Bullying Bieber

e8714b53-ef27-4a54-a7b9-8a4335132d59_Justin-Bieber-fight-lashes-out-paparazzi-london-photographerI am not a fan of Justin Bieber. I’ve never knowingly heard one of his songs. I thought keeping the fans waiting for however long it was – 40 minutes? 2 hours? – last week was absolutely appalling. But then last night, I saw a tweet that said

Justin Bieber: “I’ll never come back to the UK”. WE DID IT, BRITAIN.

And it bothered me. Imagine Justin Bieber wasn’t 19, but 9. And it wasn’t Britain, but school. He turned up, full of himself, acting like a twerp (the word Go Fug Yourself decided was the perfect one to describe him). People called him a “fucking cock” and a “fucking moron”. He reacted (wouldn’t you?). He struggled to breathe. He went to hospital. Then he (or rather his parents) decided they’d have to take him out of the school. And the school children said, “WE DID IT!”

I ran this past David and he said, “Yeah, but he was getting paid…” Does that make it okay to call him a “fucking cock/moron” to his face and expect him not to react? Isn’t that still bullying? David said that at school, yeah, it would be, but in this case no. Because he’s a twerp. So it’s okay to bully people you don’t like? People who annoy you? People who are full of themselves? People who don’t live up to their professional responsibilities?

What if, I suggested, it was at work and not school. A 19-year-old turns up, full of himself, acting like a twerp. The next day he’s 40 minutes late. People call him a “fucking cock/moron” and when he reacts they laugh. He goes to hospital. They roll their eyes because, god, he’s only just started work and he’s already off ill? He decides not to come back. And everyone cheers. I’m still not seeing how this isn’t bullying.

Caro Moses wrote a brilliant post for Bea about the “culture of bullying” in relation to Mary Beard. Many people were (rightly) angry about what happened to Beard because she seems lovely and we like her. But it’s fine to bully Bieber right out of the country because he seems like a bit of a git? I’m not convinced.

The one that makes you all back away, fearfully…

So in yesterday’s post, from left to right, top to bottom, we had

Andrew Ridgeley, Sonia, Lenny Kravitz

Christian James from Halo James, Jean Paul Gaultier, James Coburn

Mark, Jason, Gary, Howard (Take That)

Robbie Williams, Jamie J Morgan (?), Neneh Cherry, Philip Schofield

Scanned Image 1I went to Capitol Radio especially to meet Andrew Ridgeley. It was 1990, he had a solo single out (anyone remember it? No). I had loved him for a long time. He was ok. Not unfriendly, but not friendly either. On the same show was Sydney “If Only I Could” Youngblood. He was much nicer. But, you know, he was only Sydney Youngblood.

Sonia was apparently at The Dominion, 1 April 1990, which I think was a Capitol Radio Roadshow, but I don’t remember anything about it. Unless Jive Bunny was on. I do remember seeing Jive Bunny.

44223_475813820971_5361242_nLenny Kravitz was appearing on Wogan. I’d been to look at a flat on the Goldhawk Road (it was an attic flat and so tiny I could barely stand up in it – and I’m 4’11”). While I was talking to the landlord, I noticed that Lenny Kravitz was on Wogan, which was just up the road. So I walked back that way and, as I got there, he was just coming out. His hands were huge and really soft and he smelled delicious. And, yes, I’m wearing a bum bag. It was 1991. Shut up.

Christian James from Halo James just happened to be passing through the airport when a bunch of us were waiting for Matt Goss. I think he was a bit startled when we all descended on him. I still bloody love that Halo James album…

Jean Paul Gaultier was on his way in to the Madonna gig at Wembley Stadium – the show he designed the costumes for – 20 July 1990. That’s a pretty cool signature, isn’t it? I’ve got an original JPG doodle! Go me.

Apparently I met James Coburn on Carnaby Street in October 1991. I have no recollection of this.

Take That, well, I’m not sure. I don’t think it was this time though…

meandgary meandj meandhoward

I don’t remember who Jamie J Morgan was, but I think he was with Neneh Cherry, who was getting coffee at Raoul’s in Maida Vale, just round the corner from Matt Goss’s flat. What? Shut up.

Philip Schofield. Probably at Broadcasting House. I don’t know when. Or why.


And I found another one:

Scanned Image 2

Julian from Curiosity Killed the Cat, Wandsworth Common, 28 July 1990. I was on the bus. I don’t know where I was going or where I’d been (Wandsworth Common wasn’t really my “manor”). I saw Julian out of the window. He was in a cafe with Migi from CKTC (who was a total fox). Reader, I got off the bus. (But I missed Migi, who was just leaving.) (Not because he saw me coming.) (Probably.)

Have you had the pen talk?

