rockstars at mum and dad’s house

David Crosby and his dad Floyd, 1970. Love Floyd!
Elton John with his mother Sheila and stepfather Fred Fairebrother at their home. London 1971

How vulnerably daggy are these shots taken by Life photographer John Olson in the 1970s? I like how these cool, subversive types (OK, Elton, not so much) are transformed when juxtapositioned with mum and dad, and with brick veneer and formica as a backdrop.

Do you find this with your parents? You revert to form when you go home to visit? Bloody hell, I do.

Dad, me and mum

I’m the eldest of six kids. Mum and Dad were very young when they had me. From the age of about two, I took control of the household. As Dad said, “you and I went through puberty together when you were a toddler”.

When I visit I slip into this bossy role, no doubt annoying the hell out of my siblings. Although they also revert to form. As do my parents. Which can be comfortable. But also resemble the picking of a scab that reveals a familiar wound. It doesn’t take much to trigger; suddenly we’re all behaving like injured imbeciles, shooting aggressively from the hip.

But photos like these ones above can also remind us of how beautiful Family Form can be. I like how Floyd is looking at David Crosby – it’s solid and familiar. I’m sure much can be read into David’s true self in that photo.

A nice thing to do: take a good look at a family photo and look for the form. Look for your true self represented in the shot. It’s invariably there.

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