SIXTY ... not out.

I feel very lucky to be able to write that line here at the Wirral Globe as I celebrate my 60th birthday this Friday.

In fact, looking back over six decades, luck has been one of two key words in my life. Love being the other.

There have been times, too, when both love and luck ran out yet magically re-appeared when I least expected it.

I feel lucky to have been born in the NHS and been given a life- saving crushed pelvis operation.

And I love the fact that I was born at the time I was in 1958 - able to enjoy passing the 11-plus and later winning a mature student scholarship to Oxford.

A golden age when the term "student loan" was just a pipe-dream in the minds of aspiring politicians.

Granted, growing up in the '60s and '70s was no bed of roses.

Being taught by strict nuns and Christian Brothers instilled in me a mental discipline that has never faded.

There were school bullies, but nowhere near as sinister as today's cyber bullying cowards.

It was a period when there was not the relentless pressure children have now.

Social media would have ruined my childhood and teenage years and I do not envy those who have had it thrust upon them.

They are hooked into a world dominated by the deadly phobia FoMo – fear of missing out.

This is a common anxiety characterised by a desire to stay continually in the loop with what others do.

I was shocked to read the reports from the UK's Children's Commissioner that some children aged between eight and 10 are addicted to social media.

The cross-over from primary to secondary school is seeing many children unable to cope.

As Theresa May deleted the name Justine Greening from her cabinet register on Monday, I hope the newly-appointed successor as education minister, Damian Hinds, makes Digital Literacy in all our schools his priority.

This will empower pupils and students to think critically, behave and act safely and participate responsibly in our ever-changing digital world.

Teachers and parents must ensure it happens, too. It's later than we think.

And I have just shuddered at the news that a newspaper column published in America was actually written by a robot.

Readers noticed one thing was missing, however, irony and humour.

Maybe one day we will all have the last laugh on new technology.


VIVA Las Vegas – it's the place to be as yesterday the Consumer Electronics Show opened were attendees were greeted by 200 multi- coloured drones hovering over the convention centre - it looked like a scene from Star Wars.

And from drones to clones, computer geeks were all shook up to see an army of Elvis impersonators gathering to mark the anniversary of the late king’s birthday in the plastic palaces where he did his most memorable gigs.

But this conference is all about a glimpse into tomorrow’s world - much more than just gadgetry for geeks.

Already unveiled is the smiling robot receptionist who is programmed to recognise your face and greet you with a warm welcome.

Goodbye to surly jobsworths.

And while it took boffins years to put wheels on our luggage, now comes a suitcase that follows you around airports - complete with an in-built camera sensor that leaves it owner hands free.

Has anyone really thought that one through?

Sounds like a security nightmare.


CHIP ahoy!

The advertising gurus are messing around with our memories again.

My favourite pop songs are being tainted when used in commercials.

Chicago's beautiful ballad If You Leave Me Now is used to promote furniture.

But I can’t forgive the ad men tampering with a boyhood hero.

Fifty years since he made his TV debut, Captain Birdseye has been given a make-over.

Still nautical but not nice.

He is now an Italian fisherman.

Gone is the salty sea dog look of white beard and naval cap.

Now we have a clean cut, heart-throb called Riccardo looking more like Al Pacino in The CODfather.


HELP! It's a "no brainer" but office workers want colleagues to reduce the phrases that they say which affect morale.

The most dreaded is: "Can I borrow you for a sec." 

Others are "Thinking outside the box" and "Touch base." 

I always ignored "let's run it up the flagpole."

The most consistently welcome phrase in my day was always on a Friday afternoon - "Have a great weekend."


GOLDEN Globe winner Gary Oldman is tipped for BAFTA and Oscar victory for his stunning portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour which opens on January 12.

Gary said once he got the voice right the wit and wisdom shone through.

If only we had a straight talker like Churchill now.

Churchill memorably summed up his time as PM: "Political skill is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year - and have the ability to explain afterwards why it didn’t happen." 

It said a lot about the man just like this classic from fiscal genius President George W Bush across the Atlantic.

"It's clearly a budget - it's got a lot of numbers in it." 

Peter Grant