It was bound to happen eventually. The longer lockdown continued, the greater the chances I’d take all my hobbies to the brink of exhaustion. Baking my own bread? Had that nailed by lockdown two and moved on from loaves of sourdough to every form of pastry imaginable. Painting? Let’s just say the landlord’s in for a surprise if she looks up at the ceiling. Hopefully, she’s a fan of the Sistine Chapel. Learning another language? Lightweights choose French and Italian. I, however, have gone with Icelandic. I now routinely answer the phone with the traditional Icelandic greeting of ‘Góðan daginn’.
Incidentally, nine out of ten telemarketers immediately hang up immediately if your answer speaking Icelandic. Thank me later.
But as fun as it is to bake bread with one hand whilst painting the ceiling with the other and singing along to the radio in Icelandic, I now need a new challenge. Something I’ve long intended to do but, for whatever reason, have kicked the can on down the road for decades until whether the road does, in fact, have an end becomes a very real question. There’s never been a better time to revisit something you’ve been putting off forever. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’ve come to a decision – it’s time for me to start my own boy band.
I know what you’re thinking – about time. However, a small number of you may also be wondering what right a middle-aged man has to start his own boy band. The simple answer is that I’ll be relying on a scientific principle known as the ‘Beverly Hills 90210 Theory of Age Relativity’. It’s the same rule that allows people who are clearly far into their thirties to pretend they’re high school students for the purpose of entertainment. It requires a certain suspension of disbelief. Indeed, if that suspension were a suspension bridge, it would be one of those long rickety bridges that’s missing some of the wooden steps and stretches across a treacherous ravine populated by human-devouring crocodiles. I’ll take my chances.
There’s an obvious problem in terms of my quest to start my own boy band. A problem, that is, besides age and an absence of musical talent. Whilst lockdown is a perfect time to hone a new skill, it’s a terrible time to hold auditions, unless you’re prepared to do so over ‘Zoom’. BTS would not be where they are today had they formed over a Microsoft Teams session. This is to say nothing of the challenges I might experience in convincing others to join me in my endeavour. ‘Joining a boy band’ ranks somewhere below ‘cleaning out the gutters’ for men my age in terms of priorities. There’s little choice – it’ll have to be a one-man boy band.
There are advantages, obviously, to being in a one-man boy band. For starters, there’s no need to compromise my musical vision. However, it was pointed out to me that to truly be a one-man boy band, I’d have to be each member of the boy band. It’s a fair point and, potentially, very demanding. It’s hard to be both the cute one and the rebellious one simultaneously. That said, I’m finding it quite easy to be both the one with the ‘hip hop’ edge who craves credibility despite being in a boy band and the awkward one who’s clearly just making up the numbers.
We (or, more precisely, I) need a name. A name that’s chock-full of effortless cool that speaks to our roots and diversity and looks good on a t-shirt. After three whole minutes of thinking, I decided that the group would be called ‘The Dingley Village People’.
It started extremely well. Because I have ties back to the nineties (some of which have piano keys on them), my boy band is much like those of that particular era. I’m wearing a lot of white. Given that I’m working from home, this is neither here nor there, but startles the neighbors when I’m putting the bins out. Yesterday, I caught sight of myself reflected in a supermarket window and saw that I looked more like a cult leader than a member of a boy band. I quickly rectified this with some dance moves, including the one where you reach into the sky to pull down an invisible object (it’s my favourite dance move, largely because it’s so achievable).
I’m not sure what the other shoppers thought, save that they seemed content to give me all the space I needed as I shimmied down the frozen goods aisle.
But boy bands can only last for so long. They’re like milk, in that sense. And, if I’m being honest, I’m starting to get itchy feet. I’m now making plans for a solo album. It goes without saying that my solo record will be a whole lot edgier than the music of The Dingley Village People. The videos, too, will reflect this grittier approach. I’ll be wearing a leather jacket for starters. Unfortunately, it’s the leather jacket I got when I turned eighteen which has massive shoulder pads and makes me look like a cast member from Planet of the Apes. The songs are in English but, in keeping with my recently acquired skills, the subtitles will be in Icelandic. Splitting from my one-man boy band to launch a solo career is keeping me sane. Let me simply say – rock on. Or, as they say in Iceland, rokkaðu áfram.