Nov 20, 2014

Festive String-Tickling Brings Christmas Early to Infants Who Just Don't Understand the Deeper Concepts

I heard on the radio that the legendary Jay Laga'aia was in town, the Great Man of Australian Children's Entertainment, whose silky tones set him apart from all those other hoity-toity private-school-educated Playschool presenters, although probably equally condescending to children. The level of hyphenation in his name suggests either exotic South Sea Island descent or else some other-wordly science-fiction heritage, although I haven't heard it pronounced with an actual glottal stop, as the hyphen might suggest.

To get back to the point - was there a point? - he was the star turn at a kiddie's classical concert to be given by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra down on South Bank, which I thought I'd give a shot as part of Lyra's cultural education. I was half asleep when I heard the announcement so I didn't realise that it a) cost money, or b) involved Christmas themes, but I tried not to let that put me off, because somewhere inside this bah humbug scroogulous bastard there is a ventricle or at least a tricuspid valve that does flutter a little at the thought of the kiddies' faces at Christmas. Just a little though.

There was some confusion as different information sources upon the internet offered different information regarding shows that were available and some negotiation, it having at some point become a joint enterprise with young Claire and a friend of hers whose name for privacy reasons I will not divulge except to say that it also starts with C, or perhaps K, and rhymes with Autocrat.

So Lyra and I pitched up at South Bank, looking for the Spiegeltent where the event was to take place, to find - pretty much as expected actually - that the Spiegeltent wasn't there any more, as it was part of the River Festival thingy that was on months and months ago. So we headed down to the Piazza or Plaza or Pizza or whatever it's called and hey presto the 10am performance had started. I had a chat to the ticketing person, and she said yes there's another show at 11.30. I was happy, and I knew it. Coincidentally "If you're happy and you know it" was being played at that moment by the orchestra, so it seemed only appropriate to buy tickets.

After a trip to the Museum where we communed with the dinosaurs and danced along to the Sleepy Stegosaurus Stomp (I didn't) we headed back to the Spiegeltent to meet up with the ladies, procure coffee, and enter the Arena, which was rather sparsely populated with people, all of whom had congregated in the mosh-pit where they had set out picnics and such-like with cushions and a nice big green mat, perhaps making it a nosh-pit.

We purloined some front-row genuine plastic fold-up seats of the type found on the public transport of your choice, and as the orchestra began we sat and listened appreciatively to the William Tell before Jay came out and really got the party going with his hilarious show-biz banter. Children danced, Lyra danced, even I danced a little bit. Lyra busted her balletic moves and Georgia performed Pingu pirouettes. It was kind of low-key, but it was nice. The orchestra were good, Lyra didn't do anything too appalling. No fence-scaling, no ropes-infringing. There was a bit of water-bottle-borrowing.

Santa came out and such was the fuss that was made that everyone under the age of four became petrified. Santa didn't help by not actually handing out presents.

The orchestra struck up some sort of Bear Hunt tune which was just a pastiche of old James Bond themes, but oh! the fun when Legendary Jay led a procession of children around the Piazza or Plaza or whatever. He picked up a child, and made it cry. Our children didn't see the need to participate. Then a man-sized bear appeared and everyone was petrified!

Afterwards we went to the playground for a while, but before long it was time to depart, our cultural event for the week a landmark time-point that we will no doubt talk about for days to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment