If music be the food of love…

guitars galore

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,

“Does it go like this?” And I proceed to turn him into a squirming, puce picture of embarrassment as I belt out “In the jungle the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight…” in the car park.

“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.”

Oh, My, God. I was right.
What will it be next? The Wombles? Bay City Rollers? Leo Sayer?

It’s all very well encouraging them to learn an instrument, but really, there are limits.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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4 Responses to If music be the food of love…

  1. rilly super says:

    in the nineties classic movie ‘Wayne’s World’ our hero goes into a music shop and upon beginning to test out the stratocaster of his dreams is pointed by the assistant towards a sign which reads ‘No Stairway!’ Perhaps a strategically placed ‘No wimaway!’ notice might be just the thing to solve your problems dear.

  2. cathy says:

    I saw that film – very funny.
    After school today I showed him a video on YouTube of The Tokens performing “The Lion Sleeps”.
    His reaction…
    “I didn’t realise they were that old.”
    We found a beatbox version of the song, which he preferred.

  3. Cathy says:

    Just think yourself lucky that he is learning the guitar and not the violin!

  4. spymum says:

    Yay! Smoke On the Water and Stairway To Heaven! Seventies prog rock – your son is cool. But The Lion SLeeps Tonight? What merit does the music teacher see in that? Weird!

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