Pee Bee Gee Bees
My six year old daughter Sapphire is a true child of the seventies and eighties despite being born in 1999 ('Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999....').
Being the nerdy, no-music video parents that we are, Sapphire has virtually no idea of what singers or groups are in right now, what they sing, what they look like or what they sound like. The only pop music that enters her universe is via the programs on the ABC kids morning shows or via the advertisements overlapping 'Australia's Funniest Home Videos'.
If you read my blog article: http://blurbfromtheburbs.blogspot.com/2006/01/realistic-resolutions-for-2006-like.html, you will know that whilst I may prefer eighties music, I don't actually want to listen to the same eighties songs over and over on Fuddy Duddy FM. By the same token I also don't want to keep punching the station selector buttons every time I hear some digital excrement called a 'song' or have to avoid the inanities of the DJ and the blaring, brain-celling zapping ads.
At home, if there is a) some free time and b) no dishes, washing, folding, ironing, cleaning, cooking, recycling, weeding, dog walking, plant watering, bed-making to do, I might look through our 300 or so CDs and put one on. This is when Sapphire bounds in, eagerly listening. "What's this one Mummy? I like it!" She will immediately begin boogeying around the living room as though she really is the Dancing Queen, young and sweet only seventeen. Her hunger for the music - any sort of pop music -made me feel like a neglectful parent, so I grabbed a few CDs and burned a compilation CD for her.
She has played it as often as Harris Scarfe's played their Christmas carols tape over November and December. Her bedroom door is now almost permanently closed when it always used to be open and Love Chunks and I can hear thumps and bumps from the depths of her little pale purple kingdom. I have been reluctant to fling open her door and invade her privacy, but I've taken thirty seconds to get over this and invade it anyway.
The first occasion found her dressed up in her little Singapore Airlines girl outfit, shiny purple wig and singing into her hairbrush. Can you believe it - kids still sing into their hairbrushes in front of their dressing table mirrors!
"What are you doing?"
"Nothing Mum....." she said, hiding her brush behind her back.
"Are you enjoying the CD?" I gestured towards my old ghetto blaster (there's an eighties term for you, but I don't know what the kids call them now), which was playing 'Rivers of Babylon' by Boney and his Brilliant Ms.
"Yeeeees." Still she wouldn't look at me.
"What's the matter, Sapphire?"
"Mum, I'm a bit embarrassed with you in here."
"Oh, I see. Sorry love, I'll let you get on with it then," and I backed out of her room into the hallway. Madonna's 'Vogue' was clicking into gear.
My heart gave a little squeeze - this was just the first stage of the 'Omigod Mum please go away, I don't need you here' phase that I would be on the receiving end even more in the coming years. Sapphire had never been embarrassed in front of me before, not even when I stripped off her school uniform and dressed her in her bathers whilst standing on the bleachers at the pool. Not even when she had to touch her toes after bathtime for me to apply some canesten or when she saw me dancing around our gum tree during our New Years' Eve party. She was even happy to walk with me and hold hands when I tried out my brief-and-ill-advised boho look.
Later that evening, I asked her over dinner, "So Sapphire, what songs do you like the most?"
She had a long chew of her chicken as she considered.
"Kylie Minogue. I know what she looks like because there is a poster of her at the shop next to the newsagent. That Shrek song, you know, 'Hey now, you're an allstar' and Aff-Aff umm, I don't know what it's called by, Sav, sav, something to do with gardens."
"You mean 'Affirmation' by Savage Garden?"
She nodded. "And I like that song by the Pee Bee Gee Bees that's from the red CD you gave to Dad for Christmas once. But I don't know many of the words."
The Pee Bee Gee Bees? "Oh, you mean the Bee Gees! Don't worry, Dad and I don't know what they're singing either. Before they sing 'You should be dancing' it sounds like Deedela deedela doo as far as I can work out."
"Oh, OK," she said, and went back to her meal. "Hey Mum?"
"How can we find out what they're really singing?"
"Um, I suppose we could look it up on the internet and---"
"COOL! Can we do it after tea, please, can we? Please?"
Great, just great. What marvels we find via the internet. Thank you so much Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, for such meaningful lyrics. Lyrics that I now have to explain to my six year old daughter:
What you doin' on your back, ah?
What you doin' on your back, ah?
You should be dancin'
You should be dancin' yeah
"Hmm well," I said to Sapphire, in a deep 'My Word Is Law' voice. "I guess he's telling her to get up off the floor so that the dancers don't tread on her. She's better off up on her feet dancing with them."
"But why is she on the floor in the first place?"
"Aah, well, I reckon it's just about time for bed, Sapphire. We'll talk about it tomorrow."