There is life after birth, writes Kevin Courtney
I t’s like emerging from a bunker after Armageddon. Nine months have passed since Daniel exploded into our lives, and I’m ready to wipe the baby food from my clothes and take my first, faltering steps back into the outside world.
Nine months is a long time in rock’n’roll, so I’m bracing myself for an irrevocably changed landscape. I just hope the place isn’t overrun with flesh-eating folkies or scavenging You’re a Star contestants. Holed up in the Courtney love shack, our nuclear family has been living on a steady diet of Octopus’s Garden, Yellow Submarine, Eric the Half-a-Bee and Anarchy in the UK. (Okay, it’s really Postman Pat.) We’ve suffered sleep deprivation, social deprivation and general freedom-to-do-what-we-like deprivation. Now it’s time to find out what the rest of the world have been doing for their rock’n’roll kicks.
Boyzone are back. Wow, things are worse than I thought. I may have to retreat back into the bunker. Glen Hansard has been wowing Hollywood again, in a sort of Commitments for buskers. Radiohead have released another epoch-making album.
Led Zep are the golden gods once more, and the concert calendar is clogged with gigs by Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Prince, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, The Stooges, The Bangles, Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr. And the mutant king of pop, Michael Jackson, is planning a comeback. Crikey, how long have I been away? Forget Armageddon – it’s like I went into suspended animation in the mid-1990s and emerged into a world that’s totally, utterly, the same. Maybe the world just stopped turning for a decade, to give me time to catch up.
First stop is a gig by thrusting new band The Ting Tings. I feel a little uncomfortable among the bright young tings gathered at The Village venue. Will they twig that there’s a musty old dadrocker in their midst? Will they catch the scent of stale baby milk off my shirt? The band are reassuringly reminiscent of all the pop stuff I bopped along to in my early 20s, and Daniel would love the ah-ah-ah chorus of Great DJ.
You can leave the baby at home when you go to a gig, but when you’re at home doing a phone interview with Geoff Barrow of Portishead (yes, they’re back too), the potential is there for a serious soundclash. We’ve hardly got past the “where-you-been” stage, when Daniel wakes up, screaming so loudly for his bottle that Geoff could sample it straight over the phone. We spend the rest of the interview discussing the ups and downs of being a dad (Barrow has two small kids) and the whole trip-hop/Bristol/Beth thing is kicked to touch.
I must admit that I felt a kind of dadrock solidarity with the Portishead guy. This could be my new interview angle: forget the music, just talk about the kids. I could discuss discipline with Liam Gallagher, chat about bedwetting with Chris Martin, and get tips from Mick Jagger on dealing with rebellious teenagers.
There might be a place for me in this brave new rock’n’roll world after all. firstname.lastname@example.org