My mum got very excited when I told her I was interviewing Jedward. Turns out they’re one of her favourites (“So charming!”). The last time she got this enthusiastic for a pop act was when she wanted a Lady Gaga CD for her 66th birthday.
Having recently met Take That and The Log Lady from Twin Peaks, I thought I could handle a strange celebrity encounter.
But could I handle Jedward? As it turns out, almost not.
When I arrived at the interview venue, the pavement was lined with girls waiting for them to arrive. One mum told me she’d come on the 5.30am coach from Birmingham that morning purely so her teenage daughter could follow Jedward around London.
And then – a tuft of hair and there he was:
Fans started piling in from all around Soho Square. But at that point there was only half of Jedward in sight, which felt oddly incomplete.
And then whilst John (or it may have been Edward) was signing autographs, an identically dressed Edward (or it may have been John) swooped past from the back of the building. It was EXACTLY like that scene in Matrix Reloaded where Agent Smith replicates himself. I would not have been at all surprised if they hadn’t stopped at two, and the Jedward army had grown to fifty or more.
So they went back into the building and I followed. I was shown into a room to film the interview. At this point it all got a bit scary, as tends to happen when a video camera ends up in the hands of someone who doesn’t really know how to use it.
And then all eyes – including all four of Jedward’s and about a dozen belonging to other people in the room – were upon me. I started shaking and thought a panic attack might be building. It dawned on me that holding a video camera is not what you want to be doing when you’re shaking like a leaf, unless you’re going for the seasick effect.
As I was sorting out my equipment – basically figuring out how I was going to get through this without wetting myself – Jedward shouted in unison “LENS CAP!!”, alerting me to the fact that I was unlikely to film much other than darkness with the lens cap still in place.
(For the last few nights I have woken at 3am to the vision of Jedward shouting LENS CAP!! at me. I keep getting flashbacks to it. I have fallen into the outer stretches of weird.)
I did the only thing I could think of to contain the shaking – sat right back on the sofa and jammed my arms next to my body, pinning one down against the sofa arm. When in doubt, use brute force. And it seemed to work, as the finished videos look steady and not as drunken as they might have done. You can see them over here on Ready for Ten. Themselves were very professional and gave me exactly what I wanted on the first take. Which was a relief, because I don’t think my nerves could have handled a second.
It was terribly hot, and between that and the fear I was sweating like a man down a mine. More weirdness – the boys were not. Even though it was a hot room, and they were both wearing big thick leather jackets, their skin was like alabaster. They didn’t even get shiny, never mind cracking a sweat, although they barely sat down.
I came away thinking that they were a lot like real life cartoons. I hope nobody ever makes a cartoon of them, because it won’t be as good.
My eleven year old daughter likes Jedward. Her sixty six year old granny likes Jedward. The only other artist they both like is Lady Gaga.
So – the cross-generational appeal, the human cartoon qualities, fast tracking to global domination with towering hairstyles and energetic performances – are Jedward the new Lady Gaga? What do you think?