25 Oct 2014

Why Old Audiences are so Rabid?

Having been repulsed by the behaviour of some 60 year olds on Rock The Boat, I’ve just realised they were achieving more than reliving their youth. The bands from the 1970’s played the soundtrack of their teen years, which you get in lower doses from just hearing the songs on your sound system.

Because they were on a boat locked together with their own generations, and exposed to 70’s and 80’s music day and night, they were in fact entering the edge of a ‘higher stage of human development’.

A psychologist named Ellen Langer conducted an experiment in the USA in 1981. She took a group of 75 year old men to an isolated monastery, and threw them back to 1959. She had Perry Como music, Ed Sullivan on black and white TV. They spent five days living as they would have done, 25 years earlier. The results were staggering – the group emerged taller, more supple, and energised.

They had put their minds in an earlier time, and their bodies had followed.

Then in 2010, the BBC staged a recreation with six aging celebrities and again, the results were amazing. One who entered in a wheel chair, walked out with a cane.

Reading all this led me to reflect that while I detested the juvenile churlish carry on aboard Rock The Boat, at least I could understand what the boozed up ancient bogans were experiencing. I too really enjoy some retro music and do have flashbacks of long haired excesses and wonton free loving. I just don’t relate my current life to that era, and have a jaundiced perspective about any ‘good old days’.

Black and white TV, mono cultural majorities and vinyl car seats leave me cold. Stuffing 10c pieces into a pay phone to call home on tour was tedious. Driving to Premier Artists to get a typed worksheet was how you knew about the next gig. Male life expectancy was 71 years.

So please forgive me: the odd pissed woman I was rude to when I was silly enough to wear a hat like Russell Morris or when I objected to them flopping onto my lap and breathing into my face. Hopefully some of those offended by my blogging will forgive me too.

When you’re getting older, my suggestion is to stand tall and stay happy, rather than trying to relive your youth. Unless a smart psychologist like Ellen Langer comes along, in which case go with it.


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