you've apparently given up the bass guitar for the joys of paternity - something I find wholly admirable. If I've got it straight, this is your third time round, and you're happy, Suzanne's happy, and you're having a kid at 57. Great]

And this putative kid - I'm delighted to hear, in these days of going gene-hunting, that you don't care if it's boy or girl - is your second, because when you married Mandy Smith (now there was an event) you already had a son, Stephen, by your first marriage. To confuse matters, that same son, now 31, was engaged to Mandy's mother, Patsy - that is, your former mother-in-law. Unfortunately, they have now split, but at least that spares us the oddity of your daughter-in-law being 50 years older than your baby.

But the baby is terrific news. My last kid, born when I was 60, only managed to scramble one generation, coming into the world fully equipped with a niece. Generation gaps are greatly exaggerated anyway. As any girl knows, we men are slow starters, slow learners, and seriously emotionally retarded until we hit our stride at well, I used to say 40, then 50, and now I say 60.

Mind you, having a kid at 57 is not exactly like having one when you're in your twenties and a rock star. There are po-faced people around who're going to tell you that you are being selfish, that you won't be around (and why not?) to see your kid into its adulthood. Pay no heed. Not one of my kids says, hey, I don't want to be here because you're old]

You can also skip the whole business of people telling you that you're just trying to show how macho you are. Hell, man, the world's full of grievances these days, and if we paid attention to them, we wouldn't have time to enjoy the perilous pleasures of paternity.

One thing I can tell you is the new kid's going to change your life. It isn't just that kids keep you young; they recapitulate the world for you: how to handle a fork, how to talk, and is it dark on the other side of the Moon? Around 60 you begin to think you know everything, but your kid will know you know nothing. I can guess right now you're going to have some musical disagreements. What if he or she thinks the Stones are prehistoric?

I say go for it. People who don't want the bother of the mewling and the puking are the ones who're selfish; even more selfish are those who won't breed because they're scared of the competition. A real rolling stone, as against a Rolling Stone, lets life keep rolling along. A kid's a reason to live, and to live a purposeful life. A kiss to Suzanne.

(Photograph omitted)