Since the death of punk icon Jordan earlier this month, aged 66, I’ve been musing a lot on the nature of punk. Also, this year marks 40 years since punk pioneer Joan Jett's ‘I Love Rock’n’Roll’ hit Number One in the UK charts. And Jett, now 63, has recently been talking about the nature of punk.

Even someone you might not necessarily regard as very punk - Texas frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri, 54 - has been talking about how she feels more like a "rebel" and "punk" today than she did as a young woman.

She explained: "When you get older you are more of a free spirit. I feel a lot freer and, I guess, I feel more like a rebel and more punk as I have got older than I ever did when I was younger, because I don't give a flying fuck."

I feel the same - the older I get, the more punk I feel and the less I want to conform to so-called norms, whether in work or in life. Not that I’m comparing myself to a rockstar, (although why not, when so many of my male counterparts in adland have done just that over the years). There’s something to be said about increasingly not giving a shit and instead embracing any mistakes you made along the way such as dodgy spiky haircuts you might have had (and as a former hairdresser, Sharleen probably understands that one more than most). 

Punks were the original disruptors after all so they didn’t always get everything right but the likes of Jett and Siouxsie Sioux didn’t just unapologetically pave the way for strong women to follow them in the march towards equality, they’ve embraced their past and are still around and just as vital today - and some, like Sharleen, get more rebellious with time and have even more fun.

Even the original supermodels are as visible today as they were in their 90s heyday, when they disrupted the fashion world, ripping up the rulebook and setting the catwalk agenda on their terms, with Giselle Bundchen famously stating that she wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.

Now in the 40s and 50s, they’re all over ad campaigns again, with Helena Christensen strutting her stuff for Karen Millen, Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum modelling Kim Kardashian’s latest Skims shapewear collection and Naomi Campbell gracing the cover of Vogue in February.

Finally, at least in the worlds of music and fashion, menopausal doesn’t mean a sad-looking grey-haired woman gazing pensively out of a window looking at other people having fun anymore. She’s a kickass broad who’s probably dyed her hair pink anyway.

Why is this important? Well, if the past two years have shown us anything at all, it is that there is no ‘normal’ - anything can be upended at any minute. We’ve all re-evaluated our lives and decided what’s important. 

As a result, women in their fifties and beyond aren’t prepared to be the meek little women in the background anymore. They want to rebel against those norms. When it comes to life, yeah, they’ve made mistakes, been there, got the t-shirt, and they’re damned if they’re now going to use that t-shirt as a duster, instead, wearing them with pride.

They won’t ‘grow old gracefully’, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean, other than to shut women up and dim their visibility once they’re deemed to be the wrong side of 40. 

The punk scene of the 1970s was born out of frustration at establishment norms against a backdrop of social fragmentation, recession, rampant racism and socio-economic change - fast forward 40 years and now, with Covid chaos, the cost of living crisis, society never more divided, and an actual war in Europe rather than a mere cold war, echoes of the 70s are as deafening as crunching punk guitar chords.  

So women in the middle of our lives should be finding our inner punks - rather than tearing each other down as society dictates. We should rebel against those norms and hold each other up instead and sod comparing ourselves to other younger models on Insta. We should be uncompromising and authentic in the same way as the punk queens that went before us. Find your voice, stand for something - stand out, don’t sell out. 

Channelling punk energy is important in our industry too -  some of my best creative work has come from my refusal to be conventional. You can’t break the mould creatively if you’re personally always trying to fit into one. Pressures to conform are so high right now, which is so detrimental. The old punk mantra of “fuck the system” springs to mind - as Sid Vicious sang, do it your way. 

The industry should be encouraging everyone to rebel against conformity and nurture the freedom to be ourselves. Apart from anything else, it at least makes the work and your job more fun in an increasingly bleak world.

As Steve Jobs said, the key to success is to “stay hungry, stay foolish” - right now, to that I’d add and "stay just a little bit punk".