During this mornings circuit class, we were eased through the exercises accompanied by a playlist of 1960’s Motown and UK pop classics.

This backdrop to participant’s fitness activities including well-aged classic standards from Diana Ross, The Four Tops, The Dave Clark Five and Dusty Springfield. These sanguine tunes adding a spring in the step when class members start flagging during the seven x four minute circuit drills.

Whilst riding on the first of two cycle drills, I eavesdropped shamelessly on the conversation of the instructor, a man ten years my senior, and a woman roughly the same age. Their discussion regarding the artistic integrity and quality of the 50+ year old anthems providing our aural background. A verbal interaction where he proudly informed a woman on the adjacent bike he’d seen The Dave Clark Five in concert.

After making this announcement, the affable instructor then made eye contact with me prior to whimsically advising “You won’t of heard of them…. Before your time!”

This comment delivered without a hint of malice, spite or patronisation, flattered me. The instructor clearly opining I’d not reached the juncture in the ageing process to possess prior knowledge of The DC5. Apparently, deeming the 56 years I’ve resided within this vale of tears have been kind to me; aesthetically anyhow.


To be honest the first 45 years of my existence were fairly kind to me. Four decades easing me into the last decades torrent of existential detritus. Those two score years bequeathing yours truly a reasonably comfortable life, prior to events which’ve made the previous ten annum so challenging.

I don’t intend to summarise the full series of dark occurrences that’ve blighted my existence since my mid-40’s. After all, they’re referenced copiously in the near 1,800 narratives I’ve published on my website writesaidfred.org . All I’ll say is these incidents include two life threatening events, caring for an incurably ill spouse and a prolonged fight with depression.

I can only imagine that, despite ten years of stress, I’ve not cosmetically aged too unkindly due to genetics. My late dad’s journey through the ageing process was similarly kind to him; his lack of grey hair and boyish looks, which lingered up until his death at 81, always knocking a few years off the old man’s appearance.

Anyhow, I commenced this essay relaying that a gym class instructor, during a discussion in my close vicinity about 1960’s UK band The Dave Clark Five, whimsically advised “You won’t of heard of them…. They were before your time!”

Let me tell you, his assumption couldn’t have been further from the truth. In fact, according to my mum, that very group’s 1964 hit Bits & Pieces was one of the songs I drummed along to in my highchair (as it blared from our home wireless) as a one year old.

I’ve no idea how accomplished I was at keeping the beat, but apparently my keeping of the 4/4 beat was superior to predecessor Pete Best, who my mum and dad had fired a few months earlier!

Footnote – For the few people who won’t have heard of Pete Best, he was the drummer sacked by The Beatles shortly before they exploded into the big time; later to be replaced by Ringo Starr…… What do you mean, who were The Beatles?!