Stay Cool Dad

Total Devo by Simon Sharwood
September 3, 2007, 10:39 am
Filed under: Dotmusic, I like this band because, I'm so old ..., Just listened to ...

Devo, my second or third favorite band of all time (J&MC are in there, so are REM) have sold out. Totally.

They have devolved from being hip, cool and counter-most-things to being just another cog in the machine.


Because their latest single, ‘Watch Us Work It‘ was recorded for a Dell commercial. Yes, Dell. The company that likes to turn everything it does into ‘commodities’ and then brags about it.

This comes on top of the Devo 2.0 debacle from last year when the band teamed with Disney, FFS, on a tween remake of Devo’s Greatest Hits.

Having said that, I discovered this on a website that says Devo toured Europe this year. If they ever tour Australia, I am SO there …. and I will buy an energy dome.

UPDATE: Okay, maybe this was a bit harsh given that Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo apparently did the music the ‘Hi, I’m a Mac’ ads.


What will we sing together? by Simon Sharwood
August 29, 2006, 11:52 am
Filed under: I'm so old ..., Mission statement

My wife remembers just about every note of Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s a big part of her childhood.

It’s got me thinking because I wonder what music we’ll share with the kids.

Do I really want to sit with them while “Idol” contestants that our local newspaper recently (and insensitively) characterised as “Tongan barmaids” murder Mowtown over and over? I think not!

Do I think car journeys will be filled with Abba covers after they see “Mama Mia”?

Hell No! We Won’t Go!

So what will we share? I ain’t going to bring them up on the prevailing pap if I can help it (which I cannot, of course). But there does seem to be a dearth of stuff out there with enough zeitgeist to cross generations and set a family into song for years to come.

Or maybe I’m just too much of a fuddy duddy elitist wanker to know.

Crossover media … aaaargh! by Simon Sharwood
August 15, 2006, 11:54 pm
Filed under: I'm so old ..., Mission statement

Today is new comic day! I’ll be in town so will make five minutes to drop into the comic shop I have patronised for 18 years (wow!) to pick up a few weeks worth of stuff.

And then I’ll bring them home and hide them.

I mainly buy “mature audience” comics, which doesn’t mean porn but does mean some rather nasty horror and violence.

Problem is some of them are also super hero comics. So when the boy sees those he wants to have them read to him.

So for the time being, this is not a media passion of mine I can share. And I’m not quite sure when it really becomes appropriate too either, what with all the hitting and fighting and stuff in comics. Do I really want to let the kids in on this stuff?

Yes, actually. I don’t think cartoon violence is really bad for them. I like the epistomophilia that comes with collecting comics. And I think that the broken narrative that comes with a story moving once a month is good for the memory.

Besides, it’s not as if we’ll be the kind of parents who leave them in front of horribly age-inappropriate movies without supervision.

So … plenty of justification.

But no idea when to start. Or with what.

Let’s get him reading first. But for the time being, I’ll still be hiding the comics I read.

Crossover media … aaaargh!

I should have known what I was doing by Simon Sharwood
August 6, 2006, 10:45 am
Filed under: I'm so old ..., Mission statement

One of the first jobs I did when I embarked on my current career as a freelance writer was a piece of journalism about introducing your kids to computers that says, among other things, that “If parents want their kids to use a computer they must do it with their child so they are interacting.”
I remembered this piece too late yesterday and I feel very stupid today.

Our son likes YouTube. We search it for things like Thomas the Tank Engine or Road Runner and let him click his way through a few clips.

Or we did.

Yesterday, however, he clicked on a profanity-laden Road Runner mashup that had “F**k-F**k” instead of “Meep meep!”

This is why we no longer do YouTube without it being an interactive event.

Ever since this incident I’ve been re-thinking all those scenarios about ones kids encountering terrible things online. They suddenly seem more plausible. The people calling for censorware seem less nutty.

But rather than enter panic/lockdown, the path is simple.

I’ll be online WITH the kids from now on, instead of trusting that my fellow netizens appreciate the different needs of a family with young kids.

Sadly this seems a necessity because a nearly-five-year-old cannot be expected to navigate media without a guide.

Now all I have to do is remember the URLs of the naughty stuff to look at later on …

A case for Greatest Hits albums? by Simon Sharwood
July 5, 2006, 12:48 am
Filed under: I like this band because, I'm so old ..., Just listened to ...

One of the reasons for writing this blog is to avoid becoming someone who relives his musical heyday through buying Ggreatest Hits albums by bands I liked when I was younger.

But the new Sonic Youth album has me thinking, because it is pretty ordinary. I first got interested in the band with their album Goo, and specifically the track “Tunic” which was and is like nothing I have ever heard.

“Rather Ripped,” the new album, has nothing to compare with it. And nothing startlingly good either.

And there’s the rub. If I ever decided to introduce my kids to this band, I’d prefer to do it with a Greatest Hits album than with some of their spotty efforts of recent years.

Maybe these things are useful after all …Rather Ripped

My own little world by Simon Sharwood
July 3, 2006, 6:51 am
Filed under: I'm so old ..., Just listened to ...

We took our iPod on holiday. This gave me the chance to do something I had not done for years: listen to music on headphones.

Gee it was fun being wrapped in a soundscape only I could hear, with all the nuances of the songs close to my ear instead of dissipated into the mess that my main music player – the PC – delivers through its terrible speakers.

It took me back to how great it was as a teenager to cocoon yourself in sound, and to have a little secret about exactly what it was you were listening to.

Sure it was a tad anti-social, then and now. But it is also wonderfully indulgent. When can I do it again?

Wonderful by Simon Sharwood

Check out this fabulous YouTube video of Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street.

If only the show would invite the likes on again today it would make for some great StayCoolDad moments!