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April 02 , 2010

Educating Peter


Peter's mum and dad are worried. Over the last twelve months they've noticed ferocious changes taking place in their son. It's not just the mumbling and the cloud of melancholy that seems to hover permanently over his ever-more-militant mop of curly hair. It's not even the oversized trousers or the numerous metal chains that hang off them. The problem is that Peter, who is fourteen, wants to be a musician - a rock star preferably, but anything else that involves a guitar, gets him bags of money and free CDs, and gives him access to unlimited scantily clad groupies will suffice (as long as it's not classical). Uncoincidentally, ever since the advent of this new ambition, Peter's grades at school have plummeted from very good to somewhere below mediocre. What is to be done?
In the spirit of intellectual enquiry, Peter and music-critic, Tom Cox, set off in a Ford Focus on a journey to the dark heart of Britain's musical heritage, to get the inside track on whether being a musician really is a sensible career choice for a teenager. They hunt the streets of Cambridge for former Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett and have numerous encounters with folkies in tights. They explore the wilder shores of prog rock and get up close and personal in a lift with Brian Wilson. Tom gives a masterclass in second-hand-record-shop etiquette and finds that Peter is something of a child prodigy. Most of all, they drive around, talk about stuff and Peter eats crisps.

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