If this blog had a soundtrack, it would be the Beatles. Not any Beatles, mind you, early stuff mainly, nothing sung by Ringo and nothing from the dodgy Sgt Pepper period. R’s music is the constant in our lives providing the background to successes, crises, appointments and disappointments and it’s hard to think of R without starting with her music. R has always been musical. When she was very little, and still able, her Dad would play “Old MacDonald” on the piano and R’s party piece was to sprint across the living room in time to hit the last note of the melody on the piano. Always the right note. Saying that R likes music really doesn’t capture how essential it is to her. A dark day can be instantly transformed by the first few bars of Bring it on Home or the opening chord of Hard Day’s Night. Her day can be spoiled by hearing some hopeful over-emoting on the X Factor.
Sometimes observers, not knowing that R is a girl with her own mind, carelessly suggest that what R likes merely reflects my own taste in music. Not so. I’m not such a Beatles fanatic for a start (although for the record, I can confirm that the early Beatles albums stand up well to repeated listening). No doubt what R is exposed to is mostly filtered through me and we have much in common but R’s taste does not overlap perfectly with mine. And while it’s a source of great disappointment to me that she hates Blonde on Blonde and is ambivalent to Grand Prix, I love the fact that she is so clear about what she does like.
One of the many symptoms of Rett Syndrome is teeth grinding. Turns out, for R at least, teeth grinding, is a useful form of communication. The wrong song on the car stereo and the grinding starts. Fast forward onto something meeting with R’s approval and it stops. Instantly. R makes for a tough audience: Let It Be (produced by Phil Spector) – rubbish, lots of teeth grinding; Let it Be (Naked) – brilliant, whoops of joy. Fair enough. The strings really are a bit much.