Neil at 49.
Back in 1964, the BBC aired “7 UP,” a documentary about a group of schoolchildren from all walks of British life: Rich and poor, city and country. Director Michael Apted, a researcher on that film, decided to look in on the kids again when they were 14, and then when they were 21, and so on. “28 UP” was the first to receive US distribution, and since then a lot of us have waited for each seven-year bulletin with a mixture of eagerness and dread. Would Jackie find a job? Would Paul find self-confidence? Would dear, sweet Neil ever find peace? The attitude of many “UP” fans hovers between voyeurism and concern, between cherishing these people as distant friends and as extensions of ourselves. They’re canaries in the coal mine of human existence.