When I was 15, my mum drove me and three of my school chums up to Wembley Arena to see Take That.
Now the ageing gentlemen of pop, in 1995 the five boys were writhing around the stage wearing barely more than a smile and a set of devil’s horns.
The sound was deafening. Not from the music, but from the thousands and thousands of girls who were all screaming at the top of their lungs, some of them crying their eyes out, others begging the group to take them home.
So it was in 1995, and so it was in the 1960s. After all, that’s what the term Beatlemania was coined to describe.
I didn’t scream. I didn’t leave early and try to head the show’s stars off at the stage door to catch a glimpse of them. I went home with my mum -–tired but happy.
But there were plenty who did. Mostly younger than me, they were desperate to get a glimpse of their heroes.
It’s what happens at lots of big gigs. In such a scenario, if a fan’s hero then invited them to their dressing room or tour bus, what would they do? Of course they’d go. They’d be so flattered to be chosen, picked out from the crowd.
Barrister Barbara Hewson says she thinks the age of consent should be lowered back to 13, generally to stop ageing stars being accused of sexual assault.
She said bottom-pinching and groping is not as bad as, say, rape. She’s right, of course. But when you’re 12 and someone you respect, admire and revere pinches your bottom, you’re not going to say anything about it. Who’d you complain to? Most girls would kill to be in that position, you tell yourself. You’re lucky.
But wait a minute. Whether they’ve hit puberty or not, these are children.
This is about control. About one person having control over another, while that other person is powerless to do anything about it.
That’s why Operation Yewtree complaints should be allowed to continue – because there may have been times when children at gigs might have been screaming at the top of their lungs, crying their eyes out, and begging to be taken home for an entirely different reason.