A former editor suggested to me that anyone who doesn’t buy The Guardian in their 20s hasn’t got a soul, and that anyone who doesn’t buy The Times in their 30s hasn’t got a brain.
It is, of course, an over-simplified generalisation. Like the quote (wrongly?) attributed to Margaret Thatcher which suggests: “A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure.”
But I digress – and the point I am trying to make is that over-simplifications, however generalised, can sometimes strike a chord. Take the recent column in The Guardian by author Jenny Colgan, which rejoiced in the falling sales of three-wheeled buggies.
The column – which starts with the word “Hurrah!”, possibly the poshest introductory one-word sentence imaginable – explains why the three-wheeled buggy is the noughties symbol of “more-money-than-sense parenting”. The offroad buggy is, apparently, naff conspicuous consumerism: “No longer would a handed-down Maclaren do,” she says.
In our case, Colgan’s kind of right – but not for the reasons she suggests. We have two children who both need to be pushed in a buggy. The three-wheeler allows us to push both at the same time. It’s not possible, you see, for one person to push two buggies.
And naff conspicuous consumption? Do me a favour – our buggy was passed on free by mates, who’d had it passed to them by other parents. So talk to the hand, Jenny Colgan; our offroader is practical and cheap as chips.
Over-simplifications? Like I said at the start, they never work…