‘Youngsters aren’t just fresher versions of us. They don’t know anything,’ says Don Draper in Mad Men. Don Draper is 36. He’s also a fictional character. But he’s right. At work, I know much more than the youngsters. And they don’t know the half of it. There’s hidden power in being old. On the outside, you look just like them, only older. On the inside, you have a secret weapon. You’re not afraid to say no.
The 1970s rock’n’roll revival was a wonderful thing. Wonderful for me anyway. Born too late to be there the first time round, the right age to discover it this time.
It wasn’t actually that easy. It wasn’t like today’s teenagers listening to the Smiths. All the music ever made wasn’t on tap in those days. We got drip-fed a bit at a time.
I heard Phil Spector filtered through Dave Edmunds and Roy Wood. Chuck Berry via ELO. Johnny Burnette via Ringo Starr. Elvis via Mud. They might not all have been authentic but in their own way they were great pop records. (I can honestly say I drew the line at Showaddywaddy.)
There were the occasional re-issue: Bill Haley, the Shangri-Las, Chubby Checker. There were documentaries on Radio 1. And there were films.
We went to see the film That’ll be the Day because we were in love with David Essex. We came out in love with rock’n’roll.
The soundtrack album (a double) was my musical education. Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, the Everly Brothers. Poetry in Motion, Runaround Sue, Runaway. And, of course, Born too late.
I used to work in the music business. Now I have a normal job. I used to live in an edgy, arty northern city. Now I live in middle England. I used to be young. Now I'm starting to show my age...
I am actually still the same person.
Some say that middle age is a journey. Sometimes, going through your forties - or turning fifty - feels more like a roller-coaster. But just tell yourself this: I may be old, but I saw all the cool bands.