Father’s Day

I WENT running with Mick and Keith this morning. First time I’ve done that in a while. It was debateable who might stumble first, and Keith certainly looked dodgy at one point, but then he often does.

There has to be music when I run, and today it was The Rolling Stones, the compilation Jump Back, covering the years from 1971 to 1993.

The Stones seem to have been with us for ever. That’s because they have, more or less. It’s hard to imagine a time when they weren’t around, faintly ridiculous, totally marvellous, burnishing rock clichés until they glister under the sun.

I’m not exactly a full-on fan, but you can’t beat a blast of the Stones sometimes. So I ran with Start Me Up, Brown Sugar, Harlem Shuffle, It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like It) through to Waiting On A Friend and Wild Horses. But the time that last one came around, I could have done with one of those to drag me home.

I saw them once, ages ago, at Wembley Stadium. A skim of the Google pond brings up the tadpole fact that it was probably in 1982, although I couldn’t say for sure. The band seemed miles away, tiny rock Subbuteo figures, rolling around in front of a large screen on which their mammoth selves were projected.

Debates about whether one band is better than another belong in the distant past, and to a mop-haired student of my acquaintance who used to lead earnest discussions on why no one should listen to Genesis. Well, it was a long time ago and I can’t even recall the reason now. Sometimes people used to have the Beatles versus the Stones argument. My only contribution to that is to observe that the Stones were generally more fun, and they were certainly the ones with staying power.

Last Sunday was father’s day, in that we had my father over for a belated 83rd birthday party. Today is Father’s Day more generally. I am a father in between: my father above me, three more or less grown-up children below.

Our three are down in the kitchen as I type. On Friday, the younger two turned up as a surprise, one from university in Newcastle, the other from Salford (working, playing in a band called Sonic Bliss Machine) as they thought I needed a lift. The eldest, who lives in York, has just come round to help cook lunch: homemade burgers and home-baked buns. I should have suggested Daddies Sauce to go with the burgers, but only just thought of that. I’ll just have to add a bit of sauciness of my own, an old recipe. Crumble in an obvious remark or two, sprinkle over a corny remark, and then mix it all together, adding vinegar and salt to taste.

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