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Too old to dance?


Splendour in the Grass put on an orgy of contemporary indie music for all to feast upon this year, the line-up was immense. Not all was bliss down there in the mosh however. My friend Deb at Lismore’s Music Bizarre, frustrated, described how her friend was enjoying The Cure on Saturday night only to have a group of young men heckling him for being ‘too old’ to be at the event! One man in particular kept approaching him suggesting he was way too old to be there. The middle-aged man’s reply, doing his best to ignore the pesky, juvenile irritations, was: “It’s The Cure!” That’s right, they have been around for a long time, and if you have read my article on the band here, you will understand how much this UK outfit means to those of my generation. Something tells me the young man and his friends will age anxiously, and believe it or not, it comes around seriously fast!

Now, do we really need a 2JJ-type festival for us old-n-weary bunch? Are we offending the youth of this country by doing what comes naturally by getting out and groovy to the tunes we love so much? Is it okay to dance at the Blues Fest, where long beards and creaking joints are the norm? In defence of the local youth and young adults of Byron Shire, I find them to be very open-minded and sharing. They attend reggae parties dancing alongside much older folk. The Rails in Byron sees even older people getting down on a weekend night. So, I feel this disrespectful bunch were more than likely visitors from elsewhere. In my mid-late teens in Sydney’s punk pits, we always welcomed middle-aged couples who would venture in off the street, wishing to be part of the mayhem. At the ‘Sight’ in the Cross, the allure of Goth fashion, the moon crater walls and strobe light, was like a moth to the flame for me.

The 90’s saw a fusion of psychedelic-acid dance, rap, grunge and metal, all was on show in delicious fusions that one could only want to dance to. This has carried on in many ways, yesterday I purchased a City Calm Down CD, it reminds me of Brian Ferry, Joy Division and The Cure…it’s mine to enjoy, trust me I’m not too old. When I hit 30, friends who enjoyed Sydney’s rave-dance scene turned up to stay with me in Darwin, and at a city nightclub, we did the old days thing and danced intensely. People approached me and suggested it was great that at my age I was still dancing, and one of them was of my age then too! I have danced and acted in film clips, in Nimbin at the age of 36, I enjoyed dancing at the pub to brilliant live acts. CC The Cat’s- Claire Cottone invited me out recently to see her full outfit play in Byron. I had hurt my gut in the surf so I didn’t hit the dance floor, but the chair grooving (oh dear) actually sorted that out. No one there at the gig would have turned a hair, that’s why I love this part of the world.

So, if you are on the dance floor with older folk, doing what they want to do by feeding the soul with rejuvenating music, go over and give them a smile and have a dance. We were cool once too, in many ways we grew up in more intense times where a lot of the sounds were new, and when it’s your turn to be my age, perhaps you can head down to the local aged-care facility and sign me out for the day to allow me to reminisce about the times when I stage- dived into a horde of mohawks and studded jackets. Anyway, I’m off now, my much younger friends in the Sweet Roots have invited me out to their gig tonight. Who knows, if my knees hold out I might even get down and funky.

Ian’s journey into journalism began back in Sydney in 1991 while studying to become a radio and television copywriter. He has completed courses in cartooning, environmental science and later turned his attention to Indigenous education, working with many language groups across Australia. Ian’s passion is writing about culture. He continues to release free ebooks of his journeys into SE Asia and across Australia for his website @IanBrowneAcademia. Blessed with both an investigative and art-creative brain, he finds this planet intriguing and adores nature. He craves the exotic, and searches out intense landscapes and multifaceted societies. Ian has lived in the Northern Rivers for seven years. “Every day I drive through the forested Nirvana here, it is a bounty of kindness and inspiration. I love the care-free cosmopolitan lifestyle; I cherish the conversations in our cafes. I really enjoy the friendships I have made while interviewing folk and while sharing the lives of people. I feel my journey within journalism and creative writing has just begun and there are thousands of stories out there with my name pasted across them”.


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