Grand Theft Childhood - Janet Christie

Mum's the Word column

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 11:24 am
Grand Theft Auto is possibly not the best introduction to driving
Grand Theft Auto is possibly not the best introduction to driving

I’m on my phone booking Eldest to come and stay and feed Biggie Smalls while I go walking. He’s always amenable, but sofa surfing at Other Parent’s helps give my place an added attraction, plus I’ll fill the fridge and telly.

And while he’s on the line… “Sorry I shouted out about loving you when you were on speaker phone the other day with your band pals…” I say.

“S’OK, don’t think anyone noticed.”

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“How did you get on ‘laying down tracks’? Is that what people say?”

“Er dunno. We were shooting a video anyway. Where we were filming, there’s a coliseum of pianos and a model car and we’ll do a green screen with background so we’re driving in a psychedelic world…”

This is why I don’t bother with drugs… I have children to mess with my mind.

“I’m getting flashbacks of when you and Middle used to let Youngest drive the car in Grand Theft Auto,” I say.

“Oh yeah.”

“But she just drove around, didn’t get out of the car, so it was all fine…”

“Well,” he says, more reflective now he’s well into his twenties. “You can’t help but hit people when you’re driving in that. We probably shouldn’t…”

“What? That’s not what you told me at the time.”

“Well obviously you hit people. But she knew they weren’t real.”

Did she? From memory this was not long after a time when she thought anyone walking the streets of Edinburgh in a big coat was a bear. An idea I encouraged, if I’m honest.

“I don’t think GTA was a good experience for a child,” I say.

“No. Or us showing her Shaun of the Dead. She was maybe a bit young...”

“Oh god. That’s why she still thinks zombies are real... kind of…”

“Yeah. These things probably explain a lot about her,” he says,

“Like what?” I ask, but he’s gone.

Later she calls me too.

“You know how I’m starting driving lessons again,” she says. “I don’t know why, but I’m a bit scared about it.”

Hmmm. Maybe she should ask her brothers about that.


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