Normal or not or going Gaga

I CAN’T say I have ever thought of myself as the least bit outré, so it was a surprise to discover an affinity with the singer Lady Gaga.

Seeking clarification of this unexpected state of affairs, I checked the definition online and came up with: “Unusual, strange or shocking, especially in a humorous way.”

Well, it’s not for me to say, but at least three of those adjectives might fall on stony ground if thrown in my direction. As for Lady Gaga, she is known for outrageousness after assorted bouts of ever more extreme attention seeking. She once donned a dress made of meat. At this very moment I am wearing old Levi jeans and a stripy red T-shirt from John Lewis. The only meat about my person is the digested remains of whatever flesh I last ate. As for clothes made of meat, my wife the vegetarian might have something to say about that. It’s a good job I already do my own ironing.

So where is all this shocking stuff coming from? Page 27 of last Sunday’s Observer, in which a long feature said that Lady Gaga had changed her ways and was now “normcore” – and that, apparently, is fashion-speak for normalcy.

Miss Gaga has turned normal. This apparently is news, whereas the fact that most of us have been normal for years isn’t even worth the amount of printer’s ink contained in a boring old full stop.

Incidentally, if we might return to that fashion word for a moment, I fancy writing something in which there is a character called Norm Core. The name has a comfortably deadened ring or more of a clang probably. Perhaps that could be my new nom de plume, although nom de pencil might be more fitting.

Evidence called forth in support of Lady Gaga’s shocking departure to the land of normal includes singing and recording jazz standards with Tony Bennett last year, and then last week being recorded on stage in Switzerland belting out the Edith Piaf classic La Vie en Rose.

Man On Ledge has managed normalcy without resorting to either of those activities. Of course there is normal and there is normal. My old normality was sitting in an office for 27 years until one day at the end of May when someone pressed the button on the ejector seat. My new normal is sitting at home with my laptop, shuffling words and thoughts around.

Whether or not being normal is a good career move for Lady Gaga remains to be seen. The girl doesn’t do anything for me as a singer, but she was lively company on the Graham Norton show a while back, and the thing about people being whacky and weird and flamboyantly out there is that at least their behaviour sets up a gaudy perimeter fence over which the rest of us can peer and tut.

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