Bob and Tessa spin their pick of front room favourites.
When Len was born four years ago, a friend gave us a three CD box of nursery rhymes and merrily said “There you go, that’s your car journeys sorted for the next five years.” We hadn’t intended to raise him on a diet of Schoenberg but, still, we thought, shouldn’t we try and play him something we might all get something out of? If babies’ brains are sponges, you may as well be playing music you enjoy in the background – there’s a middle ground between dressing unwitting infants in AC/DC babygros and having Wheels On The Bus on endless repeat.
So we played him records from our collection to see what worked. It turned out that Len liked Paul best out of the Beatles (you can guess his favourite song), and he thought, approvingly, that Adam Ant was “so naughty”. Among a box of discarded DVDs, he also stumbled upon Tommy The Toreador (starring Tommy Steele, who turned out to be his first hero) and Calamity Jane. If he ends up a fan of musical theatre – or bar room gunfights – then we’ll know where it came from.
It isn’t hard to steer pre-school children away from rotten TV and rotten music – a hat tip here to the makers of Sarah & Duck who managed to soundtrack a whole episode with Duke Ellington. Kids can find stuff they like if you leave it lying around. They won’t always bite, though it isn’t as if they’ll know what Frozen is without someone to point out its existence in the first place.
So here’s a soundtrack that doesn’t include Let It Go, or Wheels On The Bus, but might be ‘family friendly’ for your family. We’re not raising Len as a science experiment – we’ll only listen to AMM and Peter Hall’s New Town Suite after he’s in bed – but having him around has made us dig out records we hadn’t played in years, and to listen to everything in a slightly different way. It’s a lot of fun.
Bob Stanley and Tessa Norton, May 2020