I never thought I'd write an article about a boy band but a recent story about one prompted me to have a think. The young chaps in the photo above are from a group called One Direction. I can't call them a 'band' because it doesn't seem right. They won Simon Cowell's 'Learn how to queue properly and I'll make you a star' television program in 2010 and have since gone on to achieve massive success. Given that I'm a bit of a grumpy old sod you might think you know where this is going next, surely I'm going to complain bitterly about talent competitions and the lack of talent e.t.c. Well, you'd be mostly wrong. See, I'm down with the kids!
I don't begrudge the lads in this group any of their success or reward and I sincerely hope they continue fuelling the pre-pubsescent fantasies which bolster their bank balance. Kids want pop stars I suppose. But what they really need are rock stars. It seems that these days a manufactured pop phenomenon has to be whiter than white, cleaner than clean, and have impeccable manners and social skills. Being a bit cheeky is okay providing it's within Commandant Cowell's guidelines for 'you are the little scamp of the group, here's what you are allowed to do'. As odd as it sounds I feel genuinely sorry for these millionaire pop pushers but not nearly as sorry as I feel for the teenagers of today. It turns out there's a huge scandal because two of the boys from this group (and please don't ask me which, I have no clue) were caught smoking a suspicious roll up whilst out on tour. IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A FILTHY DRUGS CIGARETTE!
These bum fluff bedecked young men do stadium tours, girls scream for them wherever they go, they are adored! But apart from the money they have to be so bloody careful you'd probably find lower stress levels in the Helmand 'Let's blow up 'cause we're really angry' support group. These boys can't shag their groupies because they'd end up on a register for the rest of their lives and have to endure the kind of prison sentence that leaves you crying in the shower and terrified of coughing in case you soil yourself. They can't snort coke from the naked thighs of an Eastern European stripper for fear she'll sell her story. In fact they can't do anything because the media, the same media which built them up, is literally chomping at the bit for an opportunity to tear them down and grind them into the dirt. For the mainstream media the ideal end to this tale of meteoric success would be to see these boys penniless and reliant on state handouts and have at least one of them become a deranged, drug fuelled, moron who runs himself over.
This is why we need rock stars, sure kids can look to rappers for their 'bad boy' fix but even for someone of my liberal leanings there's just too much misogyny, hatred, and encouragement of violence so that's rappers out (along with the fact rap is obviously shit of course). No, they need rock stars. People who came up from the pub circuit, people who slept on floors, claimed dole, and took as many recreational drugs as they could because they knew, without a doubt, they'd be a rock star. Rock stars should be shagging groupies, spitting on journalists, lying on the pavement in a puddle of at least three bodily fluids NONE OF THEM THEIR OWN! They should be wild, arrogant, ignorant, relatively stupid. Their excess should be legendary and if they live past forty they should carry on wearing tight-fitting leather pants and a toupee as they drag their own tribute act around the country to pay for the last divorce.
We aren't supposed to like these people. These aren't people we'd invite around for dinner if the family were home. They are quite literally a force of nature and their entire will is bent towards either making music or making a mess. There is no in between.
Thing is though, you only get those people if they actually are musicians. If they've lived and breathed it. Those people don't queue up to sing in front of some grinning megalomanic in front of a live TV audience which consists of people who think Jeremy Kyle is a highbrow moral crusader. They gig, they tour, they expend blood, sweat and tears and they live it to the hilt.
Bring back the rock stars. Kids deserve better than to be Cowelled.