Things I’m Too Old For – Music Gigs

This post is the first in a new series called “Things I’m Too Old for;” an idea I came up with the other night when we went into the city to watch a gig roughly two nights before we moved house – cos that’s what you do when you’re about to experience one of the most stressful events of your life. restroom-99225_1280

 

I know, I know… I can already hear you mumbling about how ‘you’re never too old,’ or ‘you’re only as old as you feel,’ but frankly, there are a few things I’d rather not do anymore.

 

Skiing, festivals, camping, menstruation and… live music gigs, as it turns out.

 

For those as stubbornly entrenched in the Victorian era as I am when it comes to their approach to modern living, the definition of a “gig” is a live performance – something we used to call a “concert” – and it is more usually of the “popular” genre of music. We went to see an Australian band called Angus and Julia Stone, an “indie” band – according to Kurt – whose repertoire has a “sitting on the beach with a spliff and can of VB” vibe to it, somewhat along the lines of Jack Johnson.

 

The old man and I have a special connection to brother and sister, Angus and Julia, because they went to Kurt’s school and their father was his music teacher. However, that is as far as the depth of the relationship stretches – in other words, not far enough to guarantee us good seats, hence we found ourselves positioned once again in our favored spot at the top of Everest.

 

When you find yourself in row U without your oxygen mask and no clear access to toilets, it’s best not to think about your plan of escape in the event of a fire, especially in a concert hall that’s so old, the staff breathes heavily on you for air conditioning. I realize that the location of the toilets should not be a dealbreaker when it comes to having a good time, but it is, especially after the five glasses of wine and all-you-can-eat Thai I’d swilled down beforehand. So it was with some concern that I found myself in the middle of our row and nowhere near toilets, fire escape or the Maltesers, although I needn’t have worried about my bladder showing me up, because it turns out that Millennials can’t hold down more than a few beers either without needing to piss and at one point our row looked like it was doing the Mexican wave. All this, before the band had even bothered to show up – around 9pm – which is usually my bedtime.

 

As Kurt refused to let me take my binoculars, I had to imagine what Angus and Julia looked like in the flesh from our great height and through the haze of smoke and moody darkness in which they performed. I hate to admit it, but it did cross my mind several times that it would have been easier and a darn sight cheaper to watch them on the tv, but I realize how old that makes me sound.

 

Fortunately, by the third song the old neck began to move rhythmically to its beat, in and out in ostrich fashion, and I began to feel the return of my groove, and somehow, I managed to convince myself I was enjoying myself in spite of the old man’s snores and the Millennial texting beside me. It took every ounce of my strength not to ask her to turn down the glare on her phone.

 

Dare I admit to being a little bummed when Angus and Julia came back for their encore? Nevertheless, I dug my nails into the old man’s arms stoically – he’d been biting at the bit for thirty minutes so he could be first out to the car park – and we both yawned our way through the dying throes of those last few songs, while all my brain could think about was my bed.

 

When Are You Too Old To Ski?

It might surprise you to know that we are skiing this week – an interesting choice of holiday for two middle-aged people with anxiety with the physical flexibility of two brick walls. I doubled my medication as a precaution.

 

To be honest, I don’t know what the fuck we think we’re doing, either – skiing at fifty-plus. I like to pretend it’s something to do with taking myself out of my comfort zone but the truth is, I agree to this holiday each year to accumulate brownie points with the old man. I am beginning to question, however, if a bit more leverage at the local shopping centre is truly worth risking life and limb for.

 

The only consolation is that the old man – a natural sportsman when it comes to ball sports – is a truly shite skier, and what makes that funnier is that he refuses to admit to it. Indeed, in spite of the billions spent on lessons, we’re both as useless as the day we began this ridiculous sport, decades ago, and the only saving grace is that I am slightly faster than him and can also ride a chairlift without falling off – a new skiing low for the old man yesterday.

 

We had to lie to Peter, our instructor this holiday, about how many lessons we’ve had before.

 

‘A few,’ we said in unison, right after Peter had yanked the old man’s body back from the precipice below and into the chairlift, like some three-year old child.

 

Peter is about sixty-five and not exactly the ski instructor I imagined when I booked this round of lessons, hopeful for some rewarding distraction for my week of sacrifice. He also gets quite tetchy when we don’t nail his drills in one go, snow plow instead of doing a parallel turn, giggle or answer him back. And frankly, we’re both getting a bit old in the tooth to be bullied for something we’ve paid for. That’s why I gave up yoga.

 

The only good thing about skiing is that because everything takes so long to do, the time passes quickly, and like childbirth, once you look into the eyes of that first Mulled Wine in the local lodge, the skier’s amnesia sets in to help you forget the horror until the next morning. Getting dressed each day takes up half your holiday and the layers of clothing to protect you from the frostbite make movement difficult. Then, when the sun comes out, you cook from the inside out, rather like being microwaved. And it takes at least thirty minutes to squeeze sore, reshaped feet into ill-fitting boots and then you have to trundle the whole caboodle up a mountain by a slow, primitive transport system that has a habit of losing people and equipment en route.

 

The impact on the sort of middle-aged body that counts walking as exercise is immense, as you can imagine. And no matter how much you prepare yourself for the muscle and joint pain, twinges appear in the most unlikely of places – something to do with getting down a mountain in the squatting position required for those hole-in-the-ground toilets at Dubai airport, I imagine.

 

The fact that I can now get down a slope without triggering an avalanche must mean that my technique has improved, but I have yet to enjoy the journey back to the restaurant – or as we call it, “base camp”. My aim is a simple one – to get down the mountain as quickly as possible, before I kill someone or someone kills me in this expensive game of survival, where small children and snowboarders are the obstacles to living for another day.

 

We’ve given NC the information for how to access what’s left of our wealth after this holiday because not even the promise of a mulled wine or hot chocolates frothing with cholesterol on the slopes is enough to disguise the reality that we will probably die here.