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There Are People With Games Of Thrones And Stories To Tell

Wild scenes: May Blossom out of control in the moshpit. Tip her over, pour her out.

We’ve just returned from the Play School Concert. If you’re not from Australia, I ought to explain that Play School is a half-hour television program made and broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for pre-schoolers. It has been running since 1966. Each episode is hosted by two actors, appearing as themselves, and basically they mind your kid in a educational way for half an hour twice a day with no shouting and no mess. It’s amazing. Australian taxpayers each pay about ten cents a day to fund the ABC. I’d pay ten dollars just for Play School.

May Blossom doesn’t watch it every day – maybe three times a week – but she is a passionate fan. My only quibble with the show is the way they put unreasonable expectations in your kid’s mind about what can be done with toilet rolls, watercolours and paste. Nothing good, if you ask me, but they’d have you believe you can make castles and tractors and whatnot, without ending up with a very pasty, painty child with bits of foil and tissue stuck to their wrists who is furious that all their watercolours have ended up looking like spew.

So that’s Play School, in a nutshell. Once or twice a year two of the actors take the show on the road, and they play three forty minute shows a day to hundreds of kids at a time, usually at a leagues club. For a not-quite-two-year old, going to see the Play School Concert is like seeing the Beatles in 1966. They would be beside themselves with anticipation, if you were fool enough to tell them about it beforehand, which is Rookie Parenting Mistake Number 1. That just buys you days of nagging and asking if now is when we are going to the concert. No. Now? Now? No. Now? No. And so on ad nauseam (Latin for ‘until you throw up’).

Because we are now Experienced at Parenting, we woke May Blossom from a ten-minute nap in the car (only tickets for the 12.30 session were available when I booked) and dragged her into the auditorium, which was full of zero to fives in various states of extreme agitation. It was like the Big Day Out meets The Borrowers.

The show was wonderful. On the TV program there’s not much of a storyline. It’s more thematic. One week they will concentrate on the bush, and make collages with sticks and bark, and they’ll sing songs about kookaburras . The next it will be shapes or colours. But the stage spectacular has a storyline. It’s about Big Ted, playing a prince with a crown and a purple cloak, who has no castle. He hunts for one, but instead finds a farm and a forest and various other places that are not his castle. About halfway through, H turned to me and said, ‘This is just Game of Thrones, but with bears and dolls.’

He was right. If Humpy Dumpty had played Stannis Baratheon, the two shows would be virtually indistinguishable. May Blossom loved it. Except when they turned off all the lights except a disco ball, so they could sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. At that point she burst into tears and howled. Maybe she has past life disco issues.

She got over it though, and when we bought her her very own Humpty Dumpty stuffed toy I could practically see fireworks going off in her tiny mind. So all’s well that ended well… with the exception of Humpty’s alarming resemblance to a historical figure people don’t generally buy toy versions of for their toddlers to play with. But more about that tomorrow.

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