Woken early doors by my daughter singing about poo and telling her mum that she was Spider-man and Elsa (from Frozen). Later I would try to join in with singing “Let It Go” in the car. “No, daddy. I’m Elsa and Spider-man.”
I couldn’t even sing my favourite dad joke (that I’ve created) of making it “Nicole never bothered me anyway,’ without upsetting the Spider-man Else.
At least she’s watched Frozen. I don’t know where the Spider-man obsession has come from. “What does Spider-man do?” I asked her. She held up her hands and said “Power!”
“Can he spin webs?” I asked
But she just looks blank
Her whole understanding of Spider-man comes from an older boy at nursery who has an older brother who is into superheroes.
And yet that basic idea that Spider-man equals power is no doubt why she likes him and also Elsa, who also has the power to make things happen with her hands. Power is the thing that kids really don’t have (they may imagine adults have it, but we’re pretty much impotent too). It’s amazing to see that desire made flesh in this unlikely combo of superheroes.
But even though I had had nothing like enough sleep it was brilliant to spend a day with my crazy family. We went to Little Gym and then hung out in Harpenden, where incredibly no one stopped to congratulate me on this week’s gig.
There’s quite an elderly population here (explaining why I wasn’t more popular because I am very much a youth phenomenon) and as I watched a happy elderly couple make their way slowly up the High Street I pondered that slow and imperceptible slide into decrepitude. The slide has very much begun for me, but twenty years ago these people were only mildly fucked like I am and without noticing they turned into properly elderly folk. Why can’t we get a warning of it? Maybe make it all happen on a specific day. So we can properly say goodbye to our youth. But it all just slips away without us spotting it, until one day we look at ourselves and think, “How the fuck did this happen?’
On the drive to Swindon the anthem “We Are Young” by Fun had come on the radio. And it struck me that not only wasn’t I, but also those insane days of going out and getting pissed and feeling like the world belonged to you (whilst simultaneously feeling that you personally were nothing and were eaten up with self-doubt) were gone. There’s a weird awareness in the song, that you scarcely have at that age, that it’s all temporary (everyone tells you that it is, but it feels permanent or old age seems so far away). "Tonight, we are young.”
I mean, it wasn’t a shock to me that I wasn’t young. Just somehow surprising that those heady days are definitely over. Even though they have been over for a while, no matter how much I tried to recapture them in my late thirties, it was still strange to realise that they definitely were. Unless I hand around in Harpenden, where comparatively speaking, tonight, I am young.
What a thing to be young.
What a wasted thing.
Because unless you’re in the band Fun, you don’t realise who transitory it all is.
But look, being told to shut up because I am singing along to Frozen by a three year old who doesn’t even get my brilliant Nicole pun, is better than anything I was doing 30 years ago. As much as I can’t compute where those 30 years went (half of them went writing this stupid fucking blog - not just this entry, though it’s starting to feel that way).
Don’t waste your youth young readers. But you will anyway. Just as I will waste the 20 years til I am hobbling down the high street.