The Littlest Raindog

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The Littlest Raindog

I’ve made no secret of the fact that next week’s Tom Waits gig in Paris has put me in a state of perpetual chomping-at-the-bit excitement. What I’ve now found out, however, is that this manic enthusiasm seems to be rubbing off on my nearest and dearest, too.

I was driving my car to someplace or other this evening with Clare and her astonishingly-bright four year-old daughter, Lily, as passengers. On the car stereo was Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man album, which Lily took a strong disliking to. Fair enough, I though: Leonard Cohen is a bit of an acquired taste. Come to think of it, amongst Leonard Cohen fans that particular album is a bit of an acquired taste.

I decided to be considerate. I’d stop inflicting my music taste on others and – ideally – play something that had a stronger appeal amongst that sometimes difficult-to-please CBeebies demographic.

“What would you like to listen to, Lily?” I asked.

“Tom Waits,” she said.

Lily was later heard singing Waits’ classic track ’16 Shells From A 30.6′. It made Clare giggle, and knocked Scarlett Johansson’s cover versions right out of the water.


About the Author:

My name is Tom Lennon and I'm a freelance writer who specialises in humour at the geekier end of the pop culture spectrum. I'm based in Birmingham, UK, and my work has recently appeared in BuzzFeed and Time Out.


  1. Rol July 16, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Get her reciting Frank’s Wild Years, THEN I’ll be impressed!

  2. Richard July 16, 2008 at 11:52 am

    I think there must be something about the gutteral tones involved, because Molly (8) is pretty much the same – Underground and In The Neighbourhood for her.
    She even asked for it on her ipod (we had an old ipod mini hanging around.)
    Not that I’m complaining, but it makes a sharp transition from her mother’s S-Club-7 which is on before it!

  3. jerseyraindog July 28, 2008 at 1:29 am

    Hey Tom, I had Alice on in the car yesterday and just a few bars into the opening song my 4 year old piped up and declared ‘this is fantastic Dad!’ He also likes Nick Cave so he’s a young man of considerable taste already. Oh, and like you I saw Tom Waits that very same evening in Paris in 2000 and clearly remember the Piano incident too. And like you I just got back from the first night of the two Paris shows. So you sir, obviously have impeccable taste too!

  4. Tom Lennon July 29, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Rol: If it happens, you’ll be the first to know

  5. Tom Lennon July 29, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Richard: I think you may be right – maybe they’re drawn to the music because the gutteral tones are so unlike anything they’ve heard before.

    Waitaminute – isn’t that what got many of us into TW? ;0)

    I think Lily likes a lot of the ‘hammer on a tin bath’ ‘found percussion’ random noise elements, too – possibly because she thinks it sounds funny.

  6. Tom Lennon July 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Hi Jersey

    Isn’t it great when that happens?

    Funnily enough, I had Nick Cave’s Grinderman album on in the car the other day and Lily asked if this was Tom Waits…

    Of course, like many albums I like Grinderman contains some strong language. I don’t know about you, but I’ve become quite adept at hitting the mute button at just the right time and creating instant, child-friendly edits…

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