Opinion

My 50-Something Friends Are Far More Interesting Than Boring Millennials

My 50-Something Friends Are Far More Interesting Than Boring Millennials

Live in London, and your mother (if not your grandmother) is likely to out drink you, out party you and out sex you. Getting old gracefully doesn't exist here. Reports of alcohol abuse now focus on the middle aged, you're more likely to be over 40 if you went to Burning Man this year and sexually transmitted infections have risen at alarming rates in over 50s.

The Peter Pan generation is here to stay and — paradoxically — it's getting older.

What used to be the preserve of the young is, in many cases, now being utterly and completely taken over by their elders. Millennials are no match for the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

 Don't believe me? Take a look at the exploits of some my friends.

The sex adventurers — Suzanne Portnoy, 56


Always a sexually liberated woman, and a regular contributor to Advantages of Age (a web based group for the over 40s discussing sex, relationships and death), Suzanne Portnoy appears to be losing none of her passions as she enters the generation of "Life begins at.."


She rekindled her love of Torture Garden (the notorious fetish club) and Rio's (the naturist swinging venue in Kentish Town) in her early 50s after an absence having children, but was disappointed to find her younger counterparts an entire disappointment.

They queued to get in, they queued for the cloakroom and then they queued for sex... spontaneity and fun have well and truly vanished.

Thankfully she still has her legendary hot tub in her back garden to entertain her more ardent and mature guests:

My hot tub has seen many an orgy. It's overlooked by 13 of my neighbours' windows who would often steal a glance when I was getting it on with two or more men. As an exhibitionist it's all part of the fun, and regardless of the academic evidence pointing to the contrary, being covered in four feet of water almost always gave my male visitors a hard on...

She's not the only one who's taking sex to the next level in later life as the rise of the Silver Kittens — the grey haired version of the notorious Killing Kittens set up by Emma Sayle — goes to prove.

These are the orgies hosted in secret locations around London for, in their words, 'The Sexual Elite'. I've attended a couple with female friends who were looking for something extra in their lives. A defining feature of Silver KK is that it's female driven, so men aren't allowed to approach the ladies without invitation, and can only attend if accompanied by a female.



A sea of writhing bodies moaning and sweating in sexual ecstasy in a Soho health spa isn't for everyone, but I think that all should try it once. All the men are 40-plus, however the mix of ages of the ladies who attend vary from their early 30s to well over 60s.


The rebels & ravers — Scott Lamb, 40

DJ, video games programmer and father, Scott Lamb is best known under his pseudonym DeathBoy as the lead musician of the eponymous industrial band.

I had to celebrate my 40th in the Nevada desert. I was at Burning Man last year and frankly, it's a mind blowing experience that transcends age. A bunch of aged hippies is totally no different to a bunch of younger hippies, except you don't see many of them these days, it's all my generation.

 It was an incredible week long party that started before I even left London. I'll say this for for not sleeping all night, then hitting the bar before the journey — I don't remember *any* portion of that flight. Not takeoff, landing, nowt. I sat down, strapped in, closed my eyes and I was there.

Scott Lamb living it up at Burning Man

A night out in London can be just as awesome though. I remember rocking out to tunes with Fatboy Slim (54) at an immersive theatrical experience in central London. I was there as a volunteer performer and had taken the role of DJ in a rave sequence. Often celebrities would do a star turn and that night Slim arrived to take the turntables.

The after parties in the bar were always fantastic, with surprise activities including competition naked wrestling, and striptease show-downs between performers and copious amounts of alcohol. As the author will tell you — as a co-performer — we didn't feel we'd had a good night until dawn broke over the rooftops of London from our balcony perch at St Giles Casino on Tottenham Court Road. 


We'd then grab a couple of hours' nap before returning to work, the 20-somethings would always drop out at around 1am if they came out with us at all, as they complained about needing their sleep. Their question was always: 'How are you guys doing this?' Our answer: 'Practise!'.


