Fossilised fatherhood
Fossilised fatherhood
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
Recognise this feeling? People will be chatting and someone will comment on an awesome song they’re listening to by X. Someone else will argue that, no, actually, that song is a cover version, and it was originally by Y in the 90s. And quietly, just to myself, I’ll whisper that actually, it was originally written and recorded in the 80s, by artist Z.

That means I’m not just retro, but retro-retro. Otherwise known as “old”.

Here’s a confession: The first record, and I mean vinyl single, I ever bought was “Go West”, by the Village People (no smart comments- we all made bad choices, once). I had an old record player in its own carry case. This was before cassette tapes with their infernal unravelling became popular. Not that long ago, I promise.

I have friends who laugh behind their hands because their parents joined the video cassette ‘revolution’ by investing in Betamax machines. (My MS Word tells me, fittingly, that Betamax isn’t a real word). [Okay, a note may be necessary: [Beta was the main competitor to VHS video systems, with smaller cassettes, but VHS won the market, eventually]. They backed the wrong technological horse...

I played the first successful TV game, ever- Pong- and have also seen the various developments which led to the personal computer and the laptop. Amidst this I have lived through glam rock, punk rock, new wave music, 80s hair bands, grunge, rave music, hip hop, and who-knows-what-else. All in my generation.

I have seen classic movies remade, and have watched the actors of my youth grow old, some dying. I’ve had the story of Michael Jackson (and how I once met him) to my kids, many times. They’re in awe.

My son plays with my typewriter, and we often chat about what life was like, “in the olden days, when you were a kid, dad”. They shake their heads in disbelief at some of the hardships I supposedly went through.

Yes, I lived through LBP and LBSP (Life Before PlayStation, Life Before Smart Phones). I’d say Life Before Facebook, but that really was life (even if it wasn’t endorsed with a ‘like’).

As a late adopter, I can’t hope to keep up with the latest technology, but I have a secret- instead of pretending that I know everything, I am learning from my kids. And they’re happy to teach me how to work a remote, get an app working. I may be useful to them as a curious archive of ancient technology, but they’re helping me to stay young, with their enthusiasm for change.

Kids age you, but they also keep you young! Pretty cool discovery, that...

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a certain floppy-haired singer’s songs to learn.

Have your kids ever taught you something interesting? Or have you ever had to explain what something you used to use as a child was? Send us an email to and you could win a R250 voucher.

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