I love music, I always have, I have been a mod, a punk, a soul girl, a rockabilly, a new romantic and a 'Madchester' Adidas wearing raver. I have no shame, I love the music, therefore I adopt the look (well not anymore, but I did in the past). I love the relationship between fashion and music, I love youth culture and everything that goes with it. I am genuinely interested in what my teens are listening too and am fascinated by their London street talk (as long as they don't do it in front of their grandparents). 'Look at my fresh crepe, I'm bare swagga on point,' or words to that effect!!
They laugh at me obviously, as mums aren't supposed to be interested in that stuff, they are meant to disapprove. But secretly, very very occasionally, they may be ever so slightly impressed by my knowledge of fashion or music. To be honest, I have usually picked up the info from a younger hip colleague and rush home to share with teens (sad I know) as I still get excited by a new look or interesting new band. The only thing I don't get, don't like and don't want to listen to, is rap. To me, it sounds aggressive, angry, misogynistic and it glamorises gang culture. So why on earth did I end up joining an online queue at 9 am one morning, to buy tickets to see the worlds no 1 rapper Jay Z?
I had watched a documentary about him on TV and decided he was actually a really fascinating character with lots of interesting things to say. Plus he was married to Beyonce and I love her. Then he released Empire State of Mind and I was hooked. A brilliant single, which instantly makes you want to jump on a plane to New York. So in a rash moment, I spent way too much money on four tickets to see him in concert.
Teen daughter is a little too young to go to a concert on her own, so I offer to take my kids and some of their friends. We set off in plenty of time and I opt to take the car as the public transport to the venue is complicated and teen son has an exam the next day, so I figure we will get home quicker at the end of the evening!! As soon as we are within half a mile of the venue, we hit traffic and I begin to get stressed, I know the boys are keen to get to the front and I don't want to be late. Three hours later, after a queue for the car park, a queue to get into the venue (where I begin to complain about health and safety issues and am told 'not to start acting like an old woman!') and a two hour wait in a huge hot hall, being jostled and stamped on, listening to techno and rap, I am losing the will to live. I am sober, old and fed up and quite frankly, ready for bed. There are two older women in front of us dressed in sequins, they are clearly loving the MC and jigging around like they are 16. Why do they get it and I don't? My daughter points to them and says 'have you seen Shirley and Heather, in front of us?' (if you watch Eastenders, you will know what that means!!). I feel a little better.
Finally Jay Z comes on and the crowd erupts. The atmosphere is electric with excitement and adoration. Everyone knows all the words (except me) and although I wish he'd stop shouting and actually sing, I am transported back to my younger days of going to gigs, belonging to a tribe, experiencing the moment and feeling you are part of something amazing. By the end of the night, teen daughter and her friends are in love with Jay Z, teen son and friends cant speak as they have been shouting so much, and I am still a middleaged woman, wishing I was 17 again!
I still don't get rap and don't really like it. But I do realise that kids need to have their own thing, their own music and their own world, that even the most wannabe hip parent doesn't understand, and why should we. Its not about us!
PS. I did get to feel 17 again, as the queue to get out of the car park was so long we had to abandon the car and get picked up by someones dad, well at least I wasn't hideously drunk!!