Life with an Ageing Rockstar

Life with an Ageing Rockstar


guitarsPosted by angharad 17 Oct, 2017 04:38PM

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today our good friend richard is going to deliver some logs. this is something we have been looking forward to now that the evenings are getting a bit chillier. we have even managed to have the chimney swept in advance of lighting the fire, which shows remarkable forward planning. in the past i have scrounged free logs from richard in the form of offcuts and scrap wood but this year we are rather more financially stable so we have had a load of logs delivered like proper grown-ups.

sitting in bed this morning i mentioned the log delivery to the Ageing Rockstar.

"where will they go? what time is he coming? will we have to stack them?" he was clearly worried that his input might be required. luckily i had the forethought to have a son some years ago who has now matured into a tall, strapping specimen who is very useful when heavy lifting is involved.

"don't you worry your pretty little head about it," i reassured him, "you just stay indoors and play guitars." this was what he was hoping to hear. to be fair, stacking logs would not be the healthy option for him, given his reduced lung capacity.

the Ageing Rockstar then started making an odd noise.

"why are you making a noise like a racing car?" i asked.

"its not me, its my lungs," he replied. they do indeed appear to have an identity of their own. they are longer than average lungs. indeed, when they have to be xrayed they often go into a second sheet of film, or whatever they use these days. although half of one of the lungs was taken out last year, it was the top half, so they still dangle down further than they should. this makes breathing even harder after a big meal, as the stomach becomes involved in the battle for abdominal territory. both the Ageing Rockstar and i spend a lot of time discussing their whims and anticipating their needs. we have, so far, stopped short of naming them.

it seems the morning breathing thing was noisier than usual, probably because of the weird dusty weather we have been experiencing lately. suddenly the breathing stopped.

"aw, look! just when i get rid of it then someone goes and does something and it comes back!" wailed the Ageing Rockstar. i looked across. it seems that the cause of his distress was the facebook notifier bubble.

"i just get the red bit to go away and then somebody posts something and it comes back and i have to look at it!" the Ageing Rockstar is a fairly recent convert to facebook and has yet to adjust to its demands. i have explained to him that facebook employs psychologists to design dastardly algorithms that meddle with our minds and steal our souls and that one of the skills necessary for modern life is to be able to ignore the little red bubbles on the screen, but he has not yet internalised this advice.

i suppose when i post this it will cause another red bubble that will demand his attention...

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guitarsPosted by angharad 12 Oct, 2017 10:18PM
the Ageing Rockstar and i are in the habit of loafing around in bed for a while before rising in the morning. this is a habit which is brought on by oldness, although it is common in teenagers as well. we have a cup of tea and put the world to rights. more accurately we have a cup of tea and i put the world to rights, reading choice morsels about Trump's latest debacle from the online Guardian to the Ageing Rockstar, who does his best to ignore them, while focusing on guitars or electronic gadgetry on eBay.

due to my new health regime, i now have a bowl of porridge for breakfast. this can be a rather unwieldy thing to eat in bed, especially if one's bedmate is prone to pulling the duvet up round his chin and moaning about the cold. if the porridge bowl is resting on the duvet when this happens the results can be calamitous. fortunately my reactions are like lightening, and to date i have managed to avoid porridging the Ageing Rockstar. i did have cause to remonstrate with him yesterday, when he was overly vigorous in his duvet-tugging.

"careful! you will have the whole bed covered in porridge!"

the Ageing Rockstar flapped his arms about and shrieked in horror. i then added that this particular porridge also contained prunes, which brought forth higher-pitched shrieks with more vigorous flapping.

"you can't cover me in porridge! or prunes! i'll be ill!"

i asked whether he would rather i went over to yoghurt and fruit instead. this concoction has the disadvantage of being a lurid pink colour.

"agh no! you would cover me in pinkness instead! that's even worse!"

"well, keep still then! i may even come up with a recipe for pink porridge! that would serve you right for being so princessy!"

today i finished listening to a book by another, slightly more famous, Ageing Rockstar. his closing chapter included a mention of being 62, and almost completely deaf but refusing to wear hearing aids, and curmudgeonly. i told the Ageing Rockstar about this and said it sounded exactly like him.

