“No worldly success can compensate for failure in the home.”
(David O. McKay)
Such an elusive thing.
It can come in the form of a kind word, an arm around your shoulder, a song playing on the radio, the kiss of the sun, a favourite television show, time with loved ones, a chocolate biscuit…the list is endless and endlessly varied.
Few things, however, make me happier than knowing that my daughter is happy.
Seeing her smile.
Hearing her laugh.
Feeling her arms lock around me at the school gates when I collect her.
Evolution or summink innit.
A primal desire to protect and to meet the needs of the human bean you have helped to create and that you are helping to shape.
Such happiness requires sacrifices. It means putting your own needs behind those of someone else. It takes patience, long-suffering, charity, good will and a willingness to endure things that no human should have to endure.
And so we arrive at JoJo Siwa on her D.R.E.A.M tour.
Siwa, for those of you who are blissfully unaware, is a sensation. A star. A big deal. A celebrity. A global brand. A fashion icon. A television star. A YouTube mega-deal. A Nickelodeon movie star. A marketing department dream.
Blonde hair, blue eyes, perfect teeth, endless energy and enthusiasm for everything. Wholesome and whole heartedly upbeat.
That you have never heard of her suggests you are either older than eighteen or that you do not share your living quarters with someone under the age of eight. For if you were under eighteen you would know who JoJo is and if you shared your living quarters with someone under the age of eight you would know who JoJo is…who BowBow is…what a JoJo bow is…and you would know the words to “Boomerang”.
The crowd is made up of thousands of mothers…and me.
A near solitary father.
Certainly I don’t spot another dad sans mum in the seats by me.
This allows me to convince myself that the assembled mums are all looking at me as if I were a catch. “Brian isn’t bloody here” I hear them think. “Stevie wouldn’t bring the girls to something like this” I imagine them saying to the other mums in their party. “I wish he was my husband” nobody says or thinks. Still, it’s nice to dream. Let me have this. I have little else.
The show is a blast of thumping beats, glitter, sparkles, breakdancing unicorns (really), a bizarre medley of Queen songs that includes, startlingly, “Another One Bites the Dust” with heavily edited lyrics, a cover of “Crocodile Rock” complete with an animated crocodile dressed in Elton glasses and “journeys” through places like “Candyland” and “Sportsland” before we reach a final destination of “D.R.E.A.Mland” where JoJo treats us all to her biggest hit “Boomerang”.
Throughout all of this my daughter and the thousands of other seven and eight year olds here assembled sing, scream, whoop, cheer, dance, jump and generally have the best time of their lives. At one point during a song that is dedicated to candy I find myself out of my seat and dancing. I am, amazingly, having a good time.
At one point JoJo reminds her army of followers that the most important thing in the world is to be kind to people. I feel a lump in my throat as this is a message I send to my daughter every day. JoJo also encourages this screaming mass to be true to themselves, to follow their dreams and to be who they want to be. How can you stand in opposition to that?
I know, I know, I know…this is all clever marketing, a cynical ploy to portray JoJo as a safe and sweet big sister in order to have parents fork out huge wads of cash for hair accessories, t-shirts, glow sticks and other branded guff but, looking at the smile on my daughters face tonight I am quite happy to play along, to be manipulated and to hand over a few pounds for a hair bow that may well have exhausted the worlds sequin supply in its manufacture.
This is rock ‘n’ roll?
No, but it was a bloody good time.