Tuesday, 17 April 2012

ORIGINAL ROCK CHICKS LOVE THE DUNWELLS & DAYTONA LIGHTS TOO




We were born in the 1950s, '60s, '70s. Some of us danced in the aisles of the New York Paramount, kissed the Spiders goodbye at the Odeon in 1973. Some of us were once in the music business ourselves: as managers, writers, producers, promoters, PRs. Some of us even play. Some of us know an Alembic Explorer from a Hamer 8-string, or were once backing singers, or dancers, or would have been groupies, had we had the stomach for it. Most of us just dreamed about that one (don't believe everything you hear or read). We have grown up with rock and pop, civil rights, equal rights. We are Ms Know-It-Alls. We are 30-something to 60-something, young at heart, single, married, divorced, widowed, with or without kids. There are all kinds of us, many different combinations and permutations. The media just see us as 'middle-aged women'. They want to wrap us in printed headscarves and stretchy-waist M&S jeans, and teach us to know better.

Offer me an elasticated waistband and I might break your neck. I don't do daytime TV (come on). I'm no way ready for honey-blonde bob nor a Volvo. The only kind of round-the-world cruise I'd consider is called 'Tom'. My eventual geriatric fantasy is a groovy kind of love in a rock and roll nursing home, with album-cover artwork and personal jukeboxes in every psychedelic suite.

I suppose, yes, you could call me an ageing rock chick. Well so what. Is there a problem with me playing Hendrix on vinyl til the walls thrum when I'm home alone?

I still dance around the living room to Mott and Marc, to Ziggy and Freddie, if you want to know. I'm still acquainted with someone who slept with Mick Jagger. Actually, a couple of people - though these days they no longer brag about it. I still lust after Jon Bon (keep it clean), watch bands play live whenever I can. Yes, I still have long hair. The eyes are still smudged, the denim still as tight as I get, some nights. Anyone have a problem with this?  Of course not.

Someone called me a 'yummy-mummy' the other day, which is what started it. Just because I go to gigs and listen to a lot of music? Get over it. Who's to say that women like me are 'too old'? The media has us all wrong – especially those newspapers forever trying to flog us 'rejuvenation techniques' and cosmetic surgery. It is not the answer, I don't want to look younger. Changing the outside does not reflect the inside (eh, Madge). Besides, it is missing the point … which is, that we earn the right to be old. Age is a privilege, I never mind the numbers. I was young too, once, believe it or not. I thought I knew everything.  But my values were all wrong, all the stuff I chased turned out to be pointless. I'm getting closer to what counts, at least I hope I am. This age is so much better. It's a start.

A certain female columnist banged on ad nauseam in a Sunday newspaper last weekend about her many regrets. She'd had a few, too. Among them, her face lift, her boob job, her disastrous track record with men (don't go there … or here). It's not true, she moaned (in too many words) that when we reach the end of our lives, we regret only the things we didn't do – not all the things we did. I can't go for that. No can do.  Another middle-aged female newspaper columnist who isn't speaking to us. It's nothing new.

Which brings me back, in a round-about way, to why I adore musicians. Put simply, it is because they speak to us in a universal and living language which is prejudice-free and never dull. Whatever your musical tastes, however you interpret the sounds you choose to give shape to the ins and outs and ups and downs of existence, this point remains true. Do you imagine that honest troubadours care how old their followers are? All they care is that we listen.

I'll say it again: The Dunwells and Daytona Lights are my favourite bands of the moment. Grab a copy each of 'Blind Sighted Faith' and 'This Modern Landscape'. Toss caution to the wind, kick off your mouldering Uggs, rejoice in timeless, ageless exuberance. This music is for everyone. Especially original rock chicks.

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