I did something one morning this week that so shocked and surprised me I just had to tweet about it right away. Simply had to.
Which wasn’t the whole story, because walking home I cornered into an elderly neighbour on her way to the gym and our exchange went:
– Ooh, you gave me a fright.
– Oh, I know, I always seem to bump into you!
– And I didn’t recognise you at first in that hat – and what a hat!
– Yes, it’s rather the matching hat to those gloves of yours.
With me (wearing either ‘what a hat’ or ‘those gloves’) able to play either part.
I have long had chameleon tendencies; likely stemming from a need to fit in, to belong (ironic, given – well, another time, maybe), and since a child aware I habitually play back accents and mirror mannerisms: so little surprise that I’m now become so expertly tuned into the, erm, indigenous genre. This is because I am very probably a Nan Kid.
Regular listeners back in the day to Russell Brand’s Saturday night radio show, or to the podcast it pooped out, will likely be familiar with the expression Nan Kid. As I understand it, Russell Brand coined the phrase on the show, as is pretty much confirmed in the entry and definition in urbandictionary.com:
Nan Kid: derives from Russell Brand’s comedy sketches. A phrase used to describe a child or teenager with old lady like qualities. Usually a Nan Kid has been brought up by their nan.
I like Nan Kids (go figure) and I like the version that Russell Brand first put out there. Nan Kids in the purest sense are apart from being simply modern-day Walter the Softies, from archetypes of swots, nerds, geeks, wimpy kids, and, by definition, mummy’s boys. Nan Kids may fret like Softies, but they’ll augment their fretwork with a sensible line in reasonable solutions and endorse it all with a pithy epithet too. In such measured multi-layeredness they’re apart from everything but nans and other Nan Kids.
Our village, as it goes, is awash with Nan Kids – which is a good thing while it lasts; it’s nice to know that when a neighbourhood child is eyeing your car, he’s just checking out the lawfulness of your treads and whether your registration presents an amusing acronym.
I wasn’t brought up by my nan. I did spend quite a lot of time with her when my mum was working away in British Intelligence towards the end of the Cold War, but my grandma was too hardened by snooker, Ted Rogers and Mackeson’s to have much truck with a pale child too early in a dressing gown, and consequently I repressed, to a degree, my Nan Kidness as best I could, until, I guess, now.
For the fact of my new living – being at home and being around the area – is that my workplace campus is the reservation of older folk: from the gym to the bins to the coffee shop; and it’s reaching, this dynamic, unhindered and comforting, towards my Inner Nan.
A flavour of that Nan Kid coining:
Note: Reference the proliferation of older types at the local gym – it’s the same demographic dynamic (as I used to bullshit in business with the rest) twenty miles away at my wife’s much larger gym – except she only has to undress and shower with the old ladies, rather than chat gaily – and a great thing it is that older people are investing in health and well-being. Thanks.
©Steve Mitchell, Fisher Lane, 2013