When we moved into our new house earlier this year, we also bought a good-quality record player for the first time. You’d think a decent stereo set up would be fairly essential for a music blogger, but unlike some of my friends with strong opinions on speaker cables and stands, I’m hardly an audiophile. Still, I have to admit I love the sound, especially compared to the tinny faux-vintage all-in-one piece of crap we used to have. Surprisingly though, I’ve not been the member of the household getting the most pleasure out of the record player, as my 2 year old daughter is absolutely fascinated with it.
She has had her own Fisher Price record player since her first birthday (thanks Auntie Jen!) so she kind of understood the concept of these pieces of plastic spinning round and producing music, but now she’s starting to take an interest in our records. To her, music is for dancing to more than listening to, and when a song comes on which isn’t suitably danceable, she’ll demand “I want big music”, although what she considers to be big music can be quite hard to predict. If a ballad or a slow song comes she’ll ask “Is this a sad song?” and put on a pretend sad-face.
For pretty much every song she’ll ask “What’s this song about, what’s this song about?” So we have to be pretty careful what we choose to play to her. Either that or just lie, which is always a handy parenting option. I’ve not yet tried to explain the argument that a song can be said to be about whatever the listener perceives it to be about, so her interpretation that the song is about a jumping dog is equally valid as my interpretation that it’s about a psychedelic drug trip. That may have to wait until she’s 3 or 4.
Recently there has been only one record that she wants to hear, and that is, unexpectedly, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. “I want Beatle music” she’ll demand, almost every day. Some days she’ll listen to the whole record. Other days only the title track and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds will be considered ‘big music’ and allowed to remain on. She also flatly refuses to accept that Within You Without You is Beatle Music, and I imagine that some of the Beatles fans hearing it for the first time in 1967 had a similar reaction. She also loves poring over the record sleeve, asking the names of each member of the band, and what they play. I haven’t managed to get her to memorise them yet, although she did shout “The Beatles, The Beatles” when passing a shop in town with a poster of theirs in the window, annoyingly when no-one was around to be suitable impressed.
As Sgt. Peppers is the only Beatles album we own on vinyl we have listened to it an awful lot these last few months. I did expect that there would be some music I would get sick of due to my daughter’s repeated listening, but I expected it to be nursery rhymes rather than 1960s concept albums. I did briefly wonder whether we could justify buying her the entire Beatles back catalogue on vinyl for Christmas (for her, not me, of course), but she seemed fairly insistent that she wanted a scooter.
We will see whether she retains an interest in our vinyl, but I strongly suspect a Frozen phase and a boyband phase may appear in our future. For now, when “It was twenty years ago today” blasts out of the stereo for the thirtieth or fortieth or fiftieth time, and my daughter jumps around the room like a loon with her arms aloft, I will enjoy the moment and appreciate my luck.