[5] The xx, ‘On Hold’


This hasn’t really had the time to marinate, but what a song, drawing on the skills of all three. The songwriting, obviously, but also Romy and Oliver’s lush, hurt, soul-infused vocals and Jamie’s touch with a beat, a sample, a dynamic. The warped Hall & Oates snippet becomes something to look forward to, even while the song’s strong enough alone.

“I don’t blame you, Daddy,” says Junior 2, riffing on the lyric, but maybe there’s something deeper there. Maybe I’m off the hook for being late to the carol concert. It was the trains. Anyway, that’s just the start.

Junior 2: “It sounds like Strictly Come Dancing.”
Junior: “How?”
Junior 2: “They can dance to it.”

We move on.

Junior: “That’s the snare drum.”
Junior 3: “I need to wash my hands.”

[8] Daryl Hall & John Oates, ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)’

Try and educate a baby all you like, she’ll always return to her frames of reference. “No Kandoo? Who cares, Dad? We’ve still got Pampers,” was her reaction. She listened with the lonely, neglected iDog, whose flashing lights suggested this is a hip-hop tune. It certainly launched a million of them.

Hall and Oates absolutely hammered the Billboard charts, like a pair of big-haired doo-wopping blue-eyed-soul Temptation-wannabe male Mariah Careys. They did ok over here too, no doubt helped by regular slots on lovable rascal Jonathan King’s Entertainment USA programme. I’ve opened a Pandora’s Box of memories there, haven’t I?

You’ll all remember John Oates’ huge, bushy moustache, of course. He was one of those fellows who saw the light just a little too late and shaved it off, without making an iota of difference. It might not be there, but you can still see it. As popular football managers Graeme Souness and Sam Allardyce have also found, a phantom ‘tache will always play around his top lip.

[5] De La Soul, ‘Say No Go’

De La Soul

Junior greeted the first few bars of this with a well-timed Godfather of Soul-style “Owww”. Totally unprovoked; she just felt the music, man. She went on to applaud the snappy use of Hall & Oates, clock De La’s message and assure me that she’d rather know a shover than a pusher ‘cos a pusher’s a jerk.

Now, here was a ludicrously over-long album that just about held it together. Even the skits weren’t quite aural torture – but that’s not to say we can’t blame them for abominations that followed; indeed they got the “crap skit” ball rolling themselves on De La Soul Is Dead, as they set off on their resolute path to have no more hits. For a summer, though, the world was De-La-Cratic.

When I hear this song, I see black and white dusty ghetto streets. Was that the video? Or were they the Home Counties mean streets where I kicked around, shocking passing pensioners with my modishly wide school trousers and billowing hair?