Last weekend, I found my 13-year old daughter watching a Youtube video series featuring a bunch of people, that to me seemed to be well, I shall say it, weird. Not only was impossible to tell what gender they were, but indeed, what planet they originated from! She soon lectured me on who the people were and just how cool these people are and so on. For a while, I had that feeling that I suppose many older people do these days, of not only being a bit lost with this, but actually even wanting to protect her from such ‘deviant nonsense.’ In the end, I must confess that I did enjoy the show to some degree despite my initial uncool reaction.
Later that evening, as I sat alone in front of youtube myself (she was sleeping), I decided it would be good to listen to some Marc Bolan. I hadn’t listened to any T.Rex in a while. I found a video and started to watch it. Mr. Bolan was my teenage hero. In 1972 at the age of 12, my room was plastered with his image. As I watched Bolan in full make up, boa, and tight satin pants bob and grind his way through a song or two something struck me. How had my parents felt about Bolan???
This got my thoughts racing. I also adored Bowie. Bolan and Bowie were my idols. Bowie came out with his bisexual announcement in the early 70’s and appeared on an album cover in a dress. Now, while I do admire people like James Charles (having been introduced to him by my daughter above) for his his ability to be himself it is also rather easy if not even trendy these days to be gay, wear make up and dress extravagantly. Back in 1972, behaving in that way was, well, just not done! You risked everything to wear a dress and say you were anything but heterosexual.
As my thoughts raced, I thought about the punks, the Sex Pistols in particular. I was thrilled by their anti-establishment antics at age 16 or so. God Save the Queen was played until worn out and a poster sat at the bottom of me bed. A little later, Julian Clary became my favorite comic – I adored him. I quickly found a video of him in an early show…..
By now, I was thoroughly ashamed of my initial reaction. I couldn’t wait for the following morning to show my daughter that, in fact, it was OUR generation that pushed those boundaries – not hers! She was kinda surprised when I showed her…. but no more than I for I realized that growing older sometimes makes you less flexible in your ideas than when you were a teen – perhaps even a bit hypocritical?…. something I vowed to remember going forward.