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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Cool Dad's Bunker Mentality

You sound like somebody from Father Ted," a friend said this week. "Soon you'll be saying, 'Down with this kind of thing'." Another friend asked if I was related to Victor Meldrew? Terms such as "Fuddy Duddy" were even bandied about. You can imagine my horror. Me! The winner of Cool Dad 2006-2010.

The source of my enormous discomfort is essentially Lady Gaga. It is also N-Dubz, Eminem, Black Eyed Peas and a host of others who for the purposes of this debate I find myself lining out against like a kind of modern-day Mary Whitehouse meets Oliver J Flanagan. Yeah, me, Mary and Oliver, batting for the same team; how did I come to this?

It began innocently enough. A child was sent home from a school in Britain. She had inadvertently written out the words to her favourite song on her copybook. The words may have meant nothing to her, but her teacher recognised an illegal sex act when she saw one. The child was ten.

I tried to remain aloof. "You should have heard the stuff we were listening to!" I laughed. I might have added a quick "Lady Gaga is no Wendy O'Williams, my friend," not that anyone would have known who Wendy was, but before I could speak again I was asked how I would feel when Eva starts listening to all this stuff in a few years time.

I answered the question by coughing up a Curly Wurly I'd eaten in 1982. I then demanded to be shown the lyrics, in a tone of voice I only ever heard once before in a documentary on Archbishop McQuaid. I had to be restrained from using the words "What next? Sodomy?" in the voice of Ian Paisley.

The absurdity of my position was pointed out. Did you not in fact write the words "What kind of God gives you a rod and says you can't go fishing" in a song on your second album? Guilty as charged. Don't you think NWA's Straight Outta Compton is a classic? Equally guilty. And Peaches -- the original mad one, not Bob's girl -- her song Downtown, you do know what it's about? I do, and I still love it.

So, why the change? I suspect it's some kind of Chinese curse. I'm not sure how the karma aspect works, but the upshot is you are sent daughters. They arrive and you begin to change your opinion on everything.

And this couldn't come at a worse time. The underground bunker on Achill Island -- to which I intend moving the girls before any boys discover them -- is far from finished. The machine-gun nest is proving hard to source and if I had a euro for every objection I've had to my 'savage sharks around Achill' idea I'd be a rich man.

The answer, apparently, is to tell your child you think the song is great and insist on singing them in front of her, loudly. If you can get a few elderly relatives to attend your performance all the better. I have it on good authority that is fail-proof. No child can watch their dad sing Poker Face and enjoy the record ever again. It's painful for all, but utterly effective. Come on Gaga, do your worst.

Tune into Tom Dunne on Newstalk 106-108FM on weekdays, 9am to noon

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