Because I don’t have kids of my own, it’s important that I indoctrinate a love of the good things in my nieces and nephews. My two oldest are steps and they were too old to really change by the time I got there. In fact, last time I saw them they were making fun of me for having a Spider-Man antenna topper and a Hellboy dashboard saint on my car. Apparently, that’s not cool. But, despite my lack of input, those two are pretty cool on their own and read a lot of the same comics and listen to the same music as I do, so we can count them as successes, even if I had nothing to do with it.
The others…well, I still have some work to do there. My 16 year old niece is doing ok on her own. She’s a bit of a punk/goth/slacker and I am all right with that. She likes horror movies and Harry Potter and…Led Zeppelin…ok, that needs some work but you know, she’s 16 (sorry Janet, I just don’t love the Zep). She’s also from my husband’s side of the family so that explains a lot of deficiencies.
Now, a while back when the (now) 16 year old nephew was starting to read a lot for pleasure, I tried to pick out the books I had loved at his age. I gave him The Phantom Tollbooth, Trumpet of the Swan, stuff that I really liked at 9 or so. And he got it. I don’t know if he liked all the books, but he got the concept and I think he appreciated it. A few years later, we were talking about music and he was just starting to find his personal musical…feet. So I decided I would make him a cd of song that I liked and THOUGHT he would enjoy. Now, look, I do want to say that I very desperately want to be the “cool auntie”. I want him, and all the kids to say, “Oh wow, you like the Sex Pistols? That’s awesome!” but I don’t want to be the auntie that tries to hard to look cool and just looks foolish. I don’t want to be auntie mutton trying to dress as auntie lamb, as it were. So, right, I made him a cd, I tried to mix it up a bit, older newer, rock-ish, emo-ish, punk-ish. And he was…well…unimpressed. I don’t think he HATED it and hated me, I just didn’t hit the right buttons on that one. Here’s the playlist:
Crooked Teeth --Death Cab For Cutie
Hands Open--Snow Patrol
Gone Daddy Gone --Gnarls Barkley
Dance Like A Monkey--New York Dolls
Baby Goes to 11—Superdrag
World Shut Your Mouth--Julian Cope & The Teardrop Explodes
Spirit In The Sky--Norman Greenbaum
Mass Romantic--The New Pornographers
La Mer--Django Reinhardt
Slow Train--Lemon Jelly
Way To Blue--Nick Drake
The Rainbow--Apples In Stereo
Eaten By The Monster Of Love—Sparks
Like Wow Wipeout--Hoodoo Gurus
(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding—
Elvis Costello & The Attractions
That Old Pair Of Jeans --Fatboy Slim
I Am Not Your Gameboy—Freezepop
You see where I was going though, right? Happy, appropriate, fun stuff that he may not hear otherwise.
So, this Christmas, the ten-year-old got an mp3 player. I gave him an iTunes gift card and made him a mix cd, again, trying to stay happy, fun and appropriate. I have yet to hear what he thinks but I know his dad liked a lot of it.
"Itchy And Scratchy" Main Title Theme--The Simpsons
Shining Star--Earth Wind & Fire
Land Of 1000 Dances--Wilson Pickett
Mr. Big Stuff --Jean Knight
Iko Iko --Cyndi Lauper
Mr. Blue Sky--Electric Light Orchestra
Here Comes My Baby--Cat Stevens
Beyond The Sea--Robbie
Big Yellow Taxi--Joni Mitchell
God Only Knows--Petra Haden
Minor Swing--Django Reinhardt
All Star--Smash Mouth
And We Danced—Hooters
Antmusic--Adam & The Ants
I Wanna Rock--Twisted Sister
Go--Apples In Stereo
Rock Me Amadeus--Falco
Like Wow Wipeout--Hoodoo Gurus
Rock Lobster--The B-52's
It’s Tricky--Run DMC
One Step Beyond—Madness
The Simpsons Main Title Theme
Yeah, there’s a little cross-over there. But you gotta try to get your favorites in, right?
So, let me ask you, what were your favorites at 10 and 14? Would you have liked getting a cd mix (or cassette mix…or gramophone mix) from your auntie? What would she have put on it? I’m thinking mine would have had some Barry Manilow and Anne Murray, but I could be wrong.