THE terrible thing about getting older is that you are constantly assaulted by reminders of the fact. Only the other week, Twitter was telling me that New Order’s song Blue Monday had just turned 40.

As someone who had watched the band perform the song just a matter of weeks after it was released at Stirling University back in April 1983, this was another prompt to make me think of time’s winged chariot and all that. The next day, Twitter told me that Don’t Talk to Me About Love by Altered Images was also celebrating the big 40. Really, how is that possible?

The joy of pop is the way it makes you feel young. But sometimes it can do the opposite.

Four decades seems a long time from this end of the telescope and yet in many ways, the 1980s are still with us. Go into a supermarket, walk around a shopping mall and the music playing almost invariably dates back to then.

READ MORE: Bobby Bluebell: Pop's nearly man on when music was young at heart

You can see 1980s acts in your local venues (last Sunday night I went to see Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens in Edinburgh) or you can hear them on your radio.

Clare Grogan for one. Altered Images’ “pop pixie” (© Smash Hits, probably) was guest presenter on Virgin 80s Plus last Saturday for the first of four shows before Matt Goss of Bros and then Carol Decker of T’Pau take up the reins.

Grogan is always a tonic, so any excuse to spend time in her company is to be welcomed. So I dipped in and out of last Saturday’s show as I went about my weekend business. This mostly meant driving around the back roads of Stirlingshire singing along to Whitney. “I get so emotional baby/ Every time I think of you-ooh-ooh …”

Grogan was her usual joyous self, telling stories about running around north London in lockdown while listening to Bowie, debating whether her husband of 29 years, Stephen, is a keeper (the jury is still out, she suggested) and how, back in the day, Altered Images had a five-a-side football team who would offer to play any bands visiting Glasgow. Spandau Ballet took them up on it. There would be a great music documentary in that.

HeraldScotland: Altered ImagesAltered Images (Image: free)

Actually, I could have done with more of Grogan. Virgin 80s Plus policy seems to be that music trumps talk, which is commendable unless it’s the talk you want to hear.

But while I would be perfectly happy if I never heard Starship’s We Built This City again in my life, I can’t deny the pleasure of hearing old tunes that I know (and sometimes like).

Altered Images were themselves on the playlist with I Could Be Happy, which Grogan admitted was class. “I’m laughing at my brass neck,” she said. “If you had told me 40-plus years ago that people would still be listening to our songs I’d think, ‘That’s actually a bit weird,” she also admitted. “And yet it isn’t. We’re connected and I really feel that.”

Earlier last Saturday morning over on Radio Scotland, Anna Massie was at a burlesque dance studio up a close in Falkirk town centre for It’s a Small World.

As an adopted Falkirk bairn, I’ve often seen the sign for Glitter Kiss and wondered what went on inside. Massie’s programme gave us an insight. Empowerment for the most part, it seems. Talking to the women who came to the studio, Massie uncovered stories of injury (some quite serious) and domestic abuse. But also, and more importantly, recovery. The result was as uplifting as Clare Grogan’s laughter.

“It’s not stripping,” one of the dancers pointed out. “Folk have got that thing that we all take our clothes off.” “It’s so much more than that?” Massie suggested.

“Oh definitely. It’s exercise, coming up those 75 stairs. Just getting here is a workout.”


Listen Out For: Ramblings, Radio 4, Thursday, 3pm

The last of Clare Balding’s three hikes on Orkney takes her to the Broch of Gurness, accompanied by Steve Jenkinson and his dog Teal.