"i expect everyone around him has to say everything twice," i mused, "they probably feel like echoes too."

"you can get a thing that makes echoes," the Ageing Rockstar informed me, "its called an Echoplex."

so, dear reader, it appears that i have a role in life after all. i am a human Echoplex...

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guitarsPosted by angharad 06 Oct, 2017 02:53PM
our friend bertie-sue has recently moved house. she is known as bertie-sue to differentiate her from all the other sues in our lives. bertie is her little dog, who resembles a manic powderpuff but has the courage of a lion. he persists in trying to give alfie his babies, even though both of them have had their wedding tackle removed and the fact that he has to wait for alfie to lie down to make the attempt because of their disparity of size.

because bertie-sue has been de-cluttering there have been a few additions to our house. one was a large mirror which i have hung in the bedroom. this seemed like a good idea at the time. however, once i stood in front of it in a state of undress i realised my folly.

"this mirror makes me look huge!" i shrieked. the Ageing Rockstar looked up from his laptop. i waited a little while for him to say that the mirror had a dishonest streak, but there was silence.

"i don't look as fat in the mirror downstairs! do you think this mirror is faulty?" the Ageing Rockstar has an A level in physics so i always ask him about matters of a scientific nature.

he finally plumped for "you could swap the mirrors over". this wasn't quite the "darling, i love your Reubenesque curves," reply that i was hoping for, but at least he did not resort to brutal honesty.

"do you think mirrors have different sort of settings in them? like the fairground ones?" i cried, in desperation.

"i think large mirrors just show more." he said, before returning to eBay and the wonderful world of guitars.

now that the Mirror of Shame was a fixture in the bedroom it became obvious that something would have to be done. no amount of sucking in of the stomach seemed to fool it. bertie-sue agreed to be my eating coach. every morning i receive a wonderful message on my phone with the days menu and motivational assistance along the lines of "NO SUGAR!" and "DRINK PLENTY OF WATER!"

i have ordered some new bathroom scales too so a scientific approach can be taken with record keeping. and i do have a plan to take measurements at various points in my circumference to record on a chart, although i have yet to pluck up the courage.

yesterday the Ageing Rockstar and i went out for our weekly breakfast date. we tried a different venue this week. last week the Ageing Rockstar was perplexed by having what he described as a faulty sausage, as well as there being "too many fish in the marmalade". i would have thought any fish in the marmalade was too many, and i won't begin to venture into analysis of faulty sausages.

i popped into the ladies and noticed that their mirror was much nicer than the one at home.

"they have the Mirror of Flattery here," i told the Ageing Rockstar.

"we'd better get one for at home," he said, before tucking into his full english breakfast. i had avocado and poached egg on toast, with a salad garnish and felt exceeding [edited to add] exceedingly virtuous... (sack the proofreader!)

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guitarsPosted by angharad 25 Sep, 2017 08:03PM
The Ageing Rockstar and I are sitting in bed, reading about vital matters on our respective laptops. As i am sure many of you find, the screen of the person next to you is infinitely more interesting than the one in front of you. rather like the old days when travelling on the tube the person next to you has a more interesting newspaper, even though it is one that your political sensibilities would prevent you from buying.

The Ageing Rockstar is looking at a map. My lust for travel is ignited and i crane my neck to see where he might be thinking of whisking me away to.


“Leominster?” I cry, “what’s in Leominster?”

Let me give you a clue, dear reader. It begins with G. And has strings.

But this is no ordinary guitar. It is a peculiar leaning over guitar.

“You can’t buy that!” I shriek, “its all wonky!”

“They are supposed to be like that,” the Ageing Rockstar reassures me.

“But it won’t hang on the wall properly with all the normal un-wonky guitars. And everyone will lean over when they look at it and then the house will fall over…” I have to admit I was rather warning to my theme, at the expense of adherence to the laws of physics. A house falling over from diagonal guitar-viewing would be a first.

