When will adults stop getting their knickers in a twist over raunchy pop?

We need to stop obsessing over attention-seeking stars like Lady Gaga and focus on the issues that actually affect young people

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The Independent Online

So Lady Gaga, who may or may not be suffering a bit of a dip in popularity, has decided to hit the headlines not by blasting us all with a bit of her traditional Crazee stuff (wacky hats, meat dresses, etc), but by removing her latest artistic work from the public sphere.

In a sort of Clockwork Orange-style move, she’s removed the video for her single "Do What You Want" from the net because she feels it is too outrageous.

Now of course everyone wants to see it, at which point hurrah, because wouldn’t you know, a tiny snippet of it has surfaced online anyway. So now we are all trying to get our hands on something which wouldn't have otherwise swam into the consciousness of the nation, if at all, because a) because this single was released months ago, and b) we all have more interesting things to think about, such as England diving out of the World Cup before our Panini albums are even half filled.

Anyway. The video features R Kelly, a person who has been the subject of allegations of assaults against minors (which he disputes), playing the part of “doctor” while the provocative Gaga, as “patient”, writhes around on a hospital slab. Or not because the mini drama requires her to be knocked out, at which point she must suffer the beastly Kelly doing all sorts of things to her.

Unsurprisingly, the photographer Terry Richardson is involved as the director. Ring any bells? This is the chap who got Miley Cyrus to straddle a wrecking ball for a music video that has now seemed to air countless times on TV chat shows in front of horrified adults, who constantly wring their hands and say how dreadful and corrupting it is to the single child left in the world who still thinks that Miley Cyrus is Hannah Montana.

Well, I have news for you, horrified adults. Young people are not overly affronted, in my experience, by the likes of Cyrus, (who I think is actually rather charming) and the deeply tiresome Gaga.

To them, these female icons of popular culture are “over there”. They are pantomime dames, given to walking around in crazy platform shoes or zingy little hot pants.

They are not part of real life. People under the age of twenty do not watch a performance online from one of these dames and think “ooh I must do that” - or “My God, I am feeling affronted and compromised.”


I believe that these women and their cultural offerings are simply featherweights on the consciousness of our young people, compared to the massive influence of parental opinion, peer pressure and relationships with the other sex.

Having spent time talking to the BBC Three journalist Stacey Dooley, whose horrifying documentary on domestic violence on younger women airs tonight, it’s clear that the real and present danger to our young, vulnerable women is not silly products such as a Gaga video, (which can of course be switched off at any time), but the presence of violent, abusive boyfriends.

It would be quite a good thing if we could all calm down about commercial confections designed to shock us and perhaps take a closer look at the things which are really affecting our young people.

If the aristocratic Gaga happens to be exposed to this article, which is perhaps unlikely, (but you never know), I think she should just read, learn and inwardly digest the following statement from a member of my family, aged sixteen.

“She used to be shocking,” opines my daughter Phoebe. “But now nobody really cares.” How about Miley Cyrus? “Everyone thinks she is an idiot.”

Now it’s my turn to show Hull a good time

Up and down the country, universities are flinging open their doors to welcome in legions of prospective students whom they hope will put them top of their list. Very different from what happened in my day. You didn’t actually take a pin out and put it on a map, but it was a lot less…processed.

I went to the University of Hull, where I had a sterling time doing a degree in English and Drama, a course which, inter alia, involved learning Heroic Bows, playing a mouse in Edinburgh, and dancing the can-can in a local French restaurant. How these things come around. Last week I was in the lovely windy city again, to talk about my university days before the local press. Why? Because I have just been created Chair of Hull City of Culture 2017.

To perform such a task for my alma mater will be a joy and an honour. And I promise that the forthcoming year of cultural festivities will amaze the nation, quite a lot more than some of my mad student productions did, back in the day.