I’m writing this while I watching / listening to Lollapalooza on Youtube. I went to Lollapalooza once, in 1992, and it was truly one of my favourite concert-going experiences, but tonight I am at home, waiting for leftover pasta to heat in the toaster oven. Saint Aardvark has taken his telescope to the top of a mountain in the hopes of seeing the southern horizon.
The kids went to bed with a bit of fuss; I was letting them pick videos to watch on my laptop and then it was 7:43, fifteen minutes past lights out so I hurried them and they don’t like that.
They are fans of a band called Imagine Dragons. I only became aware of this band when Eli developed a fondness (read: obsession) with their much-played-on-the-radio song Radioactive. One day we watched the video together and I realized that I am fickle because I had been very lukewarm about the song but the video was funny and then I liked the song more. THAT is how they get you.
The Imagine Dragons video Arlo wanted to see tonight was for a more recent single called Demons so I looked it up and it was that kind of video — until I started having to explain them, I had no idea how hard it is for a kid to sort out just what the hell is going on in your average music video — where the band is playing a show and there is also a story element. A number of audience members were zoomed in on, we saw their story, their reason for being at the show, their own internal interpretation of the song. All the explaining I was doing (yes, I think that man did break a beer bottle over the head of the other man. I guess he was angry) took us to the end of the song, when the band dedicated the video to a young man who died of cancer this year at age 18. There was a grainy home-video quality clip of the band singing with the young man, his ecstatic face howling “radioactive” into the mic.
“Who’s that guy? What’s this part about?” asked Arlo.
OK, turn off the Internet. You guys are just going to listen to Raffi over and over and over. Until when? Until I say you can stop.
But no, I can’t do that now, I have to explain sickness, cancer, death, youth, the Make a Wish foundation. Take a breath and look at their sweet, dirty faces and be so glad they have to have it explained to them, that they don’t know about any of that dark matter first hand. With the out-breath, send some light to the world and then say yes guys, really, up to bed while their favourite songs are still spinning around in their heads.