When people ask you who your idol or inspiration is it can be hard to pinpoint one person who has the sort of longevity to constantly be a source of inspiration. After all, we live in a world where today’s triumphs are tomorrow’s trash, so everyone’s looking to latch on to the ‘next big thing’ (before someone else instagrams it…).
I’ve had many idols of the celebrity variety of the years, but there’s only ever been one that’s continued to inspire me through my whole life and constantly surprises me with her ability to reinvent herself.
I believe I was 3 years old when I was sat in front of Top of the Pops, transfixed by Madonna, who was, at the time, sporting a bright pink wig singing Holiday. That was the beginning of a lifelong adulation for the woman who would become an international pop star, actress, dancer, performer, fashion icon, mother, film director, businesswoman and icon.
I’m sure my parents were horrified that I just wanted to be Madonna, when I could’ve chosen someone a bit less offensive and sexualised. At ten years old I’d moved on from having posters on my wall and cassettes of all her albums to asking the hairdresser to bleach my hair and refusing to remove the bright red lipstick I thought was appropriate for school. Come to think of it, I haven’t really moved on from those issues!
So almost 30 years later, I finally got the chance to see my idol perform at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena. Having missed her last visit to Scotland (a near universally-panned performance at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh) I didn’t know quite what to expect.
Was she still up for it? Would she play my favourite hits? Would she disappoint me like some many of our idols do? Yes, yes and no. Turning up fashionably late, she put on a spectacular two hour show with no breaks – truly the queen of everything.
For the majority of the show I just looked on in awe as she perfected dance routines and changed costumes seamlessly, adding in a few one-liners to show she still has a sense of humour these days.
Many things have been and will be written about her, and she wouldn’t have it any other way, but for me the most impressive thing about Madonna is her ability to keep going. Criticism of her music, acting ability, appearance, personal life and political beliefs don’t stop her from doing what she wants to do, whether other people believe she should or not.
And that’s the thing I suppose – they’re all just other people, but there will only ever be one Madonna.