LET us start with a self-evident truth: the musical output of the boy band One Direction is the sort of sub-Take That tosh which makes one hope the direction they’re referring to is ‘away’. As in, from ear shot.
No-one in their right mind would argue with that, would they? Not unless they were a 13-year-old girl. In which case this column isn’t for you, Duck. Give the paper to your dad and go and make him a brew.
One Direction may be bigger than The Beatles, Jesus and the planet Jupiter put together but let us, here, call a spade a spade. Which is to say let us call this manufactured five-piece a pale yellow turd squeezed from Simon Cowell’s flesh-rotting guts into the stained chamber pot of pop culture.
Except - here’s a thing - I really like that one they call Harry. You know him, right? Corkscrew hair, skinny jeans and a penchant for women almost old enough to be his mother.
A couple of weeks ago, the New Musical Express - arbitrators of taste and credibility according to themselves, if nobody else - named him their villain of the year. Presumably writers on the rag were as unenamoured by the band’s mauling of Blondie’s One Way Or Another as the rest of us. One shouldn’t really be churlish about a Comic Relief single, of course. But then one also shouldn’t really use starving Africans as an excuse to commit GBH on one of new wave’s finest moments. I digress.
Here’s why I like Harry: because I rather suspect he agrees with much of the above. I rather suspect he’s well aware 1D are pop pap with a limited shelf life (five years, break up, reform in 2025 when women everywhere wonder why Zayn wasn’t their favourite). And I rather suspect he doesn’t care one jot because he’s too busy having the best time of his life. In short Harry may just be the greatest rock n roll star of the age.
Don’t agree? Just look at the evidence. He dates supermodels, drives a Life On Mars-alike Ford Capri, partakes all-night benders and, best of all, is blatantly going to have a proper Britney Spears style meltdown before he’s even 25. Forget Justin Bieber slapping a pap and going AWOL before a London gig, when Harry goes pop star mental I reckon we’re looking at drug addiction, obesity, and an on stage brawl with Niall and Liam “because he looked at me funny and he’s from Wolverhampton”.
That’s all to look forward to. For now, Harry has grace (he tweets pictures of his young fans), humour (he thanked the Non Musical Entity for that award) and an unerring ability to be at the centre of any story which looks a whole lot of fun. Having sex with Taylor Swift, for example.
He also once managed to make George Osborne look the prize prat he is without even trying. It was rumoured the teenage was to turn on Knutsford Christmas lights. Instead the Chancellor turned up to a chorus of boos.
All of which means, in an age of bland bands and stifled stars, Styles is a blast of fresh-faced air; a whirling, twirling live-wire twisting and turning the world to fit his will.
It matters not that his musical talent is limited. For even that is a lesson we would all do well to learn: here is a lad squeezing every last drop of achievement out of the ability he has.