Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Infernal Disco

My house is reverberating with disco beats at the moment (and I just want to issue this general apology to my neighbours) as Bumblebee continues his musical education, this time through the glitterballed halls of the 1970s.

It's my fault; when he was about four I decided that I'd had enough of the Wiggles and George & Monica, and made him a mixed CD of songs from my eclectic CD collection that I thought he'd like. I put two disco numbers on it: Disco Duck (I've blocked out the maker of this awful tune), and Happy Radio (by Edwin Starr), both of which I thought would be 'crossover tunes' from small people's music to big people's music. Actually, they were the bottom of the barrel; I used much better music as well -- 'Love Cats' by the Cure, and 'Starman' by David Bowie were two of the others. Songs with stories or themes that would appeal to avid little ears. It worked, and over the years I've been making him various mixed CDs. Some of it has been a pretty funny journey. (Like when he fell in love with Ben Fold's 'Song for the Dumped' and begged me to put it on one of his CDs and played it endlessly; I had to explain that it wasn't very suitable for the schoolyard.)

So when Bumblebee started exploring my CDs by himself recently, he pulled out the disco compilation album and fell upon those two tracks with great nostalgia, and then started playing the rest of the album. Over and over. And over. Then he noticed that I had at least three other compilations,* and has been playing those. Now he's fallen in love with the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, and is practicing his falsetto and running up and down the corridor in his undies, trying to scare me, a-la The Goodies.

Actually, I've been taking this opportunity to talk to Bumblebee about all sorts of things... the vapidness of disco v's the grittiness of punk; the notion of one-hit-wonders; the fact that people in movies are actors who jump from movie to movie, and aren't out there wandering around the universe somewhere in character (unless you're William Shatner). He knows this last fact in theory, but still exclaims in wonder when he discovers that John Travolta is not only on the cover of Saturday Night Fever, but is also Danny from Grease, one of his favorite movies. I don't think he's really come to terms with the fact that Ewan McGregor isn't Obi-Wan Kenobi, even though he's seen him in lots of other movies. He pulled my arm excitedly during Miss Potter to tell me that Obi-Wan had appeared again...

Despite the disco bit, which Best Beloved and I are getting pretty tired of, we're absolutely loving Bumblebee at the moment, in terms of development. Almost ten seems to be a fantastic age; no instinctive rebellion, few tanties, just soaking things up like a sponge and starting to really process stuff as an individual, and happily taking on a lot more responsibility. It's still ok to talk to parents, and they still think you've got something to tell them. I reckon I've got a window of two to three years, and then he'll think know other people are cooler than us. So even if it's discussions about disco, I'll partake. You never know where it might lead. The other day somehow we got onto the structure of the Australian government, just meandering through popular culture.

And I'm working on some distraction therapy for the disco fever... I'm pulling out lots of (early to mid) David Bowie. I can live with that on repeat. For a while, anyway.

* OK, I'll 'fess up: I love a bit of disco when I'm really low on energy, especially printing into the night. But that doesn't happen very often. The reason I bought the bloody CDs in the first place is because I used to have a breakfast radio show with a friend on the Canberra Community Radio Station (2XX) about ten or so years ago, and I used to play a disco track every week at 8.45. This was before it was cool to do so, of course. I never get my timing right.


Bernice said...

Aint they so nice, so wonderful at this age? You just want to sssqqquueeezzee them. Until the moment you discover they put gravel in the blender "to see what would happen" - if you really want to play with his head, pick up the newish Marcia Hines 2cd disco tribute set -unsurpassed for embarrassing enjoyment.

LadyCracker said...

MLI and I have been working very hard on 4 and 6's musical education as well.

Current songs on heavy rotation include:
Evil, Interpol,
Wave of Mutilation, The Pixies
Better Of Dead, Bad Religion
Fat Bottomed Girls, Queen
Run to the Hills, Iron Maiden

xx LC

Ampersand Duck said...

Heh... I bet they can do the horned fist like nobody's business!

jen said...

Nothing wrong with a bit of disco. My son hums along to KC and the Sunshine Band. Far far better than the Wiggles I say.

Mummy/Crit said...

D'Arcy shares my passion for The Mountain Goats, which impressed me, though he's likely to holler wildly inappropriate lyrics at random moments.

The Daily Magnet said...

The Stones did some good cross over post disco music that could be suitable for weaning???

i.e. Miss You, Emotional Rescue etc etc which could work in well with the Bowie.