Welcome to my midlife crisis. Is that what this really is? And why should you care? Aw hell, join me anyway, why don’t you. Let’s slide down to oblivion together and catch some shit and stardust on the way.
Starting this blog in 2014, I was 49. Here’s what I wrote then…
I will soon be 50. That’s a milestone, just like all the ages that end with a zero. For some, these decade milestones are feared because they’re a stinging reminder that the ageing process cannot be stopped, that we are inevitably rushing ever faster towards wrinkles, aches, illness, weariness and death. (Great start, Skatz, draw in your audience with some doom and gloom, you fucking idiot). Oh, I forgot to say, I’ll be talking to myself a lot.
Up until this decade milestone, I’ve been celebrating each one with gusto, loving every minute and staring age in the face, challenging it at every turn, shouting obscenities at it, determined to stay young in attitude like a demented and obese Peter Pan.
I still intend to do that, but 50 is a big one. Reaching that age you can’t help but realise that there’s a very good chance, in spite of modern improvements in medicine, that you’ve got less in front of you than behind, kinda the opposite of my body fat.
“I’m nearly halfway there!” I’ve been cheerfully lying when age has reared its predictable head in conversation.
Meanwhile, my bones and muscles respond by telling me, in no uncertain terms, that I’ve actually got far less mobile years ahead than I have behind. Are they right, or can I fight this thing that ravages my obese frame? As I write this, I’m suffering from either Achilles Tendonitis or Gout, and it’s kept me off my feet or on crutches for weeks, threatening my optimistic view of life as well as my lack-of-safety-net-self-employed lifestyle.
I’ve always thought I’d work til I drop. After all, I’ll always be able to sing and play guitar, won’t I? Well, patently there’s got to be a cut off point when singing for 3 hours in a pub for a living will become unpleasant for me and the punters. A point I intend of course to challenge to the limit and kick those preconceptions of age in to a high orbit. But no one lives forever, and arthritis and time will slow the fingers and grab at the vocal chords until I can no longer slam those chords and scream and growl Smoke On The Water or Blockbuster without sounding like a combine harvester hitting a rockery. Or maybe a rookery.
Anyway, my point is this. Approaching 50 has made me think. Far too much. About my own mortality. About my past achievements. And importantly, about how on earth I can possibly celebrate this milestone. I’ve thought long and hard, and no one party could be big enough for someone of my standing in the community (actually, that’s all I do: stand in the community). I could celebrate for a week. Or a whole month. But just partying isn’t enough. I want to do something big. More than one thing in fact. It has to be 50 things.
And so, ‘My Big 50’ was born. I’m going to do 50 things to celebrate or challenge myself, and along the way I will write about it, film it, leave a record of who I am and what life means to me. If you’re reading this, you’re either a friend already, or I’ve managed to achieve something so important or mind-bogglingly stupid that it has projected me into the public eye enough to make my midlife crisis interesting. I wonder what it will be.
Right now, I’m doing this for me. I’m in need of a challenge and a set of goals. Publishing this online is my was of making it difficult for myself to give up.
My name is Andrew ‘Skatz’ Scattergood
Starting this blog, I was 49.
I am a singer songwriter, musician, poet, playwright, actor and wannabe filmmaker.
I was born and brought up in County Durham, the only county in England that you have to, by law, precede with the word County (okay, that’s a joke only a few will get). I lived for about 30 years in and around Leicester, a place largely forgotten until the bones of King Richard the Third were discovered buried under a car park, then their football team won the league and Gary Linekar had to wear just his pants on TV.
Now I live in County Kerry in Ireland, known as ‘The Kingdom’. It’s people are, in my opinion, the most welcoming in the world, and the place is up there with the most devastatingly beautiful.
I spend my time making, recording and teaching music to, with and for all kinds of people from children to the very old and infirm and people with learning disabilities, plus writing plays and books, acting and enjoying the scenery with my family.