Charles Nevin: Obladi, obladada - top tips for Paul

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The Independent Online

Popping corks, ringing bells, and airborne hats for Sir Paul McCartney and his spirited wife, Lady McCartney, proud prospective parents. Well done. Marvellous.

Mindful, though, that Sir Paul has not enjoyed the thrill of new fatherhood for 25 years, I have taken the liberty of compiling these exclusive Top Tips For The Hands-On Returning Knight Former Beatle Father:

1. These next few months will be an anxious time. Thinking of a name would be a good way of keeping occupied: Jet? Ram? Obladi? Oblada? Mull? But please, whatever you do, don't look at any pictures of Michael Douglas.

2. And he's only 58, you know. And he used to look so young, until recently, too. You'd almost think he hadn't got any time for the hair colouring. Sorry? No, nothing personal, it's just something I've noticed. No, no, about him.

3. That's right: Dylan, two, and Carys, one month. Not to mention Catherine, 33, his spirited second wife.

4. Actually, while we're at it, don't look at Barney the Dinosaur yet, either. Just wait. Just wait.

5. Yes, that first photo is always a bit tricky. Hello!? Ok!? Vegetarian Weekly? Personally, as a gesture against all this celebrity nonsense, I would give it free to, say, a sensible Sunday newspaper that's taken a firm stance against the war in Iraq.

6. The Christening? Ditto. What about Stella? Ah, yes. Could she do the shawl? Or the Vicar?

7. Talking about clothes, Paul: I notice you wear a lot of black. Now think back 25 years to baby James. Exactly! Usually just out of sight, over the left shoulder.

8. Getting the little person off to sleep. Now I know what you're thinking. "Mary Had A Little Lamb", "Junior's Farm", that sort of thing. But not only are they just a touch non-veg, it's also a bit too lively. What about the Liverpool Oratorio? It always works for me.

9. Babysitters. That's a bore to be revisited, too. Ringo doesn't seem to do much these days, though, does he? He could bring his Thomas The Tank Engine tapes round. Thomas The Tank Engine! I know! He narrates them. Imagine! Sorry. But do make sure he takes them away again. And check he hasn't left "Back Off Boogaloo", either.

10. Don't forget to put all breakables away, and watch the steps, and get used to taking the quick, surreptitious sniff that is so often bad news, and read all the baby books and conclude that the best thing to do is buy a couple of hundred gallons of Calpol or get a couple more nannies in. What was that song about troubles seeming so far away? Ah, yes. Sorry.

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