It's music that sounds like some industrial revolution hell- hole. Shuddering pistons work like an endless combination punch from a demented boxer. The singer screams, howls, yells. Is he all right? Is there anything we can do? Maybe he's telling the guitars to turn it down. That's it, he's complaining about the noise. How it takes us back. The lyrics also are very familiar: they've hardly changed at all: "Blarrghhh warrgghhh yarrrgghhh ya farger barggargghh!" Yes, there we were, young, strong and full of promise, the hi-fi making the walls pulse, singing along to Communication Breakdown waiting for the bit where Robert Plant takes us on a luge ride down three or four octaves: "Arrrrrggggghhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhh!!!!!" It drove him insane, he claimed, and it did pretty well for us at the same time.
My little Beedle Bop ("They grow up so fast," he mocks me) is listening to System of a Down. His ears bleed gently as he listens carefully, almost studiously to the track. Oh dear, I can't be a party to this: "People are always chasing me down/Trying to push my face into the ground/Where all they really want to do, is suck out my mother's fucking brains." He is a good boy and leaves a blank for the bad word.
I'm sure Alexander won't mind my telling you that he can also sing the Noddy song in German (we got it off the Internet). He goes round the house fluting happily: "Noddy! Midz eine auterbrauster deutchers land! Dee dee dee dee! Noddy! In al der verld is ermin einem kleinem klutchin on zer albercom!" We laugh. Try it at home, it makes you happy. "Noddy!"
It's surprising how things don't change. At my school, as at Alexander's, there was no social snobbery at all; the mus-ical snobbery, however, was intense and finely graded. …