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AofA People: Nancy Good – Full-time artist/photographer, musician, singer


1 Minute Read

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Las Vegas

AGE?

56

TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE YOUR AGE?

Frickin' awesome

WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?

Freedom of self and confidence borne of paying attention

WHAT ABOUT SEX?

Yes, please

AND RELATIONSHIPS?

Blissfully married

HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?

Very

WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?

Many things ... my husband, my family, friends.

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

Watching others shine!

WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?

Daily

AND WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY GO?

Art, loving my friends and family, giving back to my community

WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?

Celebrate and cherish every moment.

AND DYING?

If it's my time, bring it on!

ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?

Yes!

WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?

Creating an original dress out of one of my artworks to wear at my art opening.

AofA People: Emma Salgueiro – Creative director: Graphic design, copywriting, and development of websites projects


1 Minute Read

Creative director: Graphic design, copywriting, and development of websites projects. I'm also a comedian, specialized in the "Alternative World," and I'm writing an "erotic-conscious" novel.
On the other hand, I'm starting to co-create a Conscious Sexuality Movement (sort of tantric), for "normal" people from 30 to 60, with small gatherings and a festival to happen in the UK on 2019.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Madrid and Ibiza

AGE? 50

TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE YOUR AGE?

Interesting and peculiar, as normally I'm surrounded by much younger people.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?

Wisdom, more humour, and taking myself less seriously.

WHAT ABOUT SEX?

Grrrrreat! (quite an expert on the matter, hahaha)

AND RELATIONSHIPS?

Starting a very fun and sexy relationship at the moment.

HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?

Quite a lot, besides when my nomadic life makes me struggle with money issues.

WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?

My talent as a comedian.

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

That something greater than us, and our limited vision.

WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?

When I make people laugh.

AND WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY GO?

To my writing and performing.

WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?

We are here to shine at our highest potential. Taking life as a hero quest, in which to learn and evolve, avoiding getting attached to drama as much as possible. Let's Be Light!

AND DYING?

Dissolving into the Light once again and getting ready for a new incarnation... or not.

ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?

More than ever before!

WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?

Jumping on stage in front of 320 people without knowing what to say and keeping them laughing non-stop for 20 minutes.

The oldest person in the world says ‘being single’ is the reason she’s still alive | Independent


2 Minute Read

The oldest woman alive, who lives on raw eggs and cookies, is celebrating her 117th birthday. Emma Morano, who was born on 29 November, 1899, is believed to be the only person alive who has witnessed three centuries. The brandy-drinking Italian woman, who has credited her old age to being single and getting to bed early, reportedly said “My word, I’m as old as the hills”, when she was crowned the world’s oldest.

Read the full article here: The oldest person in the world says 'being single' is the reason she's still alive | Independent

My New Career as a People Person


10 Minute Read

It was six years ago, when I was 46 years old, and I was lying in bed and feeling terrible on an island in the Hebrides. I’d come away on holiday to a place I’d always yearned to go to and things weren’t going well. I was there with the man I was going out with (and subsequently married but that’s another story) and we were uncomfortable with each other. We hadn’t known each other long enough to be holed up in a too-small, too-isolated ‘love nest’, far away from other people.

It had been my idea, my dream. I’d always wanted to head off to the Isle of Harris with a rugged bloke and be entwined for days on end. It hadn’t occurred to me that maybe my idea of intimacy was someone else’s idea of hell. And, anyway, he wasn’t in love with me then. He was too wrapped up in a past relationship to really be available to love anyone - not me and certainly not himself either. But I have never been one to let reality ruin my fantasy. Until then.

As I lay there wondering why this man I thought I was in love with plainly wasn’t in love with me, I started thinking about all the times I’d messed up my life. There were so many. I’d been a terrible girlfriend, a messed-up mother, a loose cannon, a wayward lover, a drunk. I had, in the past, sunk way too much and too far and done things I felt deeply ashamed of. I’d hurt and humiliated people I cared for. It didn’t feel good But, more than that, I realised I’d lost all sense of self.

In a vain desire to have some sort of ‘standing’ in the world, I’d sold my soul to journalism. I didn’t even know what integrity was any more. I’d argue on both sides if the money was right. I felt that I’d worked so hard for so long to be successful that I couldn’t possibly turn my back on the industry I’d strived so hard to belong to. I'd become obsessed with money. It had taken me over in a way that was out of kilter.

