Friday, January 16, 2009


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
All Sparks--Editors
Gone Daddy Gone --Gnarls Barkley
Dance Like A Monkey--New York Dolls
Baby Goes to 11—Superdrag
Girlfriend--Matthew Sweet
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
Ballet Lane—Underworld
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.


Jodi said...

Age 10 (1980-81): Michael Jackson, Queen, Billy Joel (I know...), Donna Summer, Pat Benatar, Journey, The Police, John Lennon, Barry Manilow, Blondie, Lionel Richie, Rick Springfield, Oliva Newton John. I guess it was an eclectic time, yes?

And well, age 14 (1984-85) will be no shocker. Duran Duran, Culture Club, Thompson Twins, Eurtythmics, Madonna, Bananarama, Paul Young, Night Ranger (I know...), David Bowie (discovered the older stuff too, which I liked much better).

14 was around the age I discovered "college radio" and started hearing REM, The Smiths, The Cure, and stuff like that.

I dunno...nothing too avant garde or interesting.

Yay for the New Pornographers! But, "Stand"? Really? Oh, you could've done "Superman" or something by REM. [Again, this is from someone who hasn't even heard some of the stuff on your list].

Anonymous said...

hmm, i may need to commission a mix cd from you!
when i was younger, my "cool auntie" got me into tom waits. i didn't get it then (i don't get it now either) but i really like it.
the first albums i can remember really having an impact on me were queen's a day at the races, and the beatles white album. i also really liked james taylor and duran duran. and some of that 80s stuff. but then PUNK ROCK hit and it was all downhill from there - the damned, replacements, gbh...then into metal...oh i'll stop...
your nieces and nephews are lucky to have a cool auntie like you! i know my nephews will just think i'm old, weird and crazy.

Janet said...

That's ok...I didn't like Zep either until I was in my 40s ... there's hope for you yet!