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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

On first love and Art,
with classical music's agony aunt, ALICE McVEIGH

I've been perplexed for years by the practice of labeling of all pop entertainers as 'artists' in the media. What are your thoughts?
R Jordahl

Dear R Jordahl,

Basically, I think it's one of those grammatical thingies: I am an artist, you are a prat, he is Damian Hurst and shoves pickled sharks in a glass case and calls it Art. (And I speak as one who only recently, due to my husband's eminence, had to wander around the recent Turner Prize finalists at a private viewing and pretend not to find them funny ...)

No, I basically agree with you. The idea of calling Mick Jagger (though gifted enough at what he does) Sir Mick and bracketing him with Dame Janet Baker etc is completely repugnant to me. Still, we live in an age when it is only a matter of time before David Beckham is knighted. At least Sir Mick is artistically gifted, however peripherally, and not just an inarticulate, emotionally-stunted, narcissistic footballer with no taste in women/clothes/hairstyles.

(In other words, frankly, the worst is yet to come).

Yours, full of good New Year hope,

Ask Alice

Hi, my name is Kelli and i am twelve years old, but am seeing a sixteen year old boy. We love each other very much and we want to go out but he is worried about what ppl will say. What should we do?

Dear Kelli,

My first thought was that you hadn't realised that this is a musical agony aunt column. It'd be more to the point had you said, I'm mad about this guy but he loves Beethoven and I'm into George Michael and what can I do about it???

But still, the most important thing about being an agony aunt is putting oneself in the position of the agonised, so I have to tell you that twelve is a very intense age, where passion and lust seem to equal romance and life-long love. In two years' time, you will be blushing at the very thought of even going out with this guy, and will be passionate about your cello teacher of forty-five. Or whoever.

Secondly, your beloved is right about worrying about what 'ppl' will say. They will say, to a person, that (a) you are silly and (b) he is dangerous, neither of which (most likely) is true.

Thirdly, remember than men are only after one thing.

No, not that!!!! Concentrate!!!! What men are really after is reassurance that they're wonderful. If you don't want this guy of sixteen to get too involved make sure you never tell him how adorable/sexy/kind/marvellous he is. If you do, he'll be yours for life and then, who knows what your parents will say????? (Me. But Keith and Basil wouldn't let me print it ...)

Finally, if you are seriously worried, please contact me on my private email -- ask Basil and Keith for the address.

Yours, Alice

PS I'm on your side. I first fell in love at twelve as well.

Copyright © 2 January 2004 Alice McVeigh, Kent, UK



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