Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Charles Wooley

Old farts …

*Pic: The Baby Boomer generation … Image from here

First published March 20

What a rotten time to be young. The place is full of old farts. The biggest cohort in the Australian demographic is now mid to late sixties. When I was young everyone was young and that was comforting. Now everyone is old and there’s nothing comforting about that. It’s alarming. Old farts are everywhere. There’s even one peering at me while I shave.

I’m writing this at my usual post in Salamanca, the old fart epicenter of River City. Maldini restaurant is an old fart favourite. Bruno, the owner welcomes them. I’d be alarmed that they might die in there and give the joint a bad name. However down among the Salamanca colonial sandstone old farts are the ones with the money. They plan to live it up and never to die, so presumably there won’t be much left over for the kids. My mum has lived forever. Next month she will turn 100. She can’t make it to Salamanca any more but when (and if) she dies I shall be surprised if there’s enough left for a round of drinks.

Meanwhile an old fart has just tooled into the parking space beside my low cost Saab convertible. Annoyingly the vain old codger is in a BMW 420d convertible, which would have cost him about $89,000 according to my mate Google. He sits there in a luridly striped shirt while the car roof is smoothly absorbed into his shiny black indulgence. I leave my roof down, but old farts are usually paranoid and I suspect this bloke feared that while his back was turned some envious young person would piss over his expensive grey leather seats. Don’t be shocked. I know old farts and that is exactly how they think. And were I a teenager with no chance of ever owning a house let alone a new BMW, I would be very tempted. Indeed I suspect the only reason some envious old farts never piss in other old farts more expensive convertibles, is because they can no longer achieve the necessary trajectory.

Exiting the car proves much more difficult for my old fart than the smooth ingestion of his car roof. There is a lot of puffing and straining before he reels inelegantly out of his ‘beemer’, banging the car door into a grey VW parked on his right. Sartorially loud above, Mr Lairy Shirt disappoints down below. He is wearing baggy low-slung Levis a couple of sizes too big. I don’t have to be Sherlock Homes to deduce that given the apparent weight loss he’s off to the gym with all the other old farts, trying to turn back time.

My Dad went gently into old age. He embraced old-fart-dom. From the day he retired at 65 he did absolutely nothing until he drifted away at 92. He became so resolutely inactive I worried he might check out without anyone noticing he had left the building. But he did senescence masterfully. No relevance deprivation, no sports car and no membership of a gym. Indeed long before the Koran got much press the old man would say, “the Prophet forbids unnecessary exercise.” He read like a scholar and he ate like a horse and I swear he did nothing else for a quarter of a century. I think he died happy. Except for our last conversation at the end of a very brief stay in a hospice, which went like this:

“Son, what time is it?”

“Six-thirty in the afternoon, Dad.”

“Six-thirty and I’ve had nothing to eat all day!”

The VW owners have returned. They too, of course are old farts, but elegant like the couples in those retirement advertisments. He is tanned and still has plenty of hair which is steely grey matching the VW. She is a slim blonde with hints of platinum. They are travelling well but might not yet have had the laser treatment for their vision as they fail to notice the new dent in their car door. They motor off in a northerly direction, I fancy towards a stylish retirement condo on the shores of the Derwent with attached golf links, pool and tennis court and the company of other fit and tanned not so old looking farts living the retirement dream far from the grim realities of hip-replacements and the urologists couch.

Kiddies, there’s no point in resenting them, despite your HECS debt, their Medicare costs and the fact that you might never own a house, you just have to accept the reality that they are not going away in the foreseeable future. So your best bet is to join them. The average Australian lifespan is now pushing into the mid eighties and perhaps beyond so that by the time they reluctantly call it quits you will be the old farts. The truth is, as some perceptive old fart once composed hundreds of year ago on a headstone in an Irish graveyard:

Remember Man as you go by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so shall you be,
Prepare yourself to follow me.

*Charles Wooley is a legend of Australian journalism, partly through his history with Sixty Minutes . He writes for Mercury TasWeekend, where this column originally was published …

Betoota Advocate: Baby Boomers Happy For Nothing To Be Done About Climate Change Until After They Die

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. John Francis

    March 31, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    #42 Hello John Francis…why don’t we all call ourselves John Francis to save the confusion! Brenda Rosser is on the money at #46. Many baby boomers are working because they have to survive. I have another 12 years before I can even think about retirement, because that is the year, at age 67, I can access the pension….perhaps!

  2. Brenda Rosser

    March 28, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Re: “down among the Salamanca colonial sandstone old farts are the ones with the money…. They plan to live it up and never to die, My mum has lived forever. Next month she will turn 100. …when (and if) she dies I shall be surprised if there’s enough left for a round of drinks.”

