My dad, who lives on the East Coast, joined a Sherlock Holmes fan club after retiring and never misses a monthly meeting. He doesn’t care for the modern movies with Robert Downey Jr.; dad is old-school Holmes. That’s why the podcast series from The Sherlock Holmes Society of London are perfect for Pop. Without much detective work, I deduced my father has never listened to a podcast in his life. But it’s the quite-Brit cast of the Old Court Radio Theatre Company that performs these stories—so it’s whodunit drama like it used to pour out of an old Victor-Victrola. If your Golden Years father has a passion for a bygone literary character, chances are it, too, has a podcast. Do what I intend to do on Dad’s Day—send him the link, call him up and patiently walk him through connecting to the podcast. Elementary. While it’s not available on iTunes, it is on Stitcher and at sherlock-holmes.org.uk
Having a night in with the man who made love to your mom and helped bring your ungrateful ass to life? I recommend the Netflix gangster drama Peaky Blinders. Set in Birmingham, England, post-WWI, the show centers on a real life gang called, you guessed it, the Peaky Blinders. British things have the cutest names, right? Only they got their name for blinding their foes with razorblades hidden in their caps. So yeah, brutally adorable. The show follows Tommy Shelby (played by the darkly handsome Cillian Murphy) and his family as they do gang-y crime-y things while avoiding the law. There’s also a love story in there involving an Irish spy. Ooh! This show is fast-paced, brutal and fun to watch. Pops will love it, though he might have a hard time with the accents. Use the subtitles. Also, there are a few sex scenes so you might want to time your bathroom breaks. Seasons 1 to 3 are available now.
My dad gave me my first comic book when I was six years old (Top Dog #10). I like to think I’ve returned the favor over the years by introducing him to titles such as Sin City and Persepolis long before they were movies. I anticipate Saga eventually getting the film or TV treatment (HBO should seriously look into it after Game of Thrones wraps). For now, the 36 issues have been masterful, with elements of sci-fi space operas and sword-wielding fantasy novels. The series skillfully touches on issues of race, gender, sexuality and war and revolves around an extraterrestrial husband and wife who just happen to be from very different sides of the tracks, eh, universe. Anyone familiar with writer Brian K. Vaughan’s other comics (Y: The Last Man, Runaways) knows the guy can spin a yarn. I wouldn’t make dad track down back issues. The series so far has been collected in convenient, five-issue paperbacks for $10 a pop.
My dad loves the movie This Is Spinal Tap, but after watching The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years, mockumentaries become a lot less funny. For one, filmmaker Penelope Spheeris’ Decline movies are actual documentaries, and the excesses shown in The Metal Years are way more outlandish, hilarious and cringe-inducing than the most pointed satire. Documenting the rise and lifestyle of metalers in the late ‘80s, The Metal Years is stuffed with pathetic hubris and sadness. Some of the more notorious footage includes KISS’ Paul Stanley interviewed in a bed while lying next to three scantily clad women, as well as W.A.S.P. front man Chris Holmes interviewed in a pool, nearing black-out drunk status while his mom watches from the side. All three are now available on Blu-ray, and even though the first and third entries are insightful (about ‘80s punk and late ‘90s gutter punks, respectively) The Metal Years is the one to get.
Raised on lamb chops, veal slices and buffalo burgers, going full herbivore went against every value my parents instilled in me. Normally, I stay loyal to my plant-based food pyramid, but when I see my dad out back igniting the grill, I pause to reconsider my dietary decisions. His expertise formed from years of trial and error and countless cookbooks, with his current favorite being Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay. Known also as the barbecue bible, it’s acclaimed for its uber-detailed recipes that can span 13 pages, diving deep into grilling technicalities. Franklin, a James Beard Award-winning chef, also dedicates pages to his rise to the top of the food chain, starting with his first brisket experiment in 2002. Whether your pops is already a pit master or needs a little culinary guidance, this non-traditional cookbook will teach him a thing or two.
Dad-rock isn’t technically a real genre. There’s some degree of variation among dad-approved jams, and use of the phrase “dad-rock” is often seen as sort of backhanded ( just ask Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy). In general, though, when we talk about dad-rock we talk about music that has a kind of vintage, nostalgic feel. Singer/songwriter Kevin Morby is probably too young for your dad to actually be into already, although millennials are becoming parents now, but his new album Singing Saw (Dead Oceans) taps into the gorgeously folky stylings of some of the best singer/ songwriters of the ’70s. His voice is warm and reedy, reminiscent of a young Dylan at times, while the arrangements in his indie folk tunes recall both Leonard Cohen (“Singing Saw”) and Fleetwood Mac (“I Have Been to the Mountain”). It’s white suits in Laurel Canyon through an Instagram filter, and your dad’s most likely going to dig it— you will too, I reckon.