For a period of time in a ‘tweenage’ girl’s life – probably within the age constraints of 11 to 14 – It’s not unusual to have a phase where she just becomes a bit unhinged. I have witnessed footage of fanatical teenage girls hunting down Justin Bieber on a sidewalk, or crying at a One Direction concert and fully judged them for their boy hysteria – forgetting at one point that I was just as culpable as them.

Something happens when you start puberty that changes a harmless crush into a hormone driven, mind consuming obsession. I didn’t realise just how infatuated I was with the idea of a particular boy until I stumbled across The Sleepover Club forum I was once a member of.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, The Sleepover Club was a programme which aired on CITV in 2003 and then Nickelodeon in 2004. It was originally a long running book series I had read as a kid, so naturally I was excited when It was made into a tv series. The tv adaptation was set in Australia and focused on 5 girls – Frankie, Fliss, Kenny, Lyndz and Rosie – who collectively made up ‘The Sleepover Club’ and took turns hosting sleepovers and solving their day to day problems.

In 2003 I was 12 years old and enjoying my last few months of primary school before the summer holidays. I would watch the episodes every day after school and enjoyed them in a very general, ordinary sense. It wasn’t until CITV cancelled the series and Nickeloden started airing it again in 2004 that things got a little different. I had just turned 13. I was watching with a pair of fresh tweenage eyes and it was then that I started to notice him…

The Sleepover club

The Sleepover Club

Marco was one of the M’N’M’s – the arch rival of the Sleepover Club along with Matthew and Michael – and for some reason I was now convinced that he was the hottest boy in the world.

The Sleepover Club

…It’s quite confronting posting these photos again and seeing that he was literally a child, but I guess I was also a child, so it’s fine. I’d just like to draw attention to the footwear here before moving on:

the sleepover club

Anyway, I decided that it was now my duty as a 13 year old to dedicate a large portion of my mind to obsessing abut Marco and  – luckily for me – I found an online community with people who really understood me.

THE SLEEPOVER CLUB FORUM!

Yes, in my bid to find more out about Marco and the actor who played him, I found the sleepover club forum. I couldn’t believe there was a whole community of like minded individuals out there! Now I finally had somewhere to share my innermost feelings about Marco, AND NO ONE WOULD JUDGE ME FOR IT!

I was so excited to join, I just had to think of a username. So I figured a totally appropriate and not creepy at all thing to do would be to just use my own first name and then the second name of the actor – Stefan La Rosa – who played Marco. Here’s my profile:

the sleepover clubLots to unpack here! My HTML skills were really apparent in my choice of post signature: ‘from the future ms stefan la[COLOR=purple] rosa xoxoxoxoxo’. Some of the people in the forum made fancy custom photo signatures like this:

the sleepover club the sleepover club
But simplicity is the ultimate sophistication so mine was classier, I think.

When you’re a tweenager liking someone is apparently some kind of full time hobby so I’ve also listed one of my interests as ‘Marco’. The MSN identity of ‘Bubbles’ was linked to my first ever msn email address – ‘[email protected]’ – made when I was an 11 year old obsessed with – you guessed it – The Powerpuff Girls. Now 2 years later The Powerpuff Girls could shag off; Marco was life.

Unfortunately I couldn’t remember my old login details to see my complete post history, so I had to trawl through lots of the posts to try and find things I’d posted about. It’s only because I know my username that I could identify my posts – otherwise I would refuse to believe that it was me. I mean, I still can’t believe that these posts were actually written by me – from my own actual brain – at one point in time.

Here’s a really urgent request I posted for photos of Marco:

the sleepover club
I’m pretty sure I ended up printing out this cut-and-paste Marco collage someone made on microsoft paint and sticking it to the back of my first year journal:

The Sleepover Club

The Russian girl in my business studies class had actual photos of her real-life boyfriend stuck on her journal and I remember being really fascinated by how grown up it seemed. So this was my equivalent to that.

the sleepover club

Oh great! A whole thread started by me entitled ‘My Marco Song!’. This is sure to be a well written, thought provoking post and not embarrassing at all.

the sleepover club

..Wow, that was painful. I think it’s really sound that I put the track ID in there for those people who weren’t familiar with the Friends sitcom and all of its intricate references, it really was more of an underground tv programme in those days. Sometimes it can be difficult being so cultured. I hope that’s the only song about Marco I’ve wr-

the sleepover club
I see ste182 didn’t get my implied sarcasm when I said it took me three hours to write my songs and has decided to tell me what a good musician he is and how many other songs he could write if he wanted to because he’s ‘going through an emotional time….’. He’s in love, ‘again’, guys.

That unnecessarily dramatic response from ste182 reminds me of many MSN messenger conversations of similar ilk which I would have in years to come.

I decide to ask him if he means he’s in love with Caitlin Stasey – the girl who played Frankie – and then he tells me no, it’s with another girl called Stef but he has more chance with Stef and she looks like Frankie anyway so ‘it’s all good’.

the sleepover club

Hopefully that’s the end of my song writing and I won’t be posting any m-

the sleepover club

Oh…

GOD.

