Sunday, 27 June 2010


A faded black to grey T-shirt advertising a band is a reminder of my age, a reminder of the good times left behind.

By a quirk of fate called immortality by suicide, for he - a rock star - does not grow old as we grow old. Today's sacrifice of the young generation is played out by another poet spokesman of his generation, who has given up on things to say in favour of a way out, to touch the sky and to die before he grows old. So today I am wearing a faded slightly holed T shirt of a band still revered as left of centre, even by todays's teens. We, father and son, are connected whether he likes it or not.

It may hurt for him ~my son ~ to say it, but the Old Man is still cutting it. Sadly no it will not hurt because he will not say it, I am mutton dressed as lamb.

To this next generation I am condemned never to wear my T-shirts, be that band revered or not. It is like a T-shirt that has passed its Expiry date, because of the wrinkly torso that fills it out, a T-shirt that would be magically transformed to cool by a lanky, elasticated skin sometimes prone to zit, firm torso that fails to fill it out. An Expiry date set by children embarrasssed at an old person trying to look young.

Water may turn to wine, mutton becomes lamb. A miracle has occurred that requires no burning bush, no parting of seas, a T-shirt is revalidated as cool going on super-cool by age of the wearer. This T-shirt is claimed as his uniform alone.

The T-shirt branded with a cool icon, worn and ragged, is wanted for a young person trying to look real. A teenager keen to be at the forefront of retro. A wanting to look street. To be fashion wise, without signs of DHL delivery by Amazon branded brand new.

My T-shirts are stolen, camouflaged under the tip that once was a wardrobe. To dare to suggest I may look to find my T-shirts is damned as an outrage. It is an invasion of privacy! by damn! Secrecy is demanded to undertake a "search and rescue" mission and damn the invasion of privacy and if it is another example of my lack of trust. Too right it is.

Nirvana must be rescued from his back before the zit busts and its only a matter of time......

Thursday, 24 June 2010

By the power of Greystroke...Power ranger and Squeak

Oh, how we used to mimic the television greats of Children's TV, we had a laugh. Me and the kids. We burped with the best of them.

Teletubbies were non-human, they spoke in an adult-free way of squeaks and burping. As Children's TV goes as a concept, it was psychedelically scary, I suspected grown men were wearing fat suits, that were primary colour blinding in bright light, and I kid-you-not aerial headed monster things, and Lordy Lordy they did not speak the queen's english. A Teletubby was not really up there with Muffin the Mule. In Children's TV stakes there was a slim possibility Teletubbies should have been filed under a "Warning - taking drugs is dangerous" label.

But it brought us together as a family. A family as one that bought into the full cuddly toy, mattress, plastic plate and video "We-love-Teletubby" family. I made the BBC rich way past a licence fee. But its OK, fun was never this good, this mutual laughter at nothing at all takes a lot to beaten. The kids and me. They laughed with them, I laughed at them and fun was had all around. And may they long live in our video collection, even if the video recorder has seen a better view from under a TV in the 'once upon a time' happy days, as opposed to a video recoder located somewhere in a basement under several other things lost in a finite cellar space of nowadays.

A video recorder as a metaphor for me, it has seen better days; but it probably could still kick it as a clock. I still could be of use as a chauffeur, a charitable banker, a telephone answering machine.

Time moved on as toddler cartoons and characters passed onto non-toddler cartoons and cahracters. They came and went into my kids' head and over mine. I am an intelligent adult and there is only so many times Power Rangers can win, despite the threat to the Universe, near certain death and all things evil. I do wish to boast, I think I may have guessed the plot.

I was happy that they were happy. They were happy that the world was a safer place regularly at the end of half an hour.

Although this happiness came at a price that such heroes obviously deserved praise and monetary tributes, by jolly the kids demanded so. Again as part of the process, the hook, line and sinker process; I decided, or was manipulated, that my hand should make several stopovers in my pocket that kept a once fat wallet. Various bed clothes, toys, books, littered the house as a form of worship to Power Rangers, Transformers, Ben Ten, powderpuff girls or whatever.

That was then, this is now. All is now past tense. TV has different heroes, heroes that come out to play when the news is on, when that adult drama is on, when what they call old fashioned entertainment is on.

They used to watch TV when I did important things like going to the gym, going to the office; they did not watch TV when I returned and I watched important things like "Antiques Roadshow". Things have changed, I want to watch, they want to watch.

My programmes win BAFTAs, EMMYs for best supporting actress in a period drama; their programmes win MTV awards for best kiss, most huggable alien, nicest cute person in a non-boyfriend category.

