Was Mark Wahlberg ever a member of New Kids on the Block?

24 May

Back in my uni days/early twenties, I was known to play the occasional drinking game. You know, the kind where you pick a topic – say a movie or TV show – work out its regular patterns of behaviour and then assign a certain number of shots everyone must do when they come up.

Take the move American Pie for example.

Here, ‘punishments’ were awarded for such acts as … Stiffler swears (1 shot), someone references Stiffler’s mum (1 shot), Jim’s dad tells an unwelcome and too-much-information anecdote (2 shots) or Jim embarrasses himself in a manner that involves his genitals (2 shots for an apple pie, 1 shot for a girl).

Anyway, those days are well and truly gone, but last night I decided the time had come to revisit them. And the inspiration was the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys concert.

Now, somewhere along the line I have become one of ‘those’ people who help aging musicians continue on well past their prime by going to their concerts. In the last 12 months alone I have done (figuratively I should point out) Motley Crue, Heart, Def Leppard, the Choirboys, Duran Duran etc etc. But none had the sheer enjoyment/satirical possibilities of NKOTBSB.

To clarify, I was absolutely a fan of both bands in their time, although never to the level of obsession they enjoyed among so many girls. And I also have more than a few of their songs on my playlist. However I was more drawn to snap up a ticket by the tantalising promise of payouts.

And I was not disappointed. Which is where the drinking game came in.

Staring bemusedly at the stage while someone called Johnny Ruffo donned a Michael Jackson tribute jacket and grabbed his crotch repeatedly, I began thinking about all the ways boy bands used to entertain their fans – the synchronised dancing, the all-white suits, the falsettos. And suddenly I had all the elements for a great drinking game. Here’s just some of what I came up with…

Matching suits – 1 shot

Synchronised dancing – 1 shot

Synchronised twirls – 1 shot

Hat doffing – 2 shots

Serenading of audience members who’ve been dragged on stage – 3 shots

Matching white suits – 3 shots

Donnie Wahlberg shows off his abs – 4 shots

Backstreet Boys manage to keep a straight face while advising that ‘I want it that way’ – priceless

Tears of emotion – 1 shot

Needless to say I was spot on with my predictions, and would have ended up VERY drunk had my cup contained vodka rather than water. But even sober I thoroughly enjoyed the blast from the past, especially as regular updates kept me reassured Queensland was on top in the State of Origin.

Afterwards, as we wandered back to the car humming Step by Step, talk moved on from the show to brotherly love. Specifically, the question of whether Donnie’s little brother, Mark, was ever in the band. I’d heard someone in the row behind us make the suggestion and thought there was no chance. I mean, I just can’t picture Max Payne singing some of those syrupy lyrics.

But I was wrong. Turns out he WAS in the band. But only for a few months very early on before he apparently grew tired of the group’s squeaky clean reputation and said his goodbyes.

Paving the way, of course, for Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

Now let’s watch the video for my equal favourite NKOTB song…

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