“I’m not going to buy it anyway,” the Ageing Rockstar sighs, “I’m just looking.”

I have heard this before, usually before a guitar-shaped parcel arrives in the post with some sob story about it being a rescue guitar that no-one wants. a wonky guitar would make the sob story much easier.

We go back to our reading.

“Where is Car-Lissel?” asks the Ageing Rockstar. I realise that he is winding me up by pretending that we are about to venture up to Carlisle to purchase a wonky guitar. I do not rise to the bait.

the ‘reading over the shoulder’ habit appears to be continuing. Indeed as I type this, the Ageing Rockstar is peering over my shoulder. i think he feels he needs to keep an eye on what is being released into cyberspace to minimise the damage to his street-cred. My last post had been out in the world for some time before he managed to read it, due to the fact that he was rather obsessively looking at a thing called a Neo Clone on eBay. I hope i am not going to be cloned. one of me is plenty.

on closer inspection the wonky guitar appears to have some things called 'Epiphone Alnico Classic Humbuckers' which apparantly give it a "Classic biting tone with warm, fat mids". rather like myself.

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ear trumpets

guitarsPosted by angharad 25 Sep, 2017 04:06PM
Yesterday found me visiting her maamship and the prof. Readers of Joker's blog will recall that her maamship used to be called mrs prof, until she was called to the judiciary, whereupon it was felt that she needed a title befitting of her new station. Talk turned to our increasing oldness and general decrepitude. The prof has the lead on oldness but her maamship and i are probably ahead on decrepitude.

Her maamship related an amusing tale about her ear. It seems the ear has not been well and her maamship resorted to pouring olive oil into it in an effort to return it to useful service. While this may have resulted in interesting salad dressing, it did nothing for auditory volume. In addition the ear was rather sore. It then began to give off a rather unpleasant smell. To give some idea of the magnitude of this, her maamship was able to smell her own ear, in spite of not being furnished with a trunk. At this point in the conversation her maamship digressed, describing how she had had to resort to wearing perfume on the side with the dodgy ear when she went to the optician. I commented that the optician was more commonly associated with having one's eyes fixed, but her maamship explained that she had understood that but was concerned at the optician having to be near her smelly ear while trying to test the judicial eyes.

This saga reminded me of the period before the Ageing Rockstar went into hospital to have his lung reduced. He too had one ear which gave off a foul miasma. As he was rather reluctant to have his ear inspected i resorted to surreptitious sniffing while passing the ear. Occasionally i would score a direct hit with my nose when he was distracted by a guitar. Using this technique i was able to monitor the condition of the ear, but sadly was unable to persuade the Ageing Rockstar to do anything about having his ear rot seen to. It seems that Ageing Rockstars are on the whole rather phlegmatic about declining health.

On being admitted to hospital for his op, the Ageing Rockstar was given various tests to ascertain whether he presented a risk to other patients. As far as i could see no ear-sniffing was included. But all was well. As a result of complications after the operation the Ageing Rockstar was dosed with every type of anti-biotic and anti-fungicide known to the human race and a side effect of this seems to be that the ear rot was nuked into submission.

I still find myself giving the ear the odd sniff when passing, when i am able to approach from behind without being seen, and i offered to avail her maamship of my ear sniffing skills in an effort to see whether her anti-biotics were working. She said she thought ear-sniffing was weird, and the prof concurred.

Call me old-fashioned, but in my book wandering about with ear rot is decidedly weirder. It makes sharing an ear trumpet decidedly hazardous...