TV is a Battle ground and the key to this battle is the Remote Control - the channel hopper Kingmaker -or as I prefer to call it ~My Remote Control ~ in fact, it should be abbreviated by common use, custom and tradition as MRC.

My logic failed me, my adult spider sense has gone off radar, I have fallen foul of their education, I should have called it DRC ~ Dad's Remote Control ~ "My" cuts both ways.

I feel the need to say "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, my son".

And I enter a parallel universe, role-reversal, deja vous, time-warp-space-continuum moment.... my father once said the same thing to what was once I think a rather handsome boy. Although he may added a number of Anglo-Saxon descriptive words. Indeed "clever dick" may also have featured.

Returning to the real world, which does not involve six post pubescents in a house in a global capital somewhere in MTV land, answering the questions of the universe with the aid of alcohol and a libido. The answer to my TV battle of wills between the forces of adult good (me) and teenage evil (my boy, my daughter), lies in two...perhaps three TVs, satellite systems, monthly bills that may now come in a distinct nice red font, and a family apart in bedroom seclusion.

A family being drawn apart, as the Battle of the TV is drawn.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Defeat in the Wilderness

Comfort zones - the search for quiet time - the toilet is my sanctuary, defended by things unseen, the unseen forces of last might's curry; however out there, there in the danger zone, where once there was a living room ~ the times have changed, the wilderness has returned. It is wild and unless I'm not mistaken, I will be abused as a slave owner. Out there it is not safe to be an adult of some years standing, to be old out there amongst the sofas is to be yesterday's man. Out there I a m vulnerable to verbal abuse.

I enter the wilderness where once I sat in the big chair with my orb of remote control. Now he sits ~ the teenager ~ my nemesis~, he who loves in a digital world in widescreen and HD. I believe I may have asked my son to make a cup of coffee.

This may have been a clever ruse to regain my chair. A deception, an old-scholl trick, I still can run with the pack. It was a ruse damned to fail, these days I need wood, nails and an art degree in history of Troy to half a chance to succeed.

Instead I was advised by the art of shouting that he is not my slave. I even said 'please', which I thought at least, I should have earned the right to have been despised as a servent owner as in "I am not your servent"; but today his life is that of a someone caught, sold and put to work in the cotton fields.

I had not time to ask for milk before his retort, that would probably have had me defined by Amnesty International as a tyrant taking advantage of child labour and they will probably now list him as some kind of political prisoner. There will probably be a charity concert, a letter writing campaign "Free the Teenager One".

He now returns to his Playstation, unconcerned that a weaker grown man may have cried.

I return to my coffeemaking duties and promises to not be his chauffeur, as long as it does not effect his schooling, his sports and our holidays... I resolve not to drive him to ....well....somewhere....I'm here for the long haul. I will be revenged.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

I used to be cool..

There was a time we held hands, a time when they sat on my shoulders and they could box my ears and rub my head. Any brusing was worth it. There was a time they wore colours brighter than a rainbow. And now in a twinkle of a peer group's downcast eye, they fade to Goth.

There was a time long ago when I could choose my own wardrobe without fear of guffaws, smirks, giggles or embarrassment. Guffaws collapse to pouting if they, my teenagers, are informed that they were expected to escort me to the shops. Its quid pro quo if I escort them to the disco, they escort me to the shops. They are not happy as they walk and pout.

The Times they are changing to the tune of a chemical clock.

I may have been wrong to think that hip hop could be mastered, but by darn I could still bobby dazzle to the Abba tribute. Pass the tank top, sister.

So was it my pretend "John Travolta Pulp Fiction" dancing, when your friend thought I was not entering into the spirit of being a chaperon at a chaperoned party. Sadly failing to do my duty as a Dad, which was to be a wall flower. There should have been a sign "This is a sregreated area", Old people in the sad area to the left, cool fun-loving kids access all areas. Daughters reminding parents that Dad and sad rhyme and this is a clue to my future life. I should have been happy with a nominated-Driver orange juice and reconciled to hiding by a wall with poor lighting. Instead I cruelly subjected you and your friends to Disco moves that graced many a dancefloor when Pacman was cutting edge. I broke the "pass" laws.

Here I was cruelly dismissed, as I was equally sure that I could still cut it, cutting shapes with the best of them. I had blossomed as a Disco King to re-take his throne, well perhaps I should face the reality of my exaggeration, I blossomed as a Disco Prince with royal parents unknown, well Disco first cousin and fifth in line to the throne, fifth in line and if there is a Black Plague and the powers-that-be recognised a tryst with a eighteenth century lady-in-waiting, that is. Disco King may have been an exaggeration in hindsight, and probably a damn lie in 1980's as well. Disco-distant-relevant-to-the-queen was not a probably pretty sight back then, without alcohol, and is definitely a not quite pretty sight now, with or without alcohol . The mind play tricks on the older orange juiced mind. I think I am ripping up the form book and unwittingly ripping up respect in the adult-child relationship.

