NOW WE ARE SIXTY. Decorations by David Eccles. John Murray, 1999.
Childhood is confusing enough, but compared with middle age it’s a doddle. When Christopher Matthew was six, the poems of A.A.Milne were always on hand to reassure him that other children were just as puzzled and naughty and foolish as he was, and that grown-ups could be even sillier.
Now he is in his sixties, he has decided it is high time there was an equally reassuring volume for those of his generation, who are not only more confused than ever, but are losing their teeth, their hair and, all too often, their car keys.
What Christopher Matthew has done is to take some of Milne’s best loved poems, such as Buckingham Palace, Lines and Squares, and The King’s Breakfast, and rewrite them for sixty-year-olds, with results that are often hilarious, sometimes rueful and always thought-provoking.
Some are about realizing one is not as young as one thought and not feeling as chipper as one once did; others address some of the more disconcerting problems of modern life, such as mobile telephones on trains, unsocial behaviour, traffic jams, and the internet.
This affectionate tribute to Milne not only follows the familiar rhythms and rhyme schemes of the master, but re-invents that curious mixture of comedy and wistfulness, sharp observation and daft whimsy that has delighted children and adults for over seventy years.
It is a bit ribald in places, but beautifully produced to look like the 1927 original. It will make a wonderful birthday or Christmas present to 60 year olds. Auberon Waugh, Daily Telegraph
The book is very funny and very clever. Simon Hoggart, The Guardian
At the moment I am reading Christopher Matthew's Now We Are Sixty which I absolutely love. Sheridan Morley, Daily Express
Christopher Matthew's hilarious new book. Valerie Grove, The Oldie
Victor Meldrews, rejoice! Peter Brown, The Times