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guitarsPosted by angharad 18 Sep, 2017 02:57PM
last saturday saw the Ageing Rockstar and me travelling up to Camberley for an outing. now and again the Ageing Rockstar gets to play one of his many guitars in front of an audience, alongside an Ageing Drummer, an Ageing Singer and an Ageing Keyboard player, as well as a bass player who is merely Teetering on the Brink of Middle Age.

such outings are often arduous. travelling to the wilds of Surrey can bring its challenges, as there are frequently roadworks to be dealt with which play havoc with the Ageing Rockstar's carefully calculated timings. on this occasion we had to divert, after a large sign on the motorway informed us of very long delays.

the Ageing Rockstar began to fiddle with the radio in his car, which doubles up as a satnav. it is inhabited by a very well-spoken lady, whose diction is only slightly marred by her habit of pausing for breath between words. the main problem with this satnav is that it came with the car, which is almost as ageing as its owner. the idea is that people who buy one of these cars from Landrover will update the satnav software now and again which will let the lady in the radio know when new roads have been constructed. however the Ageing Rockstar has no patience with such fripperies and so the lady in the radio is often puzzled by unexpected roundabouts and sometimes even new motorways.

i rescued the day with the help of mr google and his maps, which are somehow neatly folded into my phone, and we arrived at the venue in plenty of time. as it turned out we could have dallied for much longer, as the other Ageing Musicians were only just setting up their various equipment. for the uninitiated, the business end of the gear, in the form of drums, guitars and keyboards, is just the tip of the iceberg. behind this can be found miles of cables, multitudes of extension leads and numerous mysterious boxes covered in switches. a great deal of care must be taken to ensure that the correct cable is plugged into the correct box.

once all the plugging and unravelling has been done it is necessary to have a sound check. this is an opportunity for the Ageing Musicians to show off their ability to count to 2. they wander around the stage saying 'one, two' into their microphones. i pointed out that this was boring and asked if they knew any other numbers whereupon the Ageing Rockstar showed off his mathematical genius by coming up with a number in excess of five million. it was however pointed out to me that the beauty of '1,2' was its use of noises which test the microphone effectively.

the soundcheck went on for some time. there appeared to be a problem with feedback. this is not the type of feedback that the modern world thrives on via endless surveys about the customer service experience, but rather is a high-pitched squeal caused by the speakers failing to respect each others personal space. how this works was explained to me but it made as much sense as the off-side rule in football. suffice to say it is not nice. it was decided that a different arrangement was needed and further cables were unravelled and re-ravelled. eventually it was time for proceedings to kick off. by now the Ageing Rockstar had a headache, probably from the feedback. the only painkillers to hand were ones which cannot be taken alongside the various puffers and stuff needed by the Ageing Rockstar to facilitate breathing so i went off in search of paracetomol from the local Tesco, relying on my inate sense of direction rather than the confused satnav lady.

fast forward to half time, which is when the TBMA bass player and Ageing Rockstar get to talk guitars. although it appears that a bass guitar is not a guitar. it is a bass. it took me a little while to grasp this concept. all becomes clear when it comes to the compulsory guitar census.

"so how many guitars have you got, then?" asks the TBMA bass player.

"well not including the red one that doesn't work very well, and the blue one that i don't play much, its about 20." (here i should point out that no guitarist ever describes a guitar as a red one or a blue one. they prefer elaborate descriptions involving humbuckers, lipsticks, p90s and all sorts of other details, but i failed to take notes.)

"what about the ones that have arrived recently?" i ask.

"oh, they're basses, not guitars." says the Ageing Rockstar firmly. the TBMA bass player nods vigourously, and also opines that any guitar that is not used regularly should not be part of the census. i ask if this means they can be used to light the fire and express my sympathy for the TBMA bass player's wife. my own battle with guitars pales into insignificance beside the thought of having to count guitars that are not even guitars.

at the end of the evening all the wires and switches and drums and keyboards and guitars and non-guitars all have to be packed up and carted off. there is also the small matter of remuneration, which at least covers the cost of the deisel. there is always a bit of hanging around waiting to be paid. there was talk of potential deductions being possible because of the initial faffing around.

'this is where it would be handy to have some roadies," said the Ageing Keyboard Player, "we could just leave it to them to pack all this up."

as any good groupie would, i took this as my cue to fetch the Ageing Rockstar's Landrover. the layout of this particular club is such that you go in through one narrow entrance and out through another. i duly exited and then reversed into the entrance area so that the back of the Landrover was lined up with the door where the band were getting their stuff out, without being in the way. this took some time as the Landrover does not have the helpful bleep that i have got used to with my own car.

