Article excerpt

Back to my suburban wonderland. The garden is full of blossom, the sky is clear and blue, all the little birds go tweet, tweet; and owing to the massive hormonal shift I seem to have gone through, I've never been more content. That's very disturbing. Sitting here, marvelling at the sunshine, admiring the way John has pruned his apple tree next door, meditating on the faded blue of Jeremy's brick boathouse door on the other side, listening to music.

The music is the only echo of the life I've left behind. It's a CD and belongs to my 12-year-old. He doesn't know I'm listening to it because he is flat out, face down on the coffee table.

The music is that famous white boy, the enfant horrible of hip- hop. He's singing, if that's not too strong a word for it, to his two-year-old daughter about his wife. He does rhyme things marvellously well. He's a bit like Noel Coward. Apart from the dressing gowns, obviously. And the wife and two-year-old daughter.

But in Private Lives, written all those years ago, doesn't the male lead get angry with the Gertie Lawrence character and say: "Stop screaming, or I'll chop your head off with a meat axe!"? That's quite like this fellow. And what's that other line? "Certain women should be beaten regularly. Like gongs." No argument there from Eminem. And then isn't it: "Kiss me! Quickly! Before your body rots and worms crawl in and out of your eye sockets!"?

Eminem has troubled relationships with women, too. But not with his daughter. They're very close. Getting into the car together and swinging a big bag into the boot, he sings touchingly to his baby: "Da-da loves you. …