Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

A few years ago, back in my home town of Twickenham, the Rolling Stones decided to play a reunion gig at Twickenham Rugby Stadium.

The result? No end of whinging criticism in the local press. Now I know, rock concerts are loud, and crowds of people inconvenient, and often there simply isn’t anything better to do than write angry letters into the local paper, but that wasn’t the focus of the public’s (or maybe just the editing media’s) criticism. Their problem was…their age.

The argument ran that the Rolling Stones’ voices are not what they were, and as such they shouldn’t be trying to recapture their youth. Better to let everyone remember how great they were in their heyday. They shouldn’t perform this concert.

It’s the same argument why The Beatles shouldn’t have released Free As A Bird, why there should be no more Star Trek movies with the original cast, and why every single Hollywood remake now recasts everyone and starts again from scratch as a matter of course.

No-one wants to hear 3 old Liverpudlians harmonising over 1 young Liverpudlian’s voice. No-one wants to see 6 ageing actors outwitting the Klingons. No-one wants to see any old people doing anything they used to in their youth.

The people who go to concerts, buy CDs and watch movies are predominantly young. They want to hear their own music, see attractive young people acting and won’t even bother if they haven’t heard of the actors before.

They want familiarity.

Is this entirely a good idea?

If teenagers are discouraged from seeing the value in people and cultures outside of their own, such as old people’s, then we discourage acceptance. We discourage tolerance. We discourage learning. We discourage life.

Then some of them don’t understand why ageing fans of The Rolling Stones want to see ageing members of The Rolling Stones perform, and they try to stop them.

Over at
Frank’s house this morning I watched the last few hours of Live 8, and for the first time in my life I noticed the age of some of the performers. I’ve always just accepted people’s appearance before.

But as The Who came on and began blasting the audience with their classic Theme From CSI, the camera cut to an old fan in the audience.

I don’t think he was especially old, but he certainly remembered… err… who they were. It looked like he’d never expected to be standing at another live Who concert ever again, and yet here he was, banging his head up and down with such joy, it was as though he was asleep and enjoying some vivid impossible dream.

After all, attending a Who concert these days is nearly impossible, if not socially then medically.

Hey – old people are alive too.

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4 comment(s):

At 4:53 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

"No-one wants to see 6 aging actors outwitting the Klingons." - Boy, you said it!

At 2:18 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Sorry, that line should have read: "I don't want to see one aging klown outwitting me."

At 3:38 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

Too late!

At 3:57 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

A bit like the 6 Star Trek actors.


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