Sunday, November 14, 2010

In today's Sunday Post: me on embarrassing dads

That I should live to see Lesley Riddoch writing a column for the Sunday Post...this is my contribution to today's paper, the 'In My View' section.

Sir Michael Jagger - once known as Mick, lead singer with The Rolling Stones, is an ageing, if still thin rock star, originally from the sixties, now heading for his seventies. He is uncool. Seriously, deeply uncool. An utter and complete embarrassment. And we’re not just talking about terrible solo records like She’s The Boss here. No, he has been officially nominated an embarrassing dad. In Australian parlance,  he’s a ‘daggy’ daddy. So says his 18-year old daughter Georgia May.
    Georgia’s mum is former supermodel Jerry Hall, who’s even less cool than Sir Mick, apparently, as she’s now “only interested in chicken farming.”  But it is the legendary Stones frontman’s dancing that really upsets his daughter.
“It’s pretty funny when dad gets on the dance floor” she says, “ because he has got such a, like, I don’t know how to describe his moves. But let’s just say he doesn’t go unnoticed, you know what I mean?”
    The idea of Mick Jagger on any dancefloor  being in even marginally anonymous - imagine him at the Buckie British Legion on a Saturday slosh - is ludicrous. You’d notice those hips, those lips, anywhere. But most would be thrilled at the sight of even an aged Mick strutting his stuff. Not his offspring, though.
    And there’s a tremendous relief in this, for dads everywhere. No father is ever cool to his own family. He may be valued, for his command of transportation logistics, his ready supply of £20 notes, his willingness to have his Mumford and Sons and XX albums ruthlessly appropriated.  But he cannot ever be cool. He is and always will be a social liability.
     For example, this week my 16-year-old daughter Martha was off with her friends for the musical event of the year in our remote little community: a concert by dreadlocked one-man-boy-band, consummate guitarist and Peter Gabriel soundalike Newton Faulkner. Doing the job I do, I was keen to go too. After all, we play his records regularly on the radio show and in fact, it was my professional duty to go and nod along groovily to the lad’s tunes. Wasn’t it?
    No. This would be embarrassing for Martha, who wanted to, ahem hang with her homegirls and homeboys in the ultra-fashionable surroundings of an echoing northern sports centre which smelt of liniment and sweaty trainers. I would have to steer clear of the Chinese restaurant, too, as she and her cronies would be dining there. Fair enough. Did she want a lift home? Yes please. A text would summon me.
    Everything I do seems to embarrass Martha. Everything I wear. Especially the rather nice Paul Smith denim jacket I bought from eBay.
    “You can’t go out wearing that! It’s got FADED SHOULDERS!” Fair enough. It does have a slightly...stonewashed vibe going on. “And those are PULL-UPS! You look like a really old CHAV! Why are your trainers red? Put on a pair of sensible shoes and a proper shirt.”
    Hmm. I kind of take the point about the trainers. They are red. But they’re serious running shoes, and I just wear them around the house with track suit bottoms because they’re comfy. I mean, clearly I’m not going to go running in them. That would be ridiculous. I am, these days, built for comfort, not for speed. This offends Martha. And when I try to be fashionable, I get it wrong. This offends her too.
    Poor Sir Mick has always had a slightly dodgy fashion sense. His leather jackets are too fussy, His trousers have too many buttons between them. That infamous wiggle of the hips, especially if  they aren’t his own original hips, is just a bit out of time, baby. There’s no aesthetic satisfaction there for the critical offspring.
    But every dad is uncool to his son or daughter. It’s part of the deal. And the more you attempt to show how ‘down’ you are with modern music, clothes, movies or haircuts, the dafter you look, dude. It’s the rule. As for the dancefloor: Don’t look at me. It’s all over now. Wild Horses wouldn’t drag me out there...

1 comment:

Great Scot Photography said...

Hmm! very interesting topic Tom. I recently took my two sons 20 & 17 to see Joe Bonamassa at the Concert Hall. The younger of the two is a great guitarist but had never heard of him. After the gig he told me it was the best concert he had ever been at and is now a Joe
fan. I would never think of trying anything other than this type of thing with them as I'm sure it would be a disaster. As to generally socialising with them at the moment... nae chance.