dad rocker

There is life af­ter birth, writes Kevin Court­ney

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Opinion -

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. kcourt­ney@ir­

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