Want to track down a rock God? Put out a call on Woman’s Hour

Live fast, die young. I guess it was something the post-war generations were inevitably going to hit upon. What with the Spitfires and dealing with Jerry and all that.

Rock and roll was full of heroes and heroin. Scruffy hair, scruffy jackets and tight pants. It was almost as if they were living to excess just to shorten the number of years they’d have to spend imprisoned in the trousers their managers made them wear that were three sizes too small. Steve Tyler was technically dead for 8 minutes. Iggy Pop and Keith Richards must have some kind of internal lead-lining. They lived out all the stuff we would be too scared to do. Except climbing a tree in Fiji – Keith, most of us would do that.

The Who are my chosen gurus. They loved their music, but smashed up their tools every day, and you just don’t get that elsewhere in life. You don’t get a nice man from the gas board round to service your boiler, only for him to smash his screwdrivers into a million pieces on the floor in celebration of his work. Christopher Wren didn’t put the final ruler-drawn line to his plans for St Pauls, then set fire to his desk screaming ‘Thank you London, and goodnight!’.

So imagine my dismay when I turn on BBC One and see Adrian Chiles interviewing Roger Daltry on The One Show. Yes I know he’s a pensioner, and yes I know he has a trout farm (or something like that), but I can overlook those things if I stare back at the horizon of history. But suddenly he’s chatting to Dominic Littlewood about loft conversions and my rock-angst rage turns from red to a luke-warm yellow. Then Adrian asks him what modern bands he listens to, and Roger says he actually listens mostly to Radio 4.

Radio 4, people. Not even ‘the light programme’. Suddenly all the fast cars, the girls, the noise, the massive plinth Daltry has earned in my ‘who’s who’ of rock gods, start to f-f-fade away. I’m listening to the ‘Pinball Wizzard’, but now I know he’s informed by Humphries every morning. Instead of ‘Pictures of Lily’, I know he’ll be getting tips from Woman’s Hour. And there’ll be no ‘Substitute’ for a nice Horlicks with Book at bedtime. I bet Jim Morrisson wouldn’t be listening to The Shipping Forecast.

So the Mod generation has mellowed and fizzled out. Less gurus and life-coaches, as elder statesman to be payed due respects. I’m still not gonna start talkin ’bout my G-G-Generation though.

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