Late in the evening last night, I picked up a woman around 50 years old from the Basement nightclub. She was ‘appalled’ at having to stand for two hours to see Madeleine Peyroux, touted as a Billie Holiday. And to add insult to injury, Peyroux kept the punters waiting for over an hour past the scheduled start time. I couldn't help but sarcastically quip, ‘What a star !’.
Just writing ‘50 years old’ reminds me whilst I’m in the same boat, I can’t really relate to the years my passengers face betrayed. Strangely enough. I discussed this with a 57 year old passenger over the weekend. He insisted he still harboured many of the same desires and interests as those he had in his twenties. Much to the embarrassment of his 28 year old son.
Whilst I can partially relate to this, I can’t understand how one can retain the same musical tastes, for example. With any degree of fervour other than pure sentiment. Regarding this I wonder, is it just me...
Consider boring old fart Doug Mulray (‘hello my darlings’) hosting the Live at the Basement gigs on ABC TV. ‘Tonight we’ve got a wonderful act from the past guaranteed to have your feet tapping !’. Yeah, and our heads nodding off to sleep. Groan. Last week he trotted out a bunch of Aussie stars from the seventies, playing their old hits. Sure they were good then, but they performed nothing new. As they didn't sound any better, why bother ?
Later in the evening I had the opportunity to consider the relationship between one’s years and musical tastes. I latched onto a concert at Luna Park by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. In all I carried home 4 different fares, one local, two to Annandale and one to Darlinghurst. In each case the fans were all middle aged, in their forties and fifties. Amongst the exiting fans this demographic predominated.
It would be fair to say these passengers were educated and middle class, quite possibly holding management and executive positions within their chosen fields. Given that, I couldn’t for the life of me understand their attendance at a Monday night concert featuring a rebel icon from their youth. How did they relate to such music I wondered. A musican who once represented something completely different to their lives now. Surely I surmised, their attendance is motivated by pure sentiment.
Admittedly I was never a fan of Nick Cave back then, a decade behind me. I considered his hard drug persona and music alien to the world I inhabited. Which is not to say my world was G rated. Far from it, as I partied in the pot and acid rock of the seventies. If one could class this as an R rated scene, then for me, Cave’s smack-shaded, punk/alternative rock constituted an X rated world of the eighties.
But of course with the advent of career, family and associated responsibilities, life overtakes those youthful years of experimentation and direction seeking, the characteristics of one’s twenties. Now I look back on those times as an interesting experience, nothing more and nothing less. And these days, I would certainly have no interest in paying money to see a Jimi Hendrix or Frank Zappa concert. Even if they were alive, how could one tell !
Indeed, last week I drove past the Enmore Theatre and saw Jethro Tull’s name in lights. I thought, ‘How quaint’, and drove on by without giving it a second thought. Yet thirty years ago I would have lined up in the dead of an Arctic winter just to score tickets. But hey, I ain’t the same person now as I was then either.
Aaaaahh, call me old fashioned. Here I sit in pyjamas and slippers bemused by middle-aged fans getting out on a wet Monday night to watch a performer from their youth.
Gone is the over-the-top drug-addled performer (see the album From Her to Eternity) and gone is the twisted showman who sang only of murder. Instead Cave reveals himself, not some other persona.
Now I understand his fans. It would seem Nick Cave has achieved that rare state all artists aspire to - true progression in his art. Reportedly ensconced these days in love and domestic bliss, Cave has obviously evolved apace with his fans.
Fair enough then, in this case it’s just me.