martin firrell

ageing is a privilege

september 2004

curzon cinemas london

17 images

Ageing is a Privilege Not a Predicament was commissioned by Curzon Cinemas to mark their 70th year in operation.

Eleven texts were presented on the canopies of the Curzon Soho and the Curzon Mayfair, appearing where film titles are more usually seen. Each text explored the value of being 70 years old.

A new text was put in place each morning during September 2004 in the lead-up to the cinemas' birthday.

The backs of all Curzon tickets carried the text Age Makes Me Conform Less and the anniversary dates 1934-2004 for the duration of the celebrations.

The tenth text Ageing is a Privilege Not a Predicament was seen by a passenger from the window of a number 38 bus as it passed the Curzon Soho. She contacted the cinema to ask about the statement and subsequently told her 83 year old mother in Australia about the project.

Her mother relayed the statement to a friend from her knitting circle who had recently been widowed and had also broken her hip.

The statement struck a chord with her friend, bolstering her spirits, so she wrote to The Australian, one of Australia's Sunday Newspapers.

The Australian ran a feature on the project highlighting its positive portrayal of ageing, striking further chords in Australia.

Many people wrote about their fear of ageing and how heartened they were by the project's positive portrayal of older age.

People wrote about reassessing their own relationship with ageing and consciously choosing a more positive outlook.

The director of an Australian care home wrote that the statement reflected his own views on the value of ageing and older people, and he requested permission to have the statement etched into the stonework of the care home itself.