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Go bananas for top-notch children’s theatre.

September 25, 2010

Andy and Mike's Big Box of Bananas poster.

I can still just about remember seeing Brian Cant in Flibberty and the Penguin (in Basildon apparently) as a tot. I’m hoping my daughter may one day look back on her brush with Mike James and Andy ‘CBeebies’ Day with equal fondness.

As someone who’s sat through numerous shouty, colourful kids’ productions, I can honestly say that Andy and Mike’s Big Box of Bananas is a cut above the rest. And that was before they stayed behind (having, no doubt, wiped their sweaty brows) to sign things and have their pictures taken with their young fans (and some very enthusiastic parents too!).

From Mike’s snarky mickey-taking of Andy’s day job (even the number raps – which personally I love, though not quite as much as this year’s excellent summer song) to their Ant and Dec impersonations there were plenty of jokes to keep the grown-ups genuinely smiling. The children were all ecstatic at the silly jokes, disco dancing, mad running around, water pistols and fart noises.

If you have a small child to entertain, I can highly recommend this show. Find out more on Andy and Mike’s website and get booking! They have plenty of dates throughout October – and promise more to come.

They’re also promising a new show – Andy and Mike’s Time Machine – I will definitely be getting tickets for that one too.

He who dies rich, dies shamed

September 15, 2010

I know that Julie Burchill isn’t to everyone’s tastes, and I disagree with her columns about as often as I embrace them wholeheartedly, but today’s piece in The Independent about hypocrisy is excellent. I feel shamed that only now do I know about philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, but resolve to remember his motto – He who dies rich, dies shamed – next time I’m worrying about how much to give to someone who needs the money more than I do.

We apologise for the disruption…

August 2, 2010

It’s annoying when blogs go quiet, I know. Apologies – sincerely – but real life is getting in the way of blogging at the moment. I hope that normal service will resume shortly.

Get your groove on and make a difference too

June 22, 2010

Fairsharemusic is a digital music download site with a small, but significant difference: every time a song or album is purchased from the site, it donates money to charity .

The site boasts a catalogue of more than 8.5 million tracks, with individual song prices starting from 79p. Half of the net profit from every MP3 downloaded is donated to charity, such as Amnesty, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the British Heart Foundation, Friends of the Earth, and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

You can also suggest the names of other charities you would like the service to support, and choose to donate either to a single cause, or split your donation across all partner charities.

Right, I’m off to top up my Glee levels and punt a few pennies to CentrePoint.

I wandered lonely as a cloud…

June 14, 2010

I know that ‘Magritte paintings expressed through the medium of modern dance’ sounds like a terribly pretentious sixth-form project – but the reality was a wonderful, delightful hour that had my five-year-old (not to mention me and my mum) completely enthralled.

If you get the chance to see Aracaladanza’s Nubes (Clouds)  – grab it with both hands. It’s suitable for anyone 4+ with a pulse and a soul. We particularly enjoyed the flipper dance (imagine six red imps dancing in diving flippers) and the men with detachable heads.

My Googling hasn’t turned up a schedule for their performances – only a trail of where the group has already been – but keep an eye out for this and snap up tickets if you get the chance. You really won’t regret it.

Nestlé finally commits to eco-friendly palm oil

May 19, 2010

I’m not going to rehash Martin Hickman’s perfectly well-written article about this in today’s Independent, but I will say, hurrah and about bleedin’ time. 

Read about the guerilla internet campaign here – and keep the pressure on the buggers.

Perhaps one day they’ll be moved to make other aspects of their business more ethically acceptable too.

(My thoughts on baby milk marketing in the developing world are here.)

Girls are the wee-wees, boys are the poo-poos…

May 13, 2010

… according to my five-year-old daughter anyway. This lyrical gem combined with some Daily Mail ranting about the inappropriateness of fantastic new Doctor Who companion Amy Pond, an article by the always excellent MaryAnn Johanson (of about female action heroes, and the normal bollox about feminists and feminity that we surf along in every day, got me thinking.

I have already expressed my admiration for Amy and for her creator, the unsurpassable Stephen Moffat, over at the pauseliveaction blog, but I’ll say it again – Amy’s a great role model for young girls. I couldn’t be happier that my daughter has Amy to inspire her. Amy doesn’t seem to stop thinking – even in moments where most people would be wondering if they’d stay alive long enough to change their underwear. She’s brave, she’s (overused word, but still…) feisty. So what if she wears short skirts? There are occasions when women dress for the benefit of men, but most of the time I (and I’m confident I’m not alone here) dress either for my own pleasure or to impress other women.

Amy’s drop-dead gorgeous, but that’s not what makes her a great companion – it’s everything else about her. I can’t tell you how sick I am of hearing men judging women for the shape of their legs, size of their bums, pertness of breast – especially when they’re (inevitably) less than pysically perfect themselves.

I confess to several ongoing crushes on some beautiful boys - I’m not saying men shouldn’t be allowed to fancy women – but I’m not interested in them just for their looks, and I don’t make judgemental comments about the 99.9% of men who don’t interest me. It’s just plain rude.

There are many things I wish to improve about myself – assertiveness being top of that list, followed by learning to pause (and think) before speaking – but just because I’m not a great feminist role model, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate those who are and resent the knee-deep sexism women have to wade through everyday. The problem with walking through this crap every day is that you get acclimatised and forget how much extra effort you’re putting in. If I have a hope for my daughter’s future (beyond leaving a planet that’s actually habitable, of course) it is that she won’t need the waders that we’re currently wearing.


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