Thursday, 12 May 2011

Belated "Bieber Fever"

Back in school, still in the “Study Centre” and taking the odd cover lesson, I'm once again exposed to prepubescent fads and heartaches. Up until this week, I've done a very good job of avoiding the “Bieber Fever” but have suddenly been floundering in a world of hormonal teenagers. Of course I know what the Biebs looks like but I'm not sure I'd ever actually heard one of his songs or at least not intentionally listened to a whole track, knowing that he was responsible for it.

Prior to this week, my only real Bieber-related research was prompted by my sister who thoughtfully alerted me to the existence of an amusing website ( that may well have single-handedly influenced our young Canadian icon to ditch his signature hair-style.

This week began with a Technology cover lesson with a distinct lack of work set. While a kindly LSA (Learning Support Assistant), scampered off to find some work, I took on the challenging task of entertaining the class and attempting to keep them seated. Noticing the boys and girls seemed to have migrated to separate sides of the room, I decided to ask the boys what was wrong with the girls to be told in less kind terms: “they ming”. Asking the boys who they deemed acceptable, I was surprised when a well-spoken boy admitted he fancied “Kate Middleton” - less surprising was the amount of females claiming Bieber to be their ideal man. I've previously taken a Technology lesson in another school where pupils had to design watch straps for celebrities and found Bieber to be just as popular, although a surprising amount of male class members seemed to be designing pink flowery watches with him in mind.

As the week went on, most of our study centre pupils managed to get themselves excluded for their poor behaviour. In order to alleviate the learning support unit and to ensure we were usefully occupied, we started to take on overflow pupils. Instead of mouthy students calling us “fat cows” and telling us “they hope we get stabbed and they get to watch” or that “we'd be shitting bricks after meeting” their parents, we were faced with a cooperative student who'd refused to remove a new ear piercing. Covering the Hindu belief in reincarnation for R.E., the Biebs popped up again as our blushing diligent pupil decided she'd like to be reborn as the Canadian boy wonder.

Later on deciding to somehow tackle a music lesson with no instruments or teaching resources, we found a lesson plan online that involved watching a music video with and without sound to discuss the marrying of visual imagery and song lyrics. After watching and dissecting Blind Melon's No Rain,

we had time to spare so decided to allow our pupil to choose an artist. Drum roll.... can you guess who I finally Youtubed?

Watching “One Less Lonely Girl” was an amusing exercise as we, like our lone student earlier, blindly watched Bieber's video having no idea what the song might be about, except for clues the title gave us - would it be a sinister-sounding rock song about a serial killer ridding households of moping lonely girls? We had no idea but watching our infatuated pupil smiling inanely at the screen was entertainment enough.

I was never really one for crushes as a teenager and can't even come up with a similar late 80s/early 90s phenomenon to the Biebs. New Kids On The Block were pretty fresh-faced but I don't remember nearly as much hype. Perhaps early Take That is the 80s/90s equivalent I'm looking for? Whoever it is, I'm pretty certain there was no solo artist matching Bieber's popularity or tender age, possibly because marketing tools were somewhat more limited back then (3D films?!).

What this whole music exercise did reveal is how misleading muted videos can be, while Bieber's was pretty predictable, Zero 7's Distractions was the exact opposite of what I'd imagined would accompany the lyrics:

An interesting exercise for those unusual moments in life where we actually have some time to spare – especially if you're rarely exposed to music videos.

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