Who is your hero? Hopefully not the nude girl on the building site.

November 12, 2013

Everywhere I go, I see a nude Miley Cyrus.

Not that I’m searching for such images. She seems to pop out of every screen I get near.

Music programs day and night. Morning chat shows. I looked up while doing the Cup form, in a reputable pub last Monday, and there she was. All skin and pout.

For those older folk who are trying to place the surname, and wondering what the hell I’m banging on about, let me assist. Cyrus, as in Billy Ray. King of the Mullet. A one hit wonder like no other.

His daughter is Miley. And I feel like she’s one of my own.

Regular readers will know I woke up with her on a Saturday morning. Or, more specifically, her show.

A few years back, Hannah Montana was a character every young girl celebrated. She was fun, and sassy, and goofy. Sang like an angel, and wise-cracked with the best of them.

Tears were shed in the family, when it all came to an end. It was assumed that she would become a wholesome, good looking young star of stage and screen.

Instead, she’s now twerking (they tell me that’s a rude dance) with older pop stars, and doing video clips hanging off giant wrecking balls in the buff.

It makes no sense. Is there no market for young, talented folk, without Johnny Young being involved?

I wondered what my girls would make of it all. In this multi-media age, sometimes it’s hard to work out who their heroes are. I had nightmares that The Teenager would start hanging around construction sites.

My fears were unfounded. They were both left scratching their heads. Love the song, hate the clip.

They would have watched her, whatever move she made. Because they liked her. She didn’t need to go feral, to keep their attention.

As a young bloke, I had no such dramas. My hero was Dad. No-one came close.

He worked hard, and had little. Whatever cash was in his pocket, was ours. The simple things made him happy. Good friends. Big laughs. The occasional cool drink.

He treated people better than anyone I ever saw. Made them feel important, whoever they may be.

On his building sites, he was patient, and good-humoured, even with the narkiest of clients.

If it hurt him that he couldn’t take us to nice places, he never showed it. Beers and chips with mates under the orange tree more than made up for it.

These days, I hear stories that parents have lost that gloss with their youngsters. I don’t buy it.

I know plenty of successful people who still talk to Mum and Dad every night. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

In our workplace, the running joke is that us old blokes have found a new hero. And he’s not family.

Ben Roberts-Smith keeps walking into the newsroom. Blocking out the sunlight as he does.

Forget the girls swooning. They reckon us blokes keep falling over ourselves to shake his giant hand. Too true. What a guy.

When it comes to heroes and role models, I think we’re still going ok. They don’t need to be nude starlets, or highly paid footy stars. Mum and Dad and Ben will do just fine. As long as there’s no twerking. And they stay away from those wrecking balls.

Sorry, Miley Cyrus, but I’m taking a stand. And you can’t talk me out of it..

June 21, 2011

The girls were puzzled. How could I turn them down? Who would knock back the chance to see the one and only Miley Cyrus in concert?

They were crowded around the laptop, buying tickets to her first Brisbane show. Four tickets. One for each of us. Quick thinking was needed.

I’ve mentioned the young American songstress on these pages before. She’s very popular in our house. To be able to scream at her from close range was a dream come true, apparently.

The tickets are not cheap. Think of being front row to see Elvis in action. In a comeback spectacular. With Frank Sinatra as his backing singer. The girl’s nickname might be Ned Kelly.

As much as I want to party with my wonderful daughters, I’ve had to take a stand. I’m on a self-imposed ban from tween and teen concerts.

I told them they’d have more fun without me. An all-girl affair. Yell as loud as you want, without Dad shaking his head. Dance crazy. Just don’t tell me later. And it would save us some money. The Treasurer agreed.

The Daughters have form for dragging me to these type of concerts. They enjoy seeing me out of my very limited comfort zone. The last one was Miley’s Nashville buddy, Taylor Swift.

It must be said, I don’t mind her music. She has a catchy, country sound. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The first thing I noticed was that the crowd was pretty much all female. Maximum age 16. With no intention of sitting down.

I knew the first couple of songs, and tried to join in the fun. Difficult, when you’re not screaming, or crying, or dancing. Or all of the above at the one time.

What troubled me most was the talking. From the stage. The star of the show wanted to chat. Between every song. Long winded, heart-felt yapping. Is that what they do these days?

It was too much. I left early. When I walked outside, I found Dads everywhere. Sitting on lounges. Lying on the floor. Reading books.

No one spoke, but they nodded in appreciation. I’d gone through those doors. They hadn’t. But I couldn’t last the distance. How times had changed.

In the early days, we’d sneak into pubs, to watch some of the legends of Australian rock. Angels. INXS. Australian Crawl. Midnight Oil. Chisel.

They were just kicking off, all of them. And so were we. In grimy places full of smoke and grog and agro.

Truth be told, we shouldn’t have been there. Luckily, ID checks were not the done thing.  We’d get in through an open toilet window. Sometimes a friendly bouncer would turn a blind eye. No one seemed to care.

I don’t remember the greats talking between songs. Although Barnsey might have sometimes. We just couldn’t understand what he was saying.

The focus was on the music. Great, rocking tunes. One after the other. Until the bar closed.

Granted, my memory may be a little hampered. And as a card-carrying member of the Our Old Fart Music Was Better Than Yours society, I might be a little biased. But examples remain.

