I make no apologies that I rarely seem to be at home these days as I say a completely unashamed hello from a sunny beach. Today the temperature is somewhere into record-breaking territory, although thankfully the sea breeze is lending a helping hand to cool the sausages. Maybe I should explain that last remark. Just when all the heavy work was swinging along nicely and the new Scottish house completed in the nic of time last month, muggins here gets home and then manages to fall off a chair while changing the battery on the kitchen clock. Well, I didn’t so much fall off it, as it collapsed, concertinaing inwards and trapping both my feet. The end result was no less than 3 broken toes, two on my right foot and the big useful one on my left, leaving me pretty much crippled for a couple of weeks. Fortunately the time coincided with our hols, so it was not a complete disaster, as I sit with my feet in the Atlantic, avoiding the posing surfers and sun-tanned beauties who frequent these shores. Unfortunately, as soon as said pedes leave the comforts of the cool waters, everything below the ankle swells up like a boiled haggis and it is all quite painful. Thankfully my wife is doing all the driving and, with the aid of her grandmother’s old walking stick, I can shuffle in and out of some of France’s finest eateries, unaided. Despite our apartment being right on a gorgeous golf course, there will be no chasing after a small bouncing ball for me for a month or two which is a bit of a blow.
No, sport of all kinds will be confined to viewing on TV this summer, which includes golf, cricket and, of course Wimbers. On that note, is it just me or are tennis players getting taller? I have met a number of people from the Eastern Block and they are all a similar height to myself. So where did all these giants come from? One bloke is so tall they can barely close the roof on Centre Court! Does anyone else consider this endless stream of 6 foot blonde leggy Russian girls as slightly suspicious, and that maybe that nice Mister Putin has been running his own ‘Lebensborn’ experiment to create a modern-day Aryan master race, just so he can keep the silver salver on his mantelpiece. You read it here first…
Anyway, it all spices up the day for a temporary cripple like myself, although perhaps I should double up the dose of blood pressure tablets! C’est la vie. One thing I can verify, the older we get, the harder we fall – a fact that my knees constantly remind me of.
With too much time on my hands, I start to question when did this young mind find its way into such an aged body? This must be a question that many a philosopher has asked over the last million years or so, only to find that the longer you take to consider the answer, the faster the whole process accelerates. To quote the dearly departed Terry Pratchett (whose final book I have been imbibing during this trip) ‘Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened!’
Anyway, in this instance, the reference to ageing is all about music. This week, on an evening in my favourite bar in the world, a group of youngsters are having a party. I can tell it is a party because they are all badly dressed, the music is turned up, the walls are vibrating and people are drinking stuff that looks like something my chemistry teacher would have dreamt up after a night on the sauce. Wendy and I are possibly a combined age of all of the other collective ‘in da house’. Yet within minutes my feet start tapping and I would happily get up and dance to this incomprehensible sound, were it that I had some unbroken feet to use for such a purpose. Mercifully, to my wife anyway, I save us the embarrassment, on medical grounds.
You see, dance parties, and particularly festivals, are for young people and generally, that is how it should stay. From the time I was ten, I really didn’t feel comfortable about strutting my stuff when older folks were around. So why now do rock festivals still insist on headlining bands from five decades ago? At Glastonbury, The Who still bang on about ‘my generation’ as though they were all 19 year olds with attitude, when they are so geriatric that none of the surviving members of the band would even be permitted to ride a bus unaccompanied, let alone a Lambretta. ‘My operation’ would be perhaps more appropriate! Fifty years have gone by since they made that rebellious and oh-so ironic statement of ‘I hope I die before I get old’, flicking the v’s of disrespect to the septuagenarians of the war years. 1979 was the last time I went to Glasto in the farm Landrover, sleeping in the back in a field, and venturing out at midday to see a few good bands of the time, such as Genesis and Hawkwind. I very much doubt I would have made the trip, if my Dad had come along to wave his flag and jive to Irvine Berlin and Jimmy Shand, while David Jacobs did the intros! Then, in between the old has-beens are slotted some bemused talentless pubescent boy-bands who believe they invented sex and flared trousers or, even worse, some half-dressed teenage harlots whose acts do more to encourage under-age sex than a prison full of BBC presenters! But the one that really got me at this year’s event was a hybrid between a reasonably well known recent band and those two very strange brothers from 1975 called Sparks (yes, him with the Hitler moustache!). Aptly named FFS, this car-crash of a band must have been the biggest mismatch since Michael Jackson married his pet monkey. ‘Won’t get fooled again?’ You bet I won’t FFS!