Second-hand 80s

Alex and Fiona were both singing Harold Faltermeyer’s Axel F in in their shower and bath this evening. The funny thing about this is that they had probably never heard the original. They picked it up from watching Monsters vs. Aliens on DVD, in which there is a scene where the President of the USA (Stephen Colbert) tries to make contact with the aliens by playing the five note message from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He doesn’t quite manage it, so he breaks into a spontaneous rendition of Axel F instead.

Although I listen to a lot of music when I’m alone, we don’t listen to much in the family spaces around the house. The kids both have stereos on their rooms, but they don’t listen to the radio on their own. Yet they are constantly exposed to musical and cultural references in the films and TV they watch, and the games they play. I always find it fun to see how they react when I connect something they’ve just heard or seen to the “original” from twenty years ago (which itself generally has roots in a still earlier era).

In this case, their interest turned into dance. While they were still getting clean and ready for bed, I burned a selection of 80s hits onto CDs for them. The playlist opens with Axel F, of course, but there’s some Michael Jackson on there, a bit of ABC, a bit of Human League, a bit of Boomtown Rats. They eagerly stuck the discs into their players, and just minutes later Alex was breakdancing to Axel F, and Fiona had put together a short ballet to the sounds of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I was completely enchanted.

Music is so important to me that I’m always delighted whenever they take any kind of interest in it. I need to work on getting more of it into their lives.