Jem Beedoo

Jem Beedoo is an Auckland writer

Jem Beedoo: Ageing process is all a state of mind ... and body

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Keith Quinn. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Keith Quinn. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Keith Quinn, in all his sexagenarian splendour, has looked 60 for 30 years; Bic Runga has looked 20 for 20; Gwyneth Paltrow, 32 for 15; Todd Blackadder, 48 for 22; Anton Oliver, 40 for 20; Robyn Malcolm AND Jeremy Corbett, 43 for 23; Suzy Cato, 36 for 25; Daniel Braid, 20 for 13. The Son of Man has looked 33 for 2012 years but that's neither here nor there.

The age gig is an odd one. People look great but feel grotty at 50, some of them. Many look marvellously young for a criminally long time and then fall to bits in a matter of months. Others, quite simply, look the same for decades.

It's weird; those who fight for themselves, achieve their goals and make a business of fitness are quite often gaunt and leather-beat, as grey as day. Then you find those who pig out, splash out and cash out all their lives and they manage to look absolutely wonderful; beaming, glowing with victorious visage and other such stuff. Once in a while, you come across those biological marvels who have looked eternally half-dead and got by just fine- in true defiance of science.

When tracing someone's ageing, Sir Paul McCartney is a personal favourite. The fellow seriously looked the same from 1962 to 1989, in the face. Then, unbelievably, his face rapidly feminised, drooping dreamily with Marilyn Monroe eyes and toilet roll jowls. It's got to the point now if he appeared on Ellen you'd struggle to tell who was the man.

We all know how leaders of nations age drastically in three years, with the weight and the fate of world etched mercilessly into their receding faces. It's shocking.

Rugby, league and union turn bright, robust, young referees into pre-historic shells in 10 years flat. This is attributable to all the mad, unnatural running around they must do coupled with the abuse they cop from tens of millions of experts. A cricket umpire, looking 67 from the outset, doesn't age a day in 30 years, because he stays silent and still on the job.

A high school science teacher wears the same tracksuit for 32 years so we don't notice the changing nature of his face. Such is the transfixing quality of the tracksuit.

A gardener, DoC worker or hippie's face is often indistinguishable from the landscape, so we can't give them a chronological marker.

A country musician has a face with the same sandy surface as the acoustic guitar he plays. So he's forever 52.

Leo DiCaprio WAS, as Vincent Gallo once said, "the best-looking woman in the world". This was some years ago; he isn't now. All that off-screen smoking, I speculate, has befallen him with the aforementioned sandy acoustic guitar visage, with steely slits doubling for eyes and a newly puffy face seated uneasily on an ever-widening head. Poor guy.

Neil Finn has got more and more handsome with age, on the other hand.

Certain actresses and femusicians of high status often go inwards. "If you can't eat 'em, joint 'em", must be their motto; in the sense of making their bones visibly skin-jabbing. Terrifying.

If you make a hit musical movie, like the one from the late 1970s with John Travelator, you needn't worry if the actors playing school kids have an average age of 28. Makeup will see you right.

Anyhow, if you're as old as you feel, I'm a Dinosaurus Wreck.

- NZ Herald

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