By George Melly
Published Jan 2010
George Melly is seventy-nine, nudging eighty. Fighting retirement, he’s still doing his thing, swinging and singing, flirting, working, drinking, dressing up and, for now, just playing at senility.
But being quite deaf he no longer enjoys noisy parties. His days are spent being probed and tinkered with at St. Mary’s Hospital: like an old car in and out of the garage. There’s an army of doctors to deal with: an endocrinologist, a cardiologist, a haematologist, consultants for chest, liver, hearing, bowel and bladder complaints… A cornucopia of pills to take: some once a week, most daily. And endless allergies to worry over – not least psoriasis: Naked George now resembles ‘a plant-eating dinosaur that’s survived attack by prehistoric raptors’.
Slowing Down is a surprisingly cheerful, frank and funny account of it all. Penned by one of Britain’s most brilliant raconteurs, it’s a diary of old age – where everything is ‘in flux: one’s feelings, physical degeneration, memory, names, what one has taken in’. And a record of a life lived large, packed with art, love, sex, celebrities, sharp suits, great music and extraordinary style.