Liam Rudden: How can Ferris Bueller be 60 and Toyah Willcox 63 when in my head I'm still 23?

It's frightening, as I write this Elton John is celebrating his 75th birthday. If that makes you stop and think, bear in mind it's Rocky Horror Show creator Richard O'Brien's 80th birthday too. Both big numbers.

By Liam Rudden
Friday, 25th March 2022, 4:45 pm

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Last week, I nipped down to Carlisle to see Toyah Willcox in concert, a wee bundle of energy as always, as she revisited 40 years of hits for an hour or more I was a teenager again... until she mentioned she is now 63. Now, I don't know about you, but in my head the icons of my youth have remained trapped in a time bubble that allows them to defy the ageing process. Consequently, it’s only when reminded of their advancing years I remember that I too am old.

I'm sure we all have an age in our head that, even as knees and hips begin to ache when we stand, we never go beyond. Mentally I feel about 23, although a recent 'Check Your Mental Age' test suggested 41 was nearer the mark. Flattering still.

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Toyah Willcox, still belting out the hits

Which is why there's something a little unnerving about seeing your childhood favourites growing old, hopefully, disgracefully. It's a reminder that no matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise, if they have reached that age, then you too are now a vintage teenager.

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Which reminds me, Matthew Broderick turned 60 a few days ago. 60!!! How on Earth can Ferris Bueller possibly be 60?

In Broderick’s case, the longevity of a high profile career and shrewd film choices at least mean his fame spans the generations, the number of names I drop these days that are met by a blank look from younger colleagues is worrying and downright concerning when, on one occasion the name was Billy Connolly. Fame, like life, is indeed fleeting.

The only thing that brings home our mortality more than seeing our favourites ageing is reading that one of these ‘legends’ has left us. Now of an age when the entire casts of TV shows I watched back in the day have passed on, it’s always a bit of a downer and a reminder to do it, whatever ‘it’ might be, now.

In their 70s, some of the most fun people I know to be around these days have adopted that philosophy, proving there’s hope for us all. If I have a fraction of their joie de vivre when I catch up with them in a decade or so, I’ll be happy.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to be the oldest gig-goer when seeing bands like Wukasa or Dictator, while taking comfort from being one of the youngest when its an act like the original ‘golden oldies’, The Rolling Stones - I caught one of their 'early farewell' tours at Murrayfield Stadium… in 1999!

They’ve just announced a new tour, which sees Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood back on the road at the respective ages of 78, 78 and 74. ​If any band proves the old adage ​there's many a good tune played on an old fiddle​, it has to be them​.

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