Post by Maxi Muffin on Sept 28, 2003 8:18:10 GMT -5
I havent seen any1 mention the article in the gaurdian. it was really long with 11 pictures, 3 group pics and a single pic of each of them. I will post the article on here if you want me to, i will do it in lil bits tho coz its really long, confusing and weird. They also seem to have new (even WORSE) nicknames
Maxi and Beth - Swindon Sisters Kirstys lil blonde bimbo Caz = TWINNNNY Caz is a sem, dont let her tell you any different "Jay your so stupid" tehehe aww
Post by Sc8Nightmare on Sept 28, 2003 9:31:25 GMT -5
Wanna be in their gang?
The road of the child pop star is littered with casualties - will S Club 8, current top of the tots, be different? Jon Ronson and Joel (aged five) are ambushed by bubbliness when they join them on a working week
It's Thursday. There are 24 people inside a photographer's studio in east London. Eight of them are S Club 8. I had foolishly assumed that they were called S Club 8 because they were all eight years old. Now I realise that, had that been the case, next year they'd need to be called S Club 9, and so on, which would get confusing. Actually, they are aged between 12 and 15. They used to be called S Club Juniors, but it was decided they should be relaunched as an adult band, hence the new name. Then there are stylists, record company people and management people - 19 Management, whose ownership of the Pop Idol format earned it $1bn (£615m) last year. There are PR people, chaperones (two chaperones for the band by law at all times), a photographer, his assistants, a competition winner (Hannah, an 11-year-old who won a Jim'll Fix It-type contest to be here today), her mother, a TV crew following her, and so on.
Rob, the PR, introduces me to all 24 people in the space of about a minute. Then he notices my bewildered expression.
Post by Sc8Nightmare on Sept 28, 2003 9:32:14 GMT -5
"Don't worry," he says. "You'll be able to tell them apart really soon. You'll see different personalities in the band. Stacey is really bubbly. If the others are down or tired, she'll bring them right back up. Rochelle is also very, very bubbly. And crazy. Hannah's the baby of the band. She's always smiling. She smiles 24/7. Hannah! We were just saying that you smile all the time."
Hannah turns her smile towards me.
"She's called The Cutie," says Rob, "because she's always smiling. Always smiling. Always. Daisy was the Hair Queen, but now she's had her hair cut. Jay and Aaron dance all the time. Always. Actually, all of them dance all the time. Later, they might dance for you. They dance for everyone. Frankie's the all-rounder. Dancing. Singing. Calvin's the heart-throb."
"Can I get a drink out of the fridge, please?" asks Hannah, The Cutie.
"Of course you can," says Rob.
"Will you tell me their names again?" I ask.
One more time: Aaron is The Dancer. Calvin is The Heart-Throb. Jay is The Professional. (If I were Jay, I'd want a cooler nickname. I think Jay's got the runt of the nicknames.) Daisy, formerly The Hair Queen, is now Fashion Addict. Stacey is Northern Soul. Hannah is The Cutie. Rochelle is Model Behaviour. And Frankie is Poster Girl.
"Let's do the name test!" announces Rob.
The band gathers around me. I get everyone's name right except Daisy's. I apologise profusely, but she looks quite upset.
The band bounces happily around the studio. They give each other high-fives, play table football, sit on their chaperones' knees, entertain 11-year-old Hannah, the competition winner, who appears to be having the greatest day of her life, and sign posters for fans. "What have you just written on that poster?" I ask Rochelle, pointing at her illegible scribble. Rochelle squints at it. "'Love U 4 Ever," she eventually replies. "I can hardly read it myself these days."
Post by Sc8Nightmare on Sept 28, 2003 9:32:53 GMT -5
It was very, very hard to gain access to the inner workings of S Club 8. Scores of emails went back and forth. There was worry from on high - and, apparently, among some of the parents - that I was secretly planning to "write an exposé". An exposé of what? It hadn't crossed my mind that there might be something to expose. The truth is, there is nothing more moving to me than children and young adults succeeding in the theatrical arena. Pop Idol and Popstars have me in tears of joy when things go well for the contestants. I'd have to be some kind of a monster to write an exposé. But now that the thought has been implanted, I can't get the word "exposé" out of my head.
By the end of my three days with S Club 8, I will be completely won over by their greatness. But for now I skulk around the studio like a sourpuss trying to find something to expose. At one point I even hide around a corner and peek out, in the hope that I may spot some hitherto concealed unhappiness among the band members. But there is none.
When the grown-up S Club split, there was a furore about money. During their four years together, each member reputedly earned £500,000, while the manager, Simon Fuller, over the same period, made £50m. His ownership of the Pop Idol format - and especially his US version, American Idol - earned the company $1bn last year. He's recently launched an American version of S Club Juniors, called American Juniors. It all seems very conveyor belt. Who is benefiting? Are the children overworked? Are they wearing too much make-up? Are their skirts too short? The S Club 8 children are clearly having, at this moment, wonderful, dream-like lives, but where is it going? What will happen?
"Are you always completely happy all the time?" I ask Rochelle.
"Yes," she says. She pauses and adds, "We get tired but never stressed out."
In fact, they could all be called The Cutie, because they are all always smiling.
"See how much fun it is?" says Rob, the PR.
"There's no sense of un-fun-ness here," I agree.
