Legal Widow

A while ago, the Lawyer erupted from his study and shouted: “Who’s taken my LPs?” The culprit turned out to be Deminimus, who had also snaffled our only turntable and taken it up to his bedroom to examine the early career of Bob Dylan. The Lawyer was outraged to find his son arguing the relative merits of Blonde on Blonde as opposed to, say, Blood on the Tracks.
“But I knew that,” he kept saying to me over a bottle of Chianti later that night. “In fact, I knew all that 25 years ago. That’s my music he’s talking about. It’s my childhood, and I can’t believe my own son is stealing it from me.”
As the days went on, Deminimus progressed from Bob Dylan, through Neil Young and Van Morrison, to the listenable 1980s – XTC, The Smiths. He finally ended up on the furthest reaches of the Lawyer’s collection with Elvis Costello – he went very middle of the road after that, and actually bought Whitney Houston: The Greatest Hits last year.
“You’ve got your own music,” he told his son when he caught him sneaking upstairs with armfuls of records. “It’s called rap, isn’t it? Gold chains. Tracksuits. Aren’t they good enough? Can’t you listen to Travis?”
“Travis is for wimps,” said Deminimus.
“That’s just the youth of today for you,” sighed the Lawyer. “Steal anything that’s not nailed down.”
Deminimus has now started on the Lawyer’s treasured collection of NMEs, and has asked me to subscribe to Q Magazine. Last week he started pointing out the good reviews to the Lawyer. Things were looking bleak until, over the roast lamb on Sunday, Deminimus asked plaintively: “Dad, what happened after Elvis Costello went country?”
“It’s one of the great unexplained tragedies of our age,” said the Lawyer, and a new bond was suddenly forged between father and son, especially as Deminimus is saving his pocket money to buy Roxy Music’s greatest hits, and the Lawyer has had no Virginia Plain since sitting on all his Roxy Music records at a particularly wild college party in the early 1980s. He has estimated that he might also eventually end up, without personally being out of pocket, with The Eagles, Burt Bacharach, and almost anyone else from the past who is still alive and able to hobble into a recording studio.
The Lawyer goes to a pub quiz on Wednesdays while I get a babysitter in and get off to Pilates. Last Wednesday, I returned to find a distraught babysitter chewing the sofa cushions and confessing that the Lawyer had sneaked back and whisked Deminimus off with him, claiming there was a special late showing of Shrek.
I thought of checking the passports were still there, when I realised that even had he wanted to run away, the Lawyer would never be able to find his. So there was only one conclusion – he’d taken Deminimus to the quiz for the pop round. I rang the pub and got the Lawyer to the phone.
“I can’t talk now! He’s on a crucial question about the number of beats in the bar in Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me). Yes, the little star! Oh no… they’re asking him to name three George Harrison singles… it’s inhuman.”
Sadly, Deminimus let the side down by asking who George Harrison was, so the Lawyer has now locked him away with Sergeant Pepper and told him not to come out until he knows the lyrics by heart. “That’s the trouble with education today,” he said. “They just don’t learn the basics.”