Birthday Suits and Songs

Well the weather held off, I did the streak wound London zoo but cannot say that regular nudity outside of the bathroom is ever going to be my thing, at least not without substantially less beer and much more time in the gym. I did find it amusing that it was clear who the naturists were and who were there to do it for a laugh/dare/good cause/never going to do this again people largely to do with just how aggressively undressed some people can be.
Should anyone feel the urge to sponsor me then the link is below for the last time and therefore I will draw a veil over the whole thing (as I would say if I was going for a cheap pun).
I will warn people that I did not completely manage to avoid being on the internet, but thankfully with the exception of three seconds in a video post I am only seen half wrapped in foil, a bit like a strange looking oven bound turkey. I look about as comfortable as said bird would probably do, and I have not even been stuffed.
So your internet surfing is probably safe.

So from moving quickly on, I thought I’d go from nakedness, to birthday suit to births and songs about people’s kids – a link I think anyone should be proud of. I was listening to the radio this week and they mentioned that Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t she lovely’ was a song about his baby daughter (obvious in retrospect, as it contains the line ‘only one minute old’) and it set me wondering whether it was compulsory for songwriters/artists to write a song about their offspring at some point. For example, after having an early hit about one daughter, Josephine, did Chris Rea feel indebted to write ‘Julia’ for his younger girl? I guess that it was a cathartic act for Joel Pott of Athlete to write something about the plight of his prematurely born daughter (the marvellous ‘Wires’). They’ve all been at it – Barenaked Ladies (‘when you dream’), Neil Hannon’s ‘Charmed Life’… They are mostly sweet, emotional outpourings about the new life that they have helped to bring into the world. It is not a sub genre I had thought of before but the more you think about it the more you can come up with. Knowing what a song is about – if anything – always rather puts me in a different place of reference to the song which can be positive (as in this case) or perhaps negative to. For instance, ‘Everything I own’ by David Gates, for the band Bread back in the 70s and covered many times by all sorts of people, was written in response to the death of his father (that is a whole different genre, come to think of it, stand up Mike & the Mechanics ‘The Living Years’ to get the tears going). Additionally it can make it just a bit creepy when someone reuses the song or uses it in a context unaware of the connotations that the lyrics may bring. That said, I’m a lyric motivated person and I know many people that pay no attention to lyrics at all, so I guess that is the defence of causing a bit of a, um, ‘let’s just overlook that line’ moment or two.
The other sub-genre that the Lovely Wife came up with is a slightly different one which we thought was quite fun is love songs written for wives/girlfriends who subsequently became ex. For example, John Denver’s ‘Annie’s Song’; Billy Joel’s ‘Just the way you are’; ‘Clapton’s ‘Wonderful Tonight’. Chris De Burgh’s ‘Lady in Red’ almost qualifies but not quite; despite a high profile affair he is still married to the said Lady apparently.
So what is my favourite song that someone has written about their own child? My first thought was that ‘Wires’ was the front runner, but in the end I’m going for the Lightning Seeds ‘Life of Riley’. It’s just so full of joy, looking forward to a life stretching out ahead of a new person in the world – I think it is impossible not to be carried along by that spirit, wherever it takes.
Unless your name happens to be Riley, in which case you probably hate it.