I see I’ve taken offence to the <_< ‘face’ that Elton John, AKA ste182, has posted in response to this particular song:

the sleepover club
‘As a fellow person in love I thought you’d understand me ste

‘*Sobbing noise*’

the sleepover club

Let it go Aisling. Just stop writing terrible songs and then you won’t be annoyed when people don’t like them.

When I was at The Streets reunion gig in Dublin early this year and they played ‘Fit But You Know It’ I wonder if I remembered – somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind – that at one point I wrote a cover version referencing my deep afflicting lust for a fictional character in a kids tv programme, because I really had no idea I was capable of such grade A, 100% pure Columbian cocaine cringe until I uncovered this forum some 8 months later:

the sleepover club

Sigh.

the sleepover club

How the hell are we having a constructive discussion about the correct lyrical form of my crappy song? Can you imagine (A) being me at that age writing that song (B) reading the song and having a critical opinion on what would improve it and (C) as shown by Amy_k_ below, actually reading the song and thinking ‘Yeah this is great’

the sleepover club

Wow, ste182 has apologised to me! It seems he was nervous because of exam results and decided to take his angst out on me and my songs through the method of vague emoticons. It’s fine ste182, it happens to the best of us.

the sleepover club

Fellow Marco lover *lil*jo* also thinks my songs are so good. She appreciates how difficult it is to compose a song in the same style and aspires to write one too but just has difficulty selecting the right tune. I could have thanked *lil*jo* for her appreciation or at least empathised with her but it looks like I’m too busy dropping another hot track – this time to critical acclaim.

the sleepover club

‘Love the songs there just legands’ love from a fellow Dub! If you are reading this De Dubz Rok please CONTACT ME! We can discuss life after The Sleepover Club forum.

Anyway it looks like I’ve experienced all the dizzying highs and crushing lows that come with being a successful song writer, surely I should just end now while I’m on a high.

the sleepover club

…am I.. threatening…. violence on Fliss, one of the fictional characters of the sleepover club here? Is that what’s happening?

‘Now it’s time to payback u’ – with violence?? Sheesh, Aisling.

I guess ‘or you will be in plaster of Paris’ wouldn’t have rhymed with ‘really fast’ so that’s why I was a bit more unspecific with the kind of medical dressing Fliss would need after I f*ck her up, but I think the message still got across.

It seems I may have gone too far though, as self professed ‘number 1 Fliss fan 2004’ amy_k_ has expressed her disdain at my lyrics:

the sleepover club

‘not 2 keen on dis 1 i like fliss’

I guess this song was my ‘Kim’ by Eminem.

At that point I knew my career was over, so never wrote any more, but ste182 decided it was his time to shine and prove just how prodigious his songwriting skills really were:


…..Hard pass.

It wasn’t just The Sleepover Club you could discuss in the forum, there were also threads on important topics like who you fancied:

the sleepover club

sleepoversrule! has expressed her lack of desire to have a boyfriend or get married but Gemma isn’t taking any of her shit.

‘really u aint gonna get maryed that’s a bit gay wot about if this really fit lad asked you out u just gonna say no how borin’

I’m imagining Gemma to be a very brash 12 year old who’s got the mental age of a 40 year old woman who enjoys starting arguments down the pub after a round of darts.

Also lol at crazy_moose_uk: ‘you have to have a boyfriend at some point!’  OBVIOUSLY. DUH.

the sleepover club‘yea exactly wot i thought your not gonna b 6yrs old 4eva and im sure you won’t always think boys r stinky cos I’m sure I don’t – GROW THE FUCK UP HEN says Gemma.

Then the sole 18 year old administrator and user of the sleepover club forum chimes in. I think it’s nice he was able to have a point in time where he could chat amongst 10-14 year olds about The Sleepover Club and not be worried about the police knocking on his door.
Our Gemma has to have the last word though:

The saddest thread of all I found was one entitled ‘Happy Birthday Aisling Le Rosa’ posted on February 6th, 2005 when I would have turned 14:

the sleepover club And then the depressing response to a birthday greeting which was shouted to the void:

‘she doesn’t come on ere anymore. Oh well’

the sleepover club
It seems by then I had gotten over my Sleepover Club and Marco phase, and moved onto more important 14 year old things. Actually, this blog post I wrote on my old teen diaries would actually date to this time. So I guess you can see exactly what I started caring about instead then! Aren’t you fortunate that I’ve recorded the most embarrassing times of my teenage life in chronological order for you to enjoy at my expense?

They did make a second season of The Sleepover Club in 2006 with an all new cast but it seems most of the SOC forum mandem had moved onto greener MSN messenger/myspace/bebo pastures by then. However, while I was scanning the site I was surprised to see the most recent thread was last posted in 2014!

That’s either a very intelligent, sentient spam bot who has taken into consideration the fact most people who used the SOC forum are adults now and may well be looking for kitchens, or the security on the forum was lacking.

If any of you are actually looking to buy a cheap ex-display kitchen from menowo12 just make sure you quote code AISLINGLEROSA and you’ll receive an additional discount. Don’t say I never gave you any decent affiliate links.

– Aisling Abbey
@bawdyfox

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