Parental guidance


I find (R1 DJ) Sara Cox’s remarks about her own kids’ musical awakening both enlightening and a wee bit depressing:

‘Turn that bloody row down’ was Mum’s general reaction to the sounds being blasted out of mine and my sister’s stereos, despite the fact her and Dad bought said stereos for us for Christmas. She used to get properly riled up, both at the quality of the music – mostly metal, goth and indie guitar bands in my case – and the volume we played it at.

Isn’t that the way it should be?


‘I have a soft spot for The Wanted and think their music is actually quite good. I’ve often found myself crooning along to ‘All Time Low’ in the car. I’m well aware I’m just out of their target market now I’m in my ‘mid-twenties’ but I’m happy for Lola to become a fan. She and Max and the rest of the boys have my blessing.

Is surely just the kind of patronising attitude to kids music you wouldn’t expect from someone in her position. There’s nothing will turn a kid off anything quicker than Mum’s blessing. Though she’s been drip-fed Radio One since before birth the reality is that at some point, probably early teens, her daughter will contrive to seek out the very artists and songs that will make Mum’s hair stand on end.

But I’ve never examined young people’s music taste from a parental perspective, not being a parent. Does the act of reproduction kill off a chunk of brain cells, specifically the ones retaining teenage memories? It seems incredible to hear a lifelong music fan taking such an ‘old fart’ stance towards their kids’ musical awakening. Isn’t R1 supposed to be so hip? And there’s always something slightly cringemaking to hear a woman using words like ‘slutty’ to describe another.

‘Ke$ha (too slutty) or Katy Perry (too saccharine)’ sounds a lot like The Whore and The Madonna to me.

Kids may resist learning their music taste from the previous generation but they can pick up value judgements like this by osmosis. Music and music culture are desperately important to kids in establishing their place in a crazy world, generating self-esteem. They need to feel free to construct their own model of ‘hip’ and ‘sexy’ that allows them to be themselves and also fit in. Boys never have to contend with such restrictive  stereotypes and girls shouldn’t have to either.

It would be refreshing if the cultural attitudes being espoused by exponents of our no. 1 radio station were as fresh as their playlists can, at best, be.

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