Sparkling Conversation from Vintage Minds

8 April 2023
We catch up with host Catherine Fairweather to discuss the second series of The Third Act, a podcast that celebrates later life.

The Third Act is back. Who can we look forward to hearing from in Series Two?

After the success of Series One, we have a wide and varied list of guests in Series Two. They range from photographers Steve McCurry and Richard Young to authors Tina Brown and James Fox plus politician Michael Heseltine and one of Auriens first residents, Paulene Stone. My personal highlights recording the series include travelling to the creative den of gallerist John Kasmin with his wild tales and collection of rare antique postcards as well as sharing toffees (and cigarettes!) with playwright Tom Stoppard in his drawing room. 

Series One of the Third Act reached the top of the podcast charts at one point. Why do you think it was so popular?

The podcast definitely touched a nerve. Since I started doing this podcast, there has been a noticeable shift in our outlook on ageing with more attention being paid to the later life generation by the media. Books such as Old Rage by Sheila Hancock, Somewhere Towards The End by Diana Athill and Extra Time by Camilla Cavendish all look at our increasingly ageing society. While many more columnists now address the issues of beauty and health for an older generation. Even on Instagram, there’s now a flood of ‘greyist’ posts. The Third Act is part of the zeitgeist and was in fact a precursor to this trend. 

I always appreciate my guests’ verve, candour and willingness to tackle any topic

Do you think our society is becoming less ageist?  

Sadly, despite more attention being paid to the older generations, ageism is still rife in society which continues to be preoccupied with youth. There seems a growing disconnect between the generations and sadly the new mechanisation of society and AI is not going to bridge that.  

I wish that there were more places that were inclusive of all generations. Being older may not be as fun as being young, but no one is ever ready to relinquish their grip on life! 

Is there anything that has surprised you after speaking to a group of such luminaries?

I always appreciate my guests’ verve, candour and willingness to tackle any topic. Interestingly, I noticed that women are generally more able to confront the idea of old age and death than men. But all my guests have lived and are still living fascinating lives. None of them are anywhere near wanting to hang up their spurs. It’s just that some, as they approach their 90s, may find their energies inevitably lessening and their perspectives shifting inwards. But they remain the same people they were when they were younger with the same drives and outlook on life.

Follow this link to listen to The Third Act on streaming platforms including Apple, Spotify, Amazon and Google. Alternatively, listen on the Auriens website by clicking the links below.

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