Jinny Joe

Andreas debuted his latest song for me over Skype last night. I usually hear new songs through the bathroom door, but that doesn’t work well when I’m half a continent away. Or is it a whole continent? I was hopeless at geography. Or rather, determined to be hopeless at it so I could give it up. If memory serves, I made a supreme effort in my last exam to win as few marks as possible. The grand total was 13%. And Miss Harvey (French), my loopy form teacher who collected rubber bands and twanged and twsited the entire collection continuously, phoned my mother.

Why would anyone care about a crappy exam result in a subject that was being dropped? Well, that was Wycombe High for you. In my fourth year (at 14 years old) I failed to demonstrate the requisite ambition. I didn’t care about my position in the form ratings. My uniform was a mess, I was best friends with disreputables and consorted with the opposite sex. I could do well if I felt like it, but couldn’t care less about coming top. Or bottom. All very confusing for the rather blinkered spinsters (the last of a now defunct breed) who were running that particular all girls Oxbridge factory. My education did not get off to a good start.

But back to  ‘Jinny Joe’, which is what the Irish call the powder puff of seeds that a dandelion produces. It’s a song about the terrible sadness a father feels when he suddenly realizes the lifelong pain and suffering he has inflicted on his son by bringing him into this world and plunging him, virtually unprotected, into the vicissitudes of ‘life’, just as a dandelion scatters its seeds to be caught up and swept away by the winds of change and uncertainty. A point worth considering, don’t you think?

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