Author: Rosy Fenwicke

The Ambivalent Capitalist

I recently heard an Independent Bookseller describe herself as an ‘ambivalent capitalist”. She was addressing a group of everyday authors – none of us stars in the literary firmament. We are just people who write stuff which people will hopefully enjoy reading.

Since the advent of e-books, life has changed for aspiring authors. No more brown envelopes of thick manuscripts sent off in the hope of, at the very least, a kind word six months later from agents and publishers. And no rejection slips with which to wall-paper the loo. Now we can do it ourselves. Publish – not wall-papering. We can write and let the market decide if a book is worth buying- online.

It’s tougher to get new books, hard copies of books onto the shelves of actual bookshops that have overheads and staff to pay. Often the reading public has no idea a book even exists because without the marketing departments in publishing companies, why would they? Word of mouth is great but even in the age of social media – slow. There is, SO MUCH CHOICE and tempus fugits… fastus. Fastus than the next postus.

The gatekeeper to the hardcopy market is the Independent Bookseller. These are the brave, ‘ambivalent capitalists’ who put their shelf space on the line for aspiring authors without the benefit of a publisher’s comforting presence. They are the ones who invest their resources in the hope that a book will succeed for the sake of …well books. Literature if you must. Art if you absolutely have to go there.

The ambivalent capitalists take a punt on unknown authors because they love books more than money – a punt that the chain stores never take.

This week a friend bought ‘Hot Flush’ in Wellington having tracked it down to the home of the ‘ambivalent capitalist’.  Tauranga does not stock Hot Flush. (Yet).  (Call me). Thank you friend. Thank you Ambivalent Capitalist.

Please support an Independent Bookseller near you…oh and buy Hot Flush- it’s a good read. People say so. But if it doesn’t take your fancy, buy a different book. The shelves are full of them.

Over the Age of Aquarius

What do Burt Reynolds*, Benjamin Braddock*, Patrick Dempsey*, Maurice Goudeket*, Ashton Kutcher* and Emmanual Macron* all have in common?

The answer is obvious, isn’t it?

Good Taste.

It’s all very well that the magazines, fashion houses and leisure industries are suddenly discovering the menopausal model, but where were they 10 years ago when the demographics were less financially encouraging?

Markets in the developed world no longer exclusively celebrate the cult of youth, relegating women over 35 to a support role in a back office or (gasp) kitchen.

It is those who were present at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and are now the standard bearers of the Age of the Menopause who have the largest discretionary spending power in history.

That long beautiful hair, gleaming and streaming in the swinging sixties has become the short grey (more likely blonde) crop of the mountain-biking, safari-hopping, marathon running, well-travelled, politically aware, cultured, better educated, gourmet shoppers of the 21st century.

Kids gone (sort of). Partners in tow or out to pasture, jobs done and dusted, 50, 60 and 70-year-old women are taking on the world and looking damn good while they’re at it. Menopause is a word that can now be said out loud. In company. With both sexes present and not euphemized in hushed tones to ‘the change’.

The ravages of compulsory pregnancy were never a burden we had to bear in exchange for sex. Uteri are where they are supposed to be and not dragging on the ground – our poor mothers and grandmothers! Better diets, advances in medical care, anti-smoking environments and better access to exercise and open spaces in most cities mean we can get out there and look after ourselves.

And all this with money to spare. Those aged 45 to 69 own the most stuff; money, houses, toys, stamp collections whatever. We have the power! And so the markets are finally catching on.

Enter the grey-haired models sporting interesting glasses and push up bras. Enter the wrinkly hands- the only part of the body steadfastly resistant to the earnest endeavours of the plastic surgeons – modelling expensive rings. Enter the movies telling tales of late love and later heartbreak. Enter the large sized smartphones with readable font sizes. Enter music festivals and rock concerts with defibrillators close at hand.

Twentieth-century female baby-boomers used to liberation are hitting the 21st century with a plan to do more, be more, see more and live more than any generation of women before us. Women over 45 are not going quietly into old age. Hell. Old age doesn’t start for another 30 years. And that’s only if we agree.

Older women have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. Finally, we are getting the media oxygen for this to be celebrated and not ridiculed. The invisibility cloak of the middle-aged woman has been tossed into the whumping willow.

We shall not be overlooked.

Any more. At all. Not ever.

*Burt Reynolds: 20 years younger than Dinah Shore.

*Benjamin Braddock: 30 years younger than Mrs Robinson

*Patrick Dempsey: 27 years younger than first wife Rochelle Parker

*Maurice Goudeket 16 years younger than Colette.

*Ashton Kutcher 16 years younger than Demi Moore

*Emmanuel Macron 25 years younger than Brigitte Trogneux.

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