I’ve had it big time with that song from Frozen – morning, noon and bloody night, my granddaughter in Argentina had ‘Let it go’ on a loop. Her dad had obligingly downloaded it on to multiple pendrives which could be plugged into every appliance in the house and the car – three cheers for modern technology. There was no escape – diversionary tactics and resistance were futile. Her parents carried on regardless, watching tv, listening to the radio, reading as if it were the fridge humming away in the corner but even my tinnitus couldn’t tune it out. And it won an Oscar – are they raving mad? ‘Let it go, let it go-o-o’ – no-o-o, stark staring bonkers doesn’t quite cover it.
I like to think of myself as a music lover, anything from Robbie Williams through world music to Mozart. But with grandchildren this concept can be pushed to the outer limits of endurance – I’m a granny, get me out out of here. When little, they want to listen to things again, again and again, again. And when they are a bit bigger someone goes and teaches them how to press the so-and-soing repeat button or plug in a pendrive, for goodness sake. All this can drive a grandparent to the bottle and some.
Yes, I’ve served my time with the music from the Teletubbies at home and abroad. The website of these pesky perpetrators of the phrase ‘again again’ is permeated with circular music, eg animal parade: ‘Dumpty, dumpty, dumpty, dump-e-ty’. If I hear it one more time, I’ll disintegrate into a pile of dust on the floor like the wicked witch in Rapunzel. And then there’s the soporific loop of Charlie and Lola’s Butterfly Gallery. Is it meant for just before bedtime for manic toddler types to calm down? Well, Cbeebies, it doesn’t work – it’s gran and grandad who are nodding off. And my grandson in Argentina is into Thomas and Friends. Olé. ‘We’re busy busy busy…’ go high piping voices of sweet little children for the zillionth time. ‘You’re going to drive me crazy,’ said his dad mildly. ‘More louder, daddy, more louder’, replied his son. His gran had already been driven completely round the twist.
The fact is that in Essex I mostly pick up the children from school and nursery, play or watch tv, do supper and go home so I don’t get the total immersion effect. But in Argentina I’m actually living with my son’s family. Don’t get me wrong, I really love being with them, but children there only go to school for half a day and go to bed at 10-ish and even with the round of activities, swimming and stuff and gran helping to make Raven King masks with chicken feathers etc, there’s oodles of time left for music. Fan dabby dozy.
And oh joy of joys, there are four Tinkerbell films (spin-offs from Peter Pan 1 and 2), each with their own songs. Apparently Captain Hook went to Eton – that accounts for a lot then. It’s in Tinkerbell and the Pirate Fairy so it must be true. Those dastardly devils at Disney are well cunning – they’ve employed people who take a pop song or a song from a musical, turn a musical phrase upside down and with a sprinkle of pixie dust (probably pink – I’m an expert) wooosh there it is: ‘I wanna be free to be who I am’, Zarina the Pirate Fairy’s theme song. Ok, an admirable aspiration and understandable under the circs – how dare Fairy Gary (pron. Gairy, a male fairy of course) punish Zarina for asking ‘why’ questions and experimenting with pixie dust (yes, I really got into it – it was on at least once a day) – it’s enough to make any girl run off to join the pirates. They seem to be encouraging our granddaughters to be submissive and conform. No-o-ooo. But, I tried to convince myself, maybe if the song is put on repeat often enough, its message will win out. Then, at the end of the film there’s ‘I’m wasted’, – me too – I’m away with the fairies. Oh sorry, it’s ‘I’m weightless’ – same difference.
Then there’s Brave (n.b. not Braveheart, that had real people – well, Mel Gibson) where, with the squirl of bagpipes and fiddles, you might feel like dancing an eightsome reel – ok, I’d be up for that. And the lyrics do start off- yes, lyrically ‘I will fly, I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky,’ But it all goes downhill after that: ‘ la-la lalalala, lalalala la la la’ as if they couldn’t be bothered to think up any more words. Glancing at her gran with a gleeful glint in her eye, my granddaughter would reach for the button on her clapped out antique laptop for the trillionth time. He-e-e-lp.
To be fair, back in Essex, we did have a spell of Cheryl Cole’s ‘Fight for this love’ with granddaughter 2 choreographing demon dance moves portraying every nuance of Cheryl’s undoubted passion and plucky determination. And grandaughter 3 has been into Little Mix for a bit – she’s going to their concert soon – but more in a girl power/hair do kinda way.. Then there was granddaughter 1’s One Direction period when the whole family (not her dad, he’s way too cool) joined in ‘You don’t know you’re beautiful’ with grandson shouting ‘Louis (one of the1D lads), again again’. I’d rather put that phase to the back of my mind or what’s left of it. Her little brother is a whizz at Youtube. But, hurrah, hurrah, he changes the songs faster than the speed of sound at the click of the mouse. That’s my boy.
Nowadays super cool granddaughter 1 would like to have wall to wall pop punk on Kerrang channel.. She tries to mock her mum saying she’s old enough (and sad enough) to be a Beatles fan. No, granddaughter 1, she was about five when they split up. It was your old gran who was into the Beatles. ‘Let it go’? – ‘Let it be’ it’s not – they don’t write songs like that any more.
At the end of my trip to Argentina, I went out for a cup of tea and some hard found time alone with my son. And guess what was playing in the cafe – yes, ‘Let it go’. Put me away now please and come and visit me on a Sunday.