I heard a strange noise coming out of my daughter’s bedroom earlier, and the oddest thing was that it was a noise I know well. In fact, it was a noise I am more familiar with than her. I say this, not as an expression of superiority over her, but because it was a song I have known for 20-plus years and she has known for at best 20 days.
The song was ‘Wishlist’ by Pearl Jam.
I first heard this song when Pearl Jam put out Yield, their fifth album, in 1996. This is a full tweet years before she was born, so I am claiming this as a win for me on the grounds of historical precedence, even though it’s not a competition. NB I’m labouring this point to the point of exhaustion because I want to be very clear that I really don’t care what she listens to. It is entirely up to her, and we (my wife and I) do not believe she has to listen to what we do – I know some sad folks do try and enforce their listening on their kids.
(FYI, in case you think the world of poetry blogging is glamorous, between the word ‘precedence’ and the start of the next section I have had my dinner, watched an episode of a TV programme with my family, cleaned the cat litter tray, broken the cat litter tray, ordered a new cat litter tray, bodged a temporary fix for the current cat litter tray, washed up after dinner and then had a cheeky bet with myself about how many times I can use the words cat, litter and tray in a blog post).
From the moment we brought her home from St Thomas’, and technically before than, we have always played music around Flo. I have a very happy memory of listening to music while sat on the floor waiting for her to be born. NB I’d been kicked out of the room for a moment by the midwife. I was sat in the corridor and put Explosions In The Sky on my iPod to keep me awake/chill me out. I also have a lovely memory of listening to Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Howdy‘ about two weeks after we brought her home. R was asleep, as was Flo and we were in a calm moment. The sun was shining into our flat and all seemed perfect with the world.
We tried to play her all sorts of things, and while the next few songs don’t represent the gamut of tunes, I remember things like bouncing round the living room with a one year old that loved ‘Unbearable‘ by The Wonder Stuff, or the sheer weirdness of a three-year old singing along to The Cure’s In-between Days and her singing “Yesterday I got so old, I felt like I could die”. She loved Prince’s ‘Raspberry Beret’, The Beach Boy’s ‘Barbara Ann‘ (and never fails to remind me about Dennis Wilson dying in the sea) and all sorts of other things as the years progressed.
And then, as it should be, she found her own things, discovered her own music. We managed to keep Taylor Swift as a mutual thing, although I suspect I love Tay-Tay more now. I know I like Charli XCX more than Flo now, and Charli supported Taylor when we went to Wembley, but it’s irrelevant.
I love the fact that she’s finding her own things now (NB I don’t like a lot of it as it sounds like exceptionally dull young men singing exceptionally dull songs to me, but who fucking cares what I think of what she likes – she doesn’t).
I was just pleased that she was listening to a song we’d talked about two weeks ago. She’s been telling me A LOT about Vampire Diaries. (A LOT OF A LOT, she loves the VAMPS at the mo) and one of the characters has a Camaro . During our conversation about said Camaro, I mentioned that the Pearl Jam song above refers to Camaros. It could have been Bruce Springsteen, but PJ sprang to mind. We were outside Beckenham Tescos at the time, which I suspect neither band/artist will know anything about.
I played her the song on the way home and then promptly forgot about it..until earlier today when I heard it coming from her room. I was pleased, checked my dad privilege and then got on with enjoying it as a moment. As is often the wont, that’s a poem, I thought. There’s an idea there, however shite, it’s an idea, but how to get anywhere near writing down the history of how we got to that moment (especially without referring to Beckenham Tescos) and without making it sound like I’d made her listen to it. It felt like a tall order (even once I’d navigated the internal monologue about whether it was a shit idea). And to be honest with you, I’ve got this far into this post without really knowing what my point is other than thinking that I see lots of posts about the poems we have written, the poems we didn’t write, how to write the poem we didn’t know we wanted to write (via prompts), how to edit the poem we have written (for example this great one from today by Natalie), but I can’t recall seeing one that talks about something from the moment of conception, how it got that far and whether it should then carry on.
To be fair this isn’t that post either, but it’s potentially a marker in the sand (another Pearl Jam song, as it happens) for the future. If I get beyond my internal wrangling about how to even start it and if I should start it I’ll let you know. In the mean time, I’ve linked to a few great songs on the way.
NB. Yield is arguably when their sales/initial popularity started to decline. A Separate post on this as applied to the poetry world is there to be written when I am more confident about the idea/sober.
THE WEEK IN STATS
35.2 k running – Better, better. Needed some long, faster runs this week.
0 poem worked on – Nope, nothing, diddly. Too busy. The world will, I suspect, continue to turn
A bazillion Hangouts for work – cos I was off, innit
1 potential fall out over the use of the word “Channel”
1 podcast out there – enjoyed recording this one about Poltergeist, After Hours, American Werewolf In London, getting mugged and many other things
1 day without cigarettes. Fits and starts, yeah!!
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green
READ, SEEN, ETC
Freddie Gibbs/The Alchemist – Alfredo
Engineers – ST
Drawn From Memory
If You’ve Never Been
Elvis Presley – Raised On Rock
Ef – Mourning Golden Morning
Eef Barzelay – Bitter Honey
Echo Lake – Wild Peace
Dorothy Ashby – ST
A House – I Am The Greatest
Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark
Hop Along – Painted Shut
The Hold Steady – Live In London 2019
Be Strong Now
Look To The Sky
Hiss Golden Messenger
Heart Like A Levee
The Grodeck Whipperjenny – ST
Grant Lee Buffalo – Fuzzy
The Great Electric – ST
William Bell – Wow
This Will Destroy You – Vespertine
Love – Four Sail
Great British Music Weekend
The Back Room
An End Has A Start
The Archers…It’s weird and I don’t like it
Hangouts/Video Calls/Zoom/Etc (not for work)
Spook S7 6-10
Gangs Of London S1 E1-10
Collected Robert Frost
Collected Robert Frost
Rory Waterman’s ‘Sweet Nothings