Before Harry Styles became a Gucci model, Stevie Nicks’ adoptive son and Rolling Stone cover boy, he was spitting some absolute drivel about working in a bakery and singing an a-cappella cover of Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely.
After being thrown together into a group with four other lanky British teens, One Direction went on to place third on The X Factor 2010, and first place in my heart forever.
In March of 2016, One Direction announced an 18-month hiatus, and three years later, Harry Styles is thriving as a solo artist, Niall Horan is making radio hits, Louis Tomlinson is setting himself up to be a reality singing show judge until his retirement, Zayn Malik has released like four albums but is yet to perform live, and Liam Payne is a dad making weird club music but ultimately, living his best life.
I spent my best years as a full on One Direction stan. I got a Twitter account just so I could watch Liam and Niall do Twit-Cam’s (A short-lived in-app livestream feature). My friends and I genuinely threw One Direction Birthday parties – not for our own birthdays, for the birth of the band (July 23rd, what’s good.)
I didn’t realise that my 1D merch would become memorabilia so quickly.
It’s occurred to me- what am I meant to do with my secret One Direction cupboard with an extensive array of 1D-branded pens, dolls, perfume, CDs, DVDs, birthday cards, Christmas cards, stamps, stickers, books, shirts and a life-sized cut out of Zayn Malik?
What am I meant to do with these niche references that I adopted in my most impressionable years? If I was to bring up that one weird French interview where One Direction looked like they were being held captive in an isolation room at a mental health institution and they performed The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song is their best interview, how am I meant to know if you’re going to catch my drift?
(I was today years old when I found out the original video is gone and the media outlet doesn’t exist anymore.)
Boy bands burn out, the pressure of fame for teenagers can be overwhelming, touring is relentless, you want to break out of the cookie-cutter image – whatever the reason was for breaking up, we were never looped in. There was no official end to One Direction, because their statement was promoting an ’18 month hiatus’.
We technically got a final tour and a final album, but none of us realised it at the time. Like, I get it now because I’m older and I’ve learnt the other side of the industry, but for a kid – that shit was heartbreaking. We just had to pretend we were fine with it so we rolled up to school every day like:
It’s kinda like when your dad goes out to get cigarettes and before you know it, your parents are divorced and your mum says she’s taking you to Dreamworld when really she takes you to her friend Mel’s house and you don’t see your dad for years until the time when you finally do and he’s totally different and whole-heartedly pretends that he was never in the band.
I’m mixing references.
Basically, our parents all broke up and didn’t tell us why, then they moved on with their lives and expected us to keep up. We’re happy for them, and we support them but we could’ve hacked the truth if it was offered up at the time. The worst thing to come out of One Direction leaving us so abruptly though was the fact that we can’t listen to Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn or see a set of stairs without getting violent flashbacks to a better life. Too dark?