It wasn’t that I was poor. I’d inherited money from my father but my ex and I (the father of three of my four children) had frittered a worrying amount of it away on such fripperies as outdoor furnishings and club class tickets to exotic locations. So I didn’t seem able to turn paid work down. I was obsessed with the fact we’d run out of money so I found myself saying yes to every job I was offered. I had no filter. I’d write anything for anyone. I wrote about my intimate relationship with my then-partner. I wrote about my family, my dead-dad, my friends, people I knew, people I barely knew. Nothing was off-limits. I wrote article after article and the subjects begun to get increasingly personal Things came to a head when I was asked to write about my children.

At first, I saw nothing wrong with a quickly penned piece on how tricky it was bringing up my much-loved, much-wanted daughter. I didn’t think I’d written anything terrible. I’d just pointed out how much nosier and demanding she was compared to her three older brothers. My first inkling that anything was amiss was when various radio stations and daytime television stations called asking me to go on air and talk about my ‘controversial’ piece. Then the internet went mad and I became the scourge of parents, outraged at my comments. It was a bruising experience and it left me bewildered. Had I really said something that bad?

From then on, everything got worse. I couldn’t write anything without hoards of online trolls making my life miserable. In the end, I came off all social media but I could see that life, or at least my life as a journalist, had to change.

So there I was, in the Hebrides, moaning on about how sick I was of all of it when my boyfriend said, rather nonchalantly, 'Well, why don’t you do something else then?’. Something else? Jesus. The thought had never occurred to me.

'Like what?'.

'I dunno. You like finding out what makes people tick. You’re interested in people. I think you’d be a good therapist.'

I sat there feeling somewhat stunned. Then I started googling courses on becoming a psychotherapist and, it seemed, I could do a six-week introductory course and see how it felt. That was six years ago. The six weeks went to a year, then another two years then...somehow four years passed and there I was, a fully paid-up, qualified counsellor. I couldn’t believe I’d done it.

In many ways, I’d turned my life around beyond recognition. Instead of going out I’d studied. I’d stopped partying, misbehaving, being an arsehole. I spent days and nights on end reading and learning and scrutinising myself and crying. Lot and lots of crying. I went in to therapy. I started therapising other people. I felt like an imposter – to myself, to them, to everyone. The first client I had was when I was working at a Youth Counselling Centre. She was 18, had dyed blue hair, many piercings and studs and was covered in tattoos. She was in the waiting room glowering at me as soon as she saw me. Her rather nervous mother kept prodding her as I asked Helen (not her real name) to come with me. “No,” she said scowling. In that moment, I almost turned and ran. What on earth was I doing there?

My course hadn’t prepared me for this. But I stood my ground, told her she was coming with me and somewhat frog marched her up the stairs. As we sat silently staring at each other, I noticed she had a picture of a rat on her mobile phone. 'Is that your pet?', I asked her. Suddenly this angry hurt teenager started smiling. It was the beginning of a very fruitful relationship. I have learned so many things; teenagers are difficult to counsel but, once they trust you, they really are magnificent in their ability to grasp therapy and run with it.

Adults take more time. We’re far more set in our ways and we’re scared. Therapy is work. It takes a form of bravery to walk through the door. It has to involve trust and interest and something between the therapist and client that has some ‘juice’. People ask me if I get bored. How could I? I’ve heard so many different stories from so many different lives.

I now know how to shoplift and how to remove security tags. I know where to buy any sort of drugs from. I’ve seen the scars from those who self-harm and I always consider that an honour. I’ve been to the backstreets of Faro via Google Earth where one of my youngest and saddest clients grew up. She was a little homesick girl who just wanted to show me the life she had before her mother died and her father came to the UK for work.

I’ve met some truly fascinating people. I’ve met people who believe they have done terrible things. Sometimes I’m not sure if I am friend or foe. Therapy goes like that. I look like I’m listening. I am listening. But I’m also thinking - what’s going on here? Who am I for this person? I notice the minute - a change of dress, the body language, the defenses, the endless defenses we all use to avoid the things we don’t like about ourselves.

