TELL-TALE signs of a good night out number 267: Waking up in bed with a life-size cardboard cut-out of Harry Styles.
As a parent of two boys, I was spared around-the-clock pleadings for tickets to the One Direction gig at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.
However, as the husband of a music-mad wife with a 1D superfan niece, I wasn’t let off the hook so easily.
Fortune was, for once, smiling on this humble scribe with the opportunity to attend the gig via the corporate hospitality route.
Appalling, I know, and the socialist in me should have said no, but these people can be very persuasive. I fought hard, but they had me at “free champagne”.
Free chocolate wouldn’t have got my boys to the gig. As you might expect, they hate them. Particularly our 10-year-old, Isaac.
And his reason for disliking them is down to the mathematical formula used by all 10-year-old boys. That being, Girls + Boy Band = Boys + Hate squared.
If a girl likes it, it must be horrible.
For our Bradley, aged 13, I suspect the formula is failing to add up.
For all teenagers, the maths becomes complicated when the attraction to females (and the desire to be attractive to the opposite sex) is factored in.
Yes, of course, our Bradley despises One Direction, yet he wouldn’t look out of place as the sixth member of the band (he faffs over his clothes, buys hair gel by the gallon, and can’t sing – maybe I should get him an agent).
I recall hating Jason Donovan when I was a lad, but then buying a pair of horrendous suede boots after seeing him wearing them in a video.
As it was the gig was very good indeed, particularly when viewed through champagne-tinted spectacles.
So good, in fact, it resulted in one mum-to-be going into labour.
I mention this, only because I view it as an opportunity lost. The lady in question – presumably a big One Direction fan – gave birth to a baby boy, and then didn’t name him after any of the band. Not even a middle name!
The mum has denied that boy a gift-wrapped anecdote, one which could even have served as a chat-up line in later years.
Our two boys have middle names which, at a push, could help them pull girls.
Our Bradley is named after Brad Pitt (his mother loves him) with a middle name of Aston, in memory of his great great granddad who was apparently the only Aston Villa fan in the West End of Newcastle.
Isaac has the middle name Nathan. The reason? My wife quite liked the lead singer of Brother Beyond.
Our Isaac could use that as an ice-breaker when he’s a teenager, feeding the girl lines as she looks up Brother Beyond on her Google glasses.Me? My middle name’s Philip. I’m named after Prince Philip. In my cheap Jason Donovan boots and boasting the middle name of a slightly racist member of the royal family, you can guess how big a hit I was with the girls in Trocadero’s, South Shields, circa 1989 .
Anyway, as I say, the One Direction gig was very good and my wife’s niece was particularly happy to have walked away with a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Harry Styles.
And it was she who woke up with Harry. I just woke up with a thumping headache which, if you’re asking, is number 3, in my tell-tale signs of a good night out index.