As Oscar Wilde said ‘Life imitates art’. Mr Wilde was obviously not born in the days when flat pack furniture abounded. We have spent most of the weekend standing poring over drawings that do not resemble the finished product, or indeed look like the piece we saw in the show room. The fact that we were looking at one set of fitting instructions for the wrong bit of furniture withstanding, flat pack furniture is the stuff of comedy. Where else would you get your husband, all tooled up, drill in hand, sans safety goggles, only to discover that he just needs the allan key provided? Where else would you get cheap in-family entertainment as the kids hold cabinets in precarious positions of general unmadeness whilst their hapless parents search around for a missing bolt, only to find that the cat is using it as a puck across the new shiny wooden floor? And where else can you stand back with satisfaction as you look at the slightly wonky end result and say with pride ‘I made that’?
The other thing that kept the kids entertained this weekend was the sunshine, and the app VideoStar. For those of you who hate technology, or for those of you who have teeny weeny kids who are still entertained by large plastic objects, or childrens’ presenters dressed in primary colours, I apologise now. For all the other muppets out there whose kids drag them in and out on the tide of electronica, listen up. The app seems to be simple, downloadable on most things beginning with an ‘i’ (altho, alas, not an iRon) and allows the kids to make short snappy videos cut to music with lots of effects thrown in. It teaches them how to edit, time and direct. Little Man and his friend E, a girl, spent hours in the garden cartwheeling, making up routines on the trampoline and mimed singing in an attempt to create a fantastic pop video. (All I can say is that they did some pretty good stuff, but Simon Cowell does not need to hang up his grey jumper just yet…)
Mind you, it was interesting to see– there was no shyness in front of camera for a start. They have grown up with cameras, and everything is noted and recorded for posterity on some sort of digital media. Where we had to wait two weeks for Truprint to send back our snaps only to see that your hand had obliterated most of the shots, they can now instantly delete and retake. Where we had to rely on our memories of the holidays, they create their memories there and then, with tag lines, captions and hundreds of ‘likes’.
We were delighted to hear that this confidence shone through in Little Man’s efforts at an audition that he did a couple of weeks ago for a local drama group that he attends, and that he had landed the role of Oliver in the musical of that name. Of course, the hard work hasn’t really started in earnest as it is still Easter break, but already he has been given some of the songs to learn, and soon he will have a script. We have all regaled him with the well known things about the storyline and the songs, and I have no doubt that he will enjoy it all the way. And so it was that amongst the flat packs, the VideoStar apps and the running round in the sunshine, occasionally I would hear strains of ‘Where is Love’ from the musical as he warbled around the garden setting up new shots.
The kids were huddled together, having eaten some snacks that I gave them earlier. They sent Little Man over.
‘Please mum, can we have some more?’ he asked.
Maybe life does imitate art after all Mr Wilde…