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EditorialsUp Front 06/12

Up Front 06/12

As a younger person living in London I remember that Bournemouth always seemed to be the butt of many ageist jokes. It was always seen as a bit of a retirement centre, mostly frequented by people well ‘beyond the pale’ of youth. Newspaper articles that mentioned the town often carried photographs of elderly people sitting on benches on the seafront, and postcards of busloads of genteel tourists didn’t do much to change the look. I don’t know if that is still the perception but it all came back to me recently when I visited the Bournemouth International Centre to see Elvis Costello in concert. Having a drink at the bar before the start of the show I couldn’t help thinking how old most of the audience looked. It may have taken me a while to remember that I hadn’t been to see Elvis Costello for about 25 years, but it didn’t take much longer to realise that I was as old, if not older, than most of those around me. Hearing an announcement asking people to ensure they switched off their mobile phones I had a moment of worry that I might fall asleep during the performance—as might happen occasionally at the cinema. I needn’t have worried. Elvis Costello, at the sprightly age of 57, stormed through a nearly three hour set of just a fraction of his wealth of material and did it with as much, if not more energy than many of today’s ‘stars’. Where some of those that wowed their audiences in the 70s and 80s often appear today as a weak parody of themselves, Costello managed to remain relevant and energetic. He was even gracious enough to share the stage with members of the audience whom, after helping to choose the songs to be played, were offered the opportunity to get into a go-go dancing cage and dance under the bright lights on the stage. That was the point when it all looked a bit Bournemouth again. For some of us there is a point in life where we accept that we are just not go-go dancers, but for others… well you only live once.  

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