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Made in Shoreditch

I also contribute a weekly column to Made in Shoreditch magazine called 'Old East End/New East End', where I look at the relationship between the East End of old and new, looking at the changes and the stalwarts in landscape, residents and culture, focussing on one street or district each week. You can find it here.

Growing Old Gracefully: The Sexist Problem

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Rod Stewart hasn't, Mick Jagger hasn't and a few people I know myself haven't. Growing older doesn't always correlate to growing up. Some may question if this is even a problem. Just by drawing attention to it am I being ageist? Well, my problem doesn't really lie with people growing old disgracefully, but rather people's reaction to it...


One of my favourite books, John Niven's Kill Your Friends, has a section which sees the main protagonist, Steven Stelfox - an A&R man who is racist, sexist etc. - list why he feels people don't like to see older female performers at it. Saying stuff like "Clapton - well he just looks like an old muso doesn't he" whilst also saying he doesn't want to see Debbie Harry any more rather sums up a view of many as I see it.

Now, me personally, I feel a bit disgusted when I see Cher behaving like a twenty year old on stage. But I also think "what a dick head" when I see 'Rod the Mod' wearing an outfit that I'd expect some eighteen year old Essex boy to wear. I feel, maybe it's a question of who I have around me, that I am in a club of 1 here. People always bang on about how cool Paul Weller still looks or how cool Mick Jagger still is, but faced with, say, Lulu and her botox or Joni Mitchell's relevance, many see it fine to express disdain.


The point I should also underline here before signing off is that it's not just men who have these kind of reactions, many women are just as bad in my experience.