"It's fun," says Rob, "but it's serious." He pauses. "You don't know what a joy it is for me to be with people who care about fun and not about money."
"What sort of money do they earn?" I ask.
"I actually have no idea," says Rob, a little sharply.
"How do you stop them becoming starry?" I ask him.
"It's not me," he replies. "It's Paul and Mary." He points to the two full-time chaperones. "Paul and Mary keep their feet on the ground. If there's an inkling of them stepping out of line, it gets knocked out of them. But it never happens. Never happens. But, if it did, Paul and Mary would stop it. They're really great young adults. They love the fact that they're a little bit older. But we don't want them to grow up too quickly. That would be bad. If any of them are ever down, they pull each other back up all the time."
Post by Sc8Nightmare on Sept 28, 2003 9:33:40 GMT -5
Perou, the photographer, takes the band outside for photographs in front of some ivy.
"We could do Adam and Eve!" says Calvin. He grabs an ivy leaf and puts it in front of his crotch.
"Put. The. Leaves. Down," warns Rob, instantly. Calvin does as he's told. Then we all go upstairs so I can interview the band.
I wish I could have been chirpier - perhaps more like the Top Of The Pops website interviewer, who recently got a wonderful interview out of them:
TOTP Is there anything that really grosses you out when kissing a girl?
Calvin Studs! Urgh! Yeah, studs in the tongue are really minging, and it would probably crack your tooth.
TOTP Name one thing that's better than a kiss.
Aaron Er... a snog!! Or are you classing a kiss as a snog?
TOTP What's better than a snog?
Jay We're too young to know about that!
Calvin A cuddle!
And so on. I simply couldn't bring myself to ask them questions like that. It would have made me feel like some old paedophile. So instead, to my shame, I adopt the opposite approach and sound like an over-censorious headmaster:
Jon Are you aware of the fact that being nice to Hannah, the competition winner, means she's had the best day of her life, whereas, had you been dismissive of her, she might have had the worst day of her life?
S Club 8 [nod earnestly]
Daisy I don't think any of us think, "They're our fans."
Aaron We don't expect people to look up to us. Some people get really nervous. Like if they fall over in front of you, they'll think, "Oh my God, I've just fallen over in front of S Club 8." So we say, "Don't worry. We all do it." We're not different. We don't want to be different.
Jon It's very important for you not to be starry. Are you aware of your responsibility in that regard?
S Club 8 [nod earnestly]
Calvin We don't want to make anyone feel bad. We say to them, "We all make mistakes."
Frankie But we don't want to give them a big lecture.
Stacey Things like that never really happen.
Jon Nonetheless, fame can have a deleterious effect on the people around you, and it's really terribly important that you put your old friends at their ease, and show them that you haven't changed.
Daisy Yeah, people say we change. But nine times out of 10, it's the people around us who change.
Jay All our friends are actually really cool about it.
S Club 8 Yeah.
And so on. Later, Rob, who listened silently and intently throughout, calls it "a very professional interview". At the time, I was impressed that Rob allowed them to speak without interjecting or coaching, but now I realise he didn't need to. They are - at this stage in their show business schooling - impeccable at coaching each other. The interview was, for me, the low point. They were just too adept at it, for eight so young. After only half an hour, I run out of things to ask, and we descend into silence.
Post by Sc8Nightmare on Sept 28, 2003 9:35:10 GMT -5
"Um," I say, "will you sing and dance for me now, please?"
S Club 8 glance at each other. "OK," they say.
They stand up and put their new CD, Sundown, into the CD player. They gather together in formation. And they perform for me. They are brilliant. My cynicism instantly drains away and (I promise that this rarely happens to me in the workplace) I start to cry. Not only is the song delightful - "Sundown! Friday twilight in the big town! Party people getting ready now... Bring back with the funk!" - but their exuberance is spellbinding. They are having the time of their lives. I pledge to myself that I will not spend another moment with the band without my five-year-old son, Joel, being there, too. He'll love them.
My mind drifts back to something that happened 10 years ago. I was editing my first TV programme and the director was carving up an interviewee, making him look just terrible.
"Isn't that unfair?" I asked him.
"Jon," he replied, firmly, "think of it this way. One interviewee may suffer, but millions are entertained."
Even if the worst fears of the naysayers are true (which I doubt) and the S Club children are the pop-star equivalents of some thingyensian workhouse horror, being forced into hard labour, becoming psychologically scarred, like emotional time bombs, at least millions will be entertained along the way.
S Club Juniors were supposed to exist for only the shortest time. Two years ago, Simon Fuller decided that the grown-up S Club 7 should be supported on tour by a band of children. They held nationwide auditions. Nine were chosen. One dropped out (after getting a scholarship to stage school); the remaining eight were unveiled to immediate hostility.
Michele Elliott, the director of child protection charity Kidscape, said, "I hope this fails for the sake of the children. It's disgusting." Dominic Mohan, in the Sun, took the opportunity to list the black museum of child-star burnouts: "LENA ZAVARONI died from anorexia and MUSICAL YOUTH star PATRICK WAITE had a breakdown then died from a head injury while on a drug charge. And ET star DREW BARRYMORE attempted suicide at 13 and suffered years of drink and drug abuse." It wasn't, all in all, too chilling a list. The rest of Musical Youth are presumably having OK lives, and Drew Barrymore has turned out fine. But then there is Michael Jackson. And Judy Garland. Oh dear.