The word went out early Tuesday evening on Facebook. They'd been spotted in Manly, a local beach suburb. And drinking at Hugo's no less.
After screaming hysterically for an entire five minutes and dancing my way around the house with hands in the air and shapes being thrown, I jumped in the car, whacked the stereo on high to the sounds of 'One Thing', and drove the fifteen minute journey at high speed to find them.
Prepared for the biggest moment of my life, ever, I shoved the car into the nearest available parking spot, unfurled my favorite poster, pulled on my beloved t-shirt, and legged it over to the growing group of fanatics gathered outside the wine bar. We stood, we waited, we shared gossip, we laughed, we cried, we gripped each other's hands tightly in anticipation of their arrival. My idols.
Then the word went out on Facebook for the second time that night. It was all a big, fat hoax. A false sighting. A rumor. A vicious, dirty lie. They weren't drinking here after all. Never had been, never would be. They were down by the harbour, enjoying an early evening swim and sharing the limelight with other die hard fans. My precious idols were currently being adored by a bunch of undeserving little brats. It was beyond belief. I was devastated...
Now, if this story was true and if I was a teenage girl bursting with teenage hormones, then this might actually be the case. But if you live within 1,000km of Sydney, and unless you were whisked off to Mars late yesterday, you would have heard that the latest teen pop sensation to blast out of the UK landed here in Sydney on Tuesday. One Direction has finally arrived in the land down under.
One Direction. Photo credit: Irfaan Photography (Creative Commons)
This popular troupe of British and Irish lads touched down to what can only be described as complete and utter pandemonium. Sydney Airport was packed to capacity with screaming teenagers intermittently breaking into 'What Makes You Beautiful'. One friend flew into Sydney and was greeted by thousands of these teeny tiny One Directionites whilst another was diverting an air ambulance to the Botanical Gardens to rescue a fan who'd fallen out of a tree in uncontrollable excitement. Tuesday was sheer poptastic chaos.
Later that night, the biggest thing in mainstream music since Bieber cut his hair moved onto the suburb of Manly (allegedly) on the Northern Beaches to enjoy an orange juice or two by the water. Outsmarted by the paparazzi, the 'boys' took a quick dip in the harbor before preparing for the next few days of unadulterated media hype. And that hype was spewing left, right and center - from the national radio to the local newspapers, online forums to TV chat shows, the airwaves of Sydney were filled with the music of One Direction and interviews with the fabulous five.
So who exactly is One Direction?
I'm too old to know but I do. Heralding from a third place finish in the seventh series of the UK's X-Factor, the dapper five are as manufactured as the Ford motor car. When individually they failed to remain in the 'single artist' category, it was suggested that they form a band and enter the 'group' category instead. The rest, as they say, is history and Britain's latest pop phenomenon is on a trajectory to greatness yet they've not even climbed out of their teens (with the exception of the old boy of the group, 21 year old Louis).
So do boy bands like One Direction put the 'Great' back in Britain? Should I feel pumped with pride at the sight of such a roadshow of fame and fortune gracing these distant shores? Does it make me want to return home for more of this commercial fare?
I'll admit to a tiny fluttering of pride at the arrival of these megastars from back home and thoughts that maybe Britain does it best when producing the boy band (alongside our American cousins). Australia is far too cool to produce anything so cringe worthy (or so it believes). "INXS weren't a boy band, they were musical geniuses and rockers through and through, stupid", so someone said.
The UK has proved time and again how good it is at taking a seemingly average group of guys with the bare minimum of talent, activating a hype machine the likes that NASA would be extremely proud of, and sending these kids happily into mainstream entertainment orbit. They've done it before in the boy and girl band stakes. Think Bros, Take That, the Spice Girls, even Boyzone and Westlife. But pop bands are the tip of the creative iceberg and Britain is renowned for encouraging, developing and celebrating artistic talent and all-round creativity.
So I started thinking about whether some places are better at embracing creativity and nurturing talent than others - and whether the UK itself is the best place to be as an aspiring creative.
So what do you think? Are some countries better for inspiring and encouraging creativity? Or is it more about the individual than the place?
And where is your best creative place?
Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
PS. I think I just wrote a post about a boy band... I never would have believed it.
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