December 2014 was a month in which various things happened in ‘the world at large’. But how did these things impact the impeccably fringed George Shelley from Union J? Well let’s find out shall we.
In December, beautifully coiffured boyband Union J’s ‘You Got It All’ entered at Number 2 on the official chart but would have been Number One if it weren’t for pesky streaming stats.
How do you feel about all this, George? Were you robbed?
No we're very proud and humbled to have got into the Top 3 even. When we heard about the streaming stats thing it kind of… Obviously we were gutted it didn't get to Number One but we got to Number 2 and that's more than we could have ever dreamed of in our lives. We did say 'well done boys, it did get to Number One on sales alone'. The single wasn't available to stream, so we'll always have that thing of maybe if it was streaming it would have been Number One, but we're really proud of each other for getting a Number 2 and I wouldn't change it for the world.
You said there that the dream is Number 2 but surely the dream is always a nice Number One?
Yeah of course the dream is Number One, but we've got plenty more songs to come.
A city in Spain called Vitoria spunked £35,000 trying to make the world’s biggest tortilla only to find out that there was a bigger one in Japan.
What’s the most money you’ve ever spent in a restaurant though?
Probably only like £230 or £250, that sort of thing.
That's still quite a lot.
It was on sushi for my whole family. I didn't realise how much it was going to be until I saw the bill and I was like 'oh'. (Laughs)
Where would you take a young lady on a first date?
It depends on what they like. Steak maybe, or a bit of Italian. Italian feels like the safe option, steak can be quite hard to eat.
A University in Texas’ science department had 100 brains stolen from their collection in December.
If you could swap brains with someone for a day, whose would you choose and why?
What a great question. Brian Cox. I think he's got an incredible brain. If I wasn't doing the Union J stuff I'd definitely study astrology.
You do know that he used to be in a pop band?
Yes he did, didn't he! I could follow in his footsteps.
Were you a fan of D:Ream despite probably not actually being alive when they were around?
I have no idea who they are, no. What song did they have?
It was called 'Things Can Only Get Better'.
How does it go? [Popjustice sings said song to George from Union J] (Silence) I'll have to research it.
Anyway, also in December, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed a minister responsible for yoga.
Have you ever tried the pigeon pose or the downward dog?
Have you ever done yoga?
A little bit.
So you might have accidentally done the downward dog.
What's that? Is that just like doggie style?
Sort of, yes. How do you relax?
I love a good steam room or a sauna. A nice chill out. Take some oils in there.
How long have you got off for Christmas?
We've got until mid-January off, which will be incredible. We've not had a day off since the summer.
Belgium tried to get the UN’s cultural body Unesco to recognise that chips are actually Belgian and that “French fries” is a bit of a misnomer. This also happened in December.
Which of these variants of the chip do you prefer; skinny fries, fish n chips chips, skin-on fries, curly fries, cheesy chips, waffle fries, sweet potato fries?
(Immediately) Sweet potato fried. Straight in there. Those or curly fries or waffle fries. My least favourite is probably fish n chip chips. Too greasy.
YouTube person Zoella’s novel Girl Online sold 78,000 copies in its first week to become the fastest-selling book by a new novelist ever. Then everyone got in a flap because they found out she had a ghostwriter.
Does it matter to you if someone hasn’t written something they’ve got their name attached to?
No definitely not. I think pretty much everyone uses a ghostwriter. We definitely did for our book. With a ghostwriter you tend to be able to get deeper into what you're actually thinking and what you want to put across, rather than worry about structuring sentences. If English isn't your strongest subject then structuring sentences and punctuation can sometimes cloud the point you're trying to make. The fact she had a ghostwriter meant that the fans are seeing more of her.
Do you think people worry too much about authenticity these days?
As long as no one's claiming they're doing it themselves or claiming they're songwriters or authors and then people are finding out. She's got a book out, she's promoting it in the way she would with her brand then that's fine.
Do you vlog?
I love a bit of vlogging, yeah.
Psy's Gangnam Style passed 2,147,483,647 views on YouTube in December, thus breaking their view count thing or something.
Can you remember how his follow-up single 'Gentleman' went?
As in the song? Yeah I do remember the song only because I was so obsessed with the fact he was massive. [Sings a bit of it] I also remember it because it was out at the same time as 'Beautiful Life', one of our singles, so it was competition for us.
Do you know how many views Union J have had on YouTube?
I think it's about 55m. It was on the X Factor stats when we performed.
According to your official Vevo account thing it's 40,540,177.
Oh. That's awesome.
Nepal launched a reality TV show called Integrity Idol in December, the aim being to find the most honest civil servants. Sounds riveting.
Do you think it’s best to sometimes lie to someone to spare their feelings or do you think honesty is always the best policy?
I think honesty is the best policy, definitely.
What if someone else from Union J came to you and said 'do you like my hair?' and it looked shit, would you just tell them?
There are ways you can get around stuff like that. You could say 'it's great, but maybe you need to get it done again', that sort of thing.
You'd start with something nice and then hit them with the honesty?
Yeah. 'Your bum looks massive, but I like big bums so it's fine'.
Bigger bums are very on trend in 2014.
Gondoliers in Venice were told in December that they’d need to have number plates after a number of crashes. There were also calls for them to have random drug tests and be fitted with GPS tracking.
What would your personalised number plate of choice be?
My personalised number plate? I find them a bit weird to be honest. They're a bit naff. If someone famous were to get them, why would you want your name on your car? It makes you a target.
And you're probably already driving something quite impressive.
Well, I'm not.
What car have you got?
I've just got a Mercedes A‑class. I don't know, I'm not very car orientated.
That's still quite impressive. It's not exactly a Ford Focus.
(Laughs) Mercedes are good to us.
You got given them?
(Sound bashful) Kind of.
So you wouldn't have a personalised number plate?
But 'UN10N J' would work quite well.
I don't know. Without saying the word, it's just a bit, like, you know…
Shit? You can swear if you like.
Can I? It's a bit wanky.
Also in December, 19 people were injured following a chlorine leak at a hotel hosting the 2014 Midwest FurFest, which as you well know is a place where people dress up like animals and celebrate art featuring anthropomorphic animals.
If you had to dress up and behave like an animal for a week which animal would you chose?
Oh I don't know. A koala? No, can I dress up as a stick insect?
For the purposes of this it would need to have fur.
They have to have fur? Oh dammit.
Why would you want to be a stick insect?
Because they dance in a really funny way.
Type into YouTube 'stick insect dancing'.
But are they actually dancing?
Probably not. I think they're just moving to the beat. Do they even have ears?
Maybe the music is laid over the top of the video afterwards?
You've ruined it for me now. But if it had to have fur it would be a sloth actually.
Finally, do you have a Christmas message for the Popjustice readers?
Have a different Christmas. Don't make it a normal Christmas — do something weird. Do something a bit out of the ordinary and start a new tradition you could do every year.
So they could climb up onto the table and have a shit in the middle of dinner?
Yeah, just like that. Or get stick insects.
Thank you George for that fascinating insight into your thoughts on the month of December 2014. We hope you had a satisfactory year and wish you all the very best for 2015.