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I am no longer au fait with pop culture and it doesn't bother me

Monday night.

The TV is on. Some music channel on a commercial break. An ad for some reality TV gubbins is fizzing away. One of the gubbiners pops up onscreen. "Who's that?" J asks. "Ashley Banjo," says daughter number one, who knows this kind of thing.

"Ashley Banjo?"

"Yes. Ashley Banjo. From Diversity. You know? The dancers."

"Oh, that Ashley Banjo," J says. I look at her. "Do you know another one?"

Utterly banjoed, she starts to laugh. I join in. If I'm honest I couldn't have told you who Ashley Banjo was either.

The ads finish and the music starts again. A top 20 countdown. I have no idea who these people are. Chris Malinchak featuring Mikky Ekko? Kiesza? I know it's been a while since I could tell you who was No.1 in the charts but now I don't seem to know anyone in the charts. What has happened to me? Once upon a time I'd have known the names of even minor chart acts. Anyone else still know the singer of Jimmy The Hoover [1]?

A thought hits me. I am now no longer au fait with pop culture. And it doesn't bother me. I can think of no greater expression of my middle-agedness. Ashley Banjo has shown me what I am. I am "past it".

A young woman called Ariana Grande appears. She looks about 12. Which makes the fact that she is appearing in a video that is a riff on Jane Fonda's opening space strip in her 1968 movie Barbarella all the more disturbing.

"What age is she?" I ask. Daughter number one doesn't know. She's more a hip-hop kid. But young, we agree. Too young to be disrobing in space, quite frankly [2].

I realise I've already seen two versions of the Barbarella striptease. The original, which I must have seen at some point in my highly impressionable, highly hormonal teenage years, and Kylie's 1995 version which, even though I was quite a bit older, had a similar effect [3] . But Ariana's version just makes me think: "Keep your clothes on, girl."

I guess I am just feeling paternal. That's my role now. You'd think I should know that, 18 years in. Still, it's become the frame through which I see the world. So it's all very well Miley Cyrus showing us that she's a big girl and comfortable with her sexuality and all that, but really, I worry she'll catch her death swinging around half-naked on that wrecking ball. She's not even wearing a hard hat. Where are the health and safety inspectors when you need them?


[1] Derek Dunbar. But I had to look it up.

[2] Turns out Ariana Grande was born in 1993. What age were you in 1993?

[3] The video for Put Yourself In My Place. She didn't sing it at the Games. Pity.

Twitter: @teddyjamieson

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