When my mother starts losing her mind, dribbling in a nursing home somewhere (which, bless her, isn’t that far off), I imagine one of the last memories to stay with her will be the one she brings up about once every three months.
It is of the time when I was four years old, standing on a stool and miming along to I Don’t Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats, emphatically wagging my finger every time Bob Geldof sung ‘tell me why’ in the chorus.
I usually cringe with embarrassment when she recounts the tale, even some 33 years later. But this weekend my own five year old son gave me something of a Boomtown Rats moment of my own.
For Christmas Santa had bought him a portable CD player from a charity shop (thrifty old Santa) which up until now he hadn’t really given the time of day. Yet on Sunday morning he carefully carried it downstairs and put on the Pop Jr CD we’d bought him for his birthday (a quid from the Cancer Research place in town).
First track: Thunderbirds Are Go! by Busted. Remember them? No, didn’t think so. This didn’t matter to the boy. He sat close to the speaker listening intently to the song on repeat a few times. Then he dashed off and fetched his toy microphone and big sister’s pink guitar. On his return, he began strumming to the music and mumbling the words.
But it still wasn’t enough. So into the kitchen he went and minutes later came back through with a big saucepan and a pair of wooden spoons.
‘Can you be the drummer in my band, Daddy?’ he asked.
Now I’ve been invited to join a few bands in my time but never as a drummer. How could I resist?
‘What’s the band called?’ I asked.
He pondered this for a moment, then replied with a self-conscious smile: ‘Shipwreck.’
Remember where you heard that name first.
Moments later on came the Busted tune again and the boy stood watching me until I banged out a rhythm to his satisfaction. Then he turned his attention back to his mike and guitar and joined in with the singer more confidently this time. The only setback was that he was struggling to simultaneously hold the microphone and strum. Clearly he needed a strap for the guitar but time was pressing and we were all due to go out.
When I explained this, he gave me a bit of a ‘I bet that guy from Busted who won I’m A Celebrity and his two pals never had to put up with this’ look but didn’t seem too bothered about having to wait until later for our next session.
Only the musical epiphany didn’t end there…
We had a long journey ahead of us but luckily I’d brought along my new Now 81 CD which is chock-a-block full of fantastic tunes. Needless to say, my seven-year-old daughter had her favourite – Domino by Jessie J – which she insisted on being played over and over, as kids normally do. We’d had non-stop Daydream Believer for the past few weeks so, no offence to the late Davy Jones, this was a welcome change and soon she was happily singing along.
Now whilst her attempts to emulate the Monkees were at best a bit ropey, I noticed she was hitting a few of the notes of Domino pitch perfect.
Then fed up of Domino, I skipped onto Titanium by David Guetta featuring Sia, an amazing track that everyone should download immediately. My daughter loved it too and even though she wouldn’t have heard it before (we’re predominantly a Radio 2 household), she was soon singing along… in tune!
She did this with a couple of other songs off the cuff too, picking up the right notes without a hitch.
My goodness, I thought – do we have an amazing singer in our midst, a musical prodigy even.
Of course I didn’t want to get too carried away at this point and certainly don’t want to be the Samantha Brick of parents and say how wonderful my children are. After all, there’s a long way to go before super stardom beckons but it is certainly an avenue worth exploring.
Who knows, if the boy ever decides to break up Shipwreck, he and the girl might end up joining forces and being the next White Stripes except, like, a real brother and sister.
It’s a bit of a wild dream, I accept that, but even if they never get round to recording so much as a single, at the very least I have a lovely memory of this weekend. One that will stay with me when I am losing my mind, dribbling in a nursing home somewhere. Which is probably not that far away…