I’m wondering whether there should be a cut-off age for gigs and festivals?
Yesterday, the 26/3/14 I went to see Sixty-Five Days Of Static (I am THAT cool) at a small venue in Southampton and I seriously wonder about the efficacy of allowing balding men out in public places where alcohol is served whereupon they may be tempted to continue that odd dance thing older guys do. You know, the I-can’t-dance-but-I’ve-had-a-few-sherbets (they generally are the sort of men who say ‘sherbets!’ The sort of men who only really have jeans and an array of band t-shirts as proof of their superiority from the herd who don’t have a clue about their ‘diverse, eclectic’ taste) so-I’m-having-a-go-regardless types. With a certain sort of indie music there’s a very limited form of dancing available to you (have you tried dancing to, say, the Pixies?) and only one in every fifty manages to get it right and they’re usually the only attractive girl in the place wearing fishnet tights, maybe a faux leather skirt?
So, there I am; fifty-one; don’t get out much, seen most of it before, a bit tired, bit fat, bit grumpy and almost within the first thirty seconds I’ve realised this is going to be one of those hang-by-the-bar-with-my-glass-of-water gigs. That’s how I roll. Actually I don’t roll any more but whatever…
Watching the smattering of exposed pates from my vantage point brought a wave of nostalgia for those heady days when everyone was young. It was extremely rare when I was a teenager to get anyone much into their mid to late twenties at gigs but of course now half the audience is grey, balding, bloated, wrinkly and let’s face it; not overly attractive.
The same thing with festivals, in the 70’s and 80’s the older people simply didn’t attend, busy with kids or just not interested. Nowadays it’s a ‘right of passage’ thing but no-one wanted to sit in fields listening to music much ‘back in the day.’
I feel a little sorry for the younger ones who go out only to find their mates dad dancing a few heads along, or they go to a festival and see their neighbour and his wife acting inappropriately in ill-fitting shorts and bikinis or in fancy-dress and, God help us; dancing; hands in the air. No…no…no!
At Bestival 2012 I had the misfortune to witness a family scene in the big blue tent at around nine/ten in the evening. Dad and his mate had obviously had a ‘few sherbets,’ the wife was reasonably well-oiled and amongst this happy scene was a lad of nine/ten who patently had had enough but oh no, mummy held the poor kids hands and tried to encourage him to dance while father and his mate did that hands in the air thing, pumped the air a bit as the child looked on with a mixture of horror and misunderstanding. The thing I most got from his face was a look of shame as he witnessed his dad making a complete dick of himself. Mum continued to pull at his arms while the embarrassed child remained stock-still, legs stiff, like a limp rag doll. The whole scene was hideously shameful, not too far removed from child abuse I’d say. I had to make a retreat to a far corner where I could act my age in a more appropriate manner without witnessing any more. Horrible: the poor kid will probably hold that image of his dad in his head forever and they’ll wonder why he ends up a geek scientist lab-rat who refuses to socialise..like, ever!
Or worse still the poor lad might end up a Tory, and all because they tried to prove how ‘down with the scene’ they still are way past bedtime…not cool.
Christ, the horrors we pass onto our children.
I remember my dad dancing to waltzes and jazz when I was younger, weird but appropriate to his age group but then he didn’t try to force me to join in and certainly never got drunk in front of me yet still I realised what a dick he was. (No; really, trust me on this.)
An—-eee—ww—aayyyy I’m thinking that maybe it’s about time we had an under thirty festival, or maybe it should just be no spam-heads regardless of age. I just think it would be good if our kids could do all the stuff we had a chance to do without our parents being there to keep an eye on us. While there is something cool about the fact that we CAN do this stuff together it’s also slightly weird and I wonder if we should.
Saying that I dropped two of my girls at Latitude then spent the Sunday there with them so they had a bit of freedom for a few days before I turned up with the emergency funds so they could get even more hammered on their last day.
We did Glastonbury 2009 too but I tried to keep out of their way to an extent but, lucky me, they actually wanted me around quite a lot of the time which was a real privilege but I still think they should have the option to not have my wrecked old fart-face hanging around ruining their chances of…well; whatever: whatever they want to do, or how else do you learn to be adults, or learn to be kids again when you really should know better?
I do think my festival days are over now, maybe one more in 2017 for the fortieth anniversary of my first time but we’ll see. If the hips hold out I might even do a bit of dad-dancing with the grand kids, ohhh noooooo