Thursday, 11 March 2010

Scary 1970s flashback: the night I met Status Quo at the Hordern Pavilion

Life can be cruel. About 30 years ago I would've happily jumped the bones of Status Quo's lead singer.

But now I'm older and wiser, I know what men are like (and what they like - it's usually 20 years younger than me) and I no longer aspire to be a rock 'n' roll groupie. A glass of wine and a cuddle in front of the telly with Spanner is enough to warm my toes.

And I'm not the only one who's aged. SQ's lead singer Francis Rossi, once the object of my desire, is older - much older. Wiser? Well, Status Quo still tours and Rossi, who used to have a mane of long brown hair in the 1970s when the band was in its hey day, is now somewhat less hirsuit.

I know this because on Thursday night I revisited my youth at a Status Quo concert at the Hordern Pavilion, the same place I first saw the band in the 1970s. SPOOKY.

My friend Mr Squeaky bought me a ticket to the gig after learning that I once adored the band - or more to the point - Rossi.

For those of you who are too young to remember SQ, the band is English and its core members Rossi and Rick Parfitt (Alan Lancaster left the band in the '80s and immigrated to Australia) are now well into their 50s (possibly 60s?). Think EastEnders, though Parfitt's died-blonde mop and ruddy complexion cause him to resemble an ageing Cronulla surfie. Rossi fits the mould - he could be a character from a Guy Ritchie flick.

Anyway, the story is this. I meet Mr Squeaky at the Hordern where he informs me he's won a competition to meet the band. This is so funny I can't stop laughing. At first I think he's pulling my leg.

But it's true. After our friend Mr Clean arrives we, and the 10 other lucky winners (all of us middle-aged), are escorted backstage and upstairs to a fluorescent-lit room with a shabby bar and white plastic tables on which dried-out quiches and cakes are piled.

Fortunately, the food is for the band's entourage, as we're not offered anything and are abandoned in a far corner of the room where the walls shudder from the impact of the support band playing below. Am I in Chile?

But then the band arrives and we're shaking hands with a young drummer and a young bass player, and then the really old keyboardist-cum-guitarist who I don't know from a bar of soap.

By the time my former heroes, Rossi and Parfitt, arrive to shake our hands they've done the rounds and there's no time to chat. I'm disappointed for so many reasons. They're both shorter and altogether smaller than they used to be, I'm sure. Rossi's hair is thinning, grey and slicked back.

And Parfitt says, "'Ello love," as he offers me a limp hand.

Once we're back in our seats with the rest of the geriatric crowd, the show starts (gawd, get me a rum and coke) and I realise it's impossible to rekindle the past. Once it's gone, let it go.


PS: Above is a photo of Mr Squeaky, Rick Parfitt and Mr Clean.


Anonymous said...

fitzy at 50! still clean

Shayne said...

Yeah, no different. Just a little grey and thinning, like Francis Rossi!