But where on one hand the shelf-life of the new artist is shortening, the countless musicians still touring and selling records in their fifties, sixties and seventies, easily dispels the idea that we prefer our pop stars fresh out of the womb. You need only look at the love and respect that has greeted Leonard Cohen’s 12th album last month, released at the venerable age of 77, to realise that growing old needn’t be a barrier to continued success.
There is, along with a clear intolerance of the middle-aged, a deep-rooted sexism at the heart of the Madonna complaints. Did Tom Petty get lambasted for being 58 when he performed at the Super Bowl four years ago? When Springsteen played the half-time slot in 2009, at seven years older than Madonna is now, did people bitch about his age? Of course not. There is something distinguished, so the thinking goes, about grizzled old men with guitars singing odes to the American dream. But a woman singing and dancing in her fifties? Plain disgusting.
…Nine years ago I interviewed Siouxsie Sioux, then 46, and rightly got a flea in my ear for asking if she had considered retirement. She pointed out that I would never have asked a 46-year-old man the same question.
Oh honey, if she didn’t tear out your spleen and eat it raw and quivering in front of you, you got off easy–you really did.
I am a huge fan of the genderfuckery. The most we can mess with “normal” people’s heads, the better, ya know? Though I must confess that I am now at the point when I’m entirely too pleased when grocery bagboys call me “Miss,” rather than, “Ma’am.”
True that. I’m thrilled when people card me when I buy alcohol, these days. *weeps*
My dear Henry…at my age one has ceased to expect a relationship to last. Think how complicated life would be if I had kept in touch with all the men I have known intimately. Some died, some I left, a few have left me. If they were all with me now we would have to take over a whole wing of the Royal Albion. I was very fond of Wordsworth while he lasted, but my emotions are not as strong as they once were. I can support his absence, though I may regret him for a while tonight. His knackers were superb.
–Aunt Augusta, Travels with my Aunt, by Graham Greene