There has been a girl boy, pre-teen power struggle going on in my household of late – the battle ground: Justin Bieber, a (in my terminology) teener bopper who has girls worldwide doing what two generations before them did for the Beatles.  When the discussions started both of my cherished offspring were in the same camp (ergo, so was I – though I had no idea really who they were talking about) – it was easier to be part of the posse than lead another. When I found out this new young star was Canadian, and from a town I know well – I had some nationalistic pride – but must admit seeing my children actually agree on something overrode even THAT.

And, then, it went all haywire ….. my daughter, perhaps taken over by the power of hysteria of millions of others (“hey, am I missing a boat here?” ), started clamouring to attend his recent concert in Rotterdam – BUT we were somehow supposed to do this without her brother knowing for she knew full well what was in store if he found out. I stalled, put off, made excuses and before you knew it, it was too late to get tickets! To then offset the ‘you are the worst mother, ever’ accusations, my middle ground was , okay, we’ll go to the movie ….. I said middle ground, not high ground!

I had heard such negative commentary, from son and daughter, than I actually cringed at the thought of doing this – but, a promise is a promise (and every parent knows how that can backfire on one …..). So, today, without giving too much information (any in fact) to my son I headed off with my daughter and a friend of hers to the movies to see “Never Say Never” ….. earlier negativity was such that when I found out my daughter had invited a friend, I thought – GREAT …. you guys go see the movie and I will use WiFi in the lobby and get some work done …. Ha, no chance, a promise is a promise and apparently (and here is where language/bilingualism/translation played a role) by promising to take her to the film, I in fact implicitly implied I would actually be there – not at the cinema, but at the film. ‘A promise is a promise’.

There were 5 of us, total, in the cinema – me and four young female audience members who, by the way, knew the text of each and every song played! Did I feel old …. actually not. I felt young and nostalgic,  smiling inwardly, and outwardly, at the passion and enthusiasm (and yes, even the seriously over the top enthusiasm) of the young female fans captured and portrayed in the film. I smiled because I thought: how great that they have such passion; how blissfully sublime that they can cry real tears of excitement, emotion, out of this world euphoria for a ‘boy on  stage’!  I smiled because his story of success was not the result of discovery from above – from record producers, magnates and the like – no, his success is because his fans – on YouTube and Twitter in particular were the ones who woke the magnates up! What a great story!

Will he ‘last’? Did generations before us – when they saw fainting women before Beatles concerts think they would last? Who knows – and seriously, who cares? As one mother in the film said: she wanted her daughter to have the thrill she had had when she went to see Michael Jackson when she was young – when no-one could have envisaged what he would achieve, as an artist. Does it matter if he lasts? When all is said and done – it is about what he gives his audience, his fans: a moment of out of this world euphoria which cannot be explained! – and one of which they are a part! one fan admitted to tweeting him 100 times, in one day!

That he is Canadian, was brought up by a ‘teen’ mother and loving grandparents, is a gifted untrained musician, is athletic and active, says a prayer with his crew before every performance and has (so far) been kept grounded are the gifts that I, as a parent take away. If my daughter and millions of others claim to love the person who also has these characteristics – does it even matter if his music will last? He is here, now, and giving young girls world-wide something they can look back on – a memory of emotion. Will they be happy as adults that their emotions were shared?….. agh, that is their problem, much later in their lives. For NOW they are living life fully, and are able to do so because of a young Canadian boy called Justin Bieber …..

PS – there is a lot of ‘new’ music out there today – Justin’s I can live with better than other forms – so even as a parent, I can connect with my daughter – perhaps not the hysteria, but at least I am not yelling “turn that garbage off” ….. and I may even have convinced my son (who as any young blooded male is simply jealous), that JB is not all that bad .. I mean, he did manage to get Snoop Dogg, Boyz II Men and Usher among many others) to his concerts and entourage! That did ring a bell with my son 🙂