Rock of Ages

I watched successive television news coverage of the Rolling Stones at the O2 arena the other night and was struck by the ageist tenor of much of it, particularly on Sky. Plucking the main threads from their verbiage I was left with they are very old and they are charging a lot of money. Indeed a couple of the presenters, attractive women in their mid-thirties, screwed up their faces into pictures of prudish disgust at the thought of going to a Stones concert. Dirty old men. Just as similar women did when the Stones were young and brash and irreverent and a banner headline in a middle page spread asked, “Would you let your daughter marry one of these?”It is curious to have grown up with them. I am around the same age as Jagger. I don’t feel particularly venerable. Whilst they may be tame compared to those early days they still have retained a symbolism among those who have grown older alongside them. Rebelliousness. Maybe they have stopped a sizeable proportion of people from becoming atrophied and truly old in their minds and slippers by mirroring their desires to be freer agents.
We have three dogs in a large compound in Accra. A male Doberman, a female blonde Alsatian and an Alsatian/lurcher cross. We bought the first two because our previous two dogs died of a reasonably old age (very old for Ghana where a dog’s life expectancy is low owing to diseases and heat.} The latter is 14 now and quite deaf and blind (what news presenters imagine The Rolling Stones should be). He was  a curious animal when his first two companions were alive. Third in the pack, always craving attention but generally impeccably behaved except when there was a fight between the other two. He’d see which way the battle was going and join in the maul with the victor. He wanted to belong. Nowadays this deaf dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean chase the ball. Actually he’s not dumb, he barks lustily as he vaguely follows the other two in their chase for balls, mangoes and oranges. Sometimes he wins because his nose is as good as ever. We give him the prime cuts from the offal, helping him to eke out his comfortable and occasionally exciting old age. To say that he was revivified on the two new pups arrival is an understatement. Now they are big dogs aged two. And his old tail whirls and he prances on his toes, occasionally half-falling from a stab of arthritis.

The point being that ghettos are bad for everyone. The old need the young and vice versa. They both need rock and roll to energise their desires for nonconformity. Those Sky “ladies’ could do with a bit of naughtiness.

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