ETCETERA / Home Thoughts

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The Independent Culture
IMAGINE my surprise to learn that David Cassidy had been a drug-crazed, sex-obsessed bad boy, when all through my teenage years I'd thought he was a boring goody-goody. It's true - I read it in the Daily Mirror last week: David, who is now 43 (43]), has confessed to 'His tireless pursuit of passion with groupies', and 'His sex trips on mind-blowing LSD'.

If only I'd known all this when I was 14, David Cassidy might have seemed a bit more interesting. But, as it was, I preferred Rod Stewart. I queued for hours to see Rod: up at dawn, then stampeding to the box office along with several hundred frenzied teenage girls. And he was wonderful on the night. He wore a red satin jumpsuit with a zip up the front, and he wiggled his skinny bum, and we all screamed and screamed and screamed. My only regret is that I didn't manage to get one of the footballs he kicked into the adoring crowd.

After that heady experience, no one came close to replacing Rod in my estimation, not even my first boyfriend. And then I got too old for teenage crushes.

But something strange has happened over the past few weeks. Here I am, a 32-year-old mother of two, relatively calm, almost respectable, approaching middle age with equanimity . . . and suddenly I've developed an obsession with a TV soap star. So complete is my fixation that I don't even know his real name: all I know is that with the appearance of Detective John Kelly, the red-headed hero of NYPD Blue, Saturday night has taken on a new meaning.

Every week, I'm learning a little more about John. He's tough, yet caring; he breaks the rules, but he's on the side of justice. He lives alone in Queens; he wants to have kids some day. He hugs women constantly, but it's because he's a good buddy, not some kind of sleazeball like that Seventies cop, Hutch - you know, the one played by David Soul. (Remember? The creepy blond one from Starsky and Hutch.)

So like all the best teenage heart-throbs, you can imagine John Kelly being your own special friend. And he's got a great muscle that twitches in his cheek when he's angry. Unfortunately, there are other women in his life, apart from me. I don't have much time for his ex-girlfriend, a suspiciously glamorous uniformed cop. And as for his ex-wife the attorney - well, why on earth did she leave him? She must be mad]

Anyway, I'm happily married, which means I'll never be the second Mrs John Kelly, despite the fact that we really are very well suited to each other (much better than me and Rod ever were). But John, dear John, I'd like you to know that I'll always keep a special place for you in my heart. And as for the fact that I couldn't see you last night because the Glyndebourne opera was on the telly instead of you - well, it's a disgrace.-

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