Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Giving parents a break in yesterday's Herald...

By Susan Daly

Tuesday June 16 2009

What has 20,000 legs and emits a high-pierced screaming noise? A sold-out stadium full of pre-teen Miley Cyrus fans!

Anyone planning to pass the O2 venue on the two nights in December when the Hannah Montana star is in residency would be advised to keep a pair of earplugs handy.

Judging by the excitement with which the tickets to her debut Irish shows were snapped up in a matter of minutes, there will be pink-clad little girls bouncing off the walls like rubber balls.

Of course, if you train your ear carefully over the din of the screeching, you may hear the distinct sound of someone sucking lemons.

What a disgrace, tut-tut the sourpusses, up to €85 a ticket! It's far from concert tickets when we were reared. Children today are so spoiled, overindulged, pampered... (insert your own horrified adjective here).

To give the party-poopers their due, it is striking that sales of expensive tickets to children's gigs would go through the roof so quickly at this time.

We are told that there is a great deal less disposable cash floating around these days.

The spotlight this week is on the plight of the increased number of families applying for back-to-school grants. When money is tight for sturdy shoes and schoolbooks, indulging a child's Disney-sponsored obsession is not a priority.

The quick sell-out of the Miley Cyrus gigs is also in stark contrast to the slowing sales of adult music festival tickets. Some one-off gigs targeted at a generation of old hipsters who are now the parents of Miley fans did not receive the rapturous response the promoters might have expected.

A certain purple-clad Princely one pulled the plug on his Croker gig last year amid tales of sluggish sales.

The same reports swirled around the cancellation of the Eagles concert that was to be held in Galway at the end of this month.

Yet we can only presume that the parents who are keeping a tight rein on their own social spending were the ones to stump up for the Miley extravaganza.

(Although, as the banks were so eager to extend credit to anyone with a pulse until quite recently, it's not inconceivable that there are 11-year-olds running wild out there with personalised credit cards.)

It would be easy to be judgmental of such a parent. Children have to learn they don't always get what they ask for, right? In certain circumstances, yes.

A good parent won't allow their child to stay home from school just because they don't like the cut of their headmaster's jib. Nor will they let them stay away from the dentist because they are afraid. Some bitter pills just have to be swallowed in childhood.

But perhaps the parents who decided the Miley Cyrus night out was one issue they were willing to submit to have bigger fish to fry.

Many families have pulled back on the annual summer holiday, on birthday parties, on food bills.

They may well have decided that this will be the one treat - and birthday present rolled into one, if they are smart -- that they can make sacrifices for. Who are we to judge someone for wanting to give their child one standout memory for the year?

It is always a parent's instinct to deprive themselves before they see their children go without. In another less fortunate country, that might be a mother putting food in her child's mouth before she quiets the gnawing of her own empty stomach.

Here, it's more a sacrifice of the little luxuries. It's all relative, but it's the same biological impulse. That is why that emergency procedure on a plane of pulling on your own oxygen mask before attending to your child's goes against the grain.

It only remains to be seen if the ticket touts manage to take advantage of parents who don't want to disappoint their children. We would have to draw the line at paying €1,200 for a Miley ticket. You could get a small pony for that.

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