Tuesday, 25 October 2011


When it comes to music, we’re a bit weird in our house.

We’re a mix of new and old. I’m talking vinyl and digital. An old-school turntable and a new-school Sonos system both running through a glowing valve amp.

But the records only tend to come out when the kids are asleep. In the day, it’s the digital remote, where you can log on to Spotify and choose one of millions of tracks and have it play instantly.

My daughter - despite having a learning disability - has grown up in a world of touch screens and knows how to scroll down and type in whatever track she wants (albeit painstakingly).

This can prove problematic. She rarely remembers the exact title of a song or artist. It’s odd words or phrases. And they’re not always right.

One time she asked me for a song which she could only say had the word “Jamaica” in it.

I wracked my brains. It had to be a reggae track, surely. Then the light bulb pinged above my head -  it was Dreadlock Holiday, by 10cc, which features the lyric: “Don’t like Jamaica, oh no - I love her!”.

Nope. I could see her panic levels rising as she began to realise I might not be able to find the song she wanted.

So I put out an emergency message to my virtual mates on Twitter, a bunch of music-loving people who I felt would have at least a tiny chance of guessing the mystery song my daughter so desperately wanted to hear.

A few suggestions for ska and reggae songs came back, as expected. Then one bright spark came up with a stroke of absolute genius. 

It may have sounded like Jamaica. But the lyric was in fact: "Call me when you try to wake her", from R.E.M. - The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite. And because of that sideways leap of lyrical logic, I was able to sleep that night, too.

By the way, I realise this post makes me look like one of those parents who try to indoctrinate their children so they listen to the music they themselves like. I’m not. This was rare. Today my daughter wanted to play the soudtrack from Lilo & Stitch (which has in its favour the redeeming feature that it's made up of Elvis tunes) and The Teddy Bears Picnic song. The fact that my 13-year-old daughter has the world of pop music to pick from and goes for The Teddy Bears Picnic warms my heart and breaks it all at the same time.

Video is "R.E.M. - The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite." In Jamaica, presumably.

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