    That is a paragraph that seems to sum up the mythology of the baby boomers. However I read in the newspaper the other day that the Federal Government is feeling a little panicked by the fact that there’s been a big drop in Australians being mortgage free in their pre-retirement years. Apparently a huge number of baby boomers want to cash in their super to pay off their mortgage instead of relieving the government of the old-age pension.

    Baby boomers are not only cash-strapped but aren’t that healthy either. I blame the sheer incompetence of the medical profession (ubiquitous) and the fact that the Green Revolution hybridised wheat morphed into something toxic to all of us. Throw in the radiation plume from the South Australian atomic bomb testing when we were children. Okay, less oxygen in the air and more CO2 means an unprecedented test on human physiology that can’t have a good outcome.

    It’s the parents of the baby boomers who managed to exit without the angst of near term human extinction. They were truly the last generation who could sit back in their old rocking chairs “they need not wonder, they need not care.” Shangrila mum and dad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5acHUbKZHuc

  3. Wooleyfan

    March 27, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Can someone please entice the legendary 60 minutes reporter, Mr Charles Wooley, to write a lighthearted smutty assessment of the recent 4 Corners report on mentally disadvantaged people.

    His credentials for such a revealing report are impeccable and I am still laughing at his wonderful insight into the hilarity of the antics of “old farts”

    As a previous 60 minutes reporter, he obviously knows about the equivalent investigative reporting methods on 4 Corners, so to hear his inciteful assessment would be amazing, especially when combined with his oh so funny description of some of life’s left behind citizens

  4. Smutface

    March 27, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Apologies for #43 – On reflection I realise I was seriously wrong. The unemployment situation is far worse than I indicated and the age of retirement needs to be reduced to 55, which needs to be mandatory. Retirees than can live on superannuation until that runs out and then access the old age pension.

    Everyone on the old age pension though. needs to contribute to society by voluntary work. This can be anything useful, of their own choosing, for at least 20 hours per week.

  5. Smutface

    March 26, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    Re # 42. I thought they were mostly unemployed because the bloody baby boomers are still hogging the jobs in a declining jobs market.

    Maybe the age of eligibility for the old age pension should be lowered to 60 rather than raised to 70 to give these youngsters a chance of meaningful employment?

  6. John Francis

    March 26, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    They are mostly too busy working to comment here!

  7. Smutface

    March 24, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Re #40 I am not a 70 year old aged semi senile old f**t, but I used to be!

  8. Jane Rankin-Reid

    March 24, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Is there anyone commenting on this article under the age of 50?

  9. PHilip Lowe

    March 22, 2017 at 4:51 am

    Steve 16.No at the time I was not a fully paid up customer,she refused to serve me.her actual words were,’we don’t want any stupid,senile smelly old men here’,and then the cops came and threatened me with arrest if I didn’t move away AND stay away,or else.
    The B’Trez P’Oint customer base with it’s predominance of nouveau riche ex Melbourne and Sydney property bundle’eers
    who can be seen congratulating themselves upon having ‘got into Hobart at the right time,can be seen pleb spotting down at Salamanca.What a bunch of classless posers.You have to admit guys that Salamanca lost the common touch quite a while ago.I was last there Nov/Dec 2015.It had become a poor quality tourist trap.The Chinese tourists were disliked but their money was loved.Please don’t kid yourselves that you are a classless society.Tassie has been police state since 1823,an inherited sate of affairs from NSW and the Rum Corps.I think on Ned Kelly’s alleged last words,’so it’s come to this’,and then who was the geezer who pulled the trap door?Oldie posers give me the shits,conditional and judgemental,Give me a good old fashioned knees up every time.

  10. Clive Stott

    March 22, 2017 at 1:45 am

    #32 Snowy there is nothing like a bunch of (happy) old farts.

    #34 lola speaking of Avon talc…
    I overheard a bunch of elderly golfing women once talking about one of their ‘friends’;
    “Oh she doesn’t wash, she only powders”

  11. John Francis

    March 21, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    …except we won’t be as priveleged as you older old farts….for us tail-end baby boomers, the picture is very mixed….for those who stayed in regular paid employment and kept the super ticking over without having to actively manage it, then things might be okay. For those of us, like me, who for various reasons have been in an out of work roles (I have been in ‘professional’ roles all my adult life), without ‘sufficient’ super, the situation is a little more tenuous…even worse for many belonging to our children’s generation. Burn it up you old buggers and watch Rome burn!

