Mama don't preach... how Madonna's son has taught her a very tough lesson
Poor old Madonna. Hard to believe, but it seems her macrobiotic diet/no TV/scheduling of "fun" between "gym" and "yoga" lifestyle has ceased to appeal to her 15-year-old son, Rocco. Even a court ruling (she does have a soft spot for non-negotiable discipline) that he must return to New York pronto appears to have failed; the rebellious tyke remains ensconced with his dad, Guy Ritchie, in London, where he is said to be free to play the guitar until late into the night, watch movies with swearing in them and put salt on his chips.
I feel for Madonna. Her attempts to do the right thing for her kids might be a tad on the over-controlling lunatic side, but I'd imagine she, like the rest of us, is simply a product of her own childhood - her authoritarian Catholic mother - and her life experience, which in Madonna's case, is abnormal, unbalanced and delusional.
There must have been a period when she assumed her children would be the envy of all their classmates due to their globally adored mom, the ever-cool pop icon who defies the ageing process and once kissed Britney Spears onstage.
It must have cut her to the quick when it dawned on her that by the time her offspring were teenagers, Britney herself would be ancient, and 57-year-old women doing the splits in fishnets would not be the ideal model for motherhood.
She couldn't have foreseen Instagram, but if she'd known her son was going to block her from his account one day, she'd have been shocked and hurt.
It's not a surprise she ended up going to court to force Rocco home; so long the boss of all she surveyed, how could it compute that when it came to her own children, she was as powerless and desperate as the average Walmart till operator?
Perhaps all mums are doomed to become joyless prison wardens, or sources of greying wannabe-hipster embarrassments in the eyes of their teenage children.
Looking around me and listening to the chatter of my own nearly teenage daughter and her friends, I wonder if it's possible to carve out a persona for the next few years which escapes either fate.
You don't have to ban chocolate, or pixellate Miley Cyrus' buttocks to get a reputation for strictness.
Mothers who "get heavy" by barring Instagram contact with bearded "13-year-old Taylor Swift fan-girls" called Bert, or advising against that third Mars Bar milkshake with whipped cream and crushed Oreos, are regarded as monstrous disciplinarians who have forgotten how it feels to be young and free (though I protest that my idea of parental protection merely stretches to a preference for being alive and not obese).
Equally as derisory it seems, are mums whose use of contemporary jargon (brah, lysm, butters), or awareness of modern culture (Zoella, BB-8, mermaid hair) exposes their tragic inability to accept they're over 35 and thus irrelevant old creaks.
Being out of touch makes you a source of pitiful amusement.
Staying in touch makes you a try-too-hard who can't face the truth of your Stannah stairlift stature in the world.
The truth is, these versions of us have nothing to do with us at all. They're merely by-products of our children's acts of independence.
How our kids portray it has little to do with how we are, or even how they truly see us, and everything to do with how they want to present themselves.
It's tough to swallow, but you can't stop your children growing up and away. Not even if you're the Queen of Pop.
I’m at end of line with Pastor James
I won’t be the only person feeling a little uneasy that right now Northern Ireland’s most prolific celebrant of free speech is James McConnell.
The pastor, who this week slammed down the phone on BBC presenter Peter Allen when challenged on his insistence that calling Islam “a doctrine spawned in hell” and saying he didn’t trust Muslims, in no way encouraged people to be anything less than warmly welcoming to Muslims.
He concluded the conversation with such grace, flying in the face of detractors who’ve labelled him an ignorant, intolerant child by answering a difficult question with “I’m away, bye bye” before hanging up. Oh, dear.
We need to Trump Donald over ban
Talking of mind-blinding cultural ignorance, Donald Trump will be the subject of a parliamentary hearing this month, after more than half a million Britons signed a petition calling for him to be barred from the UK. This was in response to his suggestion that Muslims should be barred from the US.
I rather think the petition signatories have missed the point. If we stop every hate-spouting bigot from coming into the UK we prove ourselves only slightly less intolerant than the world’s Trumps.
We must take the moral high ground — let him in, then point and laugh at him.
Better still, let James McConnell take him to tea.