Here at the Indo, we like to do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.
This involves scouring the world for new information, interesting surveys and fascinating studies. Well, this week threw up something which was both fascinating and obvious — 80s music is good for you.
Yes, apparently listening to tunes from that decade is the best way to lower your heart rate and reduce stress levels. It’s obviously true and scientifically correct. And how do I know that? Well, the study was commissioned by, um, a Turkish hair transplant company, the Vera Clinic. As I’m sure you’ll agree, when we’re looking for verifiable, quantifiable and incontrovertible scientific evidence, there are few sources more trustworthy than a Turkish hair clinic.
But regardless of the provenance of the study, many of us who read it will have found ourselves nodding in agreement. That’s because 80s music rocks.
Initially, I assumed they had simply asked a bunch of old farts like me who grew up in that decade if they still liked the tunes. But, apparently, the people involved were aged from 18 to 65, so there was no generational bias.
Of course, we all love the music we grew up with. It reminds us of simpler times. It takes us back to when the biggest worry we had was doing our homework and getting picked for the team. But what really struck me about the survey was that I was way ahead of them — nearly all of the music I have been listening to since the arrival of Covid has come from back then.
REM. The Smiths. The Wedding Present. The Psychedelic Furs. Prefab Sprout. Talk Talk.
These were the bands who formed the soundtrack of my youth and, over the course of the last 12 months, they have formed the soundtrack of my advancing middle age.
It wasn’t meant to be like that. I’ve always been a music nut. I started in journalism as a ridiculously enthusiastic teenage reviewer and music was my entire life. More important than girls and even football.
In fact, I once had a rather feeble punch-up in the schoolyard because one of my classmates said Something Happens were better than A House. Such obvious heresy could not be tolerated.
I always assumed that I’d be the guy at every gig, checking out the latest acts and bragging that I saw them before everyone else — that aspiration vanished a long time ago when I realised that I was happier spending most nights on the couch with the dogs.
So, rather than obsessively checking out every new band on YouTube (although if you like old-fashioned country rock, you need to look at The Wild Feathers) I have just retreated back to my teenage playlist. This music is comfort food for your ears.
And as we all know, we’ve all been enjoying comfort food. I now seem to be eating the same kind of grub I liked when I was 15.
All my cooking and baking experiments of the first lockdown have been abandoned. Instead, now I’m quite happy to exist on a diet of fish finger sandwiches. Throw in some potato waffles and a few Findus pancakes and I’m in heaven.
This seems to be the nostalgia-wave that many of us are surfing. Numerous friends have admitted that they just want to build a big emotional wall between them, the virus and the lockdown.
I suppose you could call it Covid-fatigue. Even the initial excitement that greeted the vaccine seems to have dissipated.
Looking at the news has been an endurance test for the last six months and every time I see George Lee looking like a doctor about to tell you that you have six months to live, I just want to hide behind the couch.
Essentially, these are unbelievably uncertain times. When even the experts and the politicians are quick to put their hands up and admit that they don’t know when this will end, how are the rest of us meant to manage?
Well, going back to the touchstones of our youth is certainly one effective coping mechanism. There were several strange conclusions from the survey, however. For example, I was rather surprised to see so many of those polled admit that listening to Black Sabbath was a great way of reducing their stress levels.
Now, I like the sound of Ozzy Osbourne screaming about being paranoid as much as the next man, but I don’t think I ever want to be the person who listens to heavy metal as a bit of chill out music.
Maybe when this is all over, I’ll get back to searching out new music. Maybe I’ll get back to making disastrous culinary experiments and leaving the kitchen in bits. Maybe I’ll escape my return to my teenage sleeping habits of staying up ridiculously late and not getting out of bed before lunchtime. Honestly, the younger me would look at the current version and wonder why I never grew up.
But for the moment? Well, for the moment, I’m quite happy to relive those years by listening to all those great bands.
After all, if a Turkish hair transplant clinic says it’s a good idea, then who are we to argue?
One of the perks of being a hack is that, in pre-lockdown times we were frequently offered free trips. Some of them can be rather exciting — I once caroused around New York for a week on an airline’s dime, which was rather agreeable.
Others, however, not so much.
Last year, before the world stopped turning, I received two offers to fly to Qatar for luxury junkets. I turned them both down. For starters, the country should never have been awarded the World Cup. Then there’s the small matters of them being a slave state with an appalling human rights records who persecute gay people, refuse entry to Israelis and treat women like less than second-class citizens.
David Beckham obviously has no such qualms. He has reportedly signed a deal for £10m to become a brand ambassador for the tinpot dictatorship and now he risks alienating many of his fans who have a better moral compass than he does.
It’s quite remarkable when you think about it — a man who has previously boasted about how much he enjoys his status as a gay icon has now signed up to be a corporate shill for a country that still imprisons and tortures gay people. What will one of his best friends, Elton John, make of all of this?
To make matters even more squalid, Becks insists that the Qatari regime “is doing its best” to make progress. Oh, that’s OK then.
He also claims that Qatar ‘deserved’ the World Cup and he thinks it’s a great idea to hold the world’s biggest tournament in a place where the temperatures can hit more than
But we’ve learned one thing. In this age of hyperinflation: 30 pieces of silver are now worth £10m