  12. Ros Barnett

    March 21, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    An old fart who owns a saab writes modest satire about old fart who owns a beemer. I’ve often seen him (Wooley) sitting at Maldini’s and he is part of the furniture there. This biddy found it amusing.

  13. Clive Stott

    March 21, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Tell you what there are worse things you can be called than an old fart if you fit into my age group.

    I mean, what do you kindheartedly call someone who is 170?

  14. lola moth

    March 21, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    #32 I am happy to embrace any of the titles you have suggested with “old bat” being my favourite. I should have realised that “old fart” could not be used for women as we are all supposed to smell more like lavender and Avon talcum powder. My death certificate will sum me up nicely though: “Spinster, no issue”.

  15. Christine Simons

    March 21, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Dear Ivor,I think you are taking the article far too seriously. I am an old fart, old fartess, or old biddy. I cannot lie my body is gradually s not working so well.Unless you die young, this is what happens, it is reality.Charles Wooley,who is the same age as myself ,is talking about the very privileged ageing people,driving around in luxury cars, living the life of an elite . He is poking fun at them, not the many elderly who are disadvantaged.Also, these wealthy old farts are having a life that many of the younger generations ,may not be lucky to enjoy.

  16. Snowy

    March 21, 2017 at 11:32 am

    “Old bat”, “old bag”, “old chook”: well, they are the ones used for me by my oldest and dearest friends. We’ve even referred to ourselves collectively as old farts. Seriously…so glad I don’t have to socialise with the pompous and pretentious around here.

  17. lola moth

    March 21, 2017 at 10:20 am

    If “old fart” is the term for an old man, what is the equivalent for an old woman? Am I an “old biddy” or is there a more fragrant name for me?

  18. Ivo Edwards

    March 21, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I will make one last attempt to explain how tasteless and offensive Mr Wooley’s article is.

    Calling someone an old fart is always derogatory and never a term of endearment. It might be said in jest to someone, such as Mr Stott to Mr Halton, but I consider such use tasteless and liable to cause offense rather than laughter.

    A deteriorating mind, forgetfulness and dementia to varying degrees are all too common in old age, as is failing health. Many elderly people are all too aware of their declining capabilities and don’t appreciated having it rubbed in by being called a rude name. I doubt Mr Wooley would personally call someone an old fart to their face. To do it in writing can also cause offence in older readers who are likely to become even more depressed about their frailties when reading the article. Mr Wooley was no doubt attempting to be funny and light hearted in his writing, but to tease the elderly in the way he did is more appropriately viewed as thoughtless cruelty in my view.

    I know political correctness can be overdone, but not many considerate people write about niggers, boongs, coons,. retards, loonies, poofters, skanks, sluts, or weirdos these days. Why then find the most derogatory term possible for the elderly?

    If mocking the elderly is acceptable, and considered funny by so many readers then I wonder if Mr Tuffin will accept an article from me describing the hilarious antics of similarly disadvantaged people such as those suffering from autism, down’s syndrome, foetal alcohol syndrome, Parkinson’s disease and dementia? If not then why not?

    I disagree with Smutface (#26) that Mr Wooley admitted to being an old fart himself, as though this would give him permission somehow to mock others in the same boat. He obviously knew well when he looked in the mirror that he could articulate a story and use a computer and modern technology, so was nor suffering from any old fart syndrome, but just plain old garden variety rudeness.

  19. Clive Stott

    March 21, 2017 at 2:28 am

    #17 Halton lighten up my friend.
    Which bit upsets you so much? Old, fart, or old fart?

    I am a retiree and you don’t speak for this old fart.
    You are a retiree too so what does that make you?
    You reckon you are not an old fart?

  20. Steve

    March 21, 2017 at 12:31 am

    I can’t get over my respect for Charles Wooley’s father’s view on life; “He read like a scholar and he ate like a horse and I swear he did nothing else for a quarter of a century”
    This article is worth it for that alone. Forsaking all your possessions and taking to the road with a begging bowl has migrated into cashing in all your possessions and taking to the road with a caravan, but I’m with Wooley senior!

  21. Mjf

    March 20, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Surely, Mr Lowe, there would be more to you quitting Hobart than a fallout with an up-herself Salamanca cafe proprietor ?

  22. Smutface

    March 20, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Re #22 – no-one is arguing that Charles Wooley is not an old fart, as he admits and which has been in evidence for many years. The objection is with him describing all elderly people in that category.

    Re #23 – thanks for the range of definitions. Did you by any chance come across any description of an old fart in complementary terms i.e. someone modern in outlook, up with the times, socially aware and technology savvy?

  23. Mark H

    March 20, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Nil respect for this alleged journalist since his pathetic commentary on the SNF case and damage done to a young person’s reputation.

