I like to think I have my finger on the pulse of modern music, and if I had noticed one thing recently, it was this: boybands are all the rage again. I knew that I couldn’t front a boyband – I don’t have the pout nor the abs – but all the hip, young things are lapping them up, and I just had to get in on the action. So, I decided I would play puppet-master, managing my own boyband, and to make this dream a reality I would need five lads with a cool, youthful edge, big dreams, and big personalities that could be curbed to my own will and easily reduced to one defining and marketable characteristic.I thought I had found them. Jack would be the dark, sensitive soul who could set adolescent thighs a-quivering with his brooding and furrowed eyebrows, while Wes would be the group’s beacon of intelligence and wisdom. Granted, neither of those qualities are guaranteed panty-droppers, but Wes could still bring it. No boyband is truly complete without some casual gymnastics, so I enlisted Danny and Cormac; both of whom, I was assured, could do flips in any and all directions (but mainly backwards). To complete this dazzling quintet, I would need a bald one from the Wanted, a short one from JLS, a ‘Timberlake’ if you will, and Matt would fit in nicely as the face of the group.I had the lads in place, but their bland names just wouldn’t cut it. Danny sounded sufficiently cool, but there was no option but for Matt to become Chad, Cormac to become AJ, Jack to become Corey, and for Wes to go as Wez – a subtle but important change. I would also need a name for these sure-to-be teen sensations as a whole. Luckily, Matt had one: Boyz R Us. It was a great name, no doubt, but I was wary – rewarding Matt, when genetics had already done so much for him, could only be a bad move; one that would stoke his ego and encourage him to go solo before I had earned my millions. But the name just fitted perfectly, maybe too perfectly.I was pretty sure none of them could sing, and honestly, I didn’t need to find out. As long as they had slick moves, their voices didn’t matter. I roped in DanceSoc to whip my Boyz into shape, and after intense negotiations, I was able to secure them a choreographer. Mark was his name, and he was an expert in contemporary and hip-hop dance, or so I told the Boyz. In reality, Mark knew only Irish dance and agreed to help us out at the last minute after nobody else could be found. I wouldn’t mention this to the band; they needed to have faith in my leadership and moxie, and this bubble couldn’t be popped at any cost.Before they could achieve worldwide success, we’d need to take baby steps – we’d need a rehearsal space. After those blasted bureaucrats in Campus Services wouldn’t process my admittedly last-minute request, I took matters into my own hands. We found a space on the top floor of the Ag building and made it our own.Unfortunately, the lads didn’t want to practice; they wanted to stride around campus posing for photos. That’s all well and good, but in the words of Linford Christie: dedication is what you need. I could feel them slipping. Egos inflated with every picture taken; they’d be nursing expensive drug habits in no time, but damn did they look pretty. If nothing else, they could coast by on their looks alone.Maybe I’d been too harsh on them. Maybe they didn’t need some cloying svengali figure with his trousers up to his armpits and gravity-defying hair that flew high above his armpits. Was I ever really needed? As I watched them posing by the lake, each Blue Steel impression better than the last, I felt a sense of calm wash over me and a resolution came to mind – even if they didn’t need me, I’d definitely still charge them as if they did and bully them into believing so. As long as they felt I was vital to the operation, I would be. It may have been their looks and charm that would bring them to the top, but my unrelenting mind games would plague their careers and bank balances.With all the photo ops finally taken care of, we made our way to the ‘studio’, and my delusions came crashing down around me. These lads had charisma by the bucket-load, but they couldn’t dance for shit. They couldn’t even apply their own make-up, and to top it all off, they were starting to dispute my direction. Tensions were rising. The situation wasn’t helped by Mark, who generally seemed bemused and a little distressed by the situation. I needed all the help I could get in keeping this boyband together, but he was content to watch and question his life choices as the band succumbed to their own vanity. I envisioned a boyband that could combine the abilities and less rape-y elements of Chris Brown and Michael Flatley with their dancing prowess, but that was not going to be on the cards anytime soon. They could hardly even master the starting stance for an Irish dance, let alone the ‘V’ formation that would be integral to all of their most popular videos.We wrapped up; my dreams were in tatters, or so it seemed. We needed to get these guys a gig, so we could keep this thing alive. Pat de Brún saw more potential in the band than even I dared to. He declared them “one of Europe’s hottest up-and-coming bands” and was resolute in stating that Ents would be “prepared to break the bank” to have Boyz R Us headline the Ball this year. There was only one direction these Boyz were going in, and that was up.Boyz R Us, Girls R U is out now. I’m sure it’s available somewhere. If you can’t find it, drop by the office and I’ll burn you a copy.