Can I just distract you from your pint for a minute? Did you remember Madonna’s birthday this week? She’s going to be Sixty!
Madonna who? I hear some you mumble, you know… ”Holiday!…it would be so nice…if we took a holiday…we’re gonna have a celebration… ” Whether we dig her music genre or not, we all know her and her songs, she is, and always has been, the Queen of Pop and she has survived in an industry that is almost as fickle as the hospitality trade.
I grew up with Madonna, she’s four years older than me, but I was too much into rock to “get in to the groove” with her but I still followed her, and her songs are very much the background to my life sound track and I could join in with nearly all the words. I wanted to be Suzi Quatro. Then I moved on to Debbie Harry and Chrissy Hind, and guess what, apparently these are women she has looked up to too. She went on to be a superstar and I went on to become a mum. She carried on, with ageless vigour and energy, raging against boring, against tradition, safe… She was wild and challenging and the world loved her. Confusingly for me, she kept on reinventing her image and I didn’t get it, I always saw that as being artificial and insincere but I now realise that she was telling us you can be who you want to be, even if (or especially if) that means being lots of people at different times – rather like Mr Benn, she has given us eighties badass, fifties glamour, demure Evita, girl next door and leather clad dominatrix to name but a few. She even sported the English country woman look and topped it off with a tweed flat cap and a pint of real ale. She’s now an ordinary “soccer mom” but I rather think that the window of being ordinary has passed. If only she had chosen the same route as me, it would be so much easier for her.
I have looked at hundreds of pictures of her lately and she certainly does not look sixty or at least how sixty is supposed to look, depending on which one you look at, she could still possibly pass for thirty something. Starting children “late in life” is certainly one way of staying ahead of the curve, I’m being called Granny now, while she is still Mommy/Mummy depending (I suppose) which one of her six children is speaking to her. A macro-biotic diet and endless hours of yoga should do the trick too, but I doubt if real ale comes in to her regime any more, which is a shame because I think she’s missing a trick. As Nigel often points out to me, “real ale is zero cholesterol, full of anti-oxidants, fibre and natural ingredients”. However, that may be so, but one of us is sashaying and rocking across stages all over the world and one of us isn’t! Maybe when some little person in her life, starts calling her “Gran”, like I have to put up with, she will realise how old she actually is.
I should imagine that come Thursday, Madonna’s big day, she will be inundated with gifts of Christopher Matthew’s book “Now We Are Sixty”. She will have enough copies to open a book shop (I bet that’s one she hasn’t thought of yet – “Bookshop Owner” – except Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan have already done that in the films Notting Hill and You’ve Got Mail, respectively. Darn it….)
Matthews has also written a book called “A Bus Pass Named Desire”, now I think that would be a good title for a film for her to appear in, it is about romances for the young at heart and how love can be found anywhere… “opportunities waiting to be seized at the bridge table, on the tennis court, in the herbaceous border..”. She would probably write her own version, if you want to know what I mean just look up the lyrics to her song S.E.X. from her Rebel Heart album. Matthews nailed it when he wrote “…When I was Twenty I thought I knew plenty. When I was Thirty I liked to be flirty. When I was Forty I got rather sporty. When I was Fifty I turned very thrifty. But now that I’m Sixty, I’ve got to confess, that more often than not, I couldn’t care less.”
I do wonder, if it wasn’t for Madonna would we be able to enjoy a pint of Gritchie English Lore today? It is all his doing of course, Guy Ritchie is a self-made man, but his association with Madonna would almost certainly have made him more well-known, and that lovely estate on the Dorset/Wiltshire border might never have happened if he hadn’t been married to her, ergo the creation of the brewery. Her brief dalliance with real ale back in 2004 didn’t do the real ale industry, and women’s perception of drinking real ale, any harm at all. So, this Thursday, (and hell, maybe for the whole weekend if you like), seek out say, some Tiny Rebel or Gritchie Summer Lore, lift your pint and say “Many Happy Returns” to the old girl!