  24. Geoffrey Swan

    March 20, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Oh dear … I might get into trouble here but I couldn’t help looking up the definition of “Smutface”…also on Mr Google

    “Expressing distaste for someone’s appearance, or attitude. Someone who constantly has their nose in some sort of smutty periodical.”

    Nothing too personal Mr Smutface, but if it was me I would change my Moniker to something else…

  25. Geoffrey Swan

    March 20, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    OK… #21.. sure Longman gives that definition… but let’s look at some others.. I am unable to access my hard copies of Webster, Oxford and Macquarie at this time (not even sure “old fart” would be covered).. so Mr Google it is:

    “An older person, typically male, especially one whose views or attitudes are considered boring or old-fashioned.”

    “An elderly person who holds views that are considered old-fashioned.”

    “An old man; a superannuated man; I feel like an old fart. My back’s stiff, my knees hurt, my teeth hurt “

    “An old fart is a person who doesn’t like modern things, and does things that old people do like read the newspaper every morning. It isn’t a bad thing to be an old fart. The only difference between old farts and non-old farts is that old farts act older and aren’t as modern.”

    Since Mr Wooley’s delightful piece has now become a serious matter of life and death, me thinks it is very important not to be selective with definitions…

    Isn’t this fun…

  26. Doug Nichols

    March 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    #21, he isn’t “insulting and mocking the elderly”. In fact he identified *himself* as an old fart (“there’s even one peering at me while I shave”). I thought the article was a fun, light bit of reading and the humour very much tongue-in-cheek and a long way from “crude and offensive”.

  27. Ivo Edwards

    March 20, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Re #19. From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: Old fart: a stupid and uninteresting older person

    Perhaps this is the reason? If Mr Wooley repeatedly insults and mocks the elderly, in a crude and offensive attempt at humour, as he did, then it seems reasonable that he should be criticised.

  28. Steve

    March 20, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    #19; It’s obvious Christine. The people being offended are wealthy, self indulgent retirees, just trying to get their comment typed out before swanning off down to Salamanca in their luxury cars.

  29. Christine Simons

    March 20, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I am puzzled .I have only lived in Tasmania since 2010.Why are some people so upset by Charles Wooley’s article? If they are not wealthy, self indulgent retirees swanning around in luxury cars, then he is not talking about them.There is no need to feel so offended and insulted.

  30. T Keane

    March 20, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Oh for god’s sake get a grip!

  31. Robin Charles Halton

    March 20, 2017 at 9:50 am

    The article is an insult to all retirees.

    If I ever run into Charles Wooley he might cop more than a mouthful from me, the stupid bastard.

  32. Steve

    March 20, 2017 at 9:34 am

    #14; Sounds a bit rough Phillip, but were you a paying customer?
    I can’t see the police evicting someone for being old, stupid or even smelly?

  33. Clive Stott

    March 20, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Followed a car into the city this morning.

    It was going really slowly, well under the speed limit, and would wander from left to right.

    I think it was being remotely controlled because I couldn’t see anyone in the driver seat.

    That was until I found a very safe place to pass and saw this little old fart at the wheel oblivious to all the other cars that had bunched up behind him.

    Life’s too serious if you can’t laugh when someone calls you an old fart, and laugh harder when they call you a silly old fart!

    Good onya Charles keep up your writing. I enjoyed it.

  34. Philip Lowe

    March 19, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    old farts have got the best music,and they are more open minded about quality tunes and songs.I sadly remember the lady proprietor of a cafe at Salamanca whispering into my ear,
    ‘We don’t want stupid,smelly old people here’,and then she called the police to evict me from the outside tables.Me being a poorly educated,industrial Manchester thicko abandoned Hobart not long after,I was not up to the standards of the local latte sippers.

  35. O'Brien

    March 19, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Nolan & Johnson envisaged this brute reality some fifty years ago in the fiction work ‘Logan’s Run’. The problems of overpopulation, resource depletion & housing costs could all be alleviated if only more boomers read this book.

  36. Geoffrey Swan

    March 19, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    10# Hello Mr Smutface – I am of course smiling at your comments and I do apologise. (Seriously what is the origin of Smutface.. it is really awful)

    I really do believe we need some light and shade in our life and IMV a skilled journalist such as Charles Wooley has delivered on this occasion.

    Credit to Lindsay our TT Editor that he is open to almost anything in this excellent vehicle that allows one and all to post stories and to make almost whatever comment they choose (I do know Lindsay spends a good deal of his time checking that contributors will not be sued – and that is from personal experience for which I am most grateful).