"that's not very helpful!" said the Ageing Rockstar, "the door opens this way so i will have to walk all the way round the door in order to put stuff in the boot!" while feeling that this was slightly ungracious, i duly did another 91 point turn to face the other way, thus making it twice as hard for the other band members to get past.

there then followed another long wait before the Ageing Rockstar finally came out. although i was fairly obviously in the driving seat he came round to the drivers side.

"out you get!"

"why," i said, "do you have a problem with me driving?"

"do you have a problem with me driving?" he replied.

"well, its just that i am in the driving seat already."

"well, you're not driving!"

resistance was clearly useless so i grudgingly climbed out, muttering that i felt like one of those surburban ladies who fetch their husband from the train and then get into the passenger seat so the husband can drive home. to be fair, i am not that keen on the Ageing Rockstar driving my car either. i think we may both be rather set in our ways. it must be the oldness...

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guitarsPosted by angharad 14 Sep, 2017 05:18PM
about a week ago i was visiting a poorly friend. there was a knock on the door and when i opened it the prof, who readers of joker the lurcher's blog will recall, stood on the doorstep. i should explain that the prof is the father of the friend in question, not some random door knocker.

"can i tempt you with a large courgette, madam?" he asked. i made a mental note of this wonderful opening gambit before replying, in a very poor approximation of the accent of a southern belle,

"lordy, i do declare, its a gentleman caller proffering interesting vegetables!"

the courgette turned out to be rather larger than anticipated, and to have two colleagues. i was persuaded by the prof's charm to relieve him of all three, and decided to pass two of them on to some friends who cook for a large group of people. the remaining one sat in the kitchen for a few days, looking reproachful.

eventually i braved matters and attacked the beast with a large knife. the blade merely bounced off. it was fairly obvious nothing short of a chainsaw was going to penetrate its hide. i decided to cook it whole and then cut it afterwards which proved to be a good method.

fast forward to yesterday, when i was forced to tackle the ever-growing pile of spaghetti squashes in the kitchen. the spaghetti squash is a fascinating vegetable. it contains what looks like spaghetti but which is in fact marrowy stuff. having experienced some success with the marrow i resolved to use the same cooking method with the squash.

my son was in the middle of regaling the Ageing Rockstar and me about the difficulties of purchasing a laptop while remaining anonymous (he is paranoid about the authorities being interested in his decidedly uninteresting online existence) when a loud bang emanated from the kitchen. my nerves are not what they were and i leapt up in the air.

"what was that?" asked the Ageing Rockstar.

"sounds like something exploded," said my son.

further investigation established that something had indeed exploded, in the oven. the insides of the oven were coated with the middle of one of the spaghetti squashes, including all the little seeds. fortunately the Ageing Rockstar had the forethought to cover his chicken curry, which was sharing the oven, with silver foil, thus preventing it suffering an incursion of vegetable matter.

"i forgot you were supposed to make a hole in them first," i muttered.

the Ageing Rockstar had to be chivvied out of the kitchen before i tackled the carnage inside the oven. eventually order was restored.

"there's something really nice about eating vegetables you have grown yourself," i mused.

"eating them, not blowing them up," muttered the Ageing Rockstar, bringing to mind Michael Caine's masterly line in the Italian Job...

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guitarsPosted by angharad 31 Aug, 2017 11:03PM
the subject of how to remember interesting or funny things to write about on my new blog comes up.

"the trouble is," i say, "unless i write things down straight away i forget them. that's the trouble with being so old. like the other morning when you got all princessy about me trying to strip the bed while you were still in it - you said some really funny things but i've forgotten them all."

"you could record them on your phone," suggests the Ageing Rockstar, "just switch it on when we are talking about something you want to remember."

"yes but as soon as you saw me switch on the phone it would stop you saying hilarious things in case i quoted them!"

and, while i would love to tell you what the Ageing Rockstar replied, sadly i cannot. because i failed to record it on my phone...

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