You know you are getting old when you start seeing the pop stars of your youth looking like fat old people. Some start presenting television shows or radio shows, some go into obscurity, others delude themselves that they can still be cool and carry on. Saturday night television shows are not for cool bands. They are not for the cool bands of my youth. Well, at least to my mind they are not. The bands themselves seem to have other ideas, each week I enter a spiral of, well, despair, as I put another fun memory to bed.
My love affair with music started very young, I have always had quite firm ideas and there are various themes and genres. I tend to enjoy musicals but most of all I like guitar based rock music or dance music. When I was studying for my A Levels I used to travel up into London to go to the ULU, the Astoria, Camden Place or similar venues. At the time it all seemed incredibly exciting and new, I put this down to youth. However, history has shown that this was a very exciting time, I was there at the birth of Brit-pop and throughout Grunge in the late 1980’s, early 1990’s. We saw Blur, Oasis, The Wonderstuff, Lemonheads, Hole, Nirvana, Suede, Pulp, Pearl Jam, The Stone Roses, James, The Manic Street Preachers and loads more bands. At some truly epic festivals including Reading we saw New Order, Kingmaker, Neds, Radiohead, Pavement, PJ Harvey. We had seen many of these bands prior to this in much smaller venues. I went on to go to university in London which again was a very exciting time and the best place to see these bands through to the end of the whole Brit pop movement.
The reason I reminisce like this is that in the last few months or so I have really started to feel old. I see these pop stars in the news and they look positively ancient, I see new bands and they look so young. I think I would feel a bit out of place should I have the urge to go and see a new band. The last three of four gigs I have been to have been The Divine Comedy (my favourite band of the last seven or so years). They have safe gigs, full of rucksack wearing thirty somethings.
It’s probably part of a sort of mid life crisis. It definitely relates to an urge to go shopping. When I was young I wanted to fit into a movement, I was an Indie girl through and through. That fashion look has come around again, it never left my wardrobe. The shame, I still wear a Blur T-shirt that pronounces Reading 1993 on it and a Red Hot Chilli Peppers T-shirt from around the same time. Even then the Chilli Peppers were a bit mainstream for me, but I did quite like the sparkly purple star on the T- shirt. Blue jeans, DM’s and checked shirts are still part of my work wear. Oh dear. Thank goodness I have a White Stuff discount card.
That phase of my life was without shadow of doubt one of the best. It was exciting, I had a life ahead of me to explore and I had new found freedom. I felt young. There is a danger of wanting to relive this time and live in the past. I love my life, my husband and my kids but it can seem a bit mundane, the daily grind. I think we need to go out a bit more. However I am really conscious that I must live in the present and try to enjoy each and every day and saviour each new experience that parenting brings.
I sincerely hope that my children can get such fun from music and the arts. I wonder if nowadays things have become somewhat commercialized, the cost of tickets to gigs and festivals makes me shudder. I often find myself tempted to buy a family ticket to Womad, as from experience I think that this is the festival my children would enjoy the most. However, I balance the cost of a couple of days against our annual family holiday and reckon that the holiday is a better option for us.
When you become a mum you put some things to bed, you become more sensible, less selfish and less adventurous. It’s the law. There is nothing to stop you listening to the music of your youth, enjoying playing it loudly in the car and singing along. There is nothing to stop you introducing your kids to your musical tastes, even if they love Cat Stevens above all else and their father is a prog rock loving dude. However, as I have said, there is a creeping problem that adds a major element of un-coolness to your plans. The publicity addicted fat old pop star. Shudder…
Therefore in a effort to counter-balance things (you know, the universe and the like), I have spent the last year making a concerted effort to listen to new music. I have bought more albums than I have done in the last five years put together. I have had conversations about new music with colleagues. I will be acquiring the majority of the artists on this list and forming my own opinions. I will regain some element of the cool that I never was and if I see a band I used to like on Strictly, The Lottery or anything similar I shall quietly but firmly remove them from my iPod.