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Look hard, and innuendo will pop up here, there and everywhere


South Korean rapper Psy's Gangnam Style is 'so two years ago'.

South Korean rapper Psy's Gangnam Style is 'so two years ago'.

South Korean rapper Psy's Gangnam Style is 'so two years ago'.

It's just after lunch and I'm thinking grand thoughts in the kitchen when my son bursts in. I'd no idea school meals these days consist of spuds, gravy and methamphetamine-laced custard, as that seems the only plausible explanation for his hyperactive state.

After trying, and failing, to grapple me to the floor, he proceeds to circumnavigate the kitchen while doing that weird 'Gangnam Style' horsey dance, all the while intoning the lyric, 'Hey, sexy lady!'

Coming from the mouth of a five-year-old, it's quite funny, and a mite disturbing.

I tell him 'Gangnam Style' was sooo two years ago, all the while wondering if it would be ok to slip some benzos into his Ribena. But I can't – used them all up last night on our excitable beagle.

Luckily, he canters off to torment his mother and I return to musing over the transience of human existence, until my three-year-old daughter wanders in dragging her new karaoke machine. She presses a button and the novelty Nineties hit 'Barbie Girl' by Danish-Norwegian pop sensation Aqua blasts from the speakers. She prances around singing (well, shrieking) "You can bwush my hair, undwess me everywhere," into her little pink microphone.

Of course, once the (happily truncated) song ends, I say her caterwauling was lovely – but can't help pointing out her material is sooo 15 years ago.

Obviously, I don't point out the song's clear sexual innuendo, although I bring it up a few days later while on a daddy date.

For those not in the know, or who still have a life, a daddy date is where a minimum of two fathers who have the unenviable task of looking after the kids ON THEIR OWN agree to meet somewhere, often a hellish softplay area, where they can share their misery.

A misery shared is a misery doubled, as the saying goes. Or something like that.

Anyway, once the little people were safely ensconced in the ball pit absorbing the combined germs of 100 snotty-nosed children, I began bending my date's ear about the sexualisation of pop songs and how it will be the ruin of them. It was a surprisingly lengthy diatribe, touching on the themes of twerking and the insidious marketing practices of multi-national companies, and finished with the proclamation: "In my day, we sang nursery rhymes!"

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"Ah," says he, with a wag of the finger, "but, sure, they're all full of smutty innuendo as well."

Turns out he's read a book about it. Clearly he's got too much time on his hands – I barely have a chance to read the instructions on the side of the Calpol bottle before it's being hauled off me by a teething child.

But I am intrigued nonetheless: what seedy subtext could possibly lurk between the lines of 'Goosey, Goosey Gander' or 'Jack and Jill'?

My date shakes his head at my naivety. "What do you think Jack falling down and losing his crown refers too?" he asks, in a tone he probably uses with his children while helping them with their homework.

I decide to play the part of the child and shrug, "Dunno, that he fell and banged his head?"

My date tuts. "Losing his crown can be read as losing his virginity."

Oh, right.

"Similarly," he continues in the same patronising tone, "'Oranges and Lemons' is actually a bawdy wedding song."

"Yeah, right," I say.

He then informs me the lines, 'Here comes a candle to light you to bed/here comes a chopper to chop off your head', refer to the bride tempting her new husband to bed where her "maidenhead" is, metaphorically, chopped off by a big chopper. By now, my date's warming to his theme. "Did you know 'Goosey, Goosey Gander' is an allusion to prostitutes, who in the 18th Century were known as geese?" says he. "And as for 'Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary' ... "

I have to stop him right there – no-one likes a smart ass, especially one whose every word befouls your cherished childhood memories.

I consider calling over his youngest son and telling him Santa Claus doesn't exist. And that his daddy's a prat. I also make a mental note to ask out a less well-read person on my next date.

But maybe he's right. Perhaps it was always thus and I've just reached that age where 'everything was better in my day' – that Elysian era where you could leave your doors unlocked; children respected their elders; milk was delivered in glass bottles; perms were acceptable; there were only four TV channels and they still showed better programmes than today's gazillion; fruit tasted fruitier, birds sang sweeter ... and pop music was as chaste as a vestigial virgin.

Then I remember I'm a child of the Eighties, the decade in which Olivia Newton-John invited us to 'get physical' with her, Sam Fox implored 'touch me, touch me, I want to feel your body', Madonna insisted she was 'like a virgin' (although probably not in the most crucial respect), George Michael declared 'I want your sex' and Prince assumed '23 positions in a one-night stand'.

It was all enough to make me reconsider my opinion on the Biebers, the Rihannas, the Miley Cyruses, the Katy Perrys of today.

And Aqua of course, although, to be honest, I always had a bit of a soft spot for them.

So, all together now – "I'm a Barbie girl, in a Barbie wa-arrld ... "

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