Not With The Band: Is Aging Suddenly Cool?
Age, it is a word that crosses my mind regularly these days, I’m getting older and I must say it is not a so pleasant idea, I am more and more aware of the inexorable path of time that we all feel and fear, the train wreck that life definitively is… is there such a thing that ageing gracefully? I don’t think so, we are all sinking at the end, more or less quickly and with more or less difficulties. Rock stars are no different although the rich ones can have some help if they find a good surgeon, but you have to admit it is much more difficult for men than women… old rockers can have all the skin of their face hanging down to their knees and still be regarding as sexy…
In 2011, Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood (64 at the time) was admitting dating a 25-year-old girl! Okay they have split since but he got married the following year with a 34-year-old and they even could have a baby! Over the weekend guitar legend Jimmy Page was spotted with his new girlfriend during a shopping trip in Kensington… he is 71, she is 25, but don’t judge, it happens all the time in the rock world, I would even say this is quite the norm… Mick Jagger was apparently in a relationship with a 27-year-old ballet dancer over the summer. Even Neil Young did not escape the rule, splitting with his wife of 36 years and now dating actress Daryl Hannah who is 15 year-old younger than him….not as extreme as the previous examples but how many people among common mortals start a new romance at 68?
Do you see the equivalent among female musicians? No of course, there was Madonna with her occasional boytoys, but time is tougher for women, and people are meaner. ‘I’ve always tried – I think most women do. We survive on our looks,’ said Debbie Harry in an interview, and whatever the amount of talent many female musicians and rockers have, they are facing some unavoidable destiny, getting older and rejected. ‘I do think that when it comes to aging, we’re held to a different standard than men’, declared Cher. ‘Some guy said to me: ‘Don’t you think you’re too old to sing rock n’ roll?’ I said: ‘You’d better check with Mick Jagger.’ And she was so right.
Of course you have the optimistic, the lucky freaks with good genes like Tina Turner, who really doesn’t age while being totally realistic ‘If you take care of yourself, 60 is nothing for women these days. In today’s world you can be the kind of woman you want to be … Of course, I’ve aged a bit in the face, but not enough to worry about it. I’ve common sense enough to know that if I’m nearly 70 something has to give,’ she said to The Mirror a few years ago. Other ones are acting like little soldiers and seem to invest an incredible amount of energy into their appearance. ‘I will never retire unless I have to. As long as I’m able to get up in the morning, get that makeup on and my high heels on, and even if I can’t wear high heels, I’m going to do like Mae West, I’m going to sit in a wheelchair with my high heels on’, said Dolly Parton on Nightline. Sure, but it is just exhausting to even think about it.
Seriously it is tough for women, but would things be changing a bit? I was so surprised to see that 71-year-old Joni Mitchell becoming the new face for Yves Saint Laurent. The 70’s folk legend was photographed by Hedi Slimane for the designer’s ongoing music project, which has previously featured Ariel Pink, Courtney Love, Kim Gordon and Marilyn Manson. And there was obviously nothing done to the pictures, no photoshop job to hide the fact that Joni is, well, over 70, you can check more pictures here. A few days ago, another designer, Céline, did exactly the same thing and used literary icon Joan Didion, who is 80, for its new face. Have we reached this moment in time when we are throwing this boring youth-praising culture through the window? When we are getting rid of the universal Kardashian-plastic culture?… I’m not sure but it is a start.