British woman belied age with unique DJ career
Ruth Flowers as DJ Mamy Rock was a senior citizen who traded simple retirement in idyllic England for life as a disc jockey in world famous nightclubs.
SENIOR LIFE Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
This month’s Amazing Senior passed away several years ago, but in researching amazing seniors, Ruth Flowers of Bristol, England stands out. She still can be a great inspiration in how she lived her final years, in her vitality, her love for life and her absolute courage to do something unconventional in her senior years.
At the age of 70, Flowers took a bold step in her life. She had realized teaching “little toads with no interest in what I was doing,” as a trainee drama teacher had been no fun. She also had owned a fabric shop and a village shop in England, while enduring a simple retirement.
But one fateful night she found something she could love doing. On her grandson’s birthday, Flowers joined him at a London nightclub.
The bouncer at the door told Flowers, “You don’t want to go in there, madam.” Flowers responded with “Yes, I jolly well do, it’s my grandson’s birthday!”
Inside, she discovered a glorious cacophony of sight and sound.
“What I realized was that these young people were just having so much fun.” Flowers told her grandson that she could “arrange things like this, for the local kids.”
Even more fateful than that nightclub adventure, was her meeting with a French music producer, Aurelien Simon, soon after that. Simon sought her out after seeing photos of her on the internet from a 2003 photo shoot she had been invited to model in as a “bling granny” character conceived by the photographer.
Simon thought she should become a disc jockey.
“I just thought that was the craziest thing I’d ever heard,” Flowers said. “But what did I have to lose?”
Wearing diamante-encrusted headphones, spiky silver hair, red lipstick, a gold bomber jacket, tracksuit bottoms and lots of big heavy jewelry with huge sunglasses and a youthful smile, Mamy Rock was born.
Simon took a hands-on approach, training Flowers in DJ techniques. He introduced her to electro, a style of dance music with a fast beat and synthesized backing track. He helped her build her image while she developed her own mixing style. Some of her favorite artists were Freddie Mercury and The Black Eyed Peas.
Within five years, Flowers shot to international stardom on the European club circuit. That “bling granny” had become a real life DJ, wowing the young adults who flocked to see her, holding court as DJ in places like Queen, the biggest nightclub in Paris.
As Mamy Rock, Flowers experienced a life totally different from most seniors. She hit the road, boarded airplanes, stayed in hotels and excelled at her new calling. Even though she performed for thousands of people in the most renowned venues worldwide, she was quoted as saying, “I’m just a DJ,” but her fans would differ.
Student Pauline Robert said, “We adore Mamy Rock. She loves to make us dance. We all want her as our grandmother.”
Nightclub goer Alexandra Ledys said of her, “It’s so cool, I’ve never seen a DJ that old before. Music brings together all generations.”
In 2010, Flowers was quoted as saying, “I don’t know why they make such a fuss of me, but it’s like adoration. It’s all photograph, photograph, kissy kiss kissy. They try to hug me, they tell me they want me to be their grandma, they even throw roses at me — which let me tell you, is quite amazing for a woman of my age!”
Flowers admitted to a reporter that her new role suited her more than anything she had done before. Mamy Rock’s first single, “Still Rocking,” came out on July 5, 2010. Her last single “Kissy Kissy” was released on April 7, 2014. She died shortly after that on May 27, 2014.
In 2017, a documentary of her life, “Mamy Rock: The Amazing Story of a Very Young Old Person,” was released posthumously by a French production company. Just google “Mamy Rock YouTube” to check out videos of her.