Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Pity today's little monsters. Childhood is all too short for these ga-gas. Practically after their first babble of "goo goo," they are experimented on with subliminal Mozart CDs in the nursery, scientifically treated with chemical baby formulas, and regimented to pre-school. Stuffed toys are soon replaced by technology and they are grasping at cell phones to play with, and touching buttons on the iPad. By the time they are six, they are like the joyless "Children of the Damned," of the George Sanders movie. Sci-fi has become real. They are soberly solving a Rubik's cube in a few minutes, jaded by everything, showing their adult sense of entitlement by demanding every possible game for their video consoles, and already adept at killing thousands of people in a few minutes of happy anime-cum-violence on the screen.

The attention span for crayons, Silly Putty or a yo-yo...gone. These kids are done with "Sesame Street" songs by the time they're in their Underoos, and by then they're whining because they can't dress like Lady Gaga.

And a record player? You and I might remember owning one, and having only a small amount of precious 45's to play over and over. Today's kid wants an iPod with ten thousand songs on it, and has the ADD syndrome that goes with it.

At one time, a kid could have a great afternoon just sitting quietly listening to records. What a miraculous thing. Open this magical box, turn a switch, wait for it to warm up, put the tone arm down on a flat disc…and listen! LISTEN. Listen to a song like...

"I Want Me Seed," or some other bit of silliness.

At one time, the road to any child's musical education, began with the "novelty" single. For 40's kids, it was 78's and hearing jolly tunes from Uncle Don or Smilin' Ed. Kids in the 50's may have started collecting with either 78's or 45's (the kiddie novelty tune Groucho offered, "Funniest Song in the World," came in both formats from Young Peoples Records). By the late 50's and early 60's, the line between kiddie tune and "novelty" was blurred by everything from "Charlie Brown" by The Coasters to "Purple People Eater" and "Monster Mash." And silly kid-oriented comedians from Soupy Sales ("The Mouse") to England's Freddie Davies came up with tunes that were light of heart. And head. How many kiddie TV hosts and singers are there now? How quickly do kids follow Lady Gaga instead?

"I Want Me Seed" could not be any more stupid if it was actually written by a bird. Still, thousands and thousands bought it, played it over and over, and if you had it and lost it, now it's back for you. In the song, Poor Freddie, shades of "One Froggy Evening" (the cult Warner Bros. cartoon about a ragtime-singing frog) has a wonderful bird who can sing beautifully. But the bird only sings for him. Any time somebody else is around, all it does is cry, "I Want Some Seed!" And "I want ME seed." (What a versatile avian, knowing both expressions).

Sadly (and some of us can easily find the tragedy in comedy), "I want me seed" is really utmost for a captive bird deprived of being with its own kind. Without sex or socialization with its feathered friends, it's only great pleasure is eating. (Right, YOU think your pet's love for YOU is #1...you also think the bird actually knows what it's saying when it repeats a phrase you drilled into its pea-sized brain). At least, in the picture, Freddie allows his bird out of the cage. I did that when I had a parakeet for a childhood pet. It's cage door was open most of the day (windows closed) and closed and cloaked only at night when it most naturally wanted to feel safe in sleep.

Childhood is a magical time, and brief. Kids should be allowed their innocence as long as possible, but it doesn't seem possible in this craven age. Don't you remember with great fondness so much of your kindly childhood influences? Kiddie stars I've known kept receiving fan mail even when they (and their fans) were very old. I'd walk down the street with someone who hadn't had a kiddie show (or any show) in 30 years, and up ahead, some pedestrian's grim face would break into a smile and as our paths met, there'd come a cheerful, "Hi, I grew up with you!" or just a call of the name, and a friendly wave. And hearing an old novelty song even Soupy's "Mouse" or Freddie's bird tune, can brighten a day by recalling a gentler time. Mr. Davies surely knows this, in getting e-mail on his website or when a fan-tourist drops by the store he now runs. He's semi-retired after a long and surprisingly impressive career on stage and screen beyond kiddie shows and novelty songs such as "I Want Me Seed." Who knows why the caged bird sings. I do know why it might cry "I Want Me Seed." Which is because it knows how futile it is to ask for its freedom.

FREDDIE DAVIES "I Want Me Seed" (although this download is free leech)

Instant download or listen on line. No payment donation requests here, no chicken-crap "wait time" while you stare at porn-come-on ads from spyware websites, no use of any cloud smelling of Kim Dotcom or any other porcine businessman who exploits creative artists and steals from them and keeps it all.

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