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Guilty pleasures

To consider our own ‘guilty pleasures’ and encourage us to share them.

by Helen Bryant

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider our own ‘guilty pleasures’ and encourage us to share them.

Preparation and materials

  • You could download some pictures to accompany this assembly.
  • YouTube footage of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera (see section 2).


  1. I wonder if any of you have something that you like or enjoy doing that isn’t really ‘cool’. You might be a secret bell ringer; you might like old music; you might like to read certain types of literature or you might still have a blanket or teddy that you sleep with. Summer in Neighbours once confessed to liking the pop group Aqua. Hmmm.

    I would like you to think about what your uncool pleasure is. I wonder if anyone is brave enough to tell us theirs. (You might have to confess one of your own in order to gain replies.)
  2. Well done and thank you. Once a year, some people spend a week taking part in a Gilbert and Sullivan festival. (You may need to explain who G&S are, and the nature of their work. If you need a YouTube ref., Prom 49 in the 2012 BBC Promenade Concerts featured The Yeoman of the Guard.)

    Why do we often call such activities and interests uncool? Why can some even be described as ‘guilty pleasures’? The connotation of the word ‘guilty’ with something you enjoy often seems to suggest that you should feel bad about it.

    Surely if it is something that you enjoy, or a setting that makes you happy, and if it is not harmful, then there is nothing bad about it?
  3. At the start of this assembly, some of you didn’t want to tell the rest of us what your guilty pleasure is. Why do you think that was?

    Could it have been something to do with the fact that what you enjoy doing is not seen as ‘cool’? But what is cool? If you can’t stand Tinie Tempah or Dizzee Rascal, there’s no point in trying to be cool.

    Or if you don’t like wearing certain clothes, and you know they don’t suit you, why struggle to feel good in them?

    We all know that things go in and out of fashion. A few years ago ballroom dancing was seen as something of a guilty pleasure but with the advent of Strictly Come Dancing, it is now seen as exciting and ‘cool’.
  4. So next time you spend time doing something that is deemed uncool or that might be a guilty pleasure, remember that if it is not harmful to you or anyone else, and if it gives you fulfilment and you enjoy it, then there is no way it can be bad!

Time for reflection

Take a moment to think about something that you enjoy but never talk about with your friends, and be thankful for your own guilty secret.

And now think about how you could introduce that secret to just one or two of your friends.


Play some music from Gilbert and Sullivan.

Publication date: November 2012   (Vol.14 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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