April 14, 2012
Over the years I've managed to score some serious brownie points with the kids thanks to this job. I know it's probably not entirely ethical but I've sneaked them into interviews I've done back stage with The Wiggles and brought home the occasional review copy of the latest Andy Griffiths book. Any way I can keep up the facade that what I do is somewhat cool, I'm all for it.
But I was stumped this week when my daughter asked me if I was going to interview One Direction, the British boy band of the moment who landed in Australia this week for their upcoming tour, and, if I was, was there any chance I could get tickets for her and a few of her friends. Like her whole class.
Yeah, sure, honey, just let me call someone. Not. There are some things that even your mum can't pull off.
She wasn't too upset with my answer, softened somewhat with a guarantee that I'll let her stay up and watch the Logies where they'll be performing, and if she wants to buy the tour magazine with two mega posters - ''You'll need a bigger bedroom!!'' - she can. No, she handled herself pretty well, especially compared to the screaming and distraught tweens at Sydney Airport earlier in the week when they realised that One Direction had been secreted out the back door.
Now, unless you've got tween-age daughters you've probably never even heard of One Direction. Here's a brief history. In 2010, the five lads - Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan - each auditioned for The X Factor but failed to qualify. One of the judges, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, suggested they get together and do the boy-band thing, and they then qualified for the groups category, finishing third overall. I like One Direction. Without knowing anything about them at all, they seem like nice, clean-cut boys, who've pumped out a first album full of melodious pop songs.
And that's what catches me out. When did being nice and clean-cut start counting in the boy-band stakes? When you become a mother, that's when. When you start thinking, well, if my daughter did want to date a musician, then curly haired moppet Harry Styles looks like a decent chap. And there's no rude words, tattoos, or goth make-up in sight. Sigh of relief.
I was tuned into ABC Radio 666 on Tuesday when Drive announcer Louise Maher was discussing One Direction and the whole phenomenon of pop culture, inviting listeners to call and admit to which band or musician they coveted as a teenager. Now, I'll hazard a guess that the audience of 666 at 3.30 in the afternoon doesn't contain many listeners who had posters of New Kids on the Block or Backstreet Boys on their bedroom walls. I think the most recent crush I heard someone admit to was George Michael - ''What a waste!'' the listener laughed.
Maher's a similar vintage to me I think. Our formative music years were the '70s and it was all about The Osmonds, The Jackson 5, The Monkees and The Bay City Rollers, about whom you knew more from television than anything else, and, closer to home, perhaps a little Sherbert.
But now, as a sad middle-aged woman, music is lost on me. The past decade has been spent listening to someone else's music. With all due respect to these artists, I wouldn't have spent five minutes listening to The Wiggles, Justine Clarke or the soundtrack to Toy Story if I didn't have children. And there's been no one since, well, probably The Monkees, who would have inspired me to put a poster up.
To be fair, I've always been more of a fan of movie stars. The inside of my wardrobe was wall-papered with photos of actors such as Timothy Hutton, Scott Baio and Leif Garrett - who I became reacquainted with not long ago on Celebrity Rehab, hasn't his life turned out well - and when I head back to my mother's place, where the wardrobe sits in her spare room, I'm reminded of my own teenage crushes. It seems like a lifetime ago.
Is it possible, or responsible, to have crushes as an adult? And what qualities would a man have to have now to make him crush-worthy?
He'd have to do more than his fair share of the cooking and cleaning, he'd have to have settled into his body as well, comfortable with extra flesh and greying hair, but still kept himself a little nicer than Garrett, he'd have to be kind to children and animals, be kind to me. Sort of sad really.
As for the whole sexuality side of it - and Maher's discussion touched on this when Danielle Miller, educator and author of The Girl With The Butterfly Tattoo - A Girl's Guide To Claiming Her Power, came on line talking about how having a crush on an unobtainable boy band is a nice safe way of doing it - does that even come into it when you're in your 40s?
I'll admit that if I was 10 One Direction would, as someone once put it, start a party in my pants. But to even have an inkling, or should that be tinkling, of that at 40-something is just gross, as my 10-year-old would say.
It even feels kind of perverse to have lustful thoughts for, say, rugby league player Nathan Hindmarsh or cricketer Ben Hilfenhaus as I do, and neither of them are spring chickens in the One Direction sense.
Not that I mind too much but gentlemen such as NCIS's Mark Harmon and Mad Men's Jon Hamm are more likely to fit the bill these days. Men of a certain age, with a certain sense of experience about them. Perhaps our crushes age with us, for when you think about it, there's only one direction to go.