Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The single parent influence race.

A terrible thing happened on saturday. I'd heard this phrase being bandied about, usually on social media or dating sites. "All about the bass"? I originally thought it was about loud banging music and that. Or, maybe now that there are more celebrity chef's than pop stars, it was about a sea bass recipe? Cooking was now the new rock and roll? 'Top of the Pots' would be the new big thing, combining cooking and music?.....because Pops rhymes with Pots and you cook with pots, oh, screw you! Nope. It turns out it's about arses, big arses, and that this is a clear sign that I'm officially old and completely out of touch.....as opposed to my lifetime of being predominantly out of touch.

That wasn't the the terrible thing. The terrible thing (emphasis on the terrible) was hearing my kids singing it in
the back of the car. I asked them what it was all about - "bums" - came the answer. Now, far be it from me to be snobby about these things, but I like to think the music you subject your children to is quite an important part of being a parent. No, really. You have the basics, feeding, clothing.....that's pretty straight forward, imperative, even. Then comes the task keeping them under control and instilling manners into their little minds whilst their natural instinct is to to run amok whilst you have a minor breakdown in the corner of the room covered in various forms of liquid (usually bolognese, kids snot and tears), to which, they're seemingly oblivious.

Was I right to have been a little annoyed, that their mum informed them of the meaning of the song? With all the pressures that come from trying to be a good parent, it's sometimes difficult to use your common judgement to distinguish between the innocuous and what might actually be important. It could be something they'll never remember, or it could stick in their mind for the rest of their lives to partly determine their outlook on a particular section of life. Actually, I was a 'Queen' fan as a child and Fat Bottomed Girls was a regular listen on my Walkman. Did that track have a direct influence on the increasing fat arse population of 2015? The rocking world seems to have come to an abrupt halt, so perhaps the correlation on that notion is debatable. Maybe The Bicycle Song was written to counteract said obesity? It didn't work....nice one Freddie, excellent experiment though.

Before being accused of mum bashing, I commit a multitude of parental faux pas('s?) on an all too regular basis. Pulling moonie's, guffing, burping, picking their noses for them without consent, doing farts using only my hand and a sweaty armpit.....it's all a right of passage really, like an apprenticeship to becoming a true Lo Turco. I did let my 4 year old son watch Gremlins recently, which added to his fear of the dark....it was Christmas, what was I supposed to do?! I admit it was a poor decision. Although, compared to some of what I was subjected to as I youngster, it pales into insignificance. Watching The Gremlins in 'my day' would have been comparable to an episode of The Waltons, such was the numbed state of my innermost emotions. Let's just say that the experiment that was my childhood (which was like a no-holds-barred version of YouTube) has stood me in good stead, in order to determine what's acceptable. FYI, my childhood was immense, nothing illegal occurred!

So, back to my point. Music plays a massive part in your life as you get older. It partially determines your personality type, how people perceive you, your social standing and also influences the type of people you're going to socialise with. I mean, not all friends have the exact same taste in music, but how many fans of Garage music find themselves with friends heavily into Tchaikovsky? Would a die-hard fan of The Smiths be seen dead, with anybody who'd ever admitted to buying a Mungo Jerry 'LP'? You get the picture.

The narrative in my mind is to ponder how children with separated parents are affected. It's unquantifiable, but it must change them in some way. They are essentially led into two relatively different lives on daily basis - so long as they see both parents - which in my case, they do. 

Is there an unspoken rivalry between parents (separated or not), as to how much influence they have over them? From my perspective, I would have to admit, that I absolutely; rightly or wrongly, consciously attempt to negate the musical dross my children are subjected to whilst with their mum (who, for the record, is a great mum.....just with awful taste in music, see Country & Western). Musical mitigation is the name of the game here, so get on it!

My daughter seems to be impossibly impressionable right now, yet she's only five-teen (girls start their teens a decade earlier than boys, didn't you know?) so there's room for manoeuvre when they're this fickle! At mums, they watch X Factor, at dads, they watch Top of the Pops episodes from the 70's/80's/90's on 'Watch'....or whatever obscure channel shows them. I'll listen to her thoughts about X Factor and 1D, but when she asks me what I think, I make sure she knows we're not on the same page. She actually seems staggered that 'Planet Simon Cowell' hasn't brainwashed the minds or infiltrated everyone and taken over the entire universe. Please bear in mind that although she gets wound up, it isn't my goal to do so. She occasionally comes out with things way beyond her years and when I laugh, she goes into a right strop! Most people with a 5 year old girl will know what I mean. My son just goes along with it, boys are easy to cope with on an emotional level. They make up for this with an annoying trait of never being able to stay still, not even for a second.

Christmas seems to be the only time when parents and children enjoy listening to the same stuff. Whilst most of it is garbage, we're all just relieved to be happily singing from the same hymn sheet for once. My generation might be the the last to remember what real music was like, before every artist was told what to do or say by a public relations team, told what to wear by, erm, those people who tell you what to wear, fashionista guru tosspot types. That's not to say that there weren't plastics around in my formative years. I mean, I loved Duran Duran....they were regarded as the plastics of their time. But they wrote their own stuff, were grown men and made it the old fashioned way at the very least. Even the plastics of my day are still going strong, 30 years later. Will 1D be around in 2055. Christ, what a terrifying thought that is. 

So please, for the love of god, if you love your children, I mean, really love them, get snobby about music. Tell your children that no, you won't be buying them iTunes vouchers, they're too irresponsible for that, you'd rather they got their first hand gun or allowed them to handle boiling water before they can choose their own music. Inform them that Kiss FM has been decommissioned, that 'The Voice' has, lost it's pissing voice....anything. Otherwise, will you be able to entrust your offspring to reliably choose your funeral song without being laid to rest to a soundtrack consisting of Justin Bieber ballads and sad Ed Sheeran unplugged melodies, whilst the guests take selfies of themselves and your open casket? Doesn't bear thinking about, does it?

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