I’ve seen jealous women clad in green and scarlet women wearing scarlet yet neither of them realising it. I’ve had a man who couldn’t grieve develop huge styes in his eyes without connecting it to his inability to cry. I have seen people in desperate pain. But I’ve also seen people heal. I’ve been wept on, shouted at, flirted with, denigrated, exalted, insulted, complemented. And I just sit there. I sit there because that’s my job. And I love it. It feels serious and proper and kind and caring. I delve into places I’d been terrified of going to before I chose this work. I learn as much, if not more, from my clients as they do from me. I still do. Every time I meet a client I feel a sense of wonderment. 'What journey will we go on here?', I think.

It will never stop, this learning. That’s what I love about it. There’s so much to know. When I tell people – people I used to know – that I’m now a therapist, they look momentarily confused. Most struggle to believe that I would give up a seemingly successful public career for something that sounds so different. But I point out that they are not that far removed.

Therapists are interested in people, in why people do the things they do. We’re interested in theory and practice and relationships and the past and the here and now. What might appear to some to be quite simple – I sit in this chair, you sit in that chair, is far more complicated than that. As my clients tell me their stories, I am working hard concentrating, filtering, alighting like a butterfly on one piece of information, gathering a bit of pollen from it, then flitting off to the next bit.

It’s a quieter life held in some sort of suspended animation as myself and my clients sit together. No one but us knows what goes on in that room and, sometimes, we’re probably not all that sure what actually has gone on. There is something mysterious about the therapeutic relationship that leaves people baffled and intrigued.

People always ask if I enjoy what I do. I always answer that enjoy isn’t the word. I am sort of completed by it – by doing good, by being intellectually stimulated, by meeting so many different people letting me in to their complicated but fascinating lives. I’ve met a more full range of people than I ever did as a journalist and now I am not forced by put-upon editors to find a headline.

I am strangely changed and yet unchanged – as Winnicott said, the worse breakdown we fear is the breakdown that has already happened. I feared losing my status, my income, my social standing but really that fear was about getting to know myself and that’s been around for a long time. I draw back the veil every day by an infinitesimal amount.

And, of course, dear reader, I did marry the man from the Hebrides. But it would never have happened if I hadn’t chosen a different path for my life. Becoming a therapist has helped me see relationships in such a different light. I am far more tolerant, kinder, more giving and more forgiving than I ever thought I would be. There is some sort of innate blind trust that enters the room when a client walks in.

It’s a form of love. You take a leap. You trust the leap. It can all go a bit wobbly but if you do the work, feel the trust, love and support, you get there in the end. I could have walked away from this, from him, from my training. I could have jacked it all in and there were many times I nearly did.

But I am so glad I didn’t.

AofA People: Alfie Thomas – Performer, Composer, Musician


3 Minute Read

Alfie Thomas plays the accordion and keyboards, sings backing vocals, and composes. Alfie was born in Middlesbrough to Belgian and Cockney parentage. He is a Soho resident and is part of the Society of Imaginary Friends.

What is your age?
60

Where do you live?
London

What do you do?
I am half of a creative partnership called the Society of Imaginary Friends, we write, record and perform music together, we write music for film and we hold two Soirees a month in Ealing and WoodGreen featuring the extraordinary talent of London's population our Ealing Soiree is held at the office where I work as a support worker for disabled people and their carers it is fully inclusive and inspiring. I have a boat on the river Thames which I escape too when my central London life gets too much.

Tell us what it’s like to be your age?
It is a mixture of feeling more relaxed and more urgent. I feel very involved in the current state of our city and country and world and try to reflect this in everything I do. I am starting to discover new things about myself that were hidden or lost and this is very exciting but quite challenging.

What do you have now that you didn’t have at 25?
A history!... An understanding of human nature and a healthy scepticism but a relaxed love of the moment.

What about sex?
Sex is getting better all the time.

And relationships?
I am blessed with a gorgeous, intelligent, talented Goddess as my girlfriend, I don't know what I have done to deserve this but it's brilliant and she never ceases to surprise and amaze me.

How free do you feel?
It depends what time of day or what time of year it is but generally because I feel closer to understanding myself I feel freer than I have ever felt before.

What are you proud of?
Proud of my music, I am proud of my children's and my girlfriend's resilience to the challenges of this world and our capacity to stay true to ourselves.