I’ve never heard a sound like The Eagles produced, when they played in Brisbane a few years back, on their (second) farewell tour. Magic. The concert DVD gets a belt here every few months. I never get sick of those good ‘ol boys.

Anyway, none of that will matter to the girls tonight. Miley will talk. They’ll scream. Better that I’m not in the way. They’ve even given me permission to go for a steak and a beer while they’re out. That’s called a win-win.

Don’t worry, I get dragged along to everything else. Wouldn’t have it any other way. A man has to have something to whinge about.

Daughter One turns 13 this weekend. Very special. And I’ll be playing my part. I’ll tell you how it goes next week. We’re staying in a hotel, with some of her friends. She’ll go through the front door, not the toilet window. And they’ll be way better behaved than we ever were.

I haven’t told her yet, but I’ll be looking after the music. I’m sure her friends won’t mind. No talking allowed. Some of my old cassette tapes should work just fine.

From Phar Lap to Hannah Montana – what fathers do for their daughters.

April 19, 2011

Hannah Montana revealed her true identity, just as final scratchings came through.

The squawking teen actress took off her wig on a false Jay Leno show. It had all been a sham. The gig was up. Emotions ran high in our house. My red pen almost missed non-starters in the last.

Does any other punter in the land start race day with Saturday Disney blaring in the background? The rest are getting the latest track upgrade while I’m marvelling at the acting ability of Billy Ray Cyrus. Although it should be said that the man had a mullet to die for.

We’ve watched this damn show from the very start. Some episodes time and again. The very loud Tennessee teenager is almost part of the family.

Daughters will do that to a man. I’m used to it now. Long ago, things changed around here. A father with a house full of women learns to live his life differently. But it wasn’t always this way.

As a young man, sharing a house with other young men, the choice of home entertainment was simple. We had two movies on the shelf. Phar Lap, and The Man from Snowy River. For a long time, I thought Tom Burlinson was the best horseman this country had produced.

We’d usually whack the videos in on a Friday or Saturday night, after arriving home from our local, a little on the damaged side. Viewing would be done with several pies, picked up on the way home, and if we could squeeze another in, a cool drink. Or two.

We knew all the lines. There’d be cheers when Tom the Man took off down that impossible cliff. Boos when those mongrels gave Tom’s Phar Lap even more weight to try to have him beaten in the Cup.

The bagmen would offer long odds for any of us to still be awake when the credits were rolling. More likely, we’d find a snowy pattern on the tv the next morning, along with a throbbing head.

Sure, Rambo and Rocky would get a decent run from the local Video Ezy. But those iconic horses were the stars of our living room in the eighties.

Somehow, I’d always imagined treating a son to those movie classics. A young bloke in his high chair, burping with glee at watching Tom plant one on Sigrid Thornton’s cheek, just before breaking in the mob. But it wasn’t to be.

Early on, the girls loved the Wiggles. And Hi-5. We knew the songs. All parents do. I went to concerts for both of them. Eldest daughter and I even got to meet the Hi-5 gang back stage before one of their shows. For a brief period, that had me as the coolest dad on the block.

As they got older, the girls became more, well, girly. The stars in our house were singers and dancers. Young women like Hilary Duff. She played Lizzy McGuire, a tween who became like a third daughter to me. And Emma Roberts, and Ashley Tisdale, and Taylor Swift. I’m doubling my bet that you don’t know who those people are. Then there’s Miley Cyrus. Miley is actually Hannah. Remember, the one who took off her wig? That sound you can hear is old football mates shaking their heads.

Some of you might have heard of Lindsay Lohan. You may have seen her on the news. One of her numerous court appearances. She goes harder than Fevola in the party stakes. Drink. Drugs. Shoplifting. Although Fev probably has her as far as pokies go.

I know a different Lindsay. The cute little girl who played twins in a movie years ago called The Parent Trap. Then there was Freaky Friday. Funny stuff. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Can you believe I’ve seen every single movie this wild child has made. Every one. I can’t even say that about Robert de Niro. Or Sylvester Stallone. What does that say?

My point is, they’ve changed me. I know things that happen in cheerleading movies. And not the ones we used to watch. Ok, maybe we had more than two movies in that old house. I sing along to their songs. I don’t complain when we watch Cadet Kelly for the tenth time. Hilary’s in that one. She joins the cadets and her mum meets a new dad and…..well, I’ll spare you the details.

We have our own dvd of High School Musical. Haven’t seen it? Think a modern-day Grease, with less smoking.

I went to a Taylor Swift concert. She’s a young country singer with more money than the Queen. This is a bloke who cheered Midnight Oil when they played mid-week in pubs, and rocked with The Angels when Mum thought I was studying. I left the concert early. The girls didn’t mind. They sang me all the songs I missed over the following weeks. There really is no escape.

Please don’t think I’m complaining. Fathers of daughters wouldn’t change a thing. We whinge sometimes about being part of a new dance routine in the kitchen, but secretly, we love our lot. It’s a blessing. Just one none of us saw coming.

Hannah Montana is about to wind up. Miley Cyrus is all grown up now. It goes so quick. We’ll be watching together on Saturday morning. Every chance I’ll struggle with the scratchings again. That’s ok. Another chapter in the rollercoaster ride of being a dad is coming to a close. Expect tears to be shed. The girls will be upset too.