Battle stars

June 15, 2017 at 8:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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If I seem a tad maudlin, it’s because I’m recording unpleasant vignettes with a view to putting them in their place via EMDR treatment, which starts next week.

The ultimate object of this game is to ‘normalise’ childhood sexual abuse memories. But let’s start with something a little lighter …

I was so taken with Pat Benatar’s Love is a Battlefield that I bought the 12-inch single.

On hearing me play it in the lounge room, dad informed me that:

  1. Love was not a battlefield (indeed, far from it).
  2. The lyrics were therefore stupid.
  3. The song thus had no merit.

I was disappointed at this assessment.

I had enthusiastically embraced his music collection.

From Bach, Oompah and Zorba to Nina Mouskouri, the Red Army Choir and Scottish Pipes, I thought I might have been a colleague. But I was merely an acolyte.

On reflection, dad’s perspective made sense.

When mum’s first husband died, dad rescued her (and her two boys) from a 1960s social and fiscal scrapheap.

She was thus forever in his debt.

He used to boast that, despite their long marriage, they’d never had an argument.

This was also likely true, as Mum never dared to say boo to him.

It took her ten years of faint, nuanced suggestion to replace our frayed carpet.

And almost as long to add a humble Vergola to our crumbling terrace.

Not really battlefield stuff.

In contrast, Mum said she quite liked Love Action by The Human League.

This was handy, as I played it until the groove nearly went through to the other side.

After her death, dad announced that he’d, ‘Loved mum but never been in love with her’.

I excused myself to punch out one of the five slatted window panes which, for almost half a century, had sat high in our toilet wall.

It was difficult to eat after that.




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  1. I am the first to like, which I like. Doubleplus good. Kudos for trying the EMDR. I hope it helps you to look the other way, so to speak. If it doesn’t, try the 12″ of Enola Gay by OMD. I owned that one. Do you think your dad was literal or just contrary? If literal, I suppose, that’s a little like you? My dad was definitely contrary. The result, I think, of feeling trapped in a life he didn’t always like. To argue was to exercise a little personal power. Anyway, I ramble. I wish you well in your journey. It’s wonderful reading, which is something.

    • Eternal thanks for your premier patronage, Ad. There’s a Toblerone in your letterbox with a gold ticket to tour Empire House. OMD? OMG! I think dad was literal. He was also a huge fan of The Superior Person’s Book of Words. I think I got the middle of the stick. Tales of your dad have curled my hair in the past. I don’t pretend for a second that I’d have made a better fist of fatherhood than both ours combined. Please ramble as much as you wish. I’m so glad you visited. I’ll let you know how I go. Best regards, Reek.

  2. I’m thinking a few marriages may have been like that back in the day. Have I told you lately what a brilliant writer you are? You always hit home, Paul. Good luck with the eye movement thing. I’d never heard about it before.

    • You could well be right, Michelle. ‘Better in than out’ seemed to be the rule when it came to family affairs. Today’s trend to exposition is a double-edged sword, I reckon. Light gets shone into dark places, but the myth of happy families is gone for good. It’s always exciting to receive your readership. And your kind and generous words have totally set me up for a fab Friday. Thank you! P.

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