That Father and Son Union

Unexpected conversation #1:

“Do you know who James are?”

It’s not a question I expected my Dad to posit.

Some background: since he retired, my Dad has not only learnt to play the ukelele, he’s joined a local troupe, who gather together to learn songs and occasionally perform them to an actual audience. Once, they played on the back of a flat-bed lorry as it drove around various towns in their area. Perhaps not the best way to treat pensioners.

“Of course I know who James are,” I replied, wanting to add: ‘I’ve loads of their records and I used to own a long-sleeved white top with the word ‘Sit’ on the front and ‘Down’ on the arse.’

Back in the day, simply everyone owned a James top. If you owned the Come Home one, which had the word ‘Come’ on the front, and ‘Home’ on the back, you would undoubtedly be regaled with gags about how you had ‘Come’ on your shirt.

“So you know Sit Down then?”

I’m a bit confused by this conversation, truth be told. I can count my father’s previous forays into popular culture on approximately one finger. And when I say ‘popular culture’, I of course mean ‘anything from 1960 onwards’.

As it turned out, someone in his ukelele group – all in their 70s, at least – had suggested it as a song which they might perform.

I found this quite astounding, especially as he had previously told me that a group effort to play Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecillia had been blocked by one band member on the grounds that “making love in the afternoon with Cecilia”, only to find that when the singer got up to wash his face and then went back to bed somebody else stole had stolen their place, was obscene.

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Simon & Garfunkel – Cecillia

All of the other menfolk had shrugged whilst thinking how nice it would be to a) have been making love in the afternoon (or at all), and b) been able to have a nice sit down whilst somebody else had a go.

I may have inaccurately paraphrased their counter argument, there.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that my father can now play this on his ukelele, a song which I used to regularly play when I DJ’d at college, always accompanied by an instruction to kick anyone who sat down on the dancefloor when I played it (as they often did, bloody students). I assume my Dad’s group don’t do the same.

This is the original release – so not the one which was a hit, that took a few goes, much like Cecilia did, it seems – which I bought at the time and stupidly leant to somebody I subsequently haven’t seen for about thirty years:

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James – Sit Down

More soon.

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