The oldies who rave to the grave

For a growing number of retirees, growing old means having some fun.


It's got to beat pottering around the garden centre

Meet the "gravers". According to Martin Daubney in The Sunday Times, there are growing numbers of them the oldies, that is, who rave to the grave, the baby boomers who are "growing old disgracefully and loving every precious minute".

Daubney caught up with one graver called Michael, as he was checking into the honeymoon suite at Le Bristol Hotel in Paris. Michael, 70, had arrived for an amorous weekend armed with Viagra, condoms and lingerie accompanied by a mistress less than half his age. Luckily, he's "always been a charmer", or so he says. An advertising executive from London, his wife of 45 years is also 70; his two children, aged 45 and 50, are older than his mistresses. "I've always preferred younger girls and enjoy long-term affairs." He's open with his wife about his trysts. "She accepts me for who I am and likes her lifestyle."

For gravers like Michael, says Daubney, cruising doesn't mean boats in the Med. It means trawling the bars and clubs for women, something he's been doing for a long time: at 40 he fell in love with a 19-year-old French girl who became like a second wife. His money enabled him to set her up with a house in Paris. He "got into" ecstacy in his 40s, dabbled with cocaine until discovering he had a heart condition and would doubtless agree with the well-known graver Neil Young, also 70, that "it's better to burn out than to fade away".

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One of the driving forces behind the gravers is a surge in "silver splitters", says Daubney. Divorce rates overall may be falling, but not among the over-50s; in that age group there has been an 11% rise in splits since 2013. Among the splitters is Jackie Morris, 52, a recently divorced retail executive from Essex who has refused, as she puts it, "to give in to empty nest syndrome".

With her youngest child at university she has joined dating websites and been "bombarded with offers, and from an awful lot of young men Younger men think you want to be naughty, that older women don't have so many rules. And sometimes, that's true." Morris says she's been reliving her teenage years; with one 30-year-old boyfriend she went motorbiking and enjoyed "wild nights" on campsites.

Not all gravers are in that mould. Peter Fairbrother, 66, and his wife Carol, 64, for example, set out to recapture their youth in a gentler way. They downsized from their four-bedroom house into a one-bed flat, bought a camper van and spent three months going to music festivals. "Being children of the Sixties we've always been free-spirited, but we've even shocked ourselves," says Carol, a retired teacher.

While their friends pottered round garden centres, she and her husband "raved at Glastonbury, Bestival, Reading and Leeds". Her husband says their three children are resentful of this but too bad. "We've always done well for them and now they are trying to tell us how we should spend our money." All they hear "is the sound of their inheritance going down the drain. They'd better get used to it. This is our time to live again."

Tabloid money: the recipe fiddle that lost Cadbury £6m

"In a cunning plan to lose the party still more votes, senior Labour politicians have joined junior doctors on the picket lines," says Rod Liddle in The Sun. "John McDonnell was there, presumably to shout scab' at anyone turning up for cancer treatment. Good for you, John that's another million or so off your party's vote. The doctors' union, the British Medical Association (BMA), is led by the usual bunch of middle-class Trots. Never forget that when the NHS was set up, the BMA had to be dragged kicking and screaming to co-operate with it."

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, 46, is a fan of Cadbury's Creme Eggs, says Ephraim Hardcastle in the Daily Mail. Rees-Mogg, though, is not so impressed with them since they famously changed the recipe.It "does not taste as good as it did before". It's also caused a £6m drop in sales. But "what do you expect from a company that makes plastic cheese"? asks Rees-Mogg. "I have no admiration for (American-owned) Kraft (the makers) since it reneged on a promise to keep the Cadbury factory at Keynsham in my constituency open and then closed it with the loss of 400 jobs."