Wednesday, November 08, 2006

YOUNG AT HEART

The last thing I wanted to see on Monday night was a bunch of oldies making asses of themselves, but I thought it was time to give More4 a chance. After listening to Eileen Hall aged 92, a GI Bride, giving it large with the Clash’s ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go?’ with her deep gutsy voice, I was hooked. The average age of the group is 80; most of them seem to live in their own homes but Eileen lives in a residential home and is the only resident to have a front door key as by the time she gets back from rehearsal everybody, including the staff is in bed.

The documentary is such good entertainment it is bound to be shown to a wider audience so do watch it if you get the chance. They are a choir from Massachusetts and the programme is a chronicle of six weeks of rehearsals building up to a concert in their hometown, Northampton. They are led by a younger, exceedingly patient man, Bob Gilman, who gets them singing – not twilight ballads - but renditions of songs by bands such as OutKast, the Clash and Radiohead.

Stephen Walker’s film demonstrates how these very old folk live for the choir and some die for it – with no regrets, as they it gives them the friendship and fulfilment that enriches their lives. Many of them have had near death experiences and Bob asks one of the old ladies if she had seen the ‘bright light’.
‘Well I just wouldn’t look!’ she said amid laughter.

It is very sad when two of the stalwarts die in the same week when they are about to perform for prison inmates who are sitting on the grass in the open. You see the odd flicker on those hardened faces as the old folk sing Coldplay’s ’Fix you’, Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’ and Bowie’s ‘Golden Years.’ When the concert is over the convicts rise, cheering and the choir, slowly and haltingly, move closer to them until they merge and there are hugs and tears.
‘You are in my heart,’ one man told an old lady.

The concert was a sell-out with queues all down the main street. When Fred, a frail but feisty old man who had made a come back, after severe health problems, was helped into his chair at the front of the stage still attached to his oxygen; you could hear a pin drop. He sang most beautifully to honour his late friends. There are some hilarious moments – not least the director’s terror as he is driven by one of the few pensioners who can still see to drive – in theory. Don’t miss it!

21 comments:

Polly said...

Well, I'm all for anything that keeps the 'oldies' interested in life (like blogging their memoirs hee, hee.)

Polly said...

Not that I'm calling you and 'oldie' or anything..... she say's.....hiding behind the sofa.

PI said...

Polly ; put the kettle on cheeky miss! The programme made want to get back on the boards. Be afraid! Be very afaid!

Polly said...

Im still hiding behind ths sofa.....can I come out now? PLEASE

PI said...

Yes alright Polly. I know you really a good girl at heart.

Polly said...

Oh dear, you can tell what sort of day I'm having, lol
What's this then ? More hidden talents ?
Tea's ready by the way - digestive or chocolate ginger with that ?
My two younger brothers used to wind me up all the time with that.
Grrrrr.

PI said...

Polly: no hidden talents - just an old drama queen - as you know. Chocolare ginger - lovely - milk please and I'll bring my own hermasetas!

apprentice said...

Sounds fantastic! When will we all accept that every adult alives feels 18 on the inside. I hope I get the chance to bop with my zimmer to Patty Smith's "Because the Night"
Mind you I'm a rotten singer so age will not improve me lol!

I really do hate how we treat the old, all the wrinkly gags etc. When I was ill I came to appreciate just how heroic old folk are, getting to shops with bad arthritis can be a minor miracle.

meredic said...

I have to get some!

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Pat, promise me when you do get back on the boards you'll do "Wild Thing" !!

PI said...

Welcome meredic: your comment puzzles me. Some? Chocolate ginger? Oldies? Hermasetas? Do tell!

PI said...

Daphne: no probs!

Polly said...

'Wild Thing' uh-huh
Daphne - the mind boggles !
Do I need to hide again Pat ?

p.s Good job you are a good sport - you are aren't you ????

R. Sherman said...

This sounds like a great show. If it's about us Yanks, I'm suprised it hasn't made it here. At least I haven't heard of it. Maybe it will show up on Amazon.

Cheers.

PI said...

Polly: I think so!

Randall: I googled it and got this
http://www.youngatheartchorus.com/
give it a go. You should be proud of them.

Polly said...

Pat: You think you are a good sport, or you think I need to hide ?
I think you are a good sport anyway and you brighten up my life
Thank-you.

PI said...

Polly: It's a bit early but I think the former rather thn the latter and just call me little sunshine:)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Wicked!! I really enjoy seeing older folks get up and do!

PI said...

GG: I'm sure it will come round again. it made a big impression.

Jim in Redditch,UK said...

I would certainly buy the song "Fix you" which was beautifully sung by the chap who was on oxygen. He had a wonderful, deep and moving voice and it brought me near to tears.

PI said...

Hi jim and welcome! I think 'Fix you' may be a Cold Play song and I wonder if thay realise how those senior citizens have popularised their work.