I’m sure you’ve all seen the ridiculous Bic for Her pens and the hilarious Amazon reviews, but my friend Susan just sent me this piece of characteristic brilliance from Ellen. Stick with it to the end, the commercial is fabulous.

“When you have an opinion, you write it down on a piece of paper… then crumple it up and throw it away because no one wants to know our opinions, sweetheart.” LOVE.

Friday favourites

You’ll all have read this Ashley Judd piece for The Daily Beast already, I’m sure, but I finally got around to it and it’s just as wonderful as I’d heard. Particularly this:

Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.

Don’t read the comments, though; they’re even stupider than usual.

This video of Alex Rawlings speaking eight different languages is oddly thrilling. I could watch it over and over. (via @katheastman)

Advert for a Norwegian bank. Starring George Clooney. Tagline: “Some people are lucky in life. For the rest of us, saving up a bit can be smart.” (via @sarramanning)

Radio 1: a love story

*cue Our Tune music*

On Twitter yesterday, Jenny Colgan tweeted a photo of a bunch of Radio 1 DJs from the 80s and reminded me of my 80s obsession with Radio 1. The only times I ever bunked off school were Radio 1-related. I remember faking illness because there was something I wanted to hear (and there was no iPlayer back then, kids!). It must have been 1984, cos I remember listening to Culture Club’s The War Song lying on my bed with my legs up the wall.

In 1985, Simon Bates had an interview with Wham! that ran every morning for a week. He said he’d be giving away tickets to The Final concert at Wembley. I bunked off every morning and sneaked into my aunty’s house to listen (my mum was at home, my aunty wasn’t). I somehow managed to miss the competition. (The interview was good though.)

In 1987, we went on a school trip to London and Pippa Taylor and I sat on at bench at Seven Dials to listen to the chart rundown. (It was Tuesday lunchtimes then, yes? With Gary Davies? I bloody loved Gary Davies. I hunted out this jingle yesterday and it made me cry. Really.) I looked in a London phonebook for a G Michael, rang it and asked if George was there. (He wasn’t.) When I came out of the phonebox, a man went in and found the purse I’d left in there. He gave it back to me, thank goodness. I literally don’t remember a single other thing about the trip.

In 1988, I bunked off school to go to the Radio 1 Roadshow in Southport. Someone came into the crowd and asked for volunteers for Bits & Pieces. Do you remember Bits & Pieces? I LOVED it. And I was really good at it. Even though I was shy, I was desperate to get on and do it. When they told me I was going to be on, I rang home and said something like “I know I’m supposed to be at school, but I’m actually in Southport and I’m about to be on radio, can you record it? Yes, yes, you can tell me off later…”

(Thanks to the fabulous website, Radio Rewind, you can hear Bits & Pieces. Not the one I was on, obv – I no longer have the tape – but still.)

Anyway, when the DJ interviewed me (I’m pretty sure it was Steve Wright, but I’m not 100%, which is mad considering how much I loved Steve Wright. You’d think I’d remember) (see update below!), he asked if I was a Bros fan. I answered, “Brosette, yeah.” How did he know I was a Bros fan? I was wearing (fake) Doc Martens, cut-off jeans, a white t-shirt and a bandanna. Shut up. Also, just a year later I would move to London and spend many, many hours standing outside Matt Goss’s house where wearing that outfit and/or calling myself a “Brosette, yeah” would have been the kiss of death. (You can read more about it here. You know you want to.)

So I won Bits & Pieces. Oh yes. And then I was carried offstage by Gaylord the Gorilla. Oh no.


Gaylord was actually Phil Cornwell, who you may remember from Stella Street or, more likely, as Dave Clifton on I’m Alan Partridge. Which puts me just three degrees of separation from pretty much everyone in Hollywood. Result.

Anyway, as with so many experiences in my life, I’ve always remembered the embarrassing Brosette-yeah-bloke-dressed-as-a-gorilla part of the experience and it was only yesterday following Jenny’s tweet that I thought I loved Radio 1 and Bits & Pieces and I went to the roadshow and won Bits & Pieces. Go, 17-year-old me!

Ooh, almost forgot to choose my tune! It’s the song that was number one that day in London…

Updated: It wasn’t Steve Wright, it was Peter Powell. I was googling for more Roadshow details and found this photo. I remember that shirt.

Happy Hump Day

Today I got a lovely (and very funny) review from publishing big mouth bigwig Scott Pack.

I was also tweeted by – *faints* – David Mitchell (you can watch the Personal Debt podcast here):

And then there’s this, which made me do an actual *squee*

You’re all invited. Would be amazeballs* to see you there!

* I have no idea, but the cool kids are using it and, as you will clearly see above, I am nothing if not cool.