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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The ageism in music argument is getting old.

In the last five days I've read three separate articles about how music is for the young.
The first one was claiming that pop music is obsolete for anyone over the age of twenty seven, another that punk's for rebellious teenagers, – quite specific that one with the punk window only being open for those between thirteen and nineteen – and the last was stating that in general anything original only appeals to those who are under thirty.
These articles come along every once in a while in a manner akin to buses.
You don't see one for ages, and then three arrive at the same time, but what is the purpose of them?
Apart from the obvious, and that's that they're old arguments being dusted down and used as filler for some column inches, do they actually have any credence?
Is the appreciation of music to be treated on some level like Logan's Run.
Should we have a crystal implanted into our palms that counts down the time that we have left to listen to new music, and then when it shines a certain colour are we to be relegated to the rut of only every listening to the evergreen hits of our own youth?
Should fresh new music never darken our doorway again?
Frankly it's a ludicrous assertion.
Why should there be age barriers to the enjoyment of listening to music, any music?
Can you imagine if we were to transfer that argument across to other forms of entertainment.
We would have men in their thirties talking about the first three Die Hard films, but carrying a sense of emptiness around with them as the fourth came out just after the cut off point for action films.
The upside of this is of course that they may have just managed to miss the Star Wars prequels and the last Indiana Jones film, but I digress.
How about books?
How frustrating would it have been if Rowling released the final Harry Potter novel a month after the birthday that signalled the end of reading fantasy books?
Who is going to sit the twenty-something down and tell them that the future only holds Patricia Cornwell and the occasional Nick Hornby novel for them?
Lets turn this around as well.
If we reach a certain age and are to be excluded from listening to new songs by younger artists then why should we let younger ears listen to the stuff that we grew up on?
The Beatles were still together when I was a kid so I can listen to them, but the Clash split up before the birth of my son so he will have to leave the room if I want to blast out some 'Know your rights'.
It's only fair.
If they want to keep the new stuff for themselves, then maybe we should wrap the older artist in a tight embrace and exclude the young from listening to them.
We can see who will break first and want to share.
I'll have The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Clash, The Sex Pistols and more.
They will have JLS, Justin Beiber and Coldplay.
Seems a tad unfair doesn't it?
Okay I'm weighting that in favour of us oldies, but you get the point.
Anyway these articles promoting this ageist crap are really empty of logic.
Of course certain styles of music are rebellious calls to arms, and ultimately designed to piss off the older generation, but isn't there a kid inside us all that still wants to stick two fingers up to the generation that came before us, and why shouldn't we indulge that inner kid with some punk, some dubstep, or even LMFAO with their hit about vitamin D deficiencies leading to softening of the bones and how that lends itself to a shufflin' gait.
No one is even saying that when we all get to a certain age we must keep our minds open to everything that is being churned out, but hell, I want the right to keep listening, and I can't see anyone coming along with a piss poor nonsensical argument that is going to stop me.
Apart from that I reckon the young artists are quite happy to get the revenue that we slip in their pockets every time we buy one of their CDs, attend a gig, or the worst cardinal sin of all for the ageist journalists who churn this bollocks a groups t-shirt and wear it in public.


  1. It's something we've been trying to get across for ages, that bands who were 18 in '77 can still make credible 'new' music when they hit 50. It's a tough call though when you see the likes of Rebellion Festival acts who are, let's be honest, just churning out all their old songs to a, more or less, nostalgia crowd. They have no intention of trying something new or even making new records. It's just a nostalgia trip. Frankly I think there is nothing more pathetic to look at than a 50 year old bald bloke dressed in tartan bondage trousers trotting out 30 year old shouty/macho songs that were shite back then. These are the people I believe are being critisised. People like Bowie, Neil Young and many others have proved that you can still make vibrant and valid music well into your 50's, and normally leaving people half their age stuttering in their wake. As for the people who write these articles, let them show us the younger acts who are treading new ground, who are causing a stir and who are making a difference. I suspect they have trouble filling the fingers of one hand.

  2. I personally don't have much of an issue with bands retreading old ground for either a nostalgia audience, or for young fans who weren't able to see them first time around.
    Seeing The Stooges do Raw Power and Mott the Hoople playing live gave me a huge kick.
    The bottom line is that no one is making the punters go.
    It's a niche and if a band can make a buck from it then fine.
    Although I would add that I prefer that when a band has a second bite at the cherry that they do so with a fresh outlook and attempt to bring something new to the table.
    The first two reformed NY Dolls albums are a good example of that.
    We could mention Wire and Gang of 4 here to.
    Then again we are being open enough to discuss what is going on rather than creating little boxes for people to reside in dependent on age.
    That's the problem with these articles, and the people of 50 who sneer at 18 year olds at punk gigs.
    At each extreme they are looking to make music exclusive, when it bloody well isn't.
    Everyone should go and see who they want regardless of the age of the band or the audience.

    As an aside have you heard the new Neil Young album?
    He's taken a bunch of old songs and broken them down to then rebuild them in a way that they now have virtually no resemblance to the original material.
    Sounds fantastic.