Music

Ever had the feeling you’ve been cheated?

When the blogging boom finally takes off and I get round to floating Harry’s Place on the stockmarket no doubt I will be asked what is our core demographic. I’ve done no research on this matter but at a hunch I would say that a large chunk of our readers are in the thirtysomething bracket.

Marketing people will be able to tell us all sorts of things about this age group but one thing struck me the other night when I was sharing a few pints and more than a few cigarettes (enjoying such a sin while it is still legal) with an old friend.

He is the singer in a band which is doing very well having found a good market for what they offer. They play at pubs and clubs across the North West offering covers of punk songs, eighties indie tracks and other things that you can produce with drums, bass, guitar and vocals. They are ideal for birthday parties, stag-does and anything else where men who should have grown up feel able to pogo to Pretty Vacant and pretend to mosh to Should I Stay or Should I Go.

But what sort of nights are these? Well, I was surprised to discover that in a couple of weeks they are booked for a 50th birthday.

Now in the days when you could top up the dole cheque behind the turntables I used to DJ at 50th birthday parties. And I remember some of the playlist – The Kinks, The Beatles, The Stones, Motown and if I risked it a little bit of Status Quo or even T-Rex. I remember the Sixties covers bands that were fixtures at clubs across the North West. So who would want to hear Teenage Kicks at a 50th birthday?

And here we discovered the shocking fact – if you were dancing to Anarchy in the UK at your 21st birthday then you are 50 years old now.

And, it seems, people still want to hear live punk bands at that age. When will it stop? Silver wedding anniversaries with the happy couple leaping around to Suspect Device by Stiff Little Fingers? Retirement parties with the carriage clock handed over after Sham 69 have finished their set?

Don’t start feeling too smug thirtysomethings. In five year’s time, using the songs-you-liked-at-your-21st-birthday-party-guide, then there will be 50th birthday parties featuring Ghost Town by the Specials and Soft Cell’s Tainted Love. Now you liked them didn’t you?

Even if I still have 15 years to worry about the playlist for my 50th birthday, the rock and ageing thing is still hovering. I bought New Order’s excellent latest CD Waiting for the Siren’s Call yesterday. Singer Bernard Sumner will be celebrating his 50th birthday in January.

I know, I know, we are all getting older – great discovery Harry.

But doesn’t it make you feel a little bit guilty about sneering at those old timers jiving to Bill Haley at your Auntie’s wedding anniversary do?

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