Liam Gallagher needs new hips. Arthritis has left the greatest rock’n’roll frontman of his generation in constant pain. Only herbal sleeping tablets bring him night-time solace. “They’ve saved my life,” said Liam. “One of them, seven hours out, no pain, nothing.”
Liam Gallagher will be 50 in a few months. An ageing Liam, with arthritic hips, touches a particular nerve. For a number of years, nearly 30 years ago, he was the embodiment of youth. The imprimatur of cool, in a buttoned-up, oversized anorak and great hair, there was nothing that his force of nature couldn’t conquer. He’d live forever. And now, here he is slathering himself in Deep Heat and searching out a sauna to relieve his creaking bones.
Everybody gets old, if they’re lucky. And while Liam sounds a warning bell that despite changes in science, age happens, he still has an interesting third act ahead. He’s about to headline stadiums this summer. He’s sold out two nights at Knebworth. It’s not just ageing fans hoovering up tickets. Front rows will be filled with the children of those who loved Oasis first time around. Crocked hips or not, Liam represents the pinnacle of something for a new generation.
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Which, according to increasing studies, is the best way ahead. Not, necessarily, being the new figurehead for a new generation, but finding a way to be part of a world in which people will live longer, and that living is with interest and purpose.
The Stanford Center on Longevity have set themselves to this task. They estimate that almost half of five-year-olds in the US will live to be 100 – a profound change for humanity. And with this in mind, they have set up a new organisation called The New Map Of Life, looking at proper ways ahead – like investing early in young children to help nurture future health, investing in public health and adapting it for people at different ages, and also looking at the world of work.
If, as they estimate, the newborn of today will have to work for 60 years, that can’t all be 40-hour weeks. There needs to be adaptation over a lifetime, between full and part-time work, better lifelong learning chances, and much more flexibility. There is also much consideration to building what they call longevity-ready communities, where physical activity and social interaction is developed. It’s a fascinating box they are opening.