I once heard that the average life-span of a rock star is 37, or thereabouts. So I suppose we might consider those decades older who are still successfully plying their trade, what… survivors? And, unless cynically treading the nostalgia lucre, we might also admire their longevity. After all, what’s a professional musical entertainer supposed to do? I mean, it would be difficult, after all that adulation, to re-train for a more, err, prosaic occupation, wouldn’t it?
Fame and fortune nearly didn’t happen for left-handed, often underrated guitarist Tony Iommi. Over forty years ago, just as he was poising himself to become a full-time musician, an industrial accident deprived him of the tips of two fingers of his right hand. Undeterred, he improvised himself a couple of plastic and leather replacements, and the rest is history (well, most of it, anyway).
Now, in his early sixties, Iommi has reached another decisive crossroads. With painkillers and anti-inflammatories no longer alleviating the pain of repetitive strain injury, he has, in a bid to regenerate his shot digital cartilage, opted to undergo treatment with (and inevitably become celebrity endorsement for) adult stem cells.
Well, as one who possesses copies of much of his catalogue, I hope it goes well. However, I wonder where he’s had this done, and specifically how, and with what cells? Because the word on this street is that this is not yet a clinically validated treatment, with a quick reading around of the state of play regarding stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis (which sounds similar; ie, disintegration of cartilage) suggesting more relevance to football-worn knee types like me.
But I can’t afford it.