Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Help! My Kid's a Rock Star
'He's bought me two houses, big cars, Andy Warhol paintings' ... Blackie Dammett with his son Anthony Kiedis ... ONE life: Help! My Kid's a Rock Star (BBC1)
Forget Doctor Spock, Gina FordJo Frost and all that lot. I give you a brand new parenting guru: Blackie Dammett, father of Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis and star of ONE life: Help! My Kid's a Rock Star (BBC1). Frankly, after all that go-and-stand-on-the-naughty-step nonsense, Blackie's approach is a breath of fresh air. Touching, too. "We were best friends," he says about his son. "We were the perfect couple, and very much in love with each other." See? Aaaahh.
Blackie led by example, exposing his young son to all - well, both - of the things he valued highly himself: sex and drugs. There was always a party round at Blackie's house, with movie stars, rock stars, sports stars, and they'd all be taking drugs, because in those days people weren't embarrassed to be doing so. Young Anthony was naturally curious; he wanted to play, too. "It wasn't so unusual that I let him take a little bit of acid, or a little bit of marijuana," remembers Blackie, fondly.
Then there were girls. Blackie himself had grown up in the 1950s, dark days when girls wouldn't have sex with you. He obviously didn't want Anthony to have to go through that same nightmare. So he helped out a bit. "I wanted Anthony to be able to enjoy sex from an early age," he says, an early age meaning 12 or 13, Blackie can't quite remember for sure.
And it was easy, because Blackie had loads of lovely girlfriends himself, some of whom weren't that much older than Anthony. So this Kimberly from the Rainbow Bar and Grill, certainly the type of girl it would be nice to have sex with for the first time, agreed; and she and Anthony had sex. "I knew I wanted him to be the first guy in his class, instead of the last, like I was," says Blackie. "And that did make him a big hit at school - it was like, 'Whoa, you had sex! I'm not going to have sex for like" - Blackie looks at his watch - "six more years, you lucky guy!'"
It's hard not to think of your own upbringing when watching a programme like this. It was pretty much the same in my family. My own father was hanging around with some hot chicks from the bars and grills of the Colchester area, and on my 12th or 13th birthday, I forget which, he arranged for this one girl to have sex with me. Oh, actually, no he didn't. Sorry, my mistake - he got me a fishing rod. Damn him. I actually thought I had a reasonably liberal upbringing. Now I'm beginning to realise how Victorian it was.
And look, the Blackie Dammett approach works. A fishing rod gets you a poxy TV critic for a son; drugs and sex gets you the frontman of one of the biggest rock'n'roll bands in the world! OK, so there have been a few problems: Anthony's catastrophic heroin habit, the massive binges, the times he's come as close to death as it's possible to get without actually dying. But at least he's not an insurance salesman, living in the midwest, says Blackie. That would have been truly tragic. Or a TV critic. And look at the positives. "He's bought me two houses now," says Blackie. "Big, expensive houses, not little ol' houses. And big cars for Christmas, Andy Warhol paintings - he's spent a lot of money on me."
If I were a publisher, I'd be on the phone to his people right now, signing him up to do Hell Raising: Bringing Up Kids the Blackie Dammett Way.
There were other parents on this amusing show. Suggs's mum is strangely obsessed by the inaccuracies in the lyrics to Madness's Our House (it wasn't in the middle of the street apparently, more towards one end). Amy Winehouse's dad, who's just like Terry Venables, is worried, as you would be if you were Amy Winehouse's dad. Proud, too, though. Asher D's mum is the same: dead proud the first time she saw her boy on Top of the Pops, a bit concerned when he got locked up for having a loaded firearm. And Courtney Love's dad says his daughter hates him. Why? "I'm fat, I've got a barn, a bunch of horses, they go poo poo." All good reasons.
They're all good value, mad, amusing - but totally overshadowed by Blackie Dammett, I'm afraid.
Only Blackie gets the book deal.

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