Sunday 27 April 2014

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

Part of Brighton Pier
Father and son. The open road ahead of us and Brighton the destination. Father and son. Cruising down the M25 after staying behind in London on our own for a couple of days before re-joining my wife and daughter in the coastal city. Depending on your approach to parenting and who does most of it, you might have added the phrase “to our own devices” in the previous sentence, ideas of haplessness and clumsiness circling your head, a snarky joke ready to slip out of your lips, images of dad and mini-version of dad having an Indian takeaway, pizza or some other “easy” food. Or you might have thought of a father and son working together on various chores around the house and relaxing at the end of the day with a good film and some proper grub, cooked by the two of them. Tarkovsky accompanied by a curry (made from scratch).

We had pizza the night before we went to Brighton.

We also watched Airplane.

We also did various chores around the house such as cleaning the patio, mowing the lawn and ironing clothes. Airplane was my decision, part of what I believe to be my older one’s general education. It’s a classic that has stood the test of time, although I must admit that a couple of times the film made me cringe a bit. I don’t think that many of the jokes would be allowed nowadays in our more politically correct world. My boy enjoyed the movie, though. He laughed his head off. The icing on the cake was a CD I had made earlier on during the day for our trip to Brighton together the next morning.

The idea was simple. I asked my son to bring a couple of CDs of his to play in the car and I would choose two or three from my collection to share with him. We would play DJ to each other. I like a lot of the music he plays (mostly rock nowadays) but he is not acquainted with my broad musical taste. Focusing mainly on rock, but of a bluesy, funky, reggae and pop nature, I was planning to introduce him to some classics.

I could not remember when I had last driven to Brighton (I think I had done it only once before) and being a bank holiday weekend the journey could be two hours or four. We set off mid-morning.

There was only a little hiccup and that was that none of my son’s CDs played on the car stereo. Maybe because of the fact they were burned and not original ready-made. Strangely, though, one of mine (burned, too) did play. That was enough, though. The boy was entranced by the music coming out of the speakers and I could feel it. If you are the parent of teenagers you will be aware of their occasional awkward silences and lack of expressiveness. Grunts are usually surrogates for yes and no equally. My boy is no different. But I know when something’s grabbed him. The CD I burned had a killer opener, Loan Me a Dime, as performed live by Boz Scaggs. For a sixteen-year-old who is mad about playing guitar (and is pretty good at it, that’s not just the father’s voice speaking, he is bloody good, he is) the first chords of this timeless blues, originally written and performed by Fenton Robinson, was like manna from heaven. That was swiftly followed by the first notes on A minor of Bob Marley’s Exodus just as we were about to hit the M25. Exodus on the stereo and we were escaping the city. The boy sat back and relaxed. He didn’t text for the next hour and a bit. By the time the Red Hot Chilli Peppers were belting out By the Way I had joined the chorus. I know that you will call me a show-off and a braggart but when it comes to making compilation CDs I am second to none. Who came after the Chillies? Led Zeppelin. Because if you are going to introduce a teenager to the classics, do not beat around the bush, go for broke, mate. So, I did. Led Zeppelin’s live version of Whole Lotta Love with the blues medley in the middle. Almost fourteen minutes of pure, unadulterated bluesy rock, followed by two bands without which the music my son listens to (metal) wouldn’t exist: Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water and Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. With the latter I saw my son out of the corner of my eye playing air guitar to Tommy Iommi’s opening riff. I wouldn’t be surprised if any time now I hear a similar sound coming out of his bedroom.

Luckily the trip didn’t last long and the queues I was warned about never materialised. As the last notes of the Chillies’ (them again, twice!) Breaking the Girl faded away we arrived on the coast. Did you like the CD, then? I asked my son. Open-eyed and smiling, he said, yes. Who knows, maybe, I’ll have to do the pizza and DVD more often. With another compilation CD as the icing on the cake. Even if others disagree because their approach to parenting is different to mine.

© 2014

Photo taken by the blog author

Next post: “Killer Opening Songs”, to be published on Wednesday 30th April at 11:59pm (GMT)


  1. An hour and a half without texting? You nailed it with that compilation CD. Many of which started to play in my head as I read the post.