What keeps you inspired?
Humanity, my extraordinary clients... carers who have given everything to look after a family member completely selflessly. Beethoven and Shostakovich.

When are you happiest?
On stage, by the sea, composing. Walking the streets of Clerkenwell with Louise.

And where does your creativity go?
Into the ether.

What’s your philosophy of living?
Be kind to each other, be truthful, live adventurously but don't be naive.

And dying?
When I die there are a number of people that I am really looking forward to meeting and seeing again and others that I am going to be having some firm words with, generally I think it's going to be a fantastic party over the other side these words will come back to haunt me!!

Are you still dreaming?
Of course I am, my girlfriend and I always discuss our dreams her dreams are more lucid than mine, I can usually tell my psychological state by what I have dreamt the night before so it's a handy indicator.

What was a recent outrageous action of yours?
Putting my middle finger up at a motorcade as they passed my car which I presumed to be our Prime minister but was later told by a police motorcyclist that it was the president of China and he was very upset! The policeman let me off with a caution as he was unhappy with our Prime minister as well..

AofA People: Goodtime Mama JoJo – Burlesque Performer, Choreographer, Speaker


8 Minute Read

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

I'm a Londoner

WHAT DO YOU DO?

OOOOH! I "do" all kinds of things!
Work-wise - I run my own business - I'm the founder of the first burlesque and striptease school in Europe - The ""London Academy of Burlesque"" and I teach burlesque, striptease, sexy dance moves, and physical theatre techniques. The focus is on improving the students' self-confidence, body-image, and connection with their own sensuality (through movement and mindset exercises). I am also a producer, a speaker, a choreographer, and a performer. I'm in the process of working on a one-woman show with the help of my great friend and published writer, Victoria Sadler, and at the request of many people, I am also (slowly) writing about my life as a striptease burlesque entertainer.

Hobby-wise - I write poetry, dance whenever I can, and I restyle dolls into burlesque angels and various other bizarre incarnations!

Life-wise - I cook, clean, take care of all my parental duties, and occasionally, I rest.

AGE?

59

TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE YOUR AGE?

I don't spend a huge amount of time considering my age really. I'm usually only aware of the fact that I'm no longer 26 when someone else talks about ageing or when I ache a lot after doing something that wouldn't have caused me pain, before.

So, thinking about it, I would say that being 59 is unpredictable, amusing, challenging, and lucky!
Let me try and explain... It's unpredictable because of other people's reactions to age. My lengthy career and my expertise in my work have brought me a lot of respect and admiration, and I am seen as wise and knowledgeable by many people (Haha!, No honestly, I am!) but there are definitely others who are surprised (and even shocked) that a woman of "my age" is involved in this industry. So, you just never know how others will react. Also, I think that I am predictably unpredictable because most of the time I have no idea what I'm going to do next!

When I get negative or horrified reactions to my work, I find it amusing. I know that it's probably because of the other person's baggage/upbringing/lack of understanding. I remember the lovely group of psychiatrists I taught, and how one of them said: "If some of my patients came to see you first Jo, they wouldn't need to see me!"

I also find it amusing that there seem to be rules about what should or shouldn't be worn by women of a certain age. That's just so bloody hysterical!! Why would I let anyone else decide what I can or cannot wear? It just reminds me what a non-conformist I am.

I had my first and only child when I was 45 (after being told I would NEVER have kids). She is a miracle and I love her ridiculously, and although being a mum is challenging at any age, it is definitely more so when your child becomes a teenager. Why didn't anyone warn me? It's a roller-coaster ride of emotions and my challenge is, to be a great mum and to not lose the plot!

And finally; I'm lucky to be here (after three near-death experiences), I'm lucky to be a mum, I'm lucky to have a career doing something that I love, and I'm lucky to have amazing people in my life!"

WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?

Self-confidence and self-esteem - which I think can only truly blossom through life experience. I am comfortable being me and don't need anyone else to value or validate me in order to value myself. I worried about my looks when I was 25, but I have learned to accept and love myself over the years. I don't really watch my figure, I'm a burlesque performer, so I let other people do that! ;)!

I now have the wisdom to know that I don't know much! I never stop learning and there is always something new to try, taste, see or experience by keeping an open mind and an enthusiastic spirit.

I have the ability to allow myself to change my mind or say no to someone/something - these were virtually incomprehensible concepts to me when I was young.

