Nice clean boys have lit my fire

Share
Related Topics
ENTERING my daughter's bedroom a couple of days ago I was shocked to see a large, blank wall. The night before, every inch had been plastered with posters of Take That. Now they were stuffed into the bin.

Since April (when she had really got the bug), I have been quizzed, mercilessly, about whether I preferred Robbie, Howard, Mark, Jason or Gary. Unwelcome guests at the start, the famous five had become part of the household: each has a distinct persona. And, as one paper noted: 'These were the new boys next door, they were not about to carry off the nation's daughters to a life of unimaginable depravity. They were as celibate as tea and biscuits.'

The bedroom also housed the prize exhibit, shown to every visiting friend: an autograph from Gary, hunted down by a friend in Manchester. My daughter perfected a dance routine with a group of friends to 'Everything Changes But You' to perform with a group of friends, as a farewell rite, on the last day of school. She burst into tears when the track went missing, and the dance was called off.

On holiday we smoothed car journey revolts with the emollient Take That medley of Beatles songs. And there was always the Take That video at home. This was the first great pop group crush to hit our household and the speed and intensity of adoration reminded me of the Beatles, even though the pop gurus say a better comparison is the Osmonds. All I know is that everyone with girls in the eight to 12 age band seemed to be swept up, as was their pocket money.

So, when the BBC's Newsround conducted a poll earlier this month which showed that 80 per cent of children hated the group's new kinky stage image, I lay low and wondered if such a love affair could really be shaken by a piece of marketing hype that affected the music not a jot?

Then a friend, badgered into spending pounds 11 on the Take That fan club (she got a woolly hat with Take That on the front), reported indignantly that her daughter wouldn't touch it: she had switched to Blur. I still half expected desperate pleas to magic up some Take That tickets for the Wembley Arena show, which started this week. But not a sausage - until the posters came down, and the great love affair iced over. 'Mark and Jason, they've gone all scruffy. And it's rude to show your bottom,' was the explanation. My daughter scooped up a discarded picture and pointed to Howard's dreadlocks and grungy beard with disgust.

She fetched me a photo of her new hero, Sean Maguire, who is 18, used to be on Grange Hill, and has a funny mouth from which he warbles 'Everybody Needs Someone To Love'. Scanning her Smash Hits for clues to his appeal, I found a picture of Maguire stuffing melon: 'Watermelon is such a great lush thing to have . . . I guess pink makes me think of things girlie. Things like furry teddies that sit on beds with bows on,' said the caption. Yuck, but when you're 11 it goes down a treat.

I suppose the hot/cold experience represents a swift initiation (for me) into the fickleness of affection that is part of growing up. But the problem is that I am secretly suffering withdrawal symptoms, missing Take That to the point of deliberately waiting up to watch the Mercury Music Prize this week in case they won. Call it brainwashing, but I happen to think 'Everything Changes' and 'Relight My Fire' (your love is my only desire) rather classic pop songs.

When Take That started, four years ago, they revived the teeny bopper group cult. When they first toured in 1991 their act was described by the Daily Star as filthy: they soon repitched themselves as 'Every Mother's Ideal Sons', which is where my daughter came in. So has the grunge image backfired? Yes and no. I secretly rather support their change: everything changes, as they sing, so why not move up the age range, where the real spending power, rather than pester power, lies. If they are going to stay the course then the disgusted teeny boppers will just have to rediscover them a bit later, when their fires of affection are relit, so to speak.

The shows are complete sell- outs, by the way, no returns from upset fans. I rang up this morning, just checking. But when I put down the phone I realised that I would not really have minded going: after months of these icons staring down from the wall, it would have been interesting to see their act in the flesh and decide for myself whether it is too raunchy. The problem now is finding the time to play their tracks, when nobody of 11 or under is around.

COMMUTING to work, I saw a man convulse helplessly with laughter as he read a newspaper. He was reading a story about a pin-striped poser who clinched a business deal on his mobile phone, while on the train. An elderly man in the same carriage felt unwell, and asked to use it to make an emergency call home. The businessman refused, then was forced to admit the phone was nothing more than a children's toy. The packed carriage, on the way to Sevenoaks fell about laughing. And to think that I was on the point of buying a mobile phone. The show-offs of the world have a great deal to answer for, in giving a useful modern communications tool such a terrible image.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Renewable Energy Construction Manager

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Modern housing is not fit for purpose. It’s eroding our privacy, and suffocating the life out of Britain

Janet Street-Porter
 

A woman’s power is in her laughter – no wonder men are scared enough they want to silence it

Howard Jacobson
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices