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Sir Paul, the Queen and the Pope shatter so many myths about older people

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One week on, I’m still processing that extraordinary performance by Sir Paul McCartney at Glastonbury. An 80-year-old man on stage for almost three hours. Playing the guitar and piano. Singing live. Joking with the audience and regaling them with anecdotes from the last century. Still recognisably McCartney.

When he and John Lennon started writing together in Liverpool in the late Fifties, Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister and man hadn’t been to the Moon.

The Glastonbury show was history and genius rolled into one, but it was also about the energy Macca brought to the occasion. To those who ignore and ridicule older people, this was a striking reminder of the contribution they can make.

Yes, his voice was huskier and occasionally wavered, but that only added to the authenticity of the epic moment when he became the festival’s oldest solo headliner.

This was never going to be a cosy exercise in nostalgia, with Sir Paul running through a short medley of hummable tunes. Instead, we witnessed yet another high point of a vital and still creatively exciting artist.

It’s important to note this, because we live in a shockingly ageist culture that routinely renders people invisible long before they collect their pension. Young women dread being ‘old’ so much they have Botox while teenagers. Yet as never before, we are seeing more evidence of those in advanced — even greatly advanced — age carrying on as they did when they were 25.

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Also on Saturday night........

© Belfast Telegraph

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