27

At 27, women are at their most beautiful, and rockstars kill themselves.

Jimi Hendrix.
    Janis Joplin.
       Kurt Cobain.

Justine Frischmann, who should know, speculates on the rockstars in The Observer.

“From the drugs, she’s learnt humility, she says. She also watched Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie coming off tour and being unable to feed himself or have normal relationships with people in the street – the result of ‘having to behave like a pop star for 20 years through thick and thin, with all the neurosis that goes with it and all the paranoia that goes with it and all the drugs that go with it’. At this point, she knew that she ‘had never been cut out to be a pop star’.

‘I’ve learnt that success can interfere with creativity. In a big way. And on a personal level, I’ve learnt that my sanity’s more important than success. And that I actually get a great deal more pleasure out of small things in life than big things.’

Isn’t that what your twenties is about, I wonder. In pop years, Frischmann is now said to be 33.

‘Yeah, it almost seems like your twenties is about having everything you ever thought was true proved wrong. And I think that’s why so many people kill themselves at 27. You just can’t take any more of finding out how wrong you were! And then, by the time you reach your early thirties, you find out that it doesn’t really matter, because it all keeps going on and what you think about it is not really that important. It’s just a matter of trying to make some sense of the small things. Stop trying to control everything and let it happen. Also, your ambitions change, become less to do with trophies, I think. That said, I don’t feel that anyone could have survived what we went through. I went into it with a really good head on my shoulders, very stable, quite smart, quite aware of the pitfalls because I’d seen them around me… there was no way of keeping people mentally healthy. It was impossible.’

When I was small, I had a red velour jacket with ’27’ stitched to it in big blue letters. It never occurred to me I would be 27 one day—that was as old as Mum, for God’s sake. Now it occurs to me that I never will be 27 again. But that’s fine.