The Survival Instinct. October 2017.

Dear Rowley,

Fasten your seatbelt, this is going to be a bumpy ride for anyone under thirty. Am I the only person with a few miles on the clock who is fed the fuck up with ageism? I read that the BBC is hiring Millennials to teach the old in the TV industry how to relate to the young. Who, in the name of Joan Bakewell, dreamed that one up? I should think Armando Iannucci’s quill is quivering with anticipation to write the parody sitcom.

I am ‘So Over’ Millennials being the sole focus of media, politics, popular culture and pornography. For centuries the elders of any tribe were respected and listened to. Today it seems that the entire focus is on the kindergarten. I do not believe that youth is wasted on the young. It is glorious to be young. But it is also a position of insecurity and a need to make checks and balances with people who have been there, done that and can offer sage advice.

There was a snippet on Twitter today about the editor of gay magazine Attitude who was told his book about growing up inspired by Madonna was too gay and irrelevant anyway because Madonna was an old woman of no interest to Millennials. Really? Isn’t that as offensive as saying an artist is too black?

I know gay life is a breeze now and that when teens come out they are greeted with applause, streamers and balloons. When I came out I was told I would never be happy and that I would probably die of AIDS. It wasn’t that long ago in the grand scheme of things. Madonna was a profound reference point. She was a lady who was telling us it was OK to be gay when the majority considered physical or mental abuse the natural response.

I am watching Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour tonight on DVD. She is now 59. I could not have done what she does in a live show in my twenties. This gorgeous woman produces shows that make all the pygmies of pop weep with despair. She is the Queen of Pop. End of story.

Every time I see Madonna perform she gives me life. She’s on my side, she is a consummate professional and alway exceeds expectations. I love her music because I grew up with it but also because she makes me keep up with the 21st century. I don’t give a hot damn what Madonna has to do to keep looking beautiful. She is beautiful.

I think Madonna has done more for gay rights than Harvey Milk. She is fearless and she gives us all hope that love is love wherever it happens to alight. I have experienced true love only twice and  neither actually matured into a relationship. But like Madonna I keep questing. The love quest is one of the major reasons to keep alive and keep trying.

Apropos this, my Mother and Father celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this month. Can you imagine? Fifty years together. It is such a tribute to them and their level of tolerance and affection. I am too old now to celebrate a 50th with anyone and that says a lot. But it also says a lot about the older generation. They knew how to persevere and make it work.

It is churlish to condescend to younger people but, then again, I find it soul destroying that they condescend to us. The worst tyranny is computers. Just because we were brought-up before the techno age, it seems that we are held ransom by techies who can code and plumb the depths of the Dark Web.

Well, let’s seek some perspective here. Older people have brains, experience and memory. We don’t need to Google the date of Queen Victoria’s birth. We know where New Orleans is without Google maps. We are aware how much or little cash is in our bank accounts without an iPhone alert.

The techno revolution has made young people arrogant and complacent. They have information but no knowledge. To be an intelligent human being you have to retain facts not just look them up every time you forget. We also saw a world when entertainment meant Sinatra, Liza or Ella not Miley, Bieber or some dumb rapper.

The BBC might want to consider lionising people with experience rather than making them feel like they don’t have the wherewithal to keep up with the world we live in. Old to me is pure gold and youth in need of fashioning through the flames of experience. When I watch Madonna in her late fifties dominating a stadium I think ‘good for us’.

I sincerely hope Madonna tours again and continues to be the top earner for stadium shows. If she goes into her 60s like Boadecia then there is hope for the rest of us. She is a force of nature and a woman who has inspired me all my life. Madonna has kept the faith with me and I keep the faith with her.