Friday, 22 July 2016

Guest Post: a three and a half year old reviews The Wiggles

Get ready, to read the best writing this blog has seen
This week, my children's favourite Crayola impersonators The Wiggles came and played two shows in Palmerston North, thus ignoring ageing curmudgeon John Cleese's advice that the city is only a place to tour if you are contemplating committing suicide, or trying to pay off your fifth divorce (please don't let this be so, Emma and Lachy, we at least need you to breed some sort of hybrid Warm Grey Wiggle first).

Don't listen to Cleese, Wiggles, Palmerston North has loads of really big fans, and that joke never fails

Unfortunately, having a job and a further 107 Pokèmon to catch, I was unable to make the gig, so am unable to rate the performance of such classics as the ode to conspiracy theories Wake Up Sheeple!, and Labour Party campaign jingle Big Red Car.

We're gonna implement sound social policy the whole day long

Fortunately, it turns out I am able to exploit willing child labour, as are multinational media conglomerate Fairfax, who managed to coax a hyperbolic review of the Wiggles Auckland show out of a six year old. So, ever the one to try and one-up the establishment, here are the musings of a three and a half year old I happen to be related to: 

The concert was in October. October. It was in a room with a biiiig curtain. The curtain was, like, yellowey orangey collour. 

The best bit was when Captain Feathersword falled over. It went BEEEP and then he fell over like this. And then he made Anthony fall over like this, mmmmhp, and then he fell over. But they didn't all fall over. Just Captain Feathersword and Anthony fell over.

Emma and Wags and a teddy bear were there too. They danced. And I gave Anthony a bone, and Anthony put my bone in his bag. It wasn't a real bone, it was a cardboard bone. Then he didn't do a song about it. Wags didn't have it first, but he's probably eating it now. It's probably time for The Wiggles to go to bed. The Brown Wiggle wasn't there. What  is the Brown Wiggle called? Why are Emma and Lachy in love?

Emily liked the concert, and even she danced, but then she rolled over and she cried. 

I didn't dance, cos I refused to dance.

They singed Rock-a-bye Teddy Bear. It was a good song. The best song was Here Comes Simon, it was really funny. They didn't have the big red car. It was probably broken and needed fixing at a garage. They had an animal car. They did sing about Fruit Salad, but there were different rhymes from a different song in it, which isn't actually fruit salad.

I think i would like to go to a ADCC Thunderstruck concert.

2 stars (out of two)

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Game Review: Pokémon Go!

I'm reliving my childhood! And that is perhaps one of the greatest things you could do. but wait, there's more... In reliving my childhood, I'm able to cruelly cause my son maximal confusion. After we took this photo, he spent a good minute or two trying to figure out where the bat actually went.

And he has absolutely no recollection of a Vulpix head butting him in the square yesterday.

Nor of breaking his mother's vow of his vegetarianism on this Magikarp.

I've been playing Pokèmon Go for a week now, and Luke still hasn't figured out why he can't see the friendly monsters I keep taking photos of him with. The joke's not getting old on me either, not until I get a pic of him stuck inside an invisible box with a Mr Mime. After some early criticism due to a misunderstanding  when I told her I was going out at night to try and score some weedles, Rachel seems to be right into the game too. And the dog is also pretty happy, now that he's getting more walks after work. Though he doesn't seem so keen to stop whenever I went to try and get a Slowpoke in the bushes.

In fact, it seems the whole country has gone mad for the game. ACC released a cringeworthy video trying to warn of the dangers of playing. Indeed, there have been concerns that PG has led to an upswing in soft tissue injuries, and poses dangers to driving. To those concern-niks , I say just wait until the inevitable release of MarioKartGo. In addition, apparently Parliament are opening up their buildings to trainers this weekend eager to catch any Governmental monsters. My offer of a reward for the ultimate metaphorical Pokèmon photo still stands.

Everyone knows, though, that the true genius behind Pokèmon Go's popularity is the ability to name your monsters as you catch them, bringing out each trainer's utmost wit. Some names can relate to popular television celebrities of years gone by:

Some to Popular musicians or songs:

Some to topical political topics or  politicians:

It remains to be seen whether Pokèmon Go will last the distance as a true touchstone of 2016 culture, or whether, like most things that involve visiting a gym, it will last a couple of weeks and then be rapidly forgotten. However, in the meantime, certainly it provides fun for the whole family.


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Music review: The Wiggles: Carnival of the Animals

As you probably already know, The Wiggles released a new album last week.

Toot toot, chuga chuga, big red pay cheque
And, not content with simply living off the songs written by their predecessors (and some would say betters), Simon, Lachy and Emma have perhaps turned in their laziest work yet. Not that I would use that as a criticism. In fact, as the Wiggles juggernaut rolls on, they may be on to something: getting somebody else to write the songs, somebody else to play the songs, and get away with, at most, just talking over the music. In fact, if the name of the last track is anything to go by, I'm not sure Lachy even does that. But he'll still be there, collecting the royalty cheque no doubt.

What the Wiggles have done here is to take a pre-existing piece of music, the eponymous Carnival of the Animals, by the original Sepia Wiggle, Camille Saint-Saëns, originally composed as a musical joke. An to be fair, it was probably hilarious af coming from this man. He intended it never to be published during his lifetime, lest it detract from his serious image. 
Get Ready, To Wiggle Your Moustache
In this edition, however, the Wiggles have added their own quaint touch. Simon 'Red' Wiggle (the only Wiggle I have had the honour of meeting), has written short rhymes to accompany each of the 14 movements, each ably played by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. I haven't listened in depth to the content of these spoken lyrics, but hearing that each verse ends rhyming 'way' with 'very day', I'm sure they would easily rank up with the songwriting of No Doubt, or any other contemporary act insisting girl and world sound a bit similar. Unfortunately, Simon's delivery lets him down: not quite keeping up with the tempo of the backing track in places, I fear, if he were to try his hand at MCing,
Si would be in danger of Vanilla Ice cooking him like a pound of bacon.

 Hot Potato melts Vanilla Ice
Another personal touch added by the Wiggles consists of renaming several pieces, to make them more acceptable to the modern age. Nowhere is this more noticeable than movement number 10 as 'Tweet Tweet Tweet,' an apparent ode to the 140 character microblog. Presumably all the birds within are small and blue.

They were going to call the verse Angry Birds, but twitter's more or less the same thing 
The chance for a few new musical jokes, however, I feel have been missed. Saint-Saëns had originally composed movement number 12, 'Fossils', as a riotous parody of several French folk songs which were just so old, kinda like if Weird Al Yankovich made a song called 'Yo' Mamma' and it was just slightly altered songs from the 1950s. What better opportunity to subtly take a dig at old Jeff or Murray than by asking if they wanted to do a guest spot? Lol forever. And  The People With Long Ears was originally written as a sly shot at music critics who had savaged Ol' Camille's recent works, not for him the Meat Loaf style of stopping mid concert to tell poor reviewers to GGF. Why would the Wiggles not try and insert the implication that, say, bitter rivals Hi5 aren't donkeys by inserting a few of their songs?  


All in all, however, Simon, the other Wiggles, and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra have turned in a strong effort, easily providing a diversion for a half hour car trip. I look forward to their upcoming collaborations with other composers and bands. Hopefully including current family favourite AC/DC.

After all, it's a long way to the cot if you want to rock a doll.