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Sex, Sciatica And My Don Draper Moment

06/06/2013 09:28 BST | Updated 05/08/2013 10:12 BST

I often think I could have been (could be?) Don Draper - obviously - and always want to endure the train commute in and out of town dressed in an immaculate Mad Men outfit. And one day, most importantly, I'll add the stiff-brimmed Fedora. That's the important bit.

The other important bit is having my Draper-like moment of inspiration, which this morning's unusual commute gave me. Sometimes doing things you would never normally do shifts your perspective.

I got a cherished Tube seat in the morning rush hour - pretending I couldn't spot anyone handicapped or pregnant - and watched in pity at the fascinating sardine-like scramble for space that everyone has to squeeze into. But it was the ads that most transfixed me today - condoms, dating sites, betting companies, hideous sandwiches and loans. None of which I'm pleased to say appealed to me but all targeted at the 18-35 crowd that fill the Tube network for 5 or 6 hours a day.

My meeting lasted less than an hour and I hopped back on a train at 11am. It could have been the same train, I really don't know, but the passengers were of an entirely different make-up. Bemused tourists, sad-eyed shift workers and old people. And the adverts I saw were for rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, cruises through fjords and retirement plans.

Obviously there were condoms and sandwiches too but for some reason the company I was keeping made me see things differently. I never used to travel on the Tube between 11am-4pm but another - older and wiser - group of people does.

The trouble is - and this is where Don comes in - why is it either sex or sciatica? Young or old? Probably the most important, lucrative and fastest-growing market today is the old people who want to be young. By 'old' I mean 50-plus, the high-spending, endlessly-working (forget retirement), adventurous, sports-obsessed, independent, rich, burden-free (if the kids have got a job), experienced, upbeat, LP-owning, second-youthers.

Where are the ads for them? Why aren't advertisers falling over each other to entice this lot? Do they not think they travel on the Tube? Do they think that everyone over 60 reads Saga and the Daily Telegraph? Do they imagine the most exciting outing for anyone with wrinkles and grey hair is to sing Land Of Hope And Glory at The Proms?

When we're young we have a good time. When we get a mortgage and a wedding ring we start to have a tough time. And when we hit our 50s we enter the big time. These are the people who want to spend their money because these are the people who've finally understood that you really can't take it with you. We only go once round the block and now's the chance to feel 'big'.

So next time you're on a train commuting, have a look and see how many of these big-timers there are. I bet you'll find the carriage is full of them. And none of them have sciatica.

Is it too early for an Old Fashioned?