Rock of ages

Cows returning to their pastures on Worthy Farm may be forgiven for wondering what on earth the herd of two-legged creatures were thinking as they trampled the grass and littered the place with metal tent pegs and other distasteful detritus.

At least this year, the weather remained clement and the land wasn’t “poached” as farmers call an area that has been turned into a quagmire by lots of hooves (or Hunter wellies and open-toe sandals for that matter) churning up wet ground. 

A week on, and the cows are not the only ones ruminating on the aftermath of Glasto ’22. On the positive side, it did represent a sort of middle finger in the face of lockdown. 100,000 people, many of whom had bought tickets in 2019, gadded about in the sunshine, not unlike cattle that have been let out after being overwintered in a gloomy barn. It’s the sort of unalloyed joy that a £265 ticket can buy.

It was however, the over representation of superannuated acts at both the Glasto and Jubilee concerts that sparked discussion and debate among the Insight team. Or, rather, prompted an interrogation of younger, cooler persons in the sort of scene that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1970’s sitcom. (You listened to albums? On CDs? ahahahaha…roll eyes etc) 

The main thrust of the debate, over and above the predictable exactly-which-bit-of-Glastonbury-could-possibly-be-in-the-least-bit-appealing-to-any-sentient-being, was a genuine enquiry about what has happened to the new generation of music and musicians. What do younger music lovers really think about the plethora of OAPs filling stadiums and airwaves? Do they care?

Why, or perhaps the question should be how, are Macca, 80 and Diana Ross, 78 still considered to be worthy of topping the bill at Worthy? Where are the contemporary supergroups? And, are there any that will have the enduring appeal of Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Stones etc? 

Further investigation confirms the suspicion that many of the musicians touring today are largely the old rockers of yesterday. The Sunday Times listings page this week offers gigs by Rick Wakeman 73, Roxy Music (formed 1970), Mike and the Mechanics (lead singer M Rutherford, 72), Squeeze, formed 1973 and Justin Hayward, 75. 

With an admirable lack of irony, in the middle of the listings, there is a prominently placed ad for Jurassic World, with the headline, “The closest you’ll ever come to living dinosaurs…”

If there was ever a clear question raised during our homegrown episode of Terry and June, the answer appears to be Spotify. It, like the internet, has democratised music, offering people variety like never before. Generations Z and Alpha now demand and expect choices and options as a matter of course whether it’s a portfolio career or their access to music. So, the old dinosaurs’ back numbers sit surprisingly harmoniously alongside acts like Kendrick Lamarr, Stormzy, Years and Years, Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish et al. 

The question remains: will this latter lot’s music stand the test of time and mainstage Glasto in 50 years?

Well, it seems that it doesn’t really matter. The great news now, especially for those of us who winced through the decidedly off-key Diana Ross, is that all bands can now live and perform, in tune, for ever. Benny, Bjorn Agnetha and Anni-Frid…let your holograms take a bow.

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