    I personally reckon the balance is good and long live TT. For as long as Lindsay is kicking (and I have never met the man) I reckon TT is a given and it will not end up in the gutter.

    And good to hear your voice even if I do not agree with your sentiment- aagh freedom of speech – aren’t we so lucky.

    P.S. As a regular chap and an occasional contributor TT may be publishing a very serious investigative story from me later in the week – love to hear your comments.

  37. Steve

    March 19, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    #10; Oh dear, what is the problem here? Since when has Tasmanian Times been required to be consistently serious? Since when have journalists been compelled to be consistently serious?

    It’s not as though someone propped your eyelids open and forced you to read it (Perhaps they did? I’m quite sure there’s at least one political advisor to each party who has to read TT “cover to cover”. Just in case…!)If you want some heavy relief, go and buy into one of Simone Watson’s threads.

    In the meanwhile, allow me to supply you some interpuncts. These are generously being provided for free on another thread and a free give-away is always a good thing.

  38. Smutface

    March 19, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Dear Mr Swan.(#7) – No mate, I don’t have a sense of humour when it comes to crude, offensive and tasteless articles on TT., whether funny or not according to one’s values. I think you will find, if you investigate to a greater depth than Mr Wooley’s brand of toilet humour, that Tasmanian Times usually has a serious side to it. Sure it is often facetious and critical, but not unusually so blatantly flippant and tasteless

    I just hope that this is not a sign of things to come on TT at a time when we need serious investigative journalism. Come on please – let’s nip these attempts at lowering the bar by replacing discussion of important issues with crude fiction humour, funny or not according to taste and tasteless or not, according to personal values,in the bud.

  39. Christine Simons

    March 19, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Hello Smutface ,I thought smutty meant something a bit sexual.I think the article is funny, but with humour and satire, an important topic is being discussed, that is ,how are all the ageing baby boomers going to be looked after properly in their decline, particularly the ones who are not well off.

  40. O'Brien

    March 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Surely Charles Wooley could put his experience and contacts to good use exposing the ongoing corruption, nepotism & fraud that pollutes Tassie. It doesn’t require much work, there are ample leads here on TT.

  41. Geoffrey Swan

    March 19, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Delightful yarn.. thank you Charles… keep ’em coming – life too short and we all need a good laugh from time to time.

    #4 Smutface (what sort of moniker is that?)

    As for counting how many “fart” references.. your spending far too long reading the wonderful Tasmanian Times which is intentionally full of irreverent and cheeky articles.

    Back to your Sudoko I reckon.

    #5 I think Smutface is being serious Christine.

  42. Smutface

    March 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Hey Christine(#5) – sorry if I was rude or offensive. That’s great if you and others find Mr Wooley funny.

    I just think that a serious previous investigative journalist should be more serious and less frivolous in his articles. lots of serious problems in the world, after all, and talking about farts continually is not my idea of a serious response to any of them

    Smutty is just something vulgar, dirty, rude, filthy, crude, offensive, salacious, coarse, obscene, indecent,or lewd.

    I am not an authority on whether that applies to the word “farts” continually in an article or not, but I sense that it does?

    Please correct me if you have a convincing alternative view?

  43. Christine Simons

    March 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Gee Smutface, I am sorry you didn’t find it funny ,i did.

    Maybe you are being satirical, if you are ,I apologise. Maybe you are too subtle for me. Also,I can’t find anything ‘smutty.’

    Where is it?

  44. Smutface

    March 19, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Great that we have semi retired previous serious investigative reporters writing smutty totally frivolous articles ( note “fart” or “farts” mentioned about 10 + times). This has to be the ultimate in degradation of investigative reporting? Can someone explain the point of this article – e.,g. Is it funny, is it well written, ,is it an important commentary on anything, is it a good alternative to fiction by acknowledged authors? Not in my view !

    Ray Martin is still doing serious journalism. Charles Wooley is not.

  45. Christine Simons

    March 19, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Totally agree,old farts are hogging the place.

    I also have a mother who also may be immortal.If the baby boomers ,the ones with good genes that is, live into their 90’s, how will it be funded?

    The young ones often have precarious incomes. $6,000 a month for nursing home fees, which are now profit making businesses.

    This is how much it costs, caring for people who did not want to be in nursing homes, staffed by people from other countries, because Australians don’t want that sort of work.

  46. Steve

    March 19, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    #1; Did we read the same article? I enjoyed it. Good to know what to look forward to and I loved the description of his Dad. That gives me something to aspire to!

  47. Ivo Edwards

    March 19, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Rude, crude, pretentious,and factually incorrect

    Did he write the biography himself?

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