“Will you stay in our lovers’ story
If you stay you won’t be sorry
‘Cause we believe in you
Soon you’ll grow, so take a chance
With a couple of kooks
Hung up on romancing”
Happy 8th birthday to my beautiful daughter, Leilani, living in absentia in Austin, Texas. “Kooks” is a textbook example of David Bowie‘s unique brand of cabaret pop and perfect in this context because he wrote it for his then-newborn son, Duncan. The song is unique on Hunky Dory because most of Side 1 is consumed with the disconnect between adults and kids. “Changes,” “Oh! You Pretty Things,” and “Life On Mars?” all chronicle how shitty grownups, especially parents, are towards the young ones. Children are alternately spit on, driving their mamas and papas insane, and being forced to leave home against their will.
“Kooks,” by contrast, is a heartfelt love song in which the father is empathetic towards his child because he too suffered at the hands of bullies and other authority figures. Trust me, I know precisely what that feels like. The sentiment here isn’t us vs. them or us vs. you, it’s just us. We. WE believe in you, WE bought a lot of things to keep you warm and dry, and WE’LL throw homework on the fire. Will you stay?
As an addendum I’d like to offer up this eight-line poem from another English genius. A. A. Milne wrote this for his son, Christopher Robin (both pictured above with the original Pooh Bear). Leilani, this is for you. Daddy Kook loves you more than words can adequately convey … but these words are pretty damn good.
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together
There is something you must always remember
You are braver than you believe
Stronger than you seem
And smarter than you think
But the most important thing is
Even if we’re apart
I’ll always be with you.”