At 25 I was stripping and travelling around the world, as and when I pleased. Now I have roots and responsibilities - I am responsible for another human being which means earning enough money to pay bills, keep her fed, clothed, and a roof over her head. I have roots because kids have to go to school and that tends to keep you in one place.

I am more aware and appreciative of peoples actions and the world around me. I have gratitude and I feel grateful every day for a variety of things.

WHAT ABOUT SEX?

Sex is the gift that just keeps on giving! It's an important part of being holistically healthy for me. Being intimate, open, and sexual, ignites my passion for life. Communication is key and so I have to be with someone who is not afraid to say what they want and who will also listen to my desires. I have always been very aware of my sexual and sensual powers and love, love, love being a woman. I used to say that my favourite things in life were laughter, sex and dancing! I suppose I haven't changed that much!!

AND RELATIONSHIPS?

I am incredibly fortunate to have more than my fair share of friends. It's fascinating how some friendships endure and evolve. One of my friends has been in my life since we were at infant school, another since my first job at 17, and then there are those who I have met more recently but still have a strong connection with.

My relationship with my daughter is incredibly strong. As an independent parent, I have been the nurturer, disciplinarian, friend, nurse, teacher, role-model, mother, and father. For everything I inspire in her, I feel that she inspires me more. I have learned so much about myself through being her mum.

As for my intimate and/or private relationships - that's where they stay - intimate and private. No "kiss and tell" here - maybe I'll keep that for my book?

HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?

I'm not free - I'm expensive! I don't know who originally said that but it does make me smile.

I feel very free, most of the time. I was always a non-conformist and a bit of a rebel. I'm not one who cares for constraints and limitations imposed upon us by people who don't know how to live OR who are secretly doing all the things they say we shouldn't! However, being a parent has tamed me somewhat and there are definitely things I don't say or do in case it affects my daughter. Only 4 years or so until she's 18 and then the floodgates will open and the true force of my freedom will flow once more!!!

WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?

Following my heart. Facing and conquering challenges. Being true to myself.

The fact that I've taken risks in all areas of my life and have (for the most part) had wonderful experiences.

I'm proud of being able to say that I have changed people's lives for the better, through my work, my friendship, and my love.

I'm proud of bringing up my daughter without any idea of what I was/am doing other than my best.

Single-handedly starting a brand new business in 2000 which has since made burlesque and striptease accessible to everyone.

My ability to see the funny side of almost every situation.

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

My inner voice that keeps telling me that I've still so much more to achieve, a hunger for knowledge and enlightenment, and an intense passion for helping people to discover their own passion.
My daughter, obviously - inspired and motivated.

Music, sunshine, travelling, the sea, interesting conversations, an awareness of a multitude of possibilities.

LIFE!

WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?

When the sky is blue (not a great fan of grey skies).
When I'm dancing, stripping, performing, or teaching.
When I see that my daughter is happy.
When I'm by the sea or on holiday abroad.
When I'm in good company.
When I'm with a caring and passionate lover.
When I am helping people and doing something worthwhile.
When my bra fits and doesn't cut into me!
When I am surrounded by colours.
When I hear good news, birds singing, great music, and laughter (not necessarily all at the same time).

AND WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY GO?

Into everything I do, think, feel and say.

WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?

Love yourself, and treat yourself and others kindly. Immerse yourself in the moments that matter! It's more rewarding to follow your passion than fashion.

AND DYING?

I will be lying on my death bed when I'm 92 (my daughter has made me promise that I'll live till then) and someone will say, "WOW! Jo, you've lived such an amazing life and you've done so many incredible things. You must be ready to go now?"

To which, with my dying breath I'll reply "Oh yes, but I just want to..."

ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?

It's more goal-setting than dreaming really as I intend to make my "dreams" my reality.

WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?

I dance (well) and sing (badly) wherever I feel like it - the street, supermarkets, train platforms, I talk to the whole world and their uncle and happily tell people off (loudly) if they are rude or obnoxious, and I take my clothes off for a living - So nothing I do ever seems outrageous to me!

However, my next truly OUTRAGEOUS action will be performing at the Advantages of Age Vintage Cabaret Night on June 16th. Coz this bitch is vintage outrageousness, don'tcha know!

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