Sunday, May 28, 2006

Reappraising Teen Beliefs: Fame & Nuclear Power

As I luxuriated in the bath of my penthouse suite this morning, singing along to the bathroom's plasma screen tv showing VH1's top 100 love songs, it occurred to me that some of my teenage dreams had come true. I had managed to find myself with a partner who would whisk me off to a fancy hotel for the weekend "and hang the expense". Ok, so we got a free upgrade to the suite, but you gotta be in it to win it, right? This was more than an amuse bouche of the life that Jackie Collins had promised my sweaty teen self.

It also occurred to me that as I believed that Simon Cowell was in the hotel (one of the other Celebrity X-factor judges had already been spotted and the name "Cowell" was before mine on the honesty bar list [large g&t]) I actually wondered, admittedly for only a split second, whether he might hear me singing Jennifer Rush's The Power of Love and be impressed with my talent, maybe enough to wonder what I looked like, maybe even find out who I was.

Amused and ashamed, I confessed this to Rob. At 33 does it still count as "immature" or even "stunted" to hold out hope of being discovered as a pop sensation especially when combined with a genuine lack of singing ability? The whole scenario could be a multiple choice question for borderline personality disorder: "Do you, or have you ever, thought that you will be discovered by talent scouts after the age of 21?"

I'm trying to rationalize it as part of a streak of idealism that with the help of my teenage diaries I can track back. Whilst for the most part they detail my pining for and stalking of famous homosexuals and floppy-haired (relatively) posh boys, occasionally the fierceness of ambition, both for myself and society, is quite touching. I really did think we could bring about the end of racism and homophobia with the right t-shirt and a Billy Bragg song, and that it might be me announcing it on the front cover of The Face.

Which brings me onto Nuclear Power. As a paid-up member of Youth CND (the leaflets look just the same) I was taught anything with the word "nuclear" in it was wrong and my instinct, based largely on those rusting badge slogans, is that it is not a good thing. This was the science that brought us Chernobyl (BBC video report here) and the three-eyed fish, Blinky, in The Simpsons, and isn't there some sort of connection with the nuclear weapons industry which was itself inherently evil and an integral part of the Cold War of which I did not approve (and neither did Frankie Goes to Hollywood)?

But then along comes Blair and a number of other governments such as Australia, saying that invigorating our nuclear power supplies will allow us less reliance on carbon-based energy sources. Green is the new red, the colour that is inherently "right" (on?) - and is it more green to be a supporter of nuclear power? I want my teenage self to come and tell me what to think! Snake-eyed Cameron and his pouting public schoolboys have got me in even more of a tizzy, questioning these claims (Zac is opposed, sigh) but not coming up with a position. I realise now I just replaced Jesus and JP II with Ben Elton and Trotsky but at times like these I regret that the sustaining power of blind faith deserted me the day I left full-time education.

So as of the next few weeks I am going to force myself to have a view, read the articles, watch all the programmes I can - any suggestions gratefully received.

But whilst I might not really believe now that I'll be famous and maybe I will end up agreeing that nuclear power is the best of a bad lot in the short term, I will return to my original point to leave me with some vestige of pride in my historical and current self despite my slightly distasteful materialist focus.

After all, I did end up with a (relatively) posh boy who bought me champagne (and a Cornish pasty) in a fabulous hotel and have numerous gay friends who at the very least deserve to be famous. And I'll never, ever vote Conservative (however floppy their hair).

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