Lock Up Your Daughters

The highly processed and idolised boy band One Direction is landing in our fair city next week, so here is a warning for one and all. I live over the fence from the venue, so I’ll be reminding my husband to turn down his hearing aids lest the squealing does even more damage to his old rocker ears. We’ll have a first aid station set up at our gate to assist the fainters as well.

Put together to appear on UK X Factor 2010, and placed third, they were snaffled by manufactured music mogul Simon Cowell and the rest, they say, is history. They have amassed a personal combined wealth of $25 million and cause a mass fluttering of tween and teen hearts around the globe.

cover of One Direction

Boy bands are not a new phenomenon. Think back to Frankie Vali and the Four Seasons, The Osmonds, The Beatles (OK, maybe not quite in the same vein, but they did get the screamers and fainters), The Monkees and The Jackson Five,  through to The Bay City Rollers, New Kids on the Block, Boyz ii Men, Westlife, ‘NSync, Jonas Brothers and who could forget The Hansons.

It’s all about repressed sexuality, unattainable perfection and being oh so ‘on trend’ it’s oozing out of their pores. I’ve heard young girls say their favourite 1D member is the best because “he really gets me and understands me!”

Baby you light up my world like nobody else. The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed. And when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell. You don’t know-oh-oh, you don’t know you’re beautiful. If only you saw what I can see, you’d understand why I want you so desperately. Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe, you don’t know-oh-oh, you don’t know you’re beautiful. That’s What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction Lyrics

The ability for young girls to attach themselves to complete strangers is what drives the sales, I must confess here to a major crush on Paul Stanley from Kiss in the seventies: those deep brown eyes and gorgeous curly hair… I bet he ‘got me’, sigh!

So, lock up your daughters, or at least check what they are wearing before they leave for the concert, so you can say “You’re not leaving the house in that.”

Did you have a boy (or girl band for that matter), that you loved, or still do? Confess, you won’t be judged.

By jingo it’s Jarvis Cocker


Jarvis Cocker that loveable, bespectacled beanpole has a new CD out called “Further Complications”. Some of you may, if you are as aged as moi, remember Pulp and the Britpop glory days of Blur, Suede, Elastica etc. Ah golden years of yoof…

Jarvis is a well known past master of the whimsical, piss-taking  ditty; songs wryly observing the banality of everyday life but inter-cut with a knowing grandeur and tongue-in-cheek posturing. This new album has all of that and also some very interesting new vocal explorations. I particularly marvelled at “Caucasian Blues” where Cocker, against all the odds, managed to sound like the bastard child of John Lydon singing  a Monkees number. Truly thrilling. And how I sniggered at these  lyrics “I met her in the museum of paleontology, and I make no bones about it”.

The Guardian review of “Further Complications” was less wholeheartedly enthusiastic and wondered “What’s eating Jarvis Cocker? Reviewer Craig McLean found the album lacking Cocker’s customary warmth but also noted that Jarvis had recently announced the end of his marriage. This new angry Jarvis Cocker, seething mass of bitterness though he may be, if the Guardian is to be believed, still managed to tootle down to HMV record store in London and spend 2 hours flogging and signing his CD over the counter. Now that is working class.

Anyway “Pah” and “granny-knickers” to the Guardian, what do they know, and yay to Jarvis Cocker and his new beard. And even if you don’t like this new one, The Jarvis Cocker record  from 2006 is always worth another listen.

Carry on Britpop

MusicI was an ardent fan of the Britpop bands. I queued for Oasis tickets when they were coming to New Zealand, and stamped my feet when they cancelled their gig. Now am looking forward to recapturing the heyday of Britpop with the new autobiography Bit of a Blur by Alex James. Alex was the foppish bass player from Blur. He seemed a bit of an aesthete, all floppy fringe, skinny hips and a faintly disreputable aura.

There has always been a connection between literature and “Cool Britannia”. It is no coincidence that Louise Wener, who was lead singer of Sleeper (and one of the significant females in the scene along with Justine Frischmann of Elastica) is now a novelist.

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