You realise you’re getting old when you know Stone Roses and Rod Stewart are playing in Carlisle and you really don’t give a damn.

Not that there’s anything wrong with either – quite like both, to be honest. And it’s great that they’d even consider gracing our Great Border Outback.

But when the prospect of doing the live gig thing, as opposed to pouring a glass of wine and listening to a CD, leaves you cold, it’s clear something has been deleted from the old vim and vigour.

I used to have both. At least I think so. But now I’m keenly aware of having lost one of them. I’m just not entirely sure which one has abandoned.

There was a time when I’d travel the length of breadth of the country to see and hear live music performers, with crowds of likeminded, impassioned fans.

Pop, hard rock, jazz – more the latter than either of the former – were my passion.

Michael Jackson, Genesis, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, the Groundhogs… and yes, I did Rod’s Faces too.

Duke Ellington, Basie, Ella, Buddy Rich, Chris Barber.

I was and am a huge fan of big bands.

Anne Pickles In fact, one of my proudest and most treasured memories is of me – unaware of prestige gig etiquette – standing mid A Train and wandering off to find the loos, only to have Count Basie halt the whole kit and caboodle and play, sweetly, on his piano: We Know Where You’re Going.

I was mortified at the time, obviously. But I’m quietly proud that they still talk of it in West Yorkshire.

And Basie did wave affectionately… jazz guys are nice like that.

And there’s another thing.

You know you’re knocking on when your first consideration is the loos.

Where they will be, how long will you need to queue for them, what state will they be in – that kind of thing.

All of the above tends to keep me away from big gigs and festivals – of which Cumbria has many.

There comes a time when boring basics matter.

Ladies of a certain age prefer nice toilets with mirrors, scented soaps, dry floors... know what I mean?

So yes, it’s time to admit my gigging days are over. They are in the past. Fun while they lasted and while nasty loos didn’t bother me.

But now… I don’t mind so much, if I’m honest.

There’s a time for everything and that particular ship has sailed.

The good thing is that younger folks who don’t mind much about where they wee, still support live music the way I used to.

More power to them.

Go, enjoy! Be silly, excited, elated. Sing, dance and shine your lights.

Because I can’t begin to imagine how musicians – of whatever genre – will ever make any kind of living if what they create, with unique originality, is only ever downloaded free from YouTube, Spotify or whatever no-pay streaming service is used to rip them off.

That’s sad. Sadder than worrying about dodgy toilets, parking and the rest.

It raises red flags, warning of the death of music.

So, more than sad, it’s scary.

My brother is a musician. Well, he plays lead guitar in a band which performs most weekend evenings, up and down the country.

He streams free music through sophisticated, expensive equipment all the time.

“Would you play for no money?” I ask him.

“Get real, Annie. That’s different,” he keeps saying.

I still don’t know how it can be.

But I do know that music is more than the food of love, it’s the uplifting substance of life.

And I’d hate to have to exist without it.

I still buy CDs. That makes me an old fogey in this digital, freebie-downloading age. But I wouldn’t work for nothing, so I fail to see why musicians – who give me such pleasure – should either.

And, if in argumentative mood, you want to know why I don’t do big gigs – well, in defence, I can only offer up the fact that I was there once, I did that.

But now… toilets and advanced age. It comes to us all.