News that infant tween-to-teen pre-sex symbol Justin Bieber has resorted to peddling his albums on the QVC shopping channel has had a seismic effect on the entertainment world, writes Quentin Compson, Arts & Declining Old Southern Values Correspondent.
The revelations have stimulated furious speculation that barely-adolescent boy bimbo Bieber might also be using other marketing ploys in a desperate attempt to sell his puerile pop pap to suddenly-choosy credit-crunched tweenagers.
"Tweens are usually up for anything. These girls will accept whatever is thrown at them, so long as they think it will help them fit in. They're the original slaves to fad and fashion and ruthless groupthink", explained Meg Lomania, marketing guru and author of mountebanking manual Money For Old Rope: Bleeding The Pre-Bleeds: Marketing To Tween Dopes. But recently, with the economic downturn, the kids are dis-united: they're harder to please, spending-wise."
These complex and abstract economic and demographic analyses found their way into a concrete living manifestation yesterday in a sleepy North Yorkshire town.
Tourist idyll Thirsk - most famous for housing the real-life veterinary practice of All Creatures Great and Small author James Herriot and for being the home town of Thomas Lord, founder of Lord's Cricket Ground and inventor of the British Lord - tourist mecca Thirsk, I say (you sound like Foghorn Leghorn, or the Coronation Street character based on him, Fred Elliot, now - Ed.).
Tourist jewel Thirsk, I say, whose pleasing rural environs usually host laid-back racegoers, strolling James Herriot heritage-seekers or carefree hikers enjoying the Yorkshire Dales, had its feathers ruffled by a quite different kind of thrill-hunter yesterday.
For a gang of Bieber-bimbettes, agog at the QVC story, were on the lookout for tousled toy idol Justin, even in the homely haven of Thirsk. "We'd sin t'stories, like, abou' QVC, an' we reckoned Justin'd bi despra' like, an' e'd mebbe cum to t'Dales ter flog a few more CDs", explained one tween fanatic, Kelly Mytherdyke of Bedale. "So we went on't bus through all t'villages, like. T'last spot we was in was South Kilvin'ton. There was nowt doin' theer so we cem ter Thirsk ter t'market on t'spec, like."
Thirsk holds an open-air market twice a week in its central medieval market square. Yesterday was no exception, and this was to be the scene of the teenage rampage that shook the Yorkshire Dales.
"Me mate Kelly seen 'im, next ter t'stall sellin' flat caps n' bobble hats. He was on 'is mobile. Kelly heerd 'im seh 'I'm Justin Bieber', an' she just screamed ter t'rest on us, an' wi just saw t'red mist, like, an' we jumped 'im!"
Which came as quite a shock to the young man concerned, who was not Justin Bieber at all. Not even a little bit. He was in fact Graham Graham, a 19 year old window cleaner, who had just popped to the market on his lunch break to buy a new woolly hat.
"I was on the phone to me mate Simon and was just explaining to him that I wasn't on Facebook yet. 'I'm just on Bebo' I said. He didn't quite catch me, the signal was breaking up. He's a plumber, he was on a job up at Great Thirkelby. So I shouted 'I'm just on Bebo!'. And then this load of young crumpet hits me from behind. I thought me birthday had come!"
Once the mayhem had died down, and the hat stall had been reassembled, all were left to reflect - as must we all - on the nature of the times we live in. On the impact of the recession on the entertainment market, on the vulnerability and susceptibility of pre-teen girls, and on the nature of the entertainment being fed to them.
Childish pursuits perhaps. Harmless in the eyes of many. Lucrative in the bank accounts of others. But - as furious Thirsk hat-stall owner Jem Fishwick, unsuspecting window-cleaner Graham Graham, disappointed Bieber-fan Kelly Mytherdyke, and a gaggle of startled James Herriot historians have all discovered - it's all about the consequences.