Ageing and Contemporary Female Musicians: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ageing and Contemporary Female Musicians

1st Edition

By Abigail Gardner


176 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138048065
pub: 2019-08-05
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    Ageing and Contemporary Female Musicians focuses on ageing within contemporary popular music. It argues that context, genres, memoirs, racial politics and place all contribute to how women are 'aged' in popular music.


Framing contemporary female musicians as canonical grandmothers, Rude Girls, neo-Afrofuturist and memoirists settling accounts, the book gives us some respite from a decline or denial narrative and introduces a dynamism into ageing. Female rock memoirs are age-appropriate survival stories that reframe the histories of punk and independent rock music. Old age has a functional and canonical ‘place’ in the work of Shirley Collins and Calypso Rose.


Janelle Monáe, Christine and the Queens and Anohni perform of ‘queer’ age, specifically a kind of ‘going beyond’ both corporeal and temporal borders. Genres age, and it introduces the idea of the time-crunch; an encounter between an embodied, represented age and a genre-age, which is, itself, produced through historicity and aesthetics. Lastly it goes behind the scenes to draw on interviews and questionnaires with twenty women involved in the contemporary British and American popular music industry; DIY and ex-musicians, producers, music publishers, music journalists and audio engineers. Interested in these ‘back line’ women, it offers a snapshot of how age and gender might matter (or not).


Ageing and Contemporary Female Musicians is a vital intergenerational feminist viewpoint for researchers and students in gender studies, popular music, popular culture, media studies, cultural studies and ageing studies.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 More than Music: Women’s Rock Memoirs:

Chapter 2 Shirley Collins and Calypso Rose: Grand Maternal Queens

Chapter 3 ‘Tilted’: The Queer Ages and Sideways Spaces of Janelle

Monáe, Christine and the Queens and Anohni

Chapter 4 Ageing with Alt Rock and Folk

Chapter 5 Rude Girls: Ageing, Race and Place

Chapter 6 "They’re not going to give me Stormzy’:

Ageing Matters Behind the Scenes

After word Age Stages, a Reflection



About the Author

Abigail Gardner is Reader in Music and Media at the University of Gloucestershire, UK and writes on ageing, temporality and marginality, particularly in relation to women and popular music. Publications include Popular Music and Ageing in Europe (2019), PJ Harvey and Music Video Performance (2015) and Rock On: Women, Ageing and Popular Music (2012). She is a founder member of, has led Erasmus + media and storytelling projects and produced 'In My Own Right', a documentary short (Zinder and Gardner, 2019) about two women's relationship in a small Orthodox community.

About the Series

Interdisciplinary Research in Gender

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies