Parker Burwell Toop credit Jak Kilby


“Age cannot wither them...”

I was debating with a friend today about pop/rock compositions, and about how anyone above 30 seems unable to write classic pop/rock numbers. The Beatles were all in their early 20s when they produced their best known compositions; ditto The Rolling Stones. One only has to read about Jagger;s latest ‘conquest’, a 22-year old, to realise how ‘out of time’ this particular dodgy septuagerian has become. Paul McCartney has become similarly irrelevant. Only the recent Nobel Prize recipient Bob Dylan is keeping the freak flag flying on behalf of his chequered generation.

What is it that means that one has to be under 30 to create great rock music, I wonder? It really does seem that this is youth music, as the sad products of the Gallagher brothers has recently proved. Sure, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Neil Young have produced great work in their middle ages, but you know what I’m talking about, yeah?

The Rolling fucking Stones and their zombie roll outs, and the awful U2 cavalcade are indications of the true horror of middle-age and middle-class rock ‘n roll detritus. I’m amazed that they can take themselves seriously, particularly the Jagger phallocentrism and the Bono leather-trouser parody.  They are an embarrassment for us already embarrassed 60 year olds.

However, here comes the cavalry, the improv gerontocracy!! 

 Barry Guy, with his 70th birthday (slightly younger than the absurd Jagger), at the helm of the celebrations at The Vortex last April, playing in all the groups that were featured over three hours of challenging improv. Trevor Watts, Paul Lytton, John Russell, Terry Day, Steve Beresford, David Toop- all around the age of 60, and all still producing challenging work, which is more than can be said of the Rolling plutocrats, who seem to tour mainly to please their accountants. There are some left of even greater age - Sonny Rollins, Cecil Taylor, Lee Konitz- let’s hope that they are acknowledged  as the greatest of our elders - as opposed to the bogus oldsters as represented by the greatest pretender of all, Mick Jagger, who has ripped off his mentors from 1963 onwards.

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Banner and book cover photo credit: Jak Kilby