I knew he hadn’t really wanted to come to the pub with me, which is why we had to do it on a Tuesday when he didn’t have plans with mates, but it was an occasion, wasn’t it?
He stuck it out and, once we had a couple of pints on the table, seemed to settle into the idea of a night drinking with his old man, or perhaps just a night of free beer.
I saw him look at his phone as we’d walked home so hadn’t held much hope when I’d asked if he wanted a whisky to finish the night. He must have had the taste though, or maybe just felt enough sympathy for me to say yes.
So here we were, him eyeing a glass of yellow liquid with vague suspicion and me rooting through the old trunk I kept in the corner of the room.
‘So this is Blur,’ I said as I dropped the needle just after the start of the record. I’d skipped Tender, we could come back to that for the last song.
‘Parklife!’ he mockneyed up the word, which pleased and annoyed me in equal measure.
We’d gotten to talking about music in the pub, or I had. I wanted to see which bands had stood the test of time and he was willing to indulge me. Oasis had made the cut, I guess that was inevitable, but we’d struggled to find much more common ground. I’d tried him on SFA but there was no hint of recognition so I took the easy path.
‘Blur? Y’know, the guy from Gorillaz, they’re still releasing stuff, right?’ I’d tried, earning a shrug. ‘Girls & Boys, Song 2… Parklife?’
His eyes had widened a fraction and mine had burst open in hope.
‘Yeah yeah, ‘dirty pigeons’,’ he’d finally admitted. ‘I’ve heard it.’
It was then I’d known I had to get him home and show him it was so much more than randy birds.
‘This is 13,’ I said. ‘The album. You can hear the start of Gorillaz in some of this.’ I still had no indication he’d heard of the animated monkeys but I had little else to cling to. ‘They were starting to fall apart when they made this, but it’s that tension that makes it interesting. So different from Parklife.’
He was sniffing at his whisky, but not really responding to me.
‘The drummer is a Labour councillor now,’ I said while nudging the needle past ‘1992’, which I thought might drag a bit. ‘And the bass player is a Tory cheese-maker, which is weird because he was definitely the cool one, but I suppose looking back...’
When I turned around he was staring at his phone. His glass was on the coffee table, barely touched. He noticed me looking over.
‘I’m pretty tired, Dad. Think I’m gonna go to bed,’
There wasn’t much I could say.
‘OK, son,’ I tried to sound matter-of-fact. ‘Good night though? Here’s to adulthood!’ I raised my glass a little.
‘Yeah, was a good night dad,’ he paused. ‘Thanks for taking me out.’
I waited for him to leave the room before setting the needle back to the first song and pouring his undrunk whisky into mine.