Reliving your childhood



Are we doomed to revisit our old childhood favourites on our own children? Only son has taken a bit of a liking to Wham! of late – and, of course, Abba Gold was all the rage over the summer. His mother was renowned in the family for singing the entire Abba catalogue on the B roads down from Scotland to the Watford Gap in her youth. She even had the Abba recorder songbook. She then moved on to more sophisticated pastures, developing a bit of a penchant for Wham!, though not “You can have your credit card, baby”, the group’s attempt to dissect the failings of capitalism. I say this because I was trying to ween only son off Wham! by introducing him to Eurythmics the other day. “Can you put some George Michael on, please, mum”, he said from the back of the car in mid-school run. “Number three, disc two.”

Unfortunately, all GM CDs had been left at home. Only son was not happy. So unhappy was he, in fact, that he refused point blank to go to school. I was not sure how to explain this to his teacher. “I’m afraid only son can’t come in today because he needs to listen to George Michael before he starts his day”.

I rang my brother the other day. His daughter has been brought up to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Hong Kong Phooey and Scooby Dooby Doo. Daughter one has attempted to rebel against this sort of parental brainwashing by forcing me to listen to Led Zeppelin and asking whether a chair is a chair when you’re not looking at it [she has started a philosophy course].

If we are forcing our own past likes on our children, what more are they picking up from our childhood? My brother and I had quite an eventful childhood. I’m hoping our children’s is slightly less so. I don’t mind reliving Abba Gold, but there are other parts I’d prefer not to go over again. The bad news is having children forces you to confront things you might rather not. The good news is that you are now of an age to be able to understand them slightly better and to feel less adrift inside them.

I pushed only son past the school gates and told him I’d bring George Michael for the afternoon school run. When he came out, without his tie [he seems to have a gift for making ties vanish from the face of the Earth], his first words were “Did you bring the George Michael CDs?” It turned out his day had not got any better and that someone had punched him in the eye for some reason or other. We put on Wake me up before you go go at full blast and sailed towards secondary school.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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