The party people — Carole Stone, 75

A queen of networking, Carole Stone has been London's greatest socialiser since hosting her weekly salons in the 1990s at her flat in Covent Garden.

Carole is a friend maker in the extreme. It's not unexpected that she'd be attending numerous events an evening, making appearances at each in differing lengths.



I find it difficult to say no to anything, so I often find myself with numerous engagements to attend in an evening but it's the best way to meet a vast array of people from all differing backgrounds and ages, which is of course my passion.

Her Christmas parties were that of legend and an invitation was sought after like gold dust. Held in Middle Temple at the Inns of Court off Fleet Street — where Shakespeare first performed Twelfth Night — you'd be mixing with celebrities such as MP Michael Portillo, singer songwriter Lyndsey de Paul and comedian Helen Lederer, in a crowd of over a thousand.

Carole Stone speaking at her 75th birthday

I was at Carole's 75th Birthday at the Reform Club — she was one of the club's first female members — mingling with my good friends from over the years which included many of the great and the good.

 I always invariably end up meeting people there who want to continue after-partying so we'd head to the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel, where many a friendship is born.

No one parties like Carole anymore.

The campaigners — Paul Wiffen, 55

Composer, film-director and Synth Guru, Paul Wiffen is a former politician and remains a keen campaigner for historical London.

When I was at Oxford University in the 80s, it was always the students that were leading the demonstrations and campaigning to save things. So I was surprised not to see the same passion in students today, when the announcement was made that the Kensington Odeon was going to be torn down I thought they'd be there in their droves.



Wiffen stepped up, garnering celebratory support with other 'Friends of Kensington Odeon' members, from actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir Ian McKellen and Kristin Scott Thomas, to Richard Curtis and his musician friends Brian May and Jimmy Page.



The ladder Wiffen climbed up.

Unfortunately the campaign was eventually beaten by the developers and the wrecking balls were sent in.

 Paul asked if I'd help him get into the cinema so we could lock ourselves in, as a last ditch attempt to save what should have been a listed building.



I'd secured the assistance of well known campaigner Phoenix Rainbow (48) who knew how to do these things and he sorted finding an open window.

 We returned the following evening, borrowed a ladder from a local construction site, balanced it on an upturned bin and I climbed up to the awning to get in.

 I'm not a light man or agile, and I'm pretty sure it should have been some nimble 20 something edging across a piece of thin felt with a 40 foot drop underneath, rather than me.

It was my job to hold the ladder and I've never been more terrified in my life, as I watched my friend risk life and limb to enter the window and let me in through the front-door. 

But it was worth it in the end as the mouldings that Wiffen uncovered above the fake ceiling are now forcing the developers to cease works until a decision is made on its future.



Though it did leave the question of why me, a man in my late 40s, and Wiffen, a man in his 50s, were doing this to protect the history for the younger generation.



So if you're looking for an exciting, wild night out in London, don't look at your phone... ask your mother or your grandmother, they are far more likely to know where to go and what to do. I guarantee it will be a lot more fun.



Ed note: some people who read this — and certainly the millennial who edited it — might think some of these opinions are a tad biased, to say the least. Where do you stand? Let us know in the comments.

Last Updated 23 October 2017

Paul Atherton

Sadly, it would appear the Editors call for support from his fellow "Millennials" has fallen on deaf ears. I was rather hoping to be have been proven wrong and seen a surge of comments redressing the balance of my experience here in London and showing me that they can party just as hard, don't simply queue for everything are prepared to fight for the city we so love and are keen to make friends face to face... but alas, it wasn't to be.

As the author of this piece and with friends from this age group (not that any of them would let themselves be defined as Millennials or associate with what the term means) I was writing with the genuine hope of encouraging greater cohesion between all age groups in the city and hoping it would prompt a call to arms.

There's a fight required to keep London special and whilst it appears the Generation Z are the ones likely to step up to the plate, that still leaves a decade of inertia that i hope I can prevent.

So if you define yourself as a millennial and have experiences that counter my experiences please do share?