THE BLOG

Why Bruce Springsteen Will Always Be Cooler Than Facebook

13/06/2013 22:38 | Updated 11 August 2013

Who wants my precious spare ticket to this weekend's Bruce Springsteen gig? Really. Because I desperately need someone to tell me I'm not a boring, uncool, faded jeans, slightly-paunched, greying, 40-something rocker whose refusal to grow up is no longer charming but worrying.

I found myself discussing the essence of 'cool' and tribalism with one of the media industry's leading figures today, laughing about a survey that suggested men only stop being childish aged about 43, more than a decade after women decide to grow up.

We're desperate not to feel 'uncool', whatever that may be, and so end up playing 5-a-side until our hamstrings snap, blindly consuming double-entendre cocktails in darkened basements with shiny-faced work colleagues and, well, singing about riding through mansions of glory in suicide machines instead of settling down for a nice Saturday night curry and a boxset.

But it's not just mid-lifers like me. My 15-year-old daughter has decided that Facebook is definitely and unforgivably uncool. For three reasons. First, she's finally heeded my warnings about baring your life to the world without considering the consequences, which I think has profound implications for where the untethered internet will be headed once today's youngsters take the reins.

Second, texting is the only thing that matters and - what a shock this is - she actually likes talking to 'real' friends on the phone instead of poking strangers. Thank God. Third, and most important, I'm on Facebook. So is her mum. So are her teachers, her grandparents, every 'boring' brand out there and - worst of all - her 12-year-old brother. Is there anything more uncool than that? Apart from Bruce, obviously.

So what is cool? Wanting to be different and unconventional? Is it an image of knowing superiority? Is it being the first at doing or trying something and then bailing out when the masses get to it? Once it's lost, as it surely will be, can it be rediscovered?

People in the fields of marketing, PR, journalism and branding are paid enormous sums and lauded by titans of industry for solving those riddles, and they're not always right. I'm trying to find my own way through this unforgiving jungle but perhaps instead of seeing 'coolness' as a line graph, it's a circle. So that when something is so uncool that it's as far away from being cool as possible, it becomes cool again because you basically don't give a stuff what anyone else thinks - your defiance in the face of fashion is what makes you cool.

By my reckoning then, I, with my love of Bruce, Bob Dylan, Westerns, spy novels, old T-shirts, rain-sodden hikes round the Lake District and chicken kiev, will be way cooler than Facebook ever is.

If only my children, with the promise of a free ticket to one of the greatest live rock performers there ever has been or will be, could see that.