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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

JLS to split, and why I'm sad to see them go.

So JLS are splitting up.
It would be easy to chortle a dismissive laugh at them, or join in with belittling their career.
Too easy in fact.
So easy that for some of my age the expressing of a dig can really just be the natural reaction to seeing the demise of yet another boy band.
A sort of default setting.
I understand that.
However I'm not going to join in.

There's a few reasons why I'm not going to go down that route.
One is that it would be churlish.
They are just a band who gave a great deal of people some pleasure, and when is that ever wrong?
It's not a complicated idea to grasp.
They sang + people got pleasure from it = fair play to them.
That they may well not be the preferred cup of tea for many people that I know is no real reason to rejoice at them calling it a day.
Different stokes for different folks as they say.
If you didn't like them then I doubt that their passing will register much at all.
So why fill the hate jar with pennies?

Another reason that I wont be jumping on the bandwagon is because my daughter is a fan, and due to them being her favourite band at one time I've seen them perform twice and met them once.

As entertainers I couldn't in all honesty fault them.
It's not a style of music that does much for me, but I can appreciate talent, and they were undoubtedly talented.
All four can sing and don't need any studio trickery to enhance their voices.
All four of the band can dance to.
In fact unlike some they can do both at the same time, and do it well.
It's all very slick, but the reason it is slick is probably because they work hard at it.
So on the level of being entertainers I'm not going to root around in the dirt to find something to complain about.
I don't particularly like opera, but I can appreciate the technical ability that the singers require to be able to sing as they do, and similarly I can happily embrace that JLS are talented young singers, even if I'm not actively going to subscribe to the style they sing in.

The main reason why I am not going to join in with any celebrations is a personal one though.

A few years ago the mother of my children took her own life.
I'm sure that I don't have to share how traumatic this was for my daughter.
Needless to say there were more dark days than light ones.
It was during this period that I had the chance to take her to a meet and greet session in Glasgow.
I remember clearly catching the first train out of my home town, and then lining up outside a WH Smiths outlet in Glasgow to buy a book that she already had just to get the receipt that would get her a wrist band to meet her idols.
It was snowing and still dark and I may have been the only adult there.
On the day that we travelled to Glasgow to actually meet them there was a clear respite from the hurt.
I could see it in her eyes.
The thought of meeting JLS had filled her head and the darkness had been crowded out.
It was a very emotional trip.
I choked back tears more than once as the girl I knew resurfaced and replaced the broken young girl that cried more than laughed.
I fully expected to be ushered forth within a large crowd and the band would have quickly nodded, signed something and maybe looked up to smile at the fans, and that would have been it.
That wasn't the case though.
We waited and waited in a line for a very long time, and the reason was that every single young fan was getting time with them.
When we reached the front of the very large line the security were trying their best to push people through as fast as possible, but these four young men were having none of it.
Of course it is good business sense to keep your fans happy, but I got the distinct feeling that it went beyond that.
When my daughter actually met them each spoke to her.
All signed her sweatshirt, asked her how she was doing, had she seen them before, what her favourite show was, if she was coming to see them again?
It was all just easy chat, and obviously oft repeated throughout they day, but they weren't just parroting lines, but also listening to the answers and engaging with everyone speaking to them.
Each time a fan got to stand in front of them they entered the eye of the storm.
All the squealing and excitement just slipped away and they connected with each and every person that they spoke to.

Once we left the area I cried.
Tears of happiness, but also partially an emotional overload.
They didn't know it, but for one day the sun had come out from behind some very dark clouds for my daughter and they were responsible for that.

So no.
I'll not be rejoicing in the news that they are splitting up.
I owe them.

My daughter already has tickets to see them for later in this year and I'm very happy that she was part of their journey and I sincerely hope that whatever the future holds for them that it is a happy one.
After all my experience is just one of many.
They may not be four lads who shook the world, but for some they did make a difference, and probably in more ways than most of us do in our lifetimes.


  1. Lovely piece. Really quite touching.

  2. Thank you.
    Sometimes we just need to let the barriers down and share a bit.

  3. Thanks for reading Jimbo.
    You going to see Ligotage on Saturday?