Sunday, 2 June 2013

Fifty Shades of Green: Part 1 – It’s ’Orrible Being in Love When You’re 8 ½ (or 5 ½...)

(A while ago I joked about writing an autobiography, and calling it “Fifty Shades of Green”. I even wrote some of it. I’ve now decided to bring it over to my blog as an occasional series, the aim being to eventually tell you 50 stories from my life. I won’t be doing this every week, and so it may take a while to do all 50. But, for now, here’s the first one...)

For those of you who are old enough, and were living in Britain at the time, I want to take you back to 1986. Now, overall, the 80’s was a good decade. I was a kid during the 80’s and have many fond memories of it. There were many good things that came out of the 80’s. And there were some things that are, frankly, just cringe worthy. This is a story about one of the later.

In 1986 BBC Records (shame on you BBC!) released a song called It’s ’Orrible Being in Love (When You’re 8 ½) by a group called “Claire and Friends”. The lead singer was a girl called Claire Usher (who was actually 9 going on 10 at the time).

Now, before we proceed, I think it’s only fair that I share this song with you. For those of you who have never heard it before, you’re *ahem* in for a treat! (And, for those of you who do know it, I’m sorry. I’m so, so, sorry...) So, sit back, and enjoy:

And, because having to listen to it once is never enough, here it is again, this time with Claire performing the song on Top of the Pops, complete with an apology from the BBC for the part they played in this:

(And, for the avoidance of doubt, these videos do not have the same effect on me now as they did 27 years ago...)

Now, in 1986, I was 5 years old, and had only just started to notice that girls were pretty. And I thought that Claire Usher was very pretty. Despite the fact that she was an older woman, I had an impossible desire to meet her. Obviously, I had no idea what I would do if I ever were to have met her, but the desire was there.

The record was bought for me on a 45, and, to this day, it is still there at my mum’s house. It has the unique distinction of being both the first record I ever got, and the most embarrassing.

It would be certainly fair to say that little Karl had a little crush on Claire. She was the first celebrity crush that I’d ever had. And I didn’t know what to do about it.

Back in school, we used to have “Telling Time”. This was where any child in the class could get up and talk to the class, telling them anything that they wanted to. One day, little Karl got up and told them about this singer that he liked. He also told them that he had a plan to try and meet her. In his little 5 year old brain, he had decided that he was going to hire out a bus and he would take the whole class on a quest around the country to find the school that she went to, just so that he could meet her. (Hey, this was the 80’s! It’s not like I could just make a website about her in the hope that she might one day visit it... *ahem*) Little Karl’s teacher asked him what he would do once he found her, but little Karl didn’t have an answer for this. One can only wonder what little Karl’s teacher was thinking at this time. (Oh, and, Miss. Bruce, if by some obscure chance you happen to be reading this, don’t worry! I didn’t grow up to become a crazy stalker. Oh, and you can just ignore all of the strange looks that everyone else is giving me right now...)

Of course, all of this was just a little crush, and little Karl soon grew up and moved on from it. However, it was the first of a long line of celebrity crushes that I’ve had over the years. There was the pink Power Ranger. There was the American gymnast (to whom a 15 year old Karl wrote a poem). There was the singer. A few singers in fact. There was the Doctor Who companion. And the other Doctor Who companion. And the other Doctor Who – look, there were quite a few Doctor Who companions, OK?!

And, of course, there was the witch...

But Claire Usher was my first celebrity crush. It’s ’Orrible Being in Love (When You’re 8 ½) was the only hit that she had. She grew up and became a dancer in Riverdance, and then a teacher (at least according to Wikipedia).

However, if by some strange chance, Ms. Usher happens to be reading this, then I have a little bone to pick with you. Whilst you did give us ample warning that being in love when you’re only 8 ½ is not a very pleasant experience, what you neglected to tell us is that it doesn’t get any easier as we get older! Some warnings about that would have been most appreciated...

But I digress. I did very much like the song when I was a little boy, and so, Claire, thank you for that.

(Although, that said, my musical taste has improved over the years...)

Next Week: Some Classic Karl...

No comments: