Rear view

Phil Kay

Children have the best ideas. And the best ideas are always now.

ou only rtced orte idea: tlte nest orte. It is well agreed that tltis is

true irt tlte same way tltat it has lortg heert corttrttortly regarded that

tlte second start/a of tltat l)y'lansong ‘Simple 'l‘wist ()f l‘ate‘ where lte jttst says sorttething so incredihly well tltat it is tltis tttorttertt rigltt here tltat makes [Howl ()n The Tracks a great alhurtt.

.\sk a cltild. 'l'hcy krtow tltey ortly rteed tlteir next idea. And tltey are at ltortte witlt tltat. That is wlty we errthrace tlte horse: tlte horse tltey are draggirtg around tlte house. And it's a chair dressed tip as a horse dressed up.

:\lttl it is all so rtorrttal artd acceptahle to see a kid pullirtg a cltair around. It is so rttagic tltat tltey wotrld he so at home witlt it. hecause tltey ltaye rtot learned to irttagirte there rttigltt he artytltirtg urttrsual. hecause tltere isn‘t. ’l‘hey don‘t yet dotrht that tltey cart always find art idea. They are w hat always occurs.

l ltaye watclted rtty kid just go frortt orte tltirtg to tlte next all day. jtrst trippirtg alortg artd goirtg witlt tlte flow. We were playittg a questions gartte. I said to lter. ‘Nest questiort. Which is tttore usefttl: a waterfall or a frying pan'."

Hy rtow she is irtto it. I hate hcett asking lter a lot of questions that she can‘t really get wrortg. ones that jttst sort of opert it all up to tltottgltts. By rtow she is supplyirtg tlte categories. l’erts. l5ruit. l‘lying. .'\nd (‘ooking

’.-\ fryirtg pan . . 1" she sntiles. ‘You can’t wash your hair witlt it.’

l say: ‘Wltat do tltey eat irt space'."

She says: . . errtt . . . rttusltroont soup. . . hut tltert ltow wotrld they haye when it would lloat'."

‘You krtow what tltey do. (‘oco‘." I say. "l‘ltey hate it as a pill or squeeze it otrt of a ttrhc. honey?‘ I almost exclaim. I feel close. here. to usirtg artd qualifyirtg for a real exclamation rttark.

I feel like I artt hreaking it to lter. startirtg to show lter that. yes. she is part of the world. slte cart portder on it artd it can he correct. .-\nd that rttakes her jurttp up a hit. kirtd of skippirtg sideways without moving. It is like guessirtg at tlte details of a wild story artd realising that. irt fact. life rttust he a wild story. l’ltrs it retttittds her that humans actually ltay'e huilt things to fly itt space. wltile at tlte same tirtte reminding lter that slte ltas no idea what that rttearts.

This irtyents art. because people have to realise for a first tittte at some poittt it will haye to hate occurred to thertt for a first tirtte that tlte e\istertce of this world artd this life is so mary'ellous that we inyent art artd things to represent it.

I ask (‘oco. ‘\\'hat ahottt that Dylan sortg we lteard about a hat'."

'Box leopard skirt ltat.‘ slte says. Again slte was excited artd it was a differertt kind of qtrestiort. It was more of a test artd yet I was sure slte would remember. We rttade such a deal of liking it. that it was so sticky irt there. irt lter ltead. that tlte information was hound to hate stttck irt sortte way artd slte would get some hits pillhox or something. She got to answer fairly automatically artd experience heirtg a wee hit amazed at the cleyer working of her mind.

Am I reading too rttuclt into this‘.’ Yes happily.

‘\\'ltat is electricity."

‘.-\ windf

‘\\'ltat makes a taxi fundamentally different frottt a earl"

‘\\'hat do you rttean'."

Kids don’t yet doubt thatthey can always

They are


find an idea.

what always

'\\'cll ltow cart yotr just w as e out your arrtt artd stop a uni artd lte will take yott home."

‘Becattsc ltc has art orange liglttf

‘Sltould (‘cltic play irt a liuropeart super league.”

‘\\'hat does that rtteart‘."



‘\\'cll (‘eltic is the name of a toothall team artd should tltey play against all the best teams front eycry where oy er all of liurope or should tltey just play against tltertt irt their owrt country‘."

'So . . . their own courttry.’

I ask lter to tell rtte of three tltirtgs just like oranges and she says. "l‘angerines artd orartges.‘

‘lfl ltay’e two oranges here irt this ltartd artd two irt this ltartd. artd l pttt

tltertt together. w ltat hate I got'."

'( )lte‘T \lte \Ll} \.

'Yes.’ I ant happy to realise she is right. If you cart put them together. then . . . I think tltere must he a hidden reality \‘ihe when you ask a question to which you already krtow the answer. If you do. it is not a question. it is a clteckittg on. And this rttttst rttake the kid rethink or cause tltertt to ponder a retltirtk.

‘.\'o. cortte on ttow. what is ttirte pltts two rttol'e'.’~

‘\\'hat do you mean “plusu'.”

‘l’lus nteans added on to.' '\\'lty'." (iotl she is rigltt. wlty ant l tryirtg to teach her to do something that is so necessary it is hound to occur. Surely you learn from occurrences'.’ ‘VVlto is stronger a plumhet' or art electrician'."


‘Next one: What's goirtg on'."

‘What do you rtteart “What’s going on?”

‘What d‘you ttteatt c "What d‘you mean?"

'()i. daddy.‘

'Right. ltow does Velcro work'."

‘It keeps rtty shoes sltul.‘ lixcellent.

Out Thursday 9 August

56 THE LIST .7 a