Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The new rock'n'roll is... rock'n'roll

A few years ago, at a better than usual works Christmas do, we were asked to write down our top ten Desert Island Discs as a party game – then guess which list belonged to who. I was mortified when someone put my name next to the list that included Joan Armatrading. Mine was the one with Elvis, T Rex and the Clash.

It’s strange how much your sense of self is wrapped up in the music you care about. And I mean ‘care about’. Not just ‘like’. I thought I’d grown out of all that. I was wrong. It’s nothing to do with trying to impress, or nostalgia, or even the soundtrack of my life. (I was in nappies when much of the music I love was being made.) It’s about what makes you feel alive. And what makes you feel alive isn’t necessarily the same for the next person.

For a while, I’d forgotten what that felt like. Then I heard something on Mark Lamarr’s Redneck Music that woke me up. It was probably nonsense. It was almost certainly primitive. (Both are, of course, two of the criteria for the best rock’n’roll.) It made me laugh with joy. And again, more recently, I was watching Later with Jools Holland: normally last bastion of the boring muso, but suddenly good again. And I heard Glasvegas and hung onto every note.

I realised I hadn’t stoppped caring about music. I’d just been listening to the wrong sort of music, and thought I didn’t care any more. There’s the music I used to like, and think I ought to like now because it meant something to me once. There’s the music I used to like and would like still. Except it makes me feel the way I felt the first time I heard it. And I really don’t want to be 15 again. There’s the music I like because it’s the sort of music I like. And the music I like because I know quality when I hear it. That’s what happens when you get middle-aged. And then there’s the stuff that makes you feel alive. It doesn’t have to be ‘quality’. It doesn’t have to be approved by anyone else. It just has to connect. That’s what’s worth caring about. That’s worth forgetting how old you are.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

I am a cliché

At lunchtime today, some of my colleagues had a barbeque. Some of them got in the car and went to the pub. Some of them stayed at their desks and on Facebook.

I cycled to the shops and bought some fairtrade bananas.

No wonder they laugh at me.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Here comes the summer

Summer arrived suddenly on Tuesday. The same day as the man who came to install our new boiler. Sadly, I was more excited about the boiler. Must be a sign of age. Finally I will be energy efficient. Finally I will be warm in winter. I feel as if someone has given me a present. Unfortunately, I had to pay for it.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Hope I don't die before I get old

So I’m in Schuh, because it’s still my favourite shop, even though I’m old enough to know better. And I see a cute pair of shoes covered in little skulls. And I turn my back on them.

Some time in the early ’80s, I had a cute dress covered in skull-and-crossbones. I thought it was the height of cool. Two decades on, I don’t really need my clothes to be a memento mori.

In the past few months, four people I know well have had a death in the close family. Sometimes I wonder who’s going to be next. Sometimes I wonder when it will be me.

It’s not that I’m morbid. It’s just that, after the last birthday, I realised it’s quite likely I have about the same number of years left as I've already squandered. (Regrets – I’ve had a lot...)

‘Life’s too short’ used to be something that I said. Now it’s something that I mean.