I have met my parents, and they are me. This somewhat disturbing revelation came home to me last week, when I was typing away in the office here, grumbling to myself about the crap music booming out from Emily’s room, and listening to Punk and Disorderly, a compilation featuring such acts as Blondie, The Stranglers, The Sex Pistols, etc. Y’know – proper music. But I suddenly realised that punk happened 25 years ago, and what I was doing was, in chronological terms, the same thing as my parents listening to Bill Haley and the Comets when I was Emily’s age. And they said that was “proper music” too…
Fortunately, this realisation was tempered by a few secondary realisations – not the least being that what Emily listens to is, indeed, crap. There is something strangely disturbing about hearing a thirteen-year old singing Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi?, the latest single from Christina Aguilera (or, as Chris likes to snarl, Christina Aguisluta), blithely unaware of what the title means, or that it’s about a prostitute in New Orleans. It’s hard to work out what’s worse: the massacre of poor, innocent, defenseless old songs, which never harmed anyone in their lives, or her original tunes. Put it this way, Aguisluta’s apprenticeship on The Mickey Mouse Club didn’t go to waste; I await her cover of It’s a Small World with trepidation.
I also like to think I can hold my own with the youth of today. While my own tastes are for industrial bands like Nine Inch Nails (and I can freak most teenagers out by hitting the truly hardcore stuff such as Ultraviolence), I know who Limp Bizkit are – why they are, admittedly remains something of a mystery, but that information appears to be strictly on a need-to-know basis. Had a nice conversation just last night with John, one of Robert’s friends, about Metallica and he played me a cheerful little ditty off one of their albums, which was all about the meaning, derivation and usage of the word “Fuck”. It was amusing, in a way only teenage boys can truly appreciate, although there wasn’t much of a tune to it, as my parents would no doubt have tartly observed.
Mind you, while I am listening to the abrasive tech-noir noise of Frontline Assembly, Robert has got Robbie Williams’ easy-listening sounds on, which would seem to be somewhat miswired – hell, even my mother likes Robbie Williams. [To his street-credit, Robert did also borrow my Eminem CD – giving me a strange but unmistakeable feeling of satisfaction.] And it’s usually Emily who has to come into our room late at night and tell us to turn the stereo down, rather than the other way round And that’s despite my tolerance for N’Sync, stopping at about the 2.5 dB mark – there’s no such thing as “quiet enough” there.
Our ability in areas like movies also help to lend us credibility: the discovery that someone older than 25 actually saw Scary Movie comes as a revelation to some teenagers. Though whenever Robert tries to talk us into seeing a film, two words prove sufficient to shut him up: Battlefield Earth. He didn’t just see it at the cinema…he went back and saw it again, and we aren’t going to let him forget it in a hurry. I look forward to introducing him to Showgirls, so he can appreciate what an enjoyably bad movie should really be like.
Things like this give me hope for the future. And when they talk about the awesome new actor called Chow Yun-Fat, I think we may perhaps be permitted a small smirk.