|No wonder kids are turning to drink. May I also suggest ear plugs?|
Ooh, aren’t children growing up fast?
Yep, and in ways too numerous to mention here. I recently found myself sitting next to a very sophisticated young lady at a family event; I guessed “So are you studying?” as I didn’t want to insult her if she was 20 and had been working for the last 2 – 4 years. Um, no, she was 12. And perhaps this reflects badly on my mental age, but I found her by far the most entertaining person there and we discussed The X Factor and Edward Cullen at length.
As we chatted about alcohol (she had been strictly instructed to drink only one glass of champagne) she informed me thoughtfully “I probably won’t start drinking heavily until I’m... sixteen.” Well, that’s a relief. I did my best to persuade her that actually, hanging around outside the offy with a can of cider is not the most fun way to spend an evening in your teens. I may find myself in the minority for suggesting an evening of drinking shots til you puke actually isn’t the most fun you can have as an adult, either.
In a desperate attempt to dissuade youngsters from drinking to excess is a new programme What Did I Do Last Night? – apparently actually seeing footage of yourself in all your “crawling around on the toilet floor in your underwear and then punching your best friend,” glory actually does shame people into changing their habits. Unlike the ill-advised anti-drinking campaign from a year or so back, which attempted to chastise us with the legend “You wouldn’t start a night like this. So why end it that way?” It simply illustrated that the campaigners had no understanding whatsoever of their subjects; if they had, they would have known that falling down the stairs, getting sick in your hair and makeup smeared everywhere is actually a badge of honour; proof that you had a good time, and a story to be told and re-told until it has passed into legend.
Coming back for a moment to precocious kids, the airwaves are full of Willow Smith and the amazingness of her performances at the age of ten. (Slightly creepy and “Hollywood family” it may be but at least she wasn’t, to my knowledge, sporting Suri Cruise-style stilettos aged three.) This is all very well, but am I the only one who can actually HEAR the song? It is mind-numbingly awful. And I mean actually, seriously, you might have to be a little bit brain damaged to be able to listen to it all the way through without wanting to rip off your ears. Almost 2 minutes of the 3m 24 sec running time is taken up by the imaginative line “I whip my hair back and forth”. (And just remember, somebody got paid for writing this. Somebody who is clearly from the Natasha “I’m in a big big big big ocean” Bedingfield school of lyric writing.)
Fittingly for a child’s song, it is simplistic, repetitive and will stick in your brain like chewing gum. The verses (during which Miss Smith sounds like a carbon copy of Rihanna) are slightly better, even if one does include the line “None of them whip it like I do.” Good to know that the next generation of girls are aspiring to... well, whip their hair, better than anyone else. Who said feminism was dead?
Frankly, I may have to avoid any venue in which dance music is played – the thought of a roomful of adults miming along to whipping their hair back and forth is too tragic to contemplate.