when life's just one long party
Five years ago, Rosie Rofe went to her first rave. She liked it so much, she bought the club. Suzy Barber meets the oldest raver in town 4 'Most people of my age are boring: too scared of going out in case they get mugged. And they don't like loud music' 4
Sunday 26 November 1995
Since then, the 71-year-old grandmother of two has been asked to host the London club Megatripolis and has just co-launched a new hard house club called Parallel Youniversity.
"The idea of Parallel is to mix education with entertainment," she says, handing me a cup of tea in the front room of her Thirties semi in Finchley. "It's a place where people can do yoga or get involved with group discussions in the lecture room as well as having a dance. That's what clubs should be like. I don't like places where you just hear the music going thump, thump, thump. There has to be a quiet area where people can talk."
Rosie was born in Stamford Hill, north London but has lived in Italy, Switzerland and Malta, often with millionaires. She was married at the age of 34, had a daughter, and then got divorced after her husband failed to take her across Afghanistan dressed as a boy on a donkey, as he had promised. She spent the Sixties and Seventies going "to happenings and meeting famous and interesting people". She trained with FM Alexander to teach his technique and initiated the Festival of Mind, Body and Spirit at a mansion flat behind Biba's on Kensington High Street, collaborated with Lindsay Kemp and became friends with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Later she became a practitioner of the Alexander Technique and set up home in a boyfriend's flat in west London and earned "pots of money".
But the fun didn't really start until she reached her seventies: "As you get older you realise half the things people do are bluff and that you're just as able to do them too. I'm far less inhibited now than I used to be. I don't get stage fright anymore." Which is why it's not difficult to spot Rosie when she's raving. She's the one with the green wig, long skirt and shiatsu sandals doing automatic dancing on stage. The wig, she says, keeps her warm; the long skirt hides the ladders in her tights; the sandals are a lot more comfortable than high heels.
Rosie doesn't see age as an issue, but admits she does find most people her own age quite boring. "They're often very straight. They're too scared of going out in case they get mugged and they don't like loud music. I don't have lot in common with them."
The only time Rosie finds it necessary to mention her age is when a young admirer is propositioning her, again. "I've had enough of that now," she sighs. "A year ago, some boy was ringing me up all the time asking me when am I going to see him. I'm not a kidnapper."
She has had the sex, got the rock 'n'roll (well, rave) and tried the drugs (though she insists that you can maintain a higher state of consciousness through doing the Alexander Technique than dropping acid). "I don't want to moralise about people taking drugs, but I can't afford to spend pounds 12 on them, not on my pension."
8 Parallel Youniversity: Thursdays, 6pm-6am, Bagley's Studio, York Way, London N1 (0171 625 7165)
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