Whenever I hear Pat Benetar limbering up her vocal chords and belting out Hit Me With Your Best Shot, believe me, I’d be more than willing to oblige.
It’s not that I hate Ms. Benetar. On the contrary. She was one of my all-time faves throughout the eighties. But since then, The Girl has discovered her. Along with every other eighties band in creation – plus a whole lot more. And now we live in a house echoing wall-to-wall with music, day and night, night and day.
Oh, I know, it could be worse. I recently saw a British show in which an entertainer was working with severely disabled young people to put together a musical show. It was stunning. The young people were amazingly talented. They sang, they danced, they rocked! But the parents of one of the stars placidly told of how their boy was so obsessed with music, every evening at 6pm they had to leave the house en masse and go to the local music store so the boy could rake through all the new titles while they stood there aimlessly watching on and twiddling their thumbs.
I thought, “Bugger that.”
Imagine it! Being forced out of the house every day, rain or shine so you can waste your life standing around like a spare trowel at a garden party and being stoically wonderful about it!
And yet, I make my own concessions. I’ve lost my entire CD collection – the girl commandeered all my Tom Petty’s; my Roxy Music and Cure albums, and every one of my INXS compilations. She stole my Neil Young Decade (only because she couldn’t get her hands on the vinyl and the tapes were all screwed) and she grabbed all my Live albums. Now they all look like the things dragged behind a bridal car on the wedding night.
But her collection isn’t limited to the ones she’s stolen off me. It has grown. And by that, I mean it’s exploded. Think about it, after thirty-one years of birthdays and Christmas’s, what do you buy the person with a music obsession when the only other thing they request is pork dumplings? So on special occasions, when I’m feeling mentally well-balanced and resilient, we go and search through the music racks of our version of Walmart called The Warehouse. And boy, we’ve got some doozies there.
Phil Collins: No Jacket Required. Sorry, Phil, but that’s become, No Sanity Required.
Paul Young – that’s right, you can still buy him! Although he’s not so young any more.
Elvis. It’s his Blue Christmas Album so that wound up serving a dual purpose.
Duran Duran – or at least, the ones I didn’t already have.
The Wiggles…did I mention this is a rather eclectic collection?
The result of so much music is a mixed bag. The chorus of True Colours has become a standard response to a multitude of requests and inquiries, and Pat Benetar is not only known in our house, as Pat Frikkin’ Benetar, but she’s also been banned from The Girl’s program because they’ve heard her a squillion times and they’re sick to death of her.
Every morning The Girl comes to the breakfast table with handfuls of CD’s. They sit beside her so she can reach out and touch them, caress them and sort through them while she eats. I bought her a bunch of CD sleeves to keep them all in because every single CD case winds up getting dropped on the floor and broken, and when you try to put them back together you find that those little tabs holding the cover in place have pinged off and fixing them is an impossible task. But the CD’s come out of the sleeves by the handful and they never go back. Instead, they cascade from her bed, the dresser, the sideboard – rolling across the floor, circling briefly on the spot only to be stood on while she’s trying to retrieve them.
Fortunately for her, because she has the widest, most eclectic collection this side of…well, anywhere, I’m smart enough to copy the CD’s in their virgin state onto my laptop before they first hit her CD player. And that’s essential because Every. Single. CD. Looks like it’s been through a trash compactor.
And yet, beyond all reason; flying in face of all that is good and holy – THE SMURFS GO POP! Which has a playing side that looks like it’s been cleaned with steel wool, still plays faultlessly.