Real life

I can’t live without Jane Fonda

24 February 2018

9:00 AM

24 February 2018

9:00 AM

Everything since the ZX Spectrum has pretty much left me cold. Ghetto blasters, Sony Walkmans, CDs, Apple Macs, iPods, PlayStations… I didn’t want any of them.

Back in 1981, I did want a CB radio and I nearly got one too, but then my mother found out that lorry drivers were on them and the thorny issue of whether it would be appropriate for a nine-year-old girl to converse with a trucker put the kibosh on the whole thing.

I was bitterly disappointed. I seem to remember I cried. I did not cry about not being bought a Commodore 64 or a BBC Computer, as the technological bee’s knees was then called, or any other home computer with plastic rather than rubber buttons like mine had. I did not covet them. Nor did I covet a video game machine.

I had a brief fling with Donkey Kong while holidaying in Corfu aged about 12, in an arcade on the lower ground floor of a large hotel. The other kids and I sat on the high stools playing Nintendo for hours on end.

But I haven’t enjoyed any technology since then, unless you count the BlackBerry. Nothing, that is, until Netflix. Why hasn’t everyone got Netflix? I simply cannot understand why you would not have it. For a few pounds a month, you can watch almost any film or TV series you like, when you like.

Every night, I climb into bed and marvel at the sheer volume of entertainment I have almost free access to.

And if anyone thinks I’m toadying up to Netflix for a freebie, know this: there is no point trying to get a freebie from Netflix, for it is as good as free anyway. One could hardly get it any cheaper.


When my tech guy Andy first set me up with it, I felt as though there had been a mistake. Surely, I can’t really have thousands of the latest movies and television series instantly available for a few pounds a month? I’d better keep quiet. There’s been a glitch.

Then I found out that all this is quite legitimate. You can have Netflix, with everything you could ever want to watch and enjoy, virtually for free. Or you can pay a satellite or cable company nearly £100 a month for 600 channels, all of them pure dross.

What was I doing paying a satellite company £90 a month for pure dross? Was I insane? And what are you doing, if you are still paying them? If you haven’t got Netflix yet, you need to see a shrink. When you get it, my top tip is Grace and Frankie.

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin play two seventy-something women whose husbands leave them for each other. The husbands, I mean. They’ve been having an affair and divorce their wives so they can get hitched.

Of course, the liberal bias is ludicrous. You have to be prepared to be bludgeoned over the head with the joy of gay marriage. And with recycling, veganism, hybrid cars, paraben-free cosmetics, Al-Anon, middle-class ‘harmless’ pot-smoking, gluten-free brunch and saying ‘Wow! Seriously? Are we doing this now?’ to express annoyance.

But notwithstanding all that, I’m in love with Grace and Frankie because I am in love with Jane Fonda. Formerly the keeper of the 1980s keep-fit flame — I jumped about to her VHS video cassette — Jane Fonda, aged 80, is now the foremost wearer of a sharp pant suit teemed with a nattily tied silk neck scarf while being age-appropriate kooky. What a role model.

I realised something was up when I looked in the mirror and saw that I was dressed in a sharp pant suit and nattily tied neck scarf.

Now it’s as bad as my Columbo habit. I’m binge-watching in bed.

I watched all the way through the four series available in a matter of days and as I got to the end of the last episode of Series Four, I knew what I was going to do before I did it: the second the credits rolled, I scrolled back to Series One and began again, because until Series Five comes out I can’t live without Jane Fonda.

It had better come out, by the way. The first series I discovered on Netflix was House of Cards and no sooner had I become inseparable from Kevin Spacey than Kevin Spacey went and got himself investigated for sexual assault.

I’m sorry, but are we to lose absolutely everything we enjoy because no celebrity is as morally perfect as society now suddenly, for no reason, requires them to be? I’m losing track of all the cultural treats being thrown on the bonfire because their creators have had sex with someone they shouldn’t.

Jane Fonda had better not have a skeleton in her immaculate closet.

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