Friday, June 7, 2013

how far from the tree does an apple fall?

My daughter is crazy for musicians, help! Yes, I have a musical past, I’ve been writing songs since I was in kindergarten. I released a few cds and spend a large part of my misspent youth staying up all night, seeing live music, dating musician, djing and playing live myself. My commitment to music was an entire lifestyle which I lived for decades. And while all that is a part of me, it does not define me at all. I do not live a music lifestyle anymore. I do not want to, am not interested in it in that way anymore.

As a parent, I have little interest in having my daughter like a certain kind of music or express herself in any particular way, or even like music at all. I never pushed my taste in music on her or dressed her in “rock” clothes. Someone gave us a Blondie onesie when she was newborn and we wore it a few times. We also received a skull and cross bones tee shirt, which I never put her in, because it just didn’t feel appropriate. When she was 2 1/2 she found the skull shirt and loved it because she is big fan of day of the dead and skeletons. She wore it all the time for a period. That was about it.

I have always played her music that I liked and also looked for bearable music for children. There are some good cds out there. We listened to Elizabeth Mitchell many times, which included a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On.” Pretty cool, but never my daughter’s favorite on the cd. I let her make choices about what she likes and I respect them. She went through a period of appreciating poppy new wave type stuff like Blondie and Elvis Costello and even my band Fur, but then she out grew it. Currently and for a while she has been really into latin music. She loves Ritchie Valens, Trini Lopez and many local folksy central ameican/latin cowboy bands that we catch at various los angeles events like day of the dead. She also likes the Beatles, as does many 3 year olds, Neil Young, and a few other interesting artists.

My daughter turned her nanny on to Trini.
For her 3rd birthday, she received from her nanny, who also happens to be a film director, a copy of a Trini Lopez album on vinyl, not unlike the one I had at 5, which I played all the time. I got mine from my parent’s limited record collection.

Anyway, she recently found a Serge Gainsbourg CD that I had never played for her. She was attracted to the cover and stared at the photos of Serge in the Booklet for quite a while before demanding I play the cd. She sat rapt listening for over 20 minutes, until dinner was served. Luckily “Je t’aime… moi non plus” was the last song on the cd so we never got to it. After dinner she told me she was bringing the cd to school and so the next day I had to warn the teacher that not all the kids would like it and to skip the last song.

The funniest thing was that after school that day we had a long play date where the cd once again came and by the time we got home my daughter was exhausted and melted down on the side walk by our back door. I had to restrain her flailing body to get her in the house as she ripped off articles of clothes and screamed and cried. I hurriedly brought in her stroller and all the rest of her stuff. A bit later in the evening I looked out the back door to double check that I had brought in everything. And lo and behold, 2 lone items were left behind. There on the side walk, like foreshadowing in a horror film, was the Serge Gainsbourg cd half covered by a pair of underwear. God help us all.

Anyway, there is this one god awful Strawberry Shortcake CD that someone gave to us that is too wretched to ever listen to, hideous syrupy pretend baby vocals and vulgar synthesizers. It is unbearable. My daughter sometimes gets away with listening to it in her father’s car, but luckily I do not have a cd player in mine. So 2 days after the whole Serge Gainsbourg thing she brought the Strawberry Shortcake cd to me and said, “I am bringing this to school. I love it.” We brought it. I really can’t stand that cd but I felt gratitude for it, because it showed me that she is just a silly child who loves French playboy musician and cartoon characters alike, great music and terrible music without judgment.

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