Monday, 1 July 2013

What Do you Fancy Doing on Your 68th Birthday?

How about donning a neon mini skirt and a camoflauge net, grabbing a mike, and belting out a few new-wave anthems whilst throwing some punk curves with attitude?

Yes, it's Third Age Goddess Debbie Harry, playing in Glasgow tonight with Blondie, and laying waste to the grateful masses with a playful grin and a flash of her cheekbones, clearly visible even from Row M.  

She came, she saw, she flirted.  And everyone flirted back.

News and Star

"We've been playing a lot of forests lately - hence the foliage", she explained. 

As the night wore on, the leaves fell, and the back-catalogue of our youth was raided.  One Way or Another, Heart of Glass, Atomic, Call Me, Relax (I've no idea why), and a rather beautiful A Rose by Any Name.  Not in that order.

It was all effortless.  Oh, that I am a fraction as mesmeric and, let's face it, flexible, as Ms Harry when I am 68.

While we're at it, let's also big up another rock stage High Priestess, Gilli Smyth, who co-founded the psychadelic space-prog outfit Gong with Daevid Allen in 1968.  She's 80.  80!!

Amir E Aharoni

 Amir E Aharoni

I saw Gong a couple of years ago (and Gong Maison a while back), and Gilli treated us to her unique spoken-word song style. It was quite a trip.  Yes, there's a woman who gives even Debbie Harry a run for her money.

So it's perfectly possible to be creative and vital even in your ninth decade.   Some musicians (and artists) burn brightly, producing astonishing work in their teens or twenties because they are utterly fearless.  Sometimes that's something they never recapture.  Or sometimes creative people burn out, become complacent, or disillusioned.  

But for others, experience and the passage through life can also give a richness and depth to their work, a special sort of vitality, an exhilaration of experience.

Not so long ago, if you were a woman, it was pretty much bye-ee at 40.  That's when middle-age hit, and it was all downhill from there, disappearing into an apologetic beige twilight zone.  As an artist, I certainly don't expect to retire, and its great to see these women up there, on stage, giving it their all.

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