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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 December, 2004, 06:38 GMT
Mature fans enjoy a new musical youth
By Michael Osborn
BBC News

Mick Jagger
The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger is still rocking at the age of 61
There was a time when rock concerts and pop music did not mix comfortably with older people.

The elders were renowned for causing embarrassment with their dancing at family weddings, while their teenage children's choice of music caused them endless bewilderment.

But a growing band of older people are turning the tables, embracing music's youthful culture with a vengeance.

Famous "wrinkly rockers" such as Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Tom Jones refuse to settle down into their quiet twilight years, and are good role models for older music devotees.


Chris Jones from Bolton is a 60-year-old grandmother whose life has become a whirlwind of going to concerts around the country and following the every move of pop star Will Young.

She has also swapped sedate Classic FM for BBC Radio 1 - defying the station's youthful demographic - and has found like-minded people through the internet.

It's as if I've given myself permission to be frivolous and I'm suddenly enjoying life
Music fan Chris Jones

"It's like Thelma and Louise writ large. I've never had so much fun in all my life. I'm having such a fantastic time and am loving it," says Chris.

The move into loving pop music and hitting the gig circuit has come late in life to Chris - triggering off a personal renaissance.

"Three years ago I was this boring old lady living life through my grandchildren. Now I wear outrageous clothes and am spending my children's inheritance," she says.

"It's as if I've given myself permission to be frivolous and I'm suddenly enjoying life."

Pounding hardhouse

Chris's musical enjoyment shows no signs of abating, as she is about to travel around the country to see an energy-sapping run of eight concerts.

Anne Barguss, 52, from Abingdon in Oxfordshire is a regular visitor to the clubbers' paradise of Ibiza and also enjoys the dance scene closer to home, where son James is a club DJ.

She says listening to pounding hardhouse beats for 12 hours in clubs Gatecrasher and Space makes her "glad to be alive", and has been positively encouraged by younger clubbers.

"The kids there are fantastic. They're so friendly and thrilled I'm enjoying it as much as them," explains Anne.

John Peel
The late John Peel loved new music and regularly visited Glastonbury

She thinks that her generation are the first to want to stay younger longer and have cultural experiences that would have previously been considered off limits.

"When we were young, the older generation settled down and turned into their own parents.

"We're the first to have said, 'hey, we're not doing that' and look at life from a different point of view," says Anne.

"We're lucky to have such a huge choice, and with the internet you can hear the music you want, when you want it," she adds.

While Britain's population slowly ages, there appears to be a growing army of older people who are keen to keep up with the latest trends, and find they have the resources at their fingertips to do so.

Dipping into music and culture that used to be considered out of their reach could be a ticket to youthful vitality.



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