Sunday 24 March 2019

Still rolling stoned after all these years

Mick Jagger with Ronnie Woods and Keith Richards on stage with the Rolling Stones at Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mick Jagger with Ronnie Woods and Keith Richards on stage with the Rolling Stones at Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin

John Masterson

Around about now I should be enjoying my Sunday morning lie in. Or I may be hitting a five iron into the lake on the 13th at Mount Juliet. In either case I will be continuously reliving the Rolling Stones from Thursday night and my whole psyche will still be that bit out of kilter. I know all the notes and I've sung all the songs, which some of you will recognise from the Incredible String Band from the same era.

I first saw the Stones in Slane in 1982 when it cost 12 quid and photos show I was slugging cider. I had no idea I ever drank cider, but I was shown the evidence recently as we prepared ourselves mentally for Croke Park.

A friend has a photo of Mick taken that day, in his bathroom, and he has changed alarmingly little.

I did not make it to the Adelphi in 1965 as I don't think they would have let boys in short trousers through the door. I am somewhat glad I didn't as I am told that a goodly proportion of the seats had been peed on by overexcited teenage girls. I enjoyed the second Slane gig in 2007 and travelled by Harley and felt very much in the spirit of things. That was the gig when there were all the jokes about Mick being administered oxygen at the side of the stage between songs. It may even be true (American footballers do it on the sidelines to speed up recovery) but in any case Sir Mick is having the last laugh.

Rock and roll has changed our perception of age and what is age appropriate so that it now covers most things. The Glimmer Twins are 74. Mick is apparently clean-living and has a vigorous exercise regime which accounts for some of his energy. Keith is apparently clean-living. For Keith, that is. Ron Wood is 70 and Charlie Watts 76 and each have a birthday coming up next month. Collectively, their idea of a good summer is to globetrot with a small army and play very loud music.

They are, of course, mere babies compared to others. Broadcaster David Attenborough is 92, as is Queen Elizabeth, and they still turn up for work. The best, and most irreverent, golf commentator ever, Peter Alliss, is 87, and listening to him is one of the highlights of summer. The Stones are more Michael D's age group and he doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

The current leader of the free world would have been in receipt of the OAP here for the last five years. Like him or not, and I don't, you could not say he is not firing on all cylinders. Physically.

You do hear people say that age is only a number but that is just so much guff. Our bodies and minds change over the years, and anyone who thinks there is not much difference between 30 and 60, is probably a healthy 90 and enjoying causing controversy.

I do think it is the rockers that have most changed our perception of age. There was a time when men over 30 would not wear jeans. There was a time when people of 60 were referred to as 'elderly'. You need to be 90 these days. That said, the Stones will inevitably slow down a bit in the coming years. I wonder would they play Kilkenny Castle before they throw the towel in? I would like to see them introduced on stage by that youngster, Dave Fanning.

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