This is Oscar. My son. He's now two. You've read about him before - when he was born, and then, when at 10 months old, I updated some of his music interests. Osci's just turned two very recently and his language is now far more about making commands, ordering me to sit down, to go for a walk with him to find something, to change him. He's the boss - he's running things. And that's fine with me - my big parenting rule is that if he's breathing at the end of a week I've done okay. If I am too - well, call it a bonus...so far it's worked out okay.
But something pretty cool happened last week. Oscar named his first musician. In the parroting phase that is a child learning speech he very quickly copied me when I said the words Julien Dyne. I had just placed this record on the turntable - one of my favourites. And I guess I felt the need to announce the name behind the record. Quick-as Osci followed up with his version of those words. Pretty good. Close enough to pass. And then he said them again. And again.
And now he has his first favourite musician.
Oscar likes music and though it's probably futile for me to suggest I haven't forced it on him he's definitely - for the most part - interested in nursery rhymes and nauseating novelty tunes. A constant cry of "E-I-E-I..." signals another spin of the 45 I bought of an obnoxious version of Old MacDonald Had A Farm. That was a silly move. Now he sings along with parts beyond the E-I-E-I-O bit; he names animals, he announces 'farm' in time with the singers at the end of each line.
He's had some favourite songs outside of what you'd call "kids music" - he rocks along to Beethoven by Eurythmics and that replaced Cirrus off the worth-hearing Bonobo album, The North Borders.
But since announcing Julien Dyne to the world - as he did, proudly, loudly - he's actually become a fan of the music. I'm quite sure of this because I played him some tracks from Glimpse also. And he approved. (We'll move on to the new album next week).
Then, just yesterday, he shook his head in disapproval when I tried to trick him. Over to the turntable, he pointed and called out, "Julien Dyne! Yulien Dyne! Yulien Dahhhn!" (it morphs, it rolls, hey, language is fluid, right?) Sometimes I can't be sure he hasn't said Julia Deans. But I won't be doing the Lydia test anytime soon. But anyway, he called for Julien Dyne and I decided to play a wee trick. I put on the start of a Jean Michel Jarre record. No! Oscar appeared to know that this was not Julien Dyne! I put on Reverence by Faithless (I'm really not sure why). Oscar shook his head again. And then I dropped the needle back down on Pins and Digits. A pause. A thought. And then, "Julien Dyne! Yulia Done. Julia Deans?"
He knew! He knew...
I would be equally encouraging - really, I would - if Oscar's first bout of fandom was directed at the rather pointless new Cut/Copy album but it's a nice bonus that he's chosen to parrot me when I was mentioning some music I like; a musician whose work I admire. And there'll be more Julien Dyne for Oscar to hear of course - that wonderful Ladi6 album and Julien's latest record, December.
What I thought about a lot this week - and here's the real topic for discussion I guess (and thanks for indulging me with the toddler talk) - was whether anyone can remember the first adult music they could identify; the first music they called for, the first musician they named?
I recall having a conversation with my dad about The Beatles when I was four. I can still remember it - vividly. I knew the names of three of the four band members and needed to know the fourth. My dad and my uncle joked that they couldn't remember. I was frustrated because dad had the records, I knew he knew. I knew he was a fan. I was disappointed at being the butt of their joke but couldn't quite articulate that. I remember that whole conversation like it was, er, yesterday.
But I can't remember shouting out "Joe Cocker!" or "Peter Frampton!" or "Tina Turner!" or "Queen!"when I was two years old. And they were (some of) the records most likely on the turntable. I can't remember anything before that Beatles conversation in terms of music. But I consider myself a lifelong fan of their music - from that earliest moment on. That has me wondering how long Oscar will indentify (with) music by Julien Dyne. He will surely say a new name next week or next month. But will he go back to Julien Dyne. Could it be that this music has already made an impact? He dances to it - he can spot when I'm not playing Julien Dyne's album. He can identify the cover.
So I wonder if you have any stories from when you were a child regarding the very first music you mentioned; the first thing you were aware of? Or if in your own children you've taken interest in what they've picked up on and whether it's stayed with them beyond the fleeting?
Postscript: I last wrote about Oscar here when he ruined the stereo. All is fixed and Oscar is (mostly) aware that he's not allowed to be in control of the stereo.
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