A ban has been issued on individual iPod/Blackberry/iPhone use for the duration of the holiday. Not by me. The man who started it all with one of the first ever Blackberries (I can still recall my awe at seeing emails sent and received in a car) and who would happily whip it out at any opportunity in those early days has now realised far too late that they are the work of the Devil on holiday. So we are all banned.
Normally I would be all in favour of such a disciplinarian approach. It dovetails nicely with my spoilsport approach to parenting. And I do find it disturbing watching families (or social groups generally for that matter) sitting in restaurants or cafés all looking down and tap-tapping on mobile devices of one sort or another.
But. It was immensely useful on long journeys in recent years not to have to suffer everyone else’s choices of music.
Some 18 years ago we abandoned completely the idea of special children’s music when travelling. A car journey to Munich in 1993 accompanied all the way there and back by “The Wheels On The Bus” and “I’m A Pink Toothbrush” seriously scarred us for life, and for the next 10 years we imposed a programme of Radio 4 punctuated by operatic arias and our choice of contemporary music. This totalitarian regime worked extremely well and gave our children an extensive appreciation of great classics from the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties.
You can’t resist the tide forever though. The initial compromise came through transmitting the contents of an iPod over a radio frequency, and taking it turns to choose. Not a great solution. Although our indoctrination efforts of the previous decade had resulted in generally acceptable selections in themselves, the mix of genres drove me nuts. The frustration of having to search for a a new clear frequency every 20 minutes drove me even more nuts.
And then came individual headphones and devices and I suppose amidst the silent buzz of nothingness, I had to admit to a certain nostalgia for the charm of the those old family squabbles centered round the one iPod. Well, we’re back there again. An eclectic mix of Burt Bacharach, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and David Bowie so far this morning.
Only another 300 miles to go. When is it my go?