I was on the Bury tram last Saturday listening to three middle aged couples giggling like they’d just come from a Ken Dodd tickling contest. One of the men had neatly cropped, purple hair and was wearing foundation and black nail varnish. As he stood up he revealed a t-shirt proclaiming his attendance at some long gone Gary Numan concert, and he was now on his way to Heaton Park to see the king of synth-pop perform at the festival held over the weekend.
I was a Numanoid as a teenager and wore eyeliner, nail varnish and a sulky pout. I still remember the shock on the face of the girl at the local newsagents one Saturday afternoon when I turned up for my paper round covered in silver blusher and lipstick. This obsession has only slightly diminished in recent years. I can still do a mean rendition of Cars and rarely a week goes by when I don’t play his biggest hit, Are Friends Electric? I’m also sure that I’d still wear eyeliner if it didn’t mean being shunned by my kids.
I suspect that I’ll be playing the music of my youth right up until my dying day. My parents still crave the music of Dylan and the Beatles and I remember visiting the Blackpool Tower ballroom as a kid and seeing the floor packed with elderly couples dancing tenderly to the sounds of Glen Miller. I don’t know what the big hits of the Stone Age were, but I bet ageing cavemen liked nothing better than to gather round the camp fire and belt out the Druid chants of their youth.
In recent decades we’ve had a Top 40 chart’s worth of music tribes such as Mods, Punks and New Romantics. Madchester, which spawned troops of floppy haired lads swaggering their way down Whitworth Street, continues to play a part in our city with club nights such as DJ Dave Haslam’s “Yellow”Â and Peter Hook’s FAC 251 still popular with the rave kids of the late 80s. Which perhaps means that we should take a more enlightened attitude to retirement homes in the future.
I think that the way forward is to theme our care homes, based on the music that we were into as teenagers. I, of course, would take up residence at “Replicas”Â, named after Gary’s first album. But the home with the biggest waiting list, rather than a guest list, would be The Hacienda Care Home.
Bez would teach Freaky Dancing on “Happy Mondays”Â to help keep the limbs supple, whilst Sean Ryder would be in charge of the drugs trolley on Blue Mondays. Dave Haslam could spin some rousing House tunes whilst the cocoa was being served on Saturday nights and the whole thing could be staffed by gangsters from Salford, who could perform a more brutal version of Dignitas when called for. This, to me, sounds like a great way to live out my last years on earth. I just don’t want to be around long enough to end up in the EMO home “Danger Days”Â, run by devotees of My Chemical Romance.