When your son starts learning to play the guitar, the last thing you expect him to come home practising is something from a time before he was born, before even some of his friends’ parents were born – not us though I’m afraid. We were well born by then.
The very first riff Ben learned was something I could barely remember, let alone a seven year old.
“It’s called Smoke on the Water,” he told me, “and it goes like this.”
And I listened to him stagger his way through the unmistakable, if rather mangled, opening bars of Deep Purple’s big hit.
Since then he’s branched out into christmas carols, Tales of the Riverbank (taught to him by me) and Snow Patrol.
Once he got to Snow Patrol I thought he’d be working his way towards The Passenger and Stairway to Heaven, but no.
This term we’ve taken a step back in time.
He came out of guitar class yesterday clutching a new piece of paper.
I looked at it.
It was headed In the Jungle.
No, I think, it can’t be. But I have to ask,
“Shut up!” he hisses at me.
I can’t even be bothered to reply with my usual, “Don’t say shut up please, it’s rude.” And anyway, he does have a point.
So we get into the car, close the doors so he’s safe from the stares of people keen to hear me continue with my rendition of The Tokens‘ big hit.
And he says, with the best “You are so sad Mummy you don’t know anything” expression that he can muster…
“No, it’s not that. It’s a-wim-a-way.”
It’s all very well encouraging them to learn an instrument, but really, there are limits.