Wednesday, 22 November 2017


I'm at Brixton Academy on Thursday night to see Blondie’s Pollinator tour, standing about ten feet away from the stage with a perfect view of a central slice of it between the heads and shoulders of the crowd before me. I was worried I might be a bit old for concert going now, but looking around I see there was nothing to worry about, lots of people here are older than I am, and lots are gay men, and lots are older gay men.

Deborah Harry appears on stage wearing a bee hat, sporting a cloak that when she turns her back to the audience we can see reads: ‘Stop Fucking The Planet.’ It's part of the band's campaign to raise funds and awareness for BEE Connected, to help stop declining bee numbers. She starts singing One Way or Another and the crowd goes wild. She looks amazing; she's 72. 

An attractive young couple - she dark, he blonde - suddenly appear in the space in front of me; they turn apologetically. "Sorry!" she says. 

"Can you still see?" He says. 

"It’s fine," I say. "Just don't snog. If you snog I won't be able to see."

They laugh.

I watch the concert - which is amazing - with the heads of this young couple flanking my view, like pillars. They know all the words to all the songs, everyone does. Each time the first few bars of a song begins and they recognise it they look at each other; each time a driving beat begins, which is often, she gets excited and starts to bop up and down, then so does he. As the concert nears its spectacular finale and the tracks become faster and louder and more recognisable (if that's possible) they jump up and down in unison. During the last track, Heart of Glass, he turns to kiss her and they kiss for ages so that all I can see is the kiss and not Deborah Harry and the huge screen behind her with three rotating glass hearts. On the final note they part and the hearts shatter into a thousand sparkling pieces.

When the concert ends they turn back towards me to begin their ascent up the slope to the doors. With the lights up I can see how young they are. "You guys are so cute!" I suddenly say, on a post-concert high and without considering, until the words are out of my mouth, that this might sound horribly patronising. Fortunately they don’t seem to mind, in fact they seem delighted. 

"Thanks!" He says, while she beams.

This emboldens me. "How old are you?" I say.

"We’re 19!" She says.

"19!" I say. "I have a son who's 19 tomorrow!"

"Wow," he says. "You don't look old enough!"

They smile and say goodbye, then disappear up the slope holding hands.

I turn to my mate as we head for the exit. "My lower back is killing me," says my mate.

My back is fine, I think. And I don't look old enough to have a 19-year-old, and I'm actually old enough to have a 21-year-old. Hooray!

"That couple were so cute!" I say. "They had the most amazing chemistry. And do you know they are only 19?"

"They'll probably have split up by the weekend," she says.

But I don't think so.

Next day I wake to find I am every inch the mother of a 19-year-old, and a 21-year old, and a 15-year-old, because I am in agony. My back's gone and I can hardly move. 

Love E x


P.S. And I know he was only being polite.

Btw - the son who is 21 has recorded an album with his band - The Melanies -  link below. He's the handsome one, middle back: lead guitar, some vocals, songwriting. Please play it. Thank you.

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