I have become an embarassment to all things born the wrong side of 1997. Apparently its not only my double chin that is telling them and me that I am growing old. My teenagers are telling me by the use of upcast thrown eyes. It is now my fashion sense that is so uncool I could substitute for a fridge.
Life is changing as my careful clinging to my youth is being critiqued. My fashion is compared to tramps. My fashion rests on Classic T-shirts and baggy shorts that are now deemed inappropriate, when apparently I should be wearing a cardigan and taking a dog for a walk. And we do not even have a dog. Being rock'n'roll is for them and not me.

Tough, I admit without care I do not care if I am a leper amongst the fashion streets of trouser-wearers, if this means trousers are at half mast, half-heartily clinging to a buttock allowing an unfetching taste in underwear to be known to the outside world. Nowadays I could sadly but accurately describe teenage trousers as low cut, where a generation ago it was dresses. I think my generation is winning hands down on this 'low cut' fashion style.

And so in a moment of middle-aged realism, I realise I am sane, my underwear, my generation's underwear is under my trousers, our trousers. I am the one eyed man in the land of the blind. I must be strong and loyal to my former 100% cotton T-shirts, that are now approximately 80% cotton and 20% air ventilated. They may see my vest but not my pants. The battle of the T-shirt must be won for the sake of holy 80's bands.

I will dance, I will wear denim and damn the disgrace. No mirrors please. No Mobile phone camera work please.
Mad and Dad rhymes too.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Economic Control of the Purse Strings

The ultimate power ~ the power of a credit card- a CD wanted, CD costs money, my money, a CD left wanted, a CD on a shelf. Respect is demanded by a simple "No". A car may be washed by a teenager. I may reward it or deem it part of a filial duty, especially with a chimney still to sweep

But then its a birthday, its a first day of school, its Christmas, its Three Kings, its St Martins ~who?, its last day of school, its the third Thursday in a month, its essential for doing Biology homework. Nevermind Biology homework, when in the name of all things name-able did Psychology become a subject for thirteen year-olds. I am being out-manouvred by a kid. I am feeling guilty and soon I will be regretting my weakness, as I have thrash metal surround sound. The neighbours can share in the musical spectacular, we are generous. They appear to appreciate music as they bang on our front door like a drum machine, if somewhat out of sync. But their musical beat contribution must wait to be unappreciated, until there is a break in the death-thrash-bomb-the-bass-beat, a lull for me to realise there may be soon a heated debate over Rock'n' Roll is Noise pollution, and call me a shamen but I did not need a crystal ball for deciding the agenda of communication with my reddening neighbour and his red-faced home-owner ~ me. All because schooling has shifted to a new curriculum that is introducing blackmail as a career choice under another name ~psychology.

But wait, at least, he ~ my teenager ~ has done his Biology homework. Hurrah. Except I have been pushed time had come to step up to the plate.... the time to take things seriously and avoid the grandchildren for a decade or so. But wait another cotton picking minute......

My duties in teaching the birds and the bees has been usurped by a clinical, factual lesson on sexual education that may have saved my blushing cheeks. But wait a flippin'-hell-freezes-over moment, my cheeks are not ready for this traffic light like changing colouring, I am blushing. My boy is now an expert and on a mission of discovery. I fear theory is about to enter practicals. But first there is a few things he'd like to double-check and damn....

His theoretical knowledge has now lent a certain gravitas to the teenager question time, that follows as sure as night follows day. I was now a victim of trial by teenager and my innocence was a handicap. The late, later, latest hours of the evening television programming ad-breaks now dedicated to the Grand Teenquisitor of "did I do's", "why was'", "didn't you's", "no really, but's" ....damn it, this is supposed to be about third party birds and bees, not me. This never happens with maths homework, and can we talk about bi-nomial theorems rather than the why's and wherefore's of bi's. I want my life to be back to normal and it starts with getting my nomial back.

This is an ambush of adult deviance that I hardly new existed, but I feel I should. My boy knows more than me. I feel I have missed out and I do not know if you should ask your mother if a bisexual has his and hers condoms.

This is re-writing Evolution theory as Survival of the Fetishest. And no your pocket money is not going to be increased for "necessities". Grandpa!....I may be being blackmailed again.