  2. Yeah, you really got me going too ... even the feet joined in. As I read this post I was carried back over the years.

    I too smiled over the break from texting... quite an achievement in this day and age. I think your attitude as a parent is terrific.

  3. Un buen regreso por ese mundo y con un buen descanso es todo.
    Que tu domingo sea feliz y tranquilo.

  4. haha yeah PC would put an end to many of those jokes

  5. very cool... sounds like you had a great time - and i like the idea of playing DJ to each other.. a bit sad that your son's cd's didn't play - would've been interesting for you as well to hear what he's fond of... brighton is a cool place - i went there a few years ago for some days to just relax a bit and walk the beach... was nice...

  6. I want to commend you on your concept of fatherhood and compliment you on your imagination to accompany this concept, CiL.

    I am certain this adventure will form a wonderful memory for each of you for the years ahead, and provide an almost innate perception within your son of what a father should be when the time arrives that he has become a father himself. Hmmmm .... that means you will have been assigned the task of being a grandfather. (Am I frightening you with that thought?)

    I am pleased you are including an example or two of "chair dancing" music as part of your son's education. More of that would create less time and greater difficulty for texting, which, undoubtedly, would be a good thing throughout the world. Rock on, man ....

  7. How fun!
    With teens, these are precious moments, indeed. Even though they may look distracted and annoyed by everything you say or do, they are still taking it all in, and all becomes part of who they become, eventually.

    Years from now, he'll remind you of this ride...

  8. Umm, can I trade my K-pop loving 16-year-old for yours? Film and music classics without texting? Very, very impressive Cubano. Maybe you do on online workshop on how to recreate such a parenting miracle.

  9. Good to see you back.

    Isn't it wonderful how parents and offspring can enjoy the same music when they can't talk about anything else (well, that's how it was in my house for a while, when the girls were in their teens!)

  10. what a wonderful journey....great way to pass the time - has your son spoken about it since? and does he read your blog?

  11. seems liek a great time for both of you. .)

  12. I think you are a fantastic parent. What a creative way to spend time with your son and build a bridge across that huge canyon that grows between parent and teenager.

  13. Well, after reading this, I wish I were you son. So, there!

  14. So much good music there. Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the By the Way album is a favorite around here.

  15. So glad you are back! great bridge across the generations.
    When my son and I hit stalemate, our differing viewpoints in deadlock, I play music.
    Our differences simply melt away and we can once again laugh together...our disagreements soon forgotten!
    A break from texting?
    Aah, such peace! *smiles*

  16. Welcome Back :)
    What a wonderful experience you had with your son traveling down the highway listening to great music together.
    Great songs you picked.

    Oh, my hubby and I watched Airplane a few weeks ago and you are right about the jokes probably not being allowed nowadays but we did laugh!
    Had not watched it for some time, we like comedies.

    I really enjoyed this post, you are a great dad.

  17. sounds like you had a wonderful time with your son...and what a cool experience as well sharing music...a great connection to be made there....we need these times...they build the relationship...too bad the cds would not play...

  18. Welcome back. Sounds like wonderful family time, and kudos for your creativity. My sons and I have the greatest times just doing simple things. Playing ball. Visiting a farm. It is certainly invested time that pays me in dividends.

  19. It sounds like a great time! I think your son is fortunate to have a dad like you. Cheers.

  20. what a wonderful trip!

    sounds like a great time for both of you.
    welcome back:))

    i linked to you today!

  21. Yes, looks like you will have to do the pizza and DVD more often :-)

  22. Sounds like a great day Mario!
    Lovely post aaww and how many times I dont read you dear.
    Always is a pleasure:))

  23. food and music, great way to bond with your son! And anyone who plays the buitar is going to be entranced by the Blues

  24. It's the perfect approach to parenting. One on one time, introducing them to a broader range of cultural classics, showing them how to do certain things, sharing a simple meal...these are the things that he will remember when he is grown. My favorite memories of my Dad are the days he spent teaching me how to change the tire on a car and fix plumbing problems - with the Doors or the Four Seasons blaring in the background. :-)

  25. Many thanks for your kind comments.

    Greetings from London.

  26. So so sweet. You have a wonderful sense of humor whichi must be appreciated by your son, as by us.

  27. Ah, Brighton - well, Hove - was where I lived before moving to Sweden. Sounds like a good time was had in the car, music-wise.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...