Too old to headbang?


headbang-main_fullI am a headbanger. A hair-whipping, brain frazzling, metalheaded headbanger.

And then I turned thirty.

And ‘am’ became a tentative ‘sometimes’.

I went to a metal gig soon after my thirtieth birthday; thrashed my head around in the maniacal, and not unaccustomed manner, that said head has come to expect… and gave myself some or other version of concussion.

No friend, I wish I was joking.

I left the gig: saw stars, felt brutally nauseous, thought I was going to pass out but managed to not spew the whole tube ride home (it was no mean feat)… until I hit the station escalator – the longest escalator in the world, of course. Blasting chunks into my hands and jersey, I tried to act normal – H.A. H.A – as I watched pieces of dolmades embed themselves in the grooves of the less-than-impressed metal stairs that were carrying me to the beautiful anonymity of the outside.  After lurching my way toward the exit, I ditched my woollen gurge bag on the side of the street and carried on in a merry-I-have-not-just-purged-my-insides-all-over-London way, contemplating wtf!?  every second of the ten-minute bus ride home.

My body had failed me.

Or maybe I’ve just got too much hair?

Either way…

Since that day, I have tried headbanging at home, in secret, just to see what will happen – at least if I concuss myself again no one is there to see my shame and my very fragile street cred will remain mostly intact. But I’ve got to be honest; it’s a little challenging. The truth of the matter is: I have lost my metal mojo. Two kids and a whole lot less clubbing later, I am out of practice. I mean, I know how to bang and thrash – the music demands it – but afterwards…

afterwards, I expect to suffer.

In a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2008, researchers concluded that headbanging to a typical heavy metal tempo could cause mild traumatic brain injury or concussion, and neck injury, particularly as the tempo of the music and angle of movement increases – if the range of movement of the head and neck is greater than 75 degrees, you’re screwed.

Fuck that shit.

No one ever said life was easy. ‘Specially not for a metalhead.

Am I too old to headbang?


Will I stop?

Hell. No.

Read more about the BMJ research at ABC Science – “Head-banging hammers brain”