DisclaimerA few years ago, before our second child came along, I used to write a monthly column for a magazine published by the NCT.


Watching TV the other day, something happened that profoundly affected my view of fatherhood. Ian Hislop, arch satirist, editor of the Eye and generally street-credible guy sang the words to Postman Pat all the way through.

This was during Have I got News for You a couple of months back. There was Hislop, singing some of the most banal lyrics you could imagine in front of the back-from-the-pub-on-a-Friday-night crowd.

Of course I like Postman Pat as well, but I can't remember the words; I only like it because it is set somewhere not unlike the Lake District and Jess the Cat looks a bit like a border collie.

Even if I could remember the words, I don't think I would care to admit it--let alone prove it--in front of Angus Deayton, Paul Merton and a few million drunkards crazed on lager and doner kebabs.

But I think this is the start of a trend. Now that Hislop has shown the way, I think more men will be unafraid to start a quick verse of Halfway down the stairs... while on the 8:15 to Waterloo. I can imagine hardened commuters rehearsing One-two-three-four-five, Once I caught a fish alive in the front carriage of a District Line train.

Post-Hislop, it is now cool to be able to sing all those nursery rhymes. It shows you are a born again, 'nineties man who can relate to his children; who understands the modern idiom and who does, occasionally, help with the housework and the child care.

This is not just hyperbole. We all know fathers who never sing to their children: who do not often play, or have a friendly rough and tumble, or a gentle cuddle and read with their children. I certainly know people like that. I am guilty of it myself from time to time.

Perhaps we are too busy. Perhaps we think it is more important to rest our weary selves and read the paper or watch the footy. Or perhaps we think it is just uncool to sing stupid nursery rhymes.

So if you see a slightly shifty looking commuter singing Postman Pat off key and nearly under his breath, don't worry, It's only me trying to be a good dad.

So, for aspiring dads everywhere, and to show the utter banality of the ditty, here is the first verse:

Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat and his black and white cat. Just as day is dawning, Early in the morning, He picks up all the post bags in his van Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat and his black and white cat. All the birds are singing And the day is just beginning Pat feels he’s a really happy man

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