IT’S more than 40 years since I settled into a front row seat at the City Hall to watch the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
And not only was I at the front of the crowd, my seat was slap bang in the centre of that front row!
Best seats in the house...
Back then, I was still in the sixth form, I was in awe of the man.
He could get sounds out of a guitar which were totally out of this world.
Today, I have seen many guitar players. And I’ve played many guitars.
But I have to say I am still in awe of the man.
Being at that concert gave me one of those defining moments which has endured over the decades.
I can still see the guitar god on stage, playing the guitar with his teeth, slinging it behind his head to play and never missing a beat.
And throwing the guitar, a white Fender Strat, over a stack of Marshall amps at the end of his performance.
It made an incredible impression on me.
Around the same time I also saw lots of other great acts and, of course, I bought hundreds of albums.
Music was an important part of my youthful development.
It’s stayed with me.
I still buy loads of albums, though these days they are on CD rather than vinyl (I haven’t yet taken the leap to download albums).
I am not the only one.
Look around HMV at any lunchtime and you will see plenty of bald heads sifting through the CD racks.
Today a record buyer is as likely to push his bus pass to one side as he is to fumble with a Students’ Union card as he gets out the plastic to pay.
And that, to me, is a significant thing.
My generation has refused to grow old.
OK, the body may be complaining and bits grow on as pieces fall off.
But I still feel youthful.
Every now and then my wife tuts and says: “You’ll never grow up.”
I take that as a compliment.
I remember speaking to Coun Peter Price some years ago who had attended a meeting about sport for the people of Sheffield and asked what was on offer to get older folk involved in exercise.
The answer was that there was chairobics. Er, and that was about it.
Of course, Peter being Peter he went off on one, as they say. And pointed out quite bluntly that there was more than a little patronising at play.
Of course there are some people for whom a spot of throwing your arms around while perched on a dining chair will bring roses to their cheeks.
But old people ain’t what they used to be.
Don’t just take my word for it. Look at the findings of Swedish Professor Ingmar Skoog who reckons that life doesn’t begin at 40. These days it moves up another notch at 70!
Inspired by glamorous 70-something role models such as Jane Fonda and Joan Collins, today’s older generation were around when youth was invented and they (we) are not going to be written off as over the hill.
And the sooner that message is driven home the better. But not until I’ve paid another visit to the dentist. Playing guitar with your teeth is not to be recommended.