E-Day

Posted Friday 15th July, 2016 by Jamie Masters

D: Dead can dance (first two tracks from Aion)

E: Elvis Costello ('Let him dangle' from Spike) 

But I don't really want to talk about those. Except to say that Eddie (my 11-year-old) detested the Elvis Costello track: I thought I might hook him in with the story (it's about the infamous Derek Bentley case), but I think that just made it worse – and with Costello himself in 'shouty' mode, with jangly-chaotic guitars from Marc Ribot, it was a lost cause.

But on E-day, I want to talk about Eddie. People often ask me if he's musical. The answer is, he knows what he wants, and he most emphatically does not want to learn a musical instrument. I'm perplexed, I admit, but official (and actually quite deeply felt) policy is not to mind either way. The only thing he ever did connect to was the school steel pans club, but not strongly enough to keep going when the club was cancelled. Otherwise, he has politely but firmly declined any offers of music lessons of an instrument of his choice.

Fair enough, I guess. I myself didn't care at all about music until I was about 13, and though I started piano lessons from 9, I dropped them as soon as I had the chance. I think I made some excuse about how they were interfering with my school work: the truth was simply that I detested them. So I can sympathise: but I'm anxious that he's missing out. Like language learning: there are some deep and important insights that you get from studying any foreign language, and if don't get some basics in early, that makes it harder later on. Just study music a bit, just the foundations, at an early age, and then if you get the bug later you'll know how to progress. My story, in fact.

Other than that, he seems very musical to me. I couldn't have kept the 'song of the day' going for so many years if he hadn't been cooperative: he genuinely seems to be affected by some of the music we listen to together, and a wide range of it too, all styles, all periods, not just the beaty pop numbers, but often the folk, the jazz, and the classical. I love that he always listens to words, actually cares what songs are about, deciphers them, and if there's something he doesn't get he wants to know what it means. Some music he's indifferent to, and if something is 'weird', that's usually bad. Other things he will play over and over again, with the kind of obsession I only remember from my teens.