Saturday, 9 November 2019

Oddities musical and sociological.

When our son and his wife and their small daughter came to visit at the end of August, the two youngest grandchildren (youngest at the time, as there is another even smaller one now) put on an impromptu concert for us. My daughter-in-law had bought frothy little skirts for the two small girls, ridiculous tutu-like affairs, all burgundy net and ribbon, ideal for two tiny show-offs aged 5 and 3. Sometimes together, sometimes separately, egging each other on with cries of “your turn now”, they regaled us with “The Wheels on the Bus”, “Big Red Combine Harvester”, a whole range of other songs learnt at school or nursery, and, of course, almost all the songs from Disney’s “Frozen”.

I haven’t quite learnt all the words to “For the First Time in Forever” or “Let it go” or any of the other songs from the movie but I have been subjected to both the DVD and the CD often enough to recognise them instantly. And now Disney are releasing “Frozen II” and I wonder why. I have come to appreciate the message of the importance of sisterly love and loyalty in the original. Elsa learnt to control her power to freeze stuff and not let it control her and everyone supposedly lived happily ever after. So why is a sequel needed? Apart from the desire to make more money of course. Enough is enough, I say. Time to let it go!

It’s an odd fact of modern life that little kids know the words of all the songs from their movies. When we were small, indeed when our children were small, you saw a film at the cinema and you maybe heard some of the songs on the radio. Before video came along you were lucky if you saw an old film on TV. And even our first car, and our second for that matter, didn’t come with a radio or cassette player. It was only when the children were aged nine or ten that we started compiling travel cassettes, classic pop, for us to sing along in the car to when we went on camping holidays.

Our first grandchild, now an ancient 22, listened to the same cassettes as well as albums on cassette, selected by us. Mind you, she would request certain repeats: the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song, Carly Simon’s “It’s coming around again”, was very nearly worn out from so much playing. And now our three-year-old granddaughter will request “her music” in the car, not necessarily a CD but songs from any of several children’s films streamed to her mother’s phone - not forgetting the “My Little Pony” songs from the TV series.

How things change!

Along with repeating, and making sequels, of course, nowadays we also get “resurrections”. Long dead singers go on virtual tour, sometimes but not always accompanied by a real “live” artist. And now James Dean is to be 'resurrected' for new Vietnam war drama. As if there were no actors suitable for the role James Dean has been “cast” in a Vietnam war drama.

The world is full of strangeness.

Then today in the newspaper I read about “granny dumping” - where families unable to afford or cope with their caring responsibilities offload elderly relatives onto hospitals. This is apparently not uncommon in the USA. In 1992, yes, 1992, almost thirty years ago now, the American College of Emergency Physicians estimated that 70,000 elderly people were being abandoned each year. Somit’s not even a new phenomenon! My attention was drawn to this by the story of family who contrived to bring the father, who was suffering from dementia, to the UK, where they removed all possible proof of his identity, dressed him top-to-to in clothes bought at UK supermarkets and, with the help of a British friend, had him abandoned in a hospital here. They were eventually found out but wow, how determined must you be to get rid of your aged paterfamilias to go to such lengths?

The weirdness of the world does not fail to amaze me!

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