Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Still going in the right direction

Not only did I once meet One Direction, the global pop sensations due in town this week, I once trod on one of them.

The boys weren't as mega-famous then as they are now. They were just on the cusp of making it big.

We were walking down a corridor at the time. I was in front of one of them. (We were both going in the one direction.)

I stopped suddenly, turned and bumped into the boy (no idea which one) stepping on his foot.

He apologised to me as if it was his fault. Profusely.

He was a lovely boy. They all were. Polite. Mannerly. Pleasant. Eager to please.

At one point as I watched them through a studio window where they were sitting with their backs to me, a surge of screams from a group of girls waiting outside drifted in the door.

They nudged each other at the sound and pulled excited faces like the young teenage boys they were. You could see they were thrilled by it all.

I remember thinking there may come a day, lads, when this will all seem so old hat, routine, wearying even, to you.

A couple of years later they are the biggest pop act in the world so the screaming and the constant, relentless attention is certainly routine. Yet they give the impression the shine hasn't quite worn off yet ...

How much of that is genuine? How much, a face for the cameras? Those boys lives have changed out of all recognition. But you still see in them something of the grounded, mannerly lads that they appeared that day.

All too often show business eats up its stars – particularly its youngest stars. It would be good to think that One Direction can avoid the personal meltdowns so many others in the business have suffered.

And keep heading in the right direction.

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