My 53-year-old husband has decided to become a rock star, and I’m not even kidding.
He’s played bass since he was a kid and always dreamed of making it big but work and responsibilities got in the way of that dream, until now.
He still has two businesses to run, a couple of school-age kids and a delightful wife (if I do say so myself), but he also has a finite time on this planet, which is why, when he was invited to audition for a band he has followed since his teens, I persuaded him to go.
The audition is in Edinburgh, a long way from our native Kent. The band plans to go on a world tour and record at least two albums. That’s a lot of commitment for a man who’s used to working in the office in the back garden and only changes out of Pj’s if we have visitors.
When this man wears jeans, the kids ask why he’s put on his dinner suit, but in our wardrobe there is a secret stash of stage outfits, from the leather shirt you see in the feature photo, to military jackets and shirts with frilly cuffs like Adam Ant in a New Romantic fantasy.
He’s been in various bands since I’ve known him, in fact he was on stage when I first set eyes on him (yes, I was my husband’s groupie), so these costumes have had some airings over the years, but in small London clubs and pubs, and he’s never been away from home on tour.
So why have I decided that now would be a good time for him to leave us and go on the road?
It’s not because the businesses can run themselves.
It’s not because I can handle two kids at different schools, one with GCSE’s coming up, easily on my own.
It’s not even because, after 26 years, I’m ready for a break from his snoring, because I still quite like him, and (look at the picture) he’s quite easy on the eye.
It’s because I understand that he has an itch that he really wants to scratch. His biography on Bandmix says:
I want to recapture that feeling of a warm arc light on my face, a little dry ice swirling around my ankles, and the polite smattering of applause from a bemused audience.
I want that for him too (not the bemused bit).
Because life is hard. We almost lost our home in the last recession and I thought that was the end of the world. Our children were tiny, and I felt I was losing the nest for my chicks.
Now, I truly believe that if he gets the gig, and one of our businesses fails because he can’t give it the time it requires, we could downsize, live more frugally and still be happy. I know that having that option already makes us hugely fortunate, but the willingness to take that risk is new to me.
I’ve always been risk averse. Security and stability were crucial to me, but as I get older, I can see that dreams, purpose and fulfilment are more important than big houses and shiny cars (although both would be nice…)
I might eat my words if he comes back from a far-flung gig, drug-addled, booze-soaked, with a 25-year-old rock-chick on each arm. And I’m not pretending there won’t be some direct conversations about expectations on both sides if the audition goes his way, but you have to follow your dreams, right, and let the people you love follow theirs?
If you think you are too old to rock ‘n roll, then you are.Lemmy Kilmister
I’m also planning ahead (I’m not daft). One day I’ll be going on book tours to exotic locations and leaving him to the washing, cooking and school runs. Fair’s fair.
Until then, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the audition goes well, and soon I’ll be donning my age-old biker jacket and watching my old man on stage whilst the sound of his bass pounds in my solar plexus.
Because we’re older, but we’re not dead yet, and you’re never too old to rock.