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Ageing to the sound of music

I’ve just discovered that I have onychorrhexis. For months now, I’ve been telling myself that I should go see my doctor but I never found the time. So I did what any semi-digital native might do – I checked my symptoms online. And there’s no doubt. I have onychorrhexis – vertical ridges on my fingernails. And the main cause of this condition? Ageing.

I’m lucky. Had the ridges been horizontal, they’d be known as Beau’s lines. These, apparently, are caused by ‘diseases that affect the entire body, including malnutrition, heart attack (myocardial infarction), severe infections, and metabolic disturbances, including poorly controlled diabetes’. Whew. I only have to deal with ageing. I just love a bit of perspective.

I am getting older, though. And this fact was brought home to me earlier this week as I walked the streets of Budapest catching up with what’s going on. I make it a habit to take a walk and read the billboards, the posters, the tram-stop advertisements, just to see what’s happening in the city. And with summer within sneezing distance and the shoes and socks already discarded in favour of sandals, the festival season is almost upon us.

dropkickThis year’s Sziget (Island of Freedom Festival 10-17 August) line-up has left me cold, even colder than last year. I don’t recognise any of the acts, apart from Robbie Williams and the Dropkick Murphys (and in truth, it might be the Murphy part I’m relating to – I couldn’t begin to tell you what they sound like but I’d hazard a guess that it’s some type of Celtic rock). Florence and the Machine? Marina and the Diamonds? Gentlemen and the Evolution? Who are these people?

vayaLast year, I missed out on VeszprémFest (this year happening from 15-18 July). I was raging. Too late I saw the posters for Katie Melua (I could sing you at least two of her songs … offkey of course). Too late I saw the posters for Vaya Con Dios (Dani Klein would go on to play her last concert in October last year and that I missed the opportunity to hear her live still makes me mad). And too late I saw the posters for Youssou Ndour – it’s a personal ambition to be able to dance well to his music. I could have gone for the whole five days and felt at home. So this year, I was on the ball. But who have they playing: Kool and the Gang and Roger someone who used to be with Supertramp. I was hoping for Leonard Cohen and Imelda May and the Beautiful South. But no joy.

When I looked at the line-up for Balaton Sound (9‒12 July), I despaired. Hardwell, Nicky Romero, Afrojack, DVBBS, Showtek? I’d never even heard of this lot – but then I realised that they’re DJs. I’m excused. That last time I was at a disco, the Parish Priest was passing through the hall making sure we all had our arms fully extended during the slow set.

motorheadThe Volt Festival in Sopron (1‒4 July) brings me out in hives stressing about how uncool and out-of-touch I am. In fairness, I have heard of Motorhead and enjoyed an interview I heard recently with Fat Boy Slim, but neither of them would aerate my Aperol Spritz.

palomaI was charging my ignorance of all things modernly musical up to me getting older but then remembered that a friend in her seventies had turned me on to George Ezra and another one tipping eighty is mad about Paloma Faith. Wait! I saw that name on a poster somewhere. That’s all I need: my septuagenarian friends bopping away at Sziget while I sit at home, educating myself on YouTube. Ridges on my nails? Onychorrhexis? That’s the least of my worries.

First published in the Budapest Times 8 May 2015