Never Forget

Take_That_1086456a - copie You will all have heard by now that One Direction was recently downsized to four band members when Zayn Malik decided to leave. The internet went into meltdown mode as teenage (read hormonal) girls shared their upset over this turn of events #nojudgement. Quite a few people made references to Take That, saying it was like 1995 all over again when Robbie walked out, with Howard Donald even offering some words of comfort to 1D fans. If anyone can feel confident that a band splitting up doesn't necessarily mean it is all over then it's going to be a member of Take That, the boy band who turned out to be the ultimate comeback men of British pop music. 

Growing up I missed all the hype surrounding Take That as I was only four at the time they were starting out. There are vague memories of news reports announcing the split and Samaritan phone lines being set up for the fans. A few years later I was a member of the Boyzone fan club, however it was a very lonely experience as I was the only one out of my friends to like them. When they consequently split up, as all boy bands inevitably do, it was no big deal for anyone else but me which kept the weeping and wailing to a minimum. My mum never let me go to see the Boyz live which upset me enormously at the time, but I've since got over it because I see how things may have spiraled out of control à la Anita Sethi and her mild obsession with Take That.

I'm now an out and proud adult Take That fan. Better late than never right? I've even purchased tickets for their upcoming tour with a Dutch friend who was a massive TT fan as a teenager. Let me stress that I also enjoy a wide range of music you would consider more respectable, but it seems that the combination of Gary Barlow's pop beats, Mark Owen's vocals and Howard Donald's harmonies / drum-beating do it for me. There's also something comfortingly British about Take That: northern accents, tea breaks during concert tours and making time for their fans, both in person and on social media, have ensured their status as national treasures. Who could have predicted this second coming on that bleak day when the boys announced their split on 13 February 1996?

In the name of "research" for this blog post, I've watched some old interviews and documentaries of Take That on YouTube (Andi Peters and Toby Anstis were lucky guys). The one thing constantly mentioned is how hard they worked to break out in the beginning. The boys started out touring the country in a minibus, performing at gay clubs and schools. So far, so low key - until their cover of Barry Manilow's "Could it be Magic", their fourth UK single, made it to number three in the music charts and everything exploded.  To date, they have won eight Brit awards, sold forty five million records worldwide, set records for fastest selling tour tickets and managed an incredibly successful reunion with Mr. Robbie Williams. The proof is in the (Lancashire) pudding: these men are musical magic together.

As a feminist, the idea of boy bands sometimes sits a little uncomfortably with me but after discussing the subject with several female friends they just seem to be a rite of passage for most young girls. So I'm bracing myself for my future daughter's obsession with the boy band du jour, safe in the knowledge that she'll discover Bowie and Queen one day and come to love them too. I'll be there singing my heart out to TT in Amsterdam come October - see you there?



P.S. In case you were wondering, Mark Owen. Always and forever.

Why I'm pro-choice

pinterest Abortion. Not a topic that often comes up at the dinner parties or social gatherings that I find myself at, understandably. I think it's an incredibly loaded subject because there's only one side to be on: you're either for it or you're against it, there is no neutral position. Personally, I'm pro-choice and I believe abortion should be legal throughout the world, because the choice belongs to the woman alone (and if she is in a relationship, her partner). It's definitely not a decision for the State or the Church to make.

Just to clarify, I fully respect those who do not believe in abortion - everyone is entitled to their opinion and I appreciate that it is a tough ethical debate (for example whilst I was reading up on abortion, I came across female foeticide a lot. Another subject for another post). However, I do not think it is right that those whose religious or political beliefs oppose abortion get to decide the law. Abortion is legal in both the country I grew up in (the UK) and the country where I currently live (France) and it is nothing but a privilege to be in that position. How would I feel if that were not the case? Suffocated. Scared. Angry about not being fully in control of my body. There still remain many women around the world who do not have the right to have a safe abortion.

These opinion pieces are about things which matter to me : I'm not trying to force my own personal opinion on anyone. Neither do I think abortion is something to be taken lightly but I respect that there are many factors involved in the individual making the right decision for them. If, one day, I were in the situation where my daughter or son came to me with this problem, I would want them to know that they could talk through their options with JB and I. That abortion was not the only option available to them because it is a huge responsibility to make that kind of decision and they would have our support whichever decision they made.

I was moved to write something about this because I followed the media coverage, earlier this year, of the Spanish government's attempt to restrict the abortion law. It worried me that Spanish women would be forced backwards, to adhere to laws their female predecessors had to abide by. No, we must keep moving forwards in these matters. I was left unimpressed by the explanation offered by Spain's PM for abandoning the reforms: “We can’t have a law that will be changed when another government comes in.” No, we can't have a law restricting a woman's right to make a decision concerning her own body.

Lou xx

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