Monday 21 October 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'Forever young with all the old dudes...'

Forever Young Festival
Forever Young Festival
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

This has been a good week for nostalgia. If you're of that persuasion.

Last Saturday saw my favourite Irish band of all time, the wonderful A House, play in the National Concert Hall.

Many of the same faces from the halcyon days of gigs 20 years ago turned up - a little older, a little bit more beaten down by life and with a lot more grey hair.

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It was also interesting to see the one recurring joke being swapped.

It turned out that most of us were blokes who were either meeting mates or flying solo. That was because most of the wives had more sense than to go to an A House reunion which was guaranteed to have middle-aged men wearing ill-fitting T-shirts and crying into their beer.

Which is exactly what happened. After all, nothing reminds you of your advancing years and increasing decrepitude quite like seeing your favourite band now described as a 'heritage act'.

There's a similar, although rather more mainstream and accessible, event on this weekend with the Forever Young festival in Naas.

Featuring a bunch of bands from the 1980s, the line-up reads like a track listing from Now That's What I Call Music, although my own personal faves would be the likes of China Crisis, Heaven 17 and Marc Almond.

But it was interesting to see how old farts who still think they're young bucks are now catered for.

"One main stage, so no need for complicated spread sheets!" boasts the press release.

I was about to get thick, and email the promoter to say I knew perfectly well how to use a spreadsheet for festivals - until I realised that, actually, I quite like the idea. Lots of different stages are a lot of hassle at my age.

Even the food on offer is designed to keep neurotic grumps happy: "Gluten Free, Halal, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescetarian? All covered at Forever Young!"

When most of these acts were in their pomp, the only vegetarian anyone knew was Morrissey and even then he was seen as a weirdo.

There will also be a Pimm's Bar, which is a long way from the early Féiles, where many of this weekend's bands would have played.

One mate of mine can't go because he can't get a babysitter. I can't go because I have a new dog and she's teething.

My God, we're all turning into our parents...

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