I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind
That I put down in words…
How wonderful life is, now you’re in the world
Moulin Rouge, the movie, came out in 2001, almost two years before Son was born. I didn’t know much about it, but for some reason I thought I wouldn’t like it, so I never watched it. About six months before Son was born, Wife and I traveled to Maine, and it was one of the movies shown on the plane, so I watched it with my nose about six inches from the six-inch screen, and I loved it.
When we got home, we saw it at a friend’s place, and then finally, on the big screen. And I loved it every time. For years, I had the “Can can can” song as my ring signal.
And when Son was born, and we were trying to get him to fall asleep, I’d either rock him to Elvis’s “Devil in Disguise” or the Moulin Rouge version of Elton John’s “Your Song”. I’m not much of a singer, even compared to Ewan McGregor – or Obi-Wan Kenobi as Son knows him as – but I liked the tune, and it got the job done.
For obvious reasons, it felt very fitting to sing it to a newborn baby in my arms.
“How wonderful life is … now yoooooou’re in the wooooooooooorld.”
Now, eleven years later, life brings new surprises. The other day, I realized that I have now lost control of the car stereo. Son and I were on our way downtown, and as soon as he hopped in, he grabbed the iPhone adapter, leaving me and Journey in the sidelines.
“I’ll play songs from my list now,” Son said just as we got onto the ramp to the freeway. Now that I realized our car was no longer my musical haven, my only hope was, and is, that I’ve used the eleven years right and that Son’s musical taste matches mine.
Of course, it won’t.
I may have another year here when he may think some of my tunes are, if not cool, at least pretty good. I remember when I took charge of the car stereo when I was eleven or twelve, and our little red Opel went from Finnish schlager to first rockabilly – which was the cool sound at the time – to other 50s songs to Springsteen.
Now Son turned up the volume.
“My gift is my sooooooong … and this one’s for you”, sang Ewen McGregor.
I smiled and looked at Son, who smiled back and sang along with the song. I stepped on the gas pedal and accelerated – only to 90 because that’s the limit – and sang along.
“I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind…” and I pumped my fist, and I looked at Son who was pumping his fist and looking at me pumping mine.
We both laughed, and I quickly told Son how I always used to sing that song to him when he was a baby.
“You know, I always thought this song was about a baby, and how wonderful life is when the new baby has come into the world,” I said.
“OK,” said Son and kept on singing.
The song hit the part in which Plácido Domingo comes out as the moon, to serenade Ewen McGregor and Nicole Kidman, and Son spread his arms and raised his voice.
“E soyo mi aaaaaa-aaaaa-ooooo-yeeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhh.”
The second time around, I joined him, and we spread out arms – only for a very short time, I was driving – and we sang our fake lyrics in a fake opera style.
“I can do the whole opera bit, pretty good, eh?” said Son, out of breath.
“Fantastic,” I said, a little out of breath myself.
We got into town, we parked our Volvo and walked to the theatre where Son has been working this spring. He’s been singing the finale of a comedy show, so I’ve dropped him off there, and then snuck back in for the last five minutes of the show, to see Son walk onto the stage, sing his song, and take a bow.
So there I was, an hour later, standing with my back against the wall behind the last row of seats. The comedians got off the stage, and Son and a girl walked onto the stage to sing their song.
The stars of the comedy show have written a new Swedish text to fit the rest of the show, but the melody is from an old pop classic.
And it’s wonderful. Every time.