(Yes, my dad is wearing socks with sandals...)
I never thought I’d be able to say that I have anything in common with Lindsay Lohan but it turns out that there is just one thing. And it’s today!
Birthdays are inclined to make you think about the ageing process and – as you can see - this one is no exception, but the word ‘ageing’ has such negative connotations and I really want to say something positive about it. It’s a shame that modern western society seems to have a bit of a downer on getting old. It’s brilliant to be young, oh yeah, and I’m very happy for those who still are. But that doesn’t mean that it’s therefore bad not to be! Many ancient cultures encouraged an attitude of pride towards being an ‘elder’, and perhaps some indigenous groups still do. Sometimes I look around at much older people and feel myself almost automatically discounting them – it’s awful and I don’t mean to but I assume it’s just the way we’re programmed to think – then I remind myself of all the folks who have done (or are still doing) amazing, inspiring things and who are now, ahem, getting on a bit. You know, like David Bowie, who’s now 64, Peter Blake, just turned 79 - or Honor Blackman at a youthful 85 and Debbie Harry, who was 66 yesterday. Life will always have shitty bits in it so why not welcome a time of maturity when you can (hopefully) let go of at least some of your angst – all that obsessing about what people think of you and who said what to whom and a preoccupation with trying to look like somebody else’s idea of ‘perfect’… It’s SO nice when all that goes. I really don’t want to soap-box here but I’m sure you know what I mean.
I admit that it does seem a little easier these days at least for some to still be considered cool into older age. Those in their forties, fifties and sixties onwards have already established a legacy of great rock’n’roll and art, for instance, which is lapped up and, happily, willingly acknowledged by subsequent generations of teenagers. I think that is something which has only emerged in the last few decades as it wasn’t so long ago that Alex Harvey was described in a music paper, with some degree of wonder, as “.. still rocking at forty!” Yeah, their exclamation mark. I don’t know about you, but forty seems like no real age to me and the idea that somebody could still be rocking at it (and not in a rocking chair, wearing slippers and sipping cocoa) is not exactly headline material in my books.
Anyway…. whilst I might often crave firmer flesh, more energy and fewer responsibilities, and wish myself back to a day when every time I bent down I didn’t let out an involuntary grunt (you wondered what I was going to say then, didn’t you?), when it comes down to it I think I really quite like being this age. I feel like I know who I am a little more clearly now. Besides, if I’d been any younger in 1978 I’d never have been allowed into that Siouxsie & the Banshees gig….
Of course if I still feel the same way in ten years’ time I’ll let you know.
Meanwhile, here’s a brilliant single from 1975 (those chords, that voice!). A great film I'd originally included here is no longer available from Youtube so it's just the audio version now. By the way, Peter Hammill will be 63 this year…
Rikki Nadir (aka Peter Hammill): Birthday Special (1975)