Chris Maume: 'I hate the White Stripes,' my stepdaughter said. She now prefers R&B

Share
Related Topics

It's beyond dispute, I'd have thought, that good parents don't try to produce clones of themselves. We desire, above all, for our children to be happy and fulfilled in whatever way suits them. I don't particularly want mine to end up as journalists (God forbid, some might say); I'd grin and bear it, albeit through gritted teeth, if they developed an EastEnders habit; they could even support Arsenal if they really, really wanted to. So why is it so important that they like the same music as me? Am I a muso-fascist?

In the car on the way to spend the New Year with our friends on their farm in Wales, my 15-year-old stepdaughter Charlotte, having somehow contrived to lose her iPod, wanted to borrow mine (she claims hers is at a friend's house, though as it's allegedly been there for several months I suspect we may have seen the last of it). I handed it over, suggesting she might enjoy the Zombies' legendary Sixties album, Odessey and Oracle – the 97th greatest album ever made, according to Mojo magazine. "Thanks," she said with an engaging look that made me think she might follow my advice.

Fat chance. The repetitive beats emanating from her earphones suggested she'd selected dance music of some kind, but there's not much of that sort of stuff on it, so I asked her what she was listening to. "Aqua," she said. Aqua? As in "I'm a Barbie Girl / In a Barbie world / I'm plastic / It's fantastic"? On my iPod? "How did that get on there?" I asked, trying to control a simmering sense of outrage. "I must have put it on by accident," she replied with a sweet smile.

A few years back, hopes had been high that Charlotte would end up ticking the same musical boxes as her mum and I. The film School of Rock helped, as it introduced her to the delights of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, David Bowie and The Ramones. Then the educative process began in earnest: White Stripes, The Smiths and Nirvana were all big success stories.

My attempts to inculcate a love of The Beatles – to my mind, the equivalent of imparting a classical education – may have fallen on deaf ears (though she found "Eleanor Rigby" affecting), but she went on to discover the likes of Motörhead, Lostprophets and X-Ray Spex all by herself.

Then came secondary school, and it all fell apart. In her book The Nurture Assumption the psychologist Judith Rich Harris argued all too convincingly that parental influence is distinctly second division when it comes to how our children turn out. Instead, it's all about peers. And, musically at least, Charlotte is the living proof. Following the example of her friends, she dropped rock in favour of R&B (and since when, an old rocker writes, did that term stop signifying Stax and Motown, Sam Cooke and the Rolling Stones, and come to mean the horrors of Mariah Carey, Craig David and Beyoncé?)

So my plans lie in ruins. Her Kasabian T-shirt is now in her mum's drawer; Lemmy's the devil incarnate (though to her credit that's partly because we let slip about his collection of Nazi memorabilia). "I hate White Stripes," she spat a few weeks ago.

On New Year's Eve in Wales there were two tellies on the go. "What's this rubbish?" she barked at The Hold Steady on Jools Holland's Hootenanny, stomping off to watch the woman who won the Nancy slot on I'd Do Anything wrap her tonsils round an R&B standard.

I asked her the other day who her favourite musicians were: the first three out of her head were Alesha Dixon, Take That and Leona Lewis. I despaired. There were a couple of encouraging after-thoughts – her passion for Morrissey still lingers, and the Ting-Tings were mentioned. But I'm forced to admit that her musical tastes are now entirely her own.

Tom, seven, and Eve, four, are the current objects of my attempts at musical imprinting. It's working so far – up to a point, anyway. They both like White Stripes, Eve's into The Beatles (well, "Yellow Submarine", at least – it's a start), although her twin passions are the soundtracks to Sound of Music and Oliver!, which is fine.

Tom's all-time favourite riff is "Smoke on the Water", but he's also developed a taste for "I Like To Move It" and "Who Let the Dogs Out" (thanks very much, Mr school disco DJ). And Charlotte's working on them, too – Take That and McFly figure strongly in her music lessons. So I have my work cut out.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor’s Letter: The Sussex teenager killed fighting in Syria

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Actor Zac Efron  

Keep your shirt on Zac – we'd all be better for it

Howard Jacobson
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit