I am not a young man, however as a father with a 15yrs old daughter I do not consider myself an old father. I am 37 years old and rather foolishly believed that my eldest and I would be able to share and appreciate contemporary culture together with an ease that would not have been the case if I was a decade older. Alas this has not been the case.
Music has always been something I have enjoyed and taken a great deal of enjoyment from; something that was used against me to great affect by my best-man in his speech at my wedding. I would immerse myself in a particular scene to such an extent that photos apparently exist of me wearing leather trousers with peroxide hair during my Punk phase. Looking back, these photos are not only deeply embarrassing but also quite damaging; I believe the peroxide is to blame for my early baldness. Anyway, with a background and history of taking a great interest in music and pop culture I had hoped that this would be something I could use to bond effectively with my daughter during her teenage years.
When I was a teenager, it was fairly simple to engage and understand the “music scene"; through NME, Radio 1 and Top of the Pops it was easy to get a quick snap shot of what the “scene” was at that particular time and also to immerse yourself in contemporary culture. The same was the case with TV; with no ability to stream shows there was a sense of collective viewing when watching a “must not miss” show with your family and friends. This is no longer the case and so my idea of bonding with my daughter through a passion for TV and music has been a great deal trickier than I had initially assumed.
With regards music, there is the ability to view the Spotify top ten streaming songs but there is something impersonal about the ease at which the music is provided and the result is a lack of any real appreciation of the band or singer themselves and what they stand for. The exact opposite was the case when I was growing up as you could all collectively watch Top of the Pops and feel as if you were participating in the chart, the musicians and could understand a great deal more about who they were and what they represented.
TV also iseems harder to share as a family these days; what I often find is that I will start watching something on TV with our eldest and within minutes her attention has moved away from the TV screen and onto her phone where she will message her mates or watch You Tube videos. I have tried to watch the You Tube videos; but to be honest they seem like a never ending parody of a bad comedy or a school play.
And so my plans of bonding and sharing in the joys the current music of the time and TV event of the week with my eldest has not been as easy as I had assumed. I suppose this is as it should be; teenagers have always found an interest in things that their parents either don’t understand or don’t know about. It is just that at least with Top of The Pops showing once a week, parents stood a chance.