Defiantly, Madonna believes that age has nothing to do with personality or performance and she plans to go on entertaining us and living life to the full for as long as possible.
“I don’t think about age or years,” she says. “What is a birthday? Just another day for some fun and nice things and the next day everything goes back to normal. There are moments when I can’t believe I’m as old as I am but I am feeling good physically, perhaps even better than I did, say, 10 years ago, so life goes on.”
What has that to do with horses? Well, despite breaking more bones than promises, Madonna just loves horses and riding and cannot understand why she did not get involved much earlier in life.
“I was in my 40s when I first started to really ride,” she says. “I had always liked horses and had pony rides as a little girl but nothing like the real thing. Sometimes your career dictates what you do and somehow I never got round to actually getting on into the saddle to see if I could enjoy it as much as everyone else seemed to.
“I always liked watching showjumping and eventing and dressage as well as polo – why isn’t that an Olympic event, by the way? I liked horse racing too, just to see how great the horses were.
“It was Guy (Ritchie) who encouraged me to get onto a horse for the first time. Yeah, I was nervous; watching other people is one thing but doing it yourself is just so different. I loved it, though I thought I was fit until I had to get off the horse. My legs were like jelly and I thought the ground was going to swallow me up. Never for a minute did I think that it was too late in life for me to start riding.
“I have never been the sort of person that thinks that you have to plan your life like it is some kind of timetable. When I am 20 I must be like this, when I am 30 I must be like that and when I am 60 I must get some cosy slippers. That’s not me at all. Maybe it works for some people but definitely not for me. So I didn’t have a problem with starting to ride when I was nearer 50 than 40.”
Who could argue? Madonna has been pushing back the boundaries ever since she first arrived in the public eye and still rides the crest of a wave. Just announced is she’s giving a concert at any venue you came to name and the tickets will be gone in minutes.
Madonna Louise Ciccone was born in Bay City, Michigan on 16 August, 1958, to an international parenting – her father’s parents were Italian emigrants while her mother was of French-Canadian descent. Her father was an engineer designer in the motor trade. There were already two sons in the family when she was born and another brother and two sisters came later.
What was she going to do with her life? Her mother had died while she was still quite young and she felt the loss tremendously. “I got on with my studies,” Madonna explains. “I didn’t really want a social life and I was quite a loner really. I was close to my dad, and when you lose your mother you have a constant fear that you might lose your dad too. I wasn’t into fashions and make-up or anything like that. I did have an ambition though: I wanted to be someone and the desire just grew and grew.
“I didn’t feel as if I was going anywhere at college so I dropped out and decided that New York was the place for me. Even though I was not sure of my route, I had a dream. I wanted to be a big star. New York just seemed to be the right place, but it was a big deal for me. I had never even been in a cab before I arrived in New York.
“I didn’t have much money – about $35 actually. I didn’t know anybody. I still wanted to dance and I also wanted to sing. I wanted to do all those things. I wanted to entertain and make people happy. I think I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be loved by everybody and that meant that I wanted to be a star. I knew it was going to take hard work but I was prepared for that.”
In 1984, out came Like A Virgin and now Madonna was an international star. “I still didn’t see it as a pinnacle,” she says. “It was great, of course, but still only part of the journey. I have always wanted to go another step and another, whether in the studio or on stage. I wanted to make sure that people were getting something new and something all the time. There was never a one-time-for-all formula. To keep the audiences and fans interested I had to keep myself interested and that meant breaking new barriers all the time.