Like any diligent father, I take my parental responsibilities seriously. I must teach my son to read, to cross the road safely, to behave politely at the dining table, and to appreciate pop music.
I started on that last one early, as early as I could. When he was just a few weeks old, we discovered that Bob Marley was a good way to calm him down. As years went by, I made sure he was introduced to plenty of music, and introduced to it often.
And he never took much notice, until one day when The Beatles were blaring out from the stereo and he asked me: “Who is singing?”
I explained about The Beatles. I explained that there were four of them, that they wrote many wonderful songs, and that sadly two of them had since died.
Barney was listening well that day, because ever since then, he always asks: “Is this band dead?”
Blondie? No, they’re still alive.
Madness? No, still alive.
Erasure? Still churning out the bleepy stuff.
Kirsty MacColl? Ah, well, no. Sadly, she’s dead.
“Why?” he asks as he nibbles another teatime food face.
Well, because she was swimming in the sea and she got hit by a boat. It was very sad.
He digests this information stoically, with a blink, and says:
“It was probably a big barge, cos if a big barge hit you while you were swimming it would push you under the water and you’d drown.”
Although I’m a little alarmed that my son has such a good grasp of the concept of drowning at such a young age, I nod reflectively and change the subject.
(5th March 2008)