either and it amazes me that it amuses my children, in the same way that I am amazed by the amusement my grandchildren find in their bright, frenetic games and cartoons.
Then I looked at the television programmes available on so many channels twenty-four hours a day, every day of the week. And again it must be a function of my age, but I couldn’t find very much a call that would hold my attention, let alone amuse me. Endless quiz games, endless competitions, all compared breezily and rightly and clearly designed to whip up enthusiasm in the audiences, although increasingly I think those audiences are more likely to be laughter tracks. I can find some documentaries, I can find some well-written and well acted drama series, though modern comedies just don’t do it for me.
I’m getting old and I’m getting grumpy. And I would say, with Queen Victoria, “we are not amused.”