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Saga Magazine columnists: The class of 2021

10 August 2021

Month in month out, our columnists entertain us with their enviable wit and wisdom. We raise a seasonal toast to them...

The Saga Magazine columnists of 2021 dressed up to the nines || Photography MARK HARRISON

Hunter Davies

What’s the best thing the years – and experience – bring?

The free bus pass, bliss; free prescriptions, heaven. I wish I’d been old earlier, the money I’d have saved…I hope I’ll be old for ever.

Best advice you’ve been given?

You can’t have too many corkscrews.

What do you wish someone had told you about turning 50?

50? That was centuries ago.

My advice to all old people is:

you have been young. The young have not been old. You are the winner. What are you looking forward to most this Christmas? Roast grey squirrels from the garden for lunch. Joking apart, I have never liked turkey.

 Your New Year’s resolution?

To get away to the sun on 8 January for my birthday. If I can, if it is allowed, if I live that long…

Emily Dean

What’s the best thing the years – and experience – bring?

Realising that your most embarrassing moments have now become your greatest anecdotes.

Best advice you’ve been given?

You can spend your life trying to be popular but the size of the crowd at your funeral will largely be dictated by the weather.

What do you wish someone had told you about turning 50?

David Bowie said that ageing allows you to become the person you always should have been.

What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?

When the last present is wrapped and I get to watch Elf guilt-free.

Your New Year’s resolution?

Start every day as enthusiastically as my dog. Also try to clean his teeth more often.

Danny Clarke

What’s the best thing the years – and experience – bring?

That I have made all the mistakes!

Best advice you’ve been given?

A lady who once hired me would say, when the weather was dismal, things like, ‘Danny, isn’t that sky a wonderful grey?’ She was right. It changed my mindset. She was saying there’s beauty in everything.

What do you wish someone had told you about turning 50?

It’s not downhill after 50, things will get even better. I’m having the time of my life.

What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?

Spending time with my daughter and two grandchildren. I’m really looking forward to making up for lost time.

Your New Year’s resolution?

To drink less red wine.

Joe Fattorini

What’s the best thing the years – and experience – bring?

You can accept that elasticated laces are not unfashionable and they are immensely practical! I love not caring about things.

Best advice you’ve been given?

My school tutor told us to always have a go.

What do you wish someone had told you about turning 50?

 Always carry gout tablets (maybe specific to me).

What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?

I hope it will be low-key. The return to normal life has become frenetic. I also have a very good bottle of Australian grenache.

Your New Year’s resolution?

I will be spending more time getting in my 10,000 steps a day, to gently remove the Covid tyre.

 

Alan Johnson

What’s the best thing the years – and experience – bring?

Less responsibility but greater ability to deal with the responsibility I no longer have.

Best advice you’ve been given?

To thine own self be true (thank you, Mr Shakespeare).

What do you wish someone had told you about turning 50?

I wish somebody had told me to take out an immediate subscription to Saga Magazine!

What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?

Hearing Slade sing their rarely heard song Merry Xmas Everybody.

Your New Year’s resolution?

To read more by Hunter Davies, whose effervescence and joie de vivre make me feel 50 again

 

Bruce Fogle

What’s the best thing the years – and experience – bring?

I plateaued around 20 years ago but, with my brain cells still functioning, I continue to gain perspective.

Best advice you’ve been given?

Don’t waste time and energy trying to convert the unconvertible.

What do you wish someone had told you about turning 50?

50 is a doddle. 60 and 80 are the emotional challenges.

What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?

I always petition my wife to go to Massachusetts to spend Christmas together in the snow. Vaingloriously, I continue to look forward to this every year.

Your New Year’s resolution?

I’ve never made one. That said, I’m looking forward to an exciting and productive year.

Paul Lewis

What’s the best thing the years – and experience – bring?

Being more experienced, people take you more seriously.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

My mother always said to me, ‘Don’t buy leasehold and don’t buy a diesel car.’

What do you wish someone had told you about turning 50?

That as you get older your body – and eventually your brain – begin to wear out. So prepare!

What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?

The tree! Of course I also want to see my children and grandchildren, which I couldn’t do last year. Your New Year’s resolution? Take care of my health. Look after my money. Work less hard.

Jenni Murray

What’s the best thing the years – and experience – bring?

That you don’t care about anything any more. You just think, ‘Pah, I know what I’m talking about, so I’ll just say it.’

Best advice you’ve been given?

From a teacher: ‘No matter what age you are – keep on keeping on.’

 What do you wish someone had told you about turning 50?

Old age is not for sissies. You’ve got a long way to go, just try to keep yourself well.

What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?

The possibility that the family can actually get together.

Your New Year’s resolution?

 I am finally going to sort out the back pain that has been pestering me for a very long time.

Jason Solomons

What’s the best thing the years – and experience – bring?

Relaxing. You don’t have to stress about what you might not know because you know stuff.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Put yourself in your writing but it’s very much about the story you’re telling, not about you.

What do you wish someone had told you about turning 50?

That it’s liberating, freeing, exciting and just the beginning.

What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?

Moving about London town – hopefully free from restrictions – which I love at Christmas.

Your New Year’s resolution?

To not make any New Year’s resolutions. You can’t keep them and it’s too much pressure.

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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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