Life’s not easy when you’re Mrs Harry Styles’s mother
You know when you’re pregnant with your first child? Once the joy of finding out there’s a new life growing inside you, the horrible realisation dawns that you need to go through childbirth in order to meet him or her? Well, last weekend I went to Wembley and back in a day and it felt kind of like that. The happiness at getting there followed by the horror of realising you have to get back afterwards.
So what was I doing going on a 440 mile round trip to Wembley? Well, I went to Wembley and discovered the nightmare of the North Circular Road, the end-of-the-world style traffic heading for Brent Cross shopping centre, and to learn that a trip to IKEA can be akin to a trip to hell when said store has its own 5,000 place multi-storey car park, before giving in and going to sit in the car park of a local retail park for 5 hours.
If you’ve never been to Wembley, here’s what the London Tourist Guide has to say about it. “Don’t go. It’s a shit hole.”
So why was I there? Well, it was so that my eldest child could go to the Radio 1 Teen Choice Awards and see One Direction perform a grand total of two songs. Madness.
It started around this time last year. Me and my little family were all settled down for the first rounds of the X Factor, munching on popcorn and waiting to have a chortle at the usual array of deluded karaoke singers, when he appeared. “I’m Harry Styles, I’m 16 years old and I’m from Holmes Chapel in Cheshire.”
Little did I know it, but with those words from a little mop-haired lad, my life changed irrevocably. My then 12-year-old daughter gave the little “Aww!” that she usually reserves for cute-looking old people she sees in the street and that was it. Mrs Harry Styles was born.
She set up a twitter account called @TeamHarryS and instantly gained over 1,000 followers. She bombarded the X Factor’s twitter account with over 6,000 begging tweets and videos until eventually Harry sent her a picture. I almost fell in love with him myself for it.
Once the X Factor judges formed One Direction, I watched every week while my child became breathless, speechless (a big deal for her) and had tears pouring down her beautiful face as they sang a selection of songs that sounded like they’d been picked at random from the iPod of a middle-aged stockbroker. The worst one was during Elton John week when they sang a rendition of “Something about the way you look tonight.” I almost called an ambulance.
A few weeks back, One Direction were doing a book signing in our local WHSmith. In order to get to the book signing, you had to get a wrist band two days beforehand by queuing up for the store opening at 7am. I thought it would be fine if we pootled along at around 6am. I reckoned without the lunacy and tenaciousness that comes with being a 1D fan. The little darlings had camped out. On a school night.
With her BlackBerry going off all night, and worried that she wouldn’t get a wrist band, my darling daughter woke me at 3.12am like a spectre hovering over my bed. Fully dressed in her school uniform she said, “Can I get a cab into town?” It’s a wonder you didn’t hear me screaming at her from your house.
We eventually got to WHSmith at 6.15 to be greeted by the ludicrous sight of over a thousand schoolgirls and their mothers and fathers as well as assorted tents, security guards and crash barriers. Turned out the wrist bands had all been given out at midnight among security fears.
We sat in the nearest MacDonalds at 6.30 in the morning surrounded by about a hundred weeping One Direction fans who’d failed to get wrist bands and couldn’t go to school because it was too early.
Hence the trip to Wembley. In a rare attack of feeling like a bad mother in the face of my heartbroken child, I spent a precious Saturday morning listening to Vernon f***ing Kay on Radio 1 to get some priceless, money-can’t-buy tickets to the Teen Choice Awards.
The weekend after was lost while I sat hitting the ‘refresh’ button on Ticketmaster a thousand times to buy tour tickets before they went on Seatwave for 400 quid a pop. And I don’t see any immediate end to my child’s love of this group of little lads, so I’m settling in for the long haul.
I was like this once. You can only know it if you’ve ever been a teenage girl in love with a boy in a band. For me it was Duran Duran. Me and my mates wrote to them and John Taylor and Simon Le Bon wrote back to us. I remember they sent us a scarf, which we carefully cut up in to six exactly equal pieces, least any one of us have less of it than the others. Four of us are meeting up again this year for a Duran Duran gig on the 30th anniversary of our first one. I can’t wait for it.
One day my lovely daughter will be a grown woman with a job and a mortgage and a family of her own and she’ll look back on these days with a smile. And this, I suppose, is why, despite all the stress and heartache, I’m happy to be the mother of Mrs Harry Styles.