Went to see Boyzone two nights in a row at the O2 this week. Retro-tastic- as ever I'm an avid believer in the "catch the consumer young" vein of thought and both nights proved I was no exception. Boyzone makes me happy and I have a few theories as to why!
I always hated music as a child - I would kick and scream if the radio was on or God forbid that nasty Top of the Pops was switched on ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz even in College when I studied Radio I always took on talk radio projects and never did a music show once (no wait I did infact I did two The Specials and my own Classical Music hour? (yes indeed random memory) for the last broadcast but Graham picked the music so I don't think it counts) - in fact I was not allowed near the CD player because of my apparent bad taste in anything musical, my boyfriend owns ten guitars and I've never asked him to play a tune for me even watching x factor I make tea while they sing and come back in to see what Simon says. Music is plain not part of my life. (Film/TV I could happily make that the focal point of my life...)
So how did I start listening to Boyzone - Was it peer pressure? No it was my own need to fit in and belong to something (popular). I think I was in 4th or 5th class and everyone was gathered around a poster of Boyzone - of course I didn't know who they were too the sheer shock and horror of the girls in my class. Which one did I like? "Stephen?" ugh... I'd make an unapproved of choice but I was unfortuately the type of child who never backed down and prehaps it's still true today that I prefer to be different. So I had to do my research I wouldn't be caught out not being cool again (I would often be uncool again) - oh no not only would I know who they were I would soon in fact know everything about them, Boyzone Posters were placed on the inside of my wardrobe (I was not allowed posters on the wall incase I damage the paint - a rule I broke during my George Clonney phase), my diary had Boyzone sellotaped to it with I heart Stephen written everywhere and soon I would have over 90 Boyzone Pen Pals??? I loved swapping everything and anything about Boyzone and taping TV appearances kept me endlessly entertained but I rarely listened to my growing selection of Boyzone CD's/Tapes which sat beside my one other CD Michael Jackson Thriller. Being a Boyzone fan was rewarding enough without having to listen to their music as well. Of course the main hits I know but album tracks erm... It's nice to be part of something as a kid esp. if like me you lived in the bleedin' middle of no where (I'd of been really bored without 90 penpals keeping me busy)! It's a bit like a cult or hmmm is there a nicer way to put it - like supporting a football team. In fact in First Year of school I introduced myself as "I'm Sharon I like Boyzone and cats" on the first day. How I made friends I've no idea apart from Limerick people are very polite.
I don't think I'm really in love or ever was with Stephen Gately but repetitation simply works. There is a reason your teacher makes you write "I will behave" a hundred times - I wrote I love Stephen Gately prob. a million times over a two year period no wonder when anyone mentions Boyzone I yelp "I love Stephen" I'm like a programmed robot - thanks Louis Walsh (oh what an advertising career he would of had - years wasted). Music, melody, repetition of course is linked with memory and while my fandom really doesn't reflect any music or even strike any memories Boyzone music does strike a lot of memories with my own family - crazy car rides to Dublin with my poor poor Father who was dragged to every concert even ones that weren't Boyzone like Childline or 5ive? generally with a gaggle of girls. (I've tried to make up for this in recent years by going to concerts he likes - how I'm going to sit through Simply Red I've no idea but he did it for me) the "find Sharon & set the tape to record" frantic moments when Boyzone ever appeared on TV and my family would jump off the couch and run about yelling so I wouldn't miss anything. I even used get phonecalls off friends "Network Two now now go go" and my Mother trying to get involved whenever I went to a concert getting me "an outfit" together whilst wisely steering me away from face-painting and cowboy hats! Every Christmas had a Boyzone theme to it new CDs, Videos, annuals, concert tickets - anything they could find. Worst for them I then couldn't wait to watch them so I'd bang on the video while everyone would be pretend it wasn't so bad even though they knew they were missing really good Christmas TV the only time of year RTE had anything to offer.
Boyzone is a massive part of my childhood - my comfort blanket - and lucky I'd a great secure loving childhood so it's still a great comfort if I'm having a bad day and being that I live far away from home and can't curl up with Mom on the couch while she tells me how great I am - I can instead go home make a face at Chris that maybe only him or my Mother would understand, go to the top of my wardrobe grab my dusty Boyzone videos, pop them in (our video recorder was bought and placed in the bedroom with this purpose in mind) get into bed, curl up in a ball and revert to a child like state (if I'm a deep deep depression I have to listen to Shooting Star on dubbling speed). It only ever happens once or twice a year maybe it'll increase with the recession I don't know. By the end of the video I'm in a different place stress free, worry free and completely relaxed. It's like if I'm sick I need Lucozade - nothing else will console me simply because my Dad always brought home Lucozade when I was sick of course it tasted better then and came in the cool glass bottles.
Of course not all my Boyzone memories are good - their last single "Everyday I Love You" I found in the bargain bin in Golden Disc's in Limerick a week or so after the release I was so ashamed I bought them all. I just couldn't leave them in the bargain bin - it was insulting? Ronan's speech at the The Point in 2000- the last concert before the break up - he said they weren't splitting up. HE LIED.
The reunion came as a life saver last year. I hated my job - every second every minute was horrfic and damaging to my mind and soul after a year and a half there I was not myself. The RDS concert (which I needed to get my head straight and revert to normality) was the weekend I left there to go work where I am now which is a shiny happy place except on copy deadline day. Boyzone are back and things are Better which is in fact the name of their new tour which is well worth seeing. I have!