07 May 2013

A.N. Wilson: The Original Young Fogey

'When I was in my 20s, I was dubbed the King of the Young Fogeys. This ­affectionate term mocked the ‘small-c’ ­conservative attitudes of myself and my friends. I preferred plain English cooking — what some people call nursery food — to elaborately made foreign dishes.

I liked, when I could afford it, to have my clothes made by an English tailor rather than buying snazzy Italian or American labels. I was regarded as old before my time. I hated pop music, modern architecture and cars. I felt that, charming as many of my American friends (and, indeed, ­relations) were, Americanisation had been an unmitigated disaster for the world — in aesthetic and political terms.

And to many of these prejudices I still cling, so that probably makes me an old fogey now. But, of course, the reason it was rather nice to be called a young fogey was that no one could deny I really was young.

When the joke took off, and the term became modern parlance,­ someone even wrote a Young Fogey Handbook. The photographs revealed me on my bicycle, ­wearing a trilby and a three-piece suit, and looking about 12 years old to my old eyes now — though I suppose I must have been in my late 20s.

One young woman said she might have fancied me, but she could not shake off the impression that if she unbuttoned the three-piece suit, she would find another one underneath.

Being a fogey in those days was, in fact, a form of rebellion against the boring conformity of pop culture — against the unthinking Left-wingery of the university common rooms and the bigwigs in the art world, who were obsessed only with being modern and ‘progressive’.

No doubt there was something silly and affected about some of our fogeyish attitudes, but many of them were born of a serious hatred about what had happened to our country, and, indeed, to the world, in the name of progress.'

A.N. Wilson, 'Take it from the original Young Fogey - only old fools refuse to act their age', Mail Online, 16 December 2010


Anonymous said...

Dude looks like a child molester.

Vernon said...

Most of us, at a certain age, look like waifs and strays. Good to read.

I have been meaning to pick up something by him. Thanks.

Vern Trotter
New York

Per Varios Casus said...

I completely agree with him about the hatred towards "progressives". They are vile and to be despised.

Jonathan said...

Three cheers for the Fogeys (but not too loud. We don't like too much noise).