Posted by: Admin | October 14, 2010

The Tracks of my Years: an empty-nester’s mix tape

Whenever I hear the Platters singing “Great Pretender” I think of my dad. He would sing it badly, but with real feeling, and I knew it had a significance for him. I also think of him whenever I hear Johnny Cash. We were going to play one of his favourites: “Ring of Fire” at his funeral, but since it was a cremation we held back.

Now I find that certain songs remind me of my children. Music played on long car journeys, and mix tapes made by each of them of their favourites. Songs Son no. 2 chose to play (ad nauseum) when he was learning guitar. Tunes that daughter no 2 would dance to around the living room. They make me feel wistful, but also envelope me in a big fluffy blanket of happy memories.

I’m useless at remembering song titles and who sang what, so I sent out a text to the four of them asking them to tell me what they feel sums each of them up. It provoked quite a debate. I was reminded that “Daniel” by Elton John was bastardised for son no. 2, the youngest’s benefit to “Daniel my brother, you are younger than me, do you still feel the pain? – doosh!” and someone would whack him.

I remember them singing along to Sugar Ray “Every morning” on holiday in Florida, dozing to early REM in the back of the car on the way home from Wales. Their dad playing “air sax” to Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker St” while I yelled at him to keep his hands on the wheel (he’d lick the imaginary reed first too). Spin Doctors “Two Princes”, Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing”, the Beatles and Radiohead. Greenday “Nice Guys Finish Last”, was picked my Son no. 1’s so-called mates as the song that represented him. Happily, he remains to this day, a nice guy, though not financially wealthy, it has to be said. Mind you, that was an improvement on “Let’s all go to Tesco’s where Blackwell gets his best clothes: his shoes are really nifty, they’re only £1.50…”

“Millenium” by Robbie Williams and “Mr Mistoffelees” from Cats – they were an eclectic bunch. Offspring, “Really Fly for a White Guy” and Status Quo – I like it, I like it I lullula-like it here we go -oh! Rocking all over the world! Bowie, TRex, Steve Harley, Wings and Madness.

“Eternal Flame” by the Bangles, “Tell me on a Sunday” by Elaine Paige and Queen: always Queen. Bohemian Rhapsody in four part disharmony, “I want to break free”. Slapping their thighs and clapping in time to “we Will Rock You,” and screeching along to the soaring “Barcelona”. Happy (if noisy!) days.

Here’s one that I will always remember:

What are the tracks of YOUR years?



  1. Paper Plane by Status Quo … best played on a friday afternoon … loud!

  2. Ice Ice baby, Vanilla Ice, Im in Cinderella Rockerfella, and Im checking out the guys with my girlfriends!!!

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