Lady Gaga on speed dial

My students think I know Lady Gaga.

As in, personally. In fact, they think I have her on speed dial.

In yesterday’s choir practice at Pelican Primary School, we started learning Born This Way. I gave them a bit of an interpretation of the song, along the lines of, “It’s about being happy with yourself, not trying to change yourself in order to be like someone else, not wishing you were different.”

“But Gillian, that’s the total opposite of Lady Gaga!” said one of the boys. “She is always changing her hair colour, and… stuff.”

“Yeah!” the others chorused indignantly. “Why does she do that?”

“I don’t know,” I said, shrugging (I really didn’t want to get sidetracked down this line of questioning when I know so little about Lady Gaga). “Shall I ask her when she comes to our school?” They gave sudden squeals of surprise – was Lady Gaga coming to our school? When? “In fact,” I continued, amazed at what I seemed to be getting away with, “Why don’t I just call her now and ask her?” To an accompaniment of even more excited screams I took my mobile phone from my bag, pretended to press some numbers, and put it up to my ear. I motioned for the group to be quiet. At this point they were all staring at me, eyes very wide. A couple were smirking knowingly or rolling their eyes.

“Hello, Gaga?” I said brightly into the phone. “It’s Gillian! How are you going?” [pause while I listen to her response]. “Yeah, well I’m here with the choir at Pelican Primary School and they’ve just started learning one of your songs, Born this way. They think you’re really great, by the way.”

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At this point the choir began screaming – really screaming, with excitement – and calling out messages. One boy was saying determinedly, “Not me! I don’t like you at all. Not me!” but all the others were screaming messages of love and devotion, grade 3 style.

I gestured to them to be quiet. “Anyway Lady -” I’d realised I didn’t know what to call her – “the kids here have got some questions for you. Have you got time to answer a couple of questions?” Again, I paused and then nodded at the children who started waving their hands in the air.

“Do you know Justin Bieber?” was the first question. I relayed it to Lady Gaga, and reported back,

“She says no. She doesn’t know him.”

They all looked shocked. Clearly they’d done a song together or something. I added,

“That is, she doesn’t know him well. Just a bit. He’s a bit young for her, she says.” Next question:

“Ummm, why do you take your clothes off and show your body to the world?” asked one of the boys primly. I nodded and relayed the question into my phone. Lady Gaga’s response?

“It’s because she gets so hot when she’s dancing. She gets hot really easily.” Right.

There were a couple more questions, but the excitement was starting to get out of hand, so I pretended she’d just told me she had to go. We all sang out a jolly good-bye to her and I told her I’d see her on the weekend.

Clearly, as their music teacher there is nothing I can’t do. Choir was dismissed a minute or two before the end-of-school bell rang, and even in that short time the word had spread. “Gillian, did you know that Lady Gaga is coming to our school?” a child from another class asked me as we walked down the stairs.


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