As part of the ‘Olympics celebrations’ (don’t get me started), Waltham Forest are holding The Big 6 – six free events put on for residents of the borough. There has already been Winter Wonderland and fireworks for New Year, neither of which were of mch interest to us.
Party On The Pitch was a pop concert, free to all residents, with tickets allocated by lottery. I thought The Girl might like it (being 12 and all that), so applied for tickets early on. I have to admit, as the acts were annonced, my internal raver kept dying a little inside – Alexandra Burke, The Saturday, Scouting for Girls and finally Cover Drive.
I didn’t get tickets originally, but a friend did and ‘donated’ his to us (as he was off to watch West Ham) which gained us entry to the Gallery and free drinks and nibbles — which certainly cheered my mood up (It was nice to jump the long queues afetr we got off the bus too!)
I have to say, from our vantage point, the crowd seemed a little sparse, which was disappointing, as people shouldn’t really apply for these tickets if they have no intention of showing up – a good, solid crowd certainly adds to any artist’s performance!
I missed who the ‘compere’ for the day was, but I have to say, he was actually really good for the family-friendly audience. Just the right amount of cheese and forced jollity without being too over the top.
First on stage was local girl, Mizz Camara – at just 15 she can play 6 instruments apparently, and although she only sang two songs (and played the trumpet too!) she had a very strong voice and is certainly someone to watch for the future – yay for homgrown talent
Next up were Bajan group Cover Drive, who I had never heard of, but The Girl seemed to know most of their songs and hapily sang along and danced. They weren’t too bad at all – easy listening, a bit souly, but what impressed me most was the amazing midriff of the lead singer – my God she was totally ripped! Anyway, The Girl would now like their album, and I have no issues with that at all.
We were then entertained by Kaleidisco, a rather odd five-piece act from Ibiza. They consisted of a guy on bongos/drums, a girl on saxophone, a couple of neon-clad dancers, seemingly improvising to the backdrop of dance tracks spun by their DJ. A rather odd choice for the venue, I must say. However, I can imagine that they are qite effective in-situ in a proper club.
Then came what I was dreading most, and unfortunately my fears were completely with reason. The Saturdays were down to four (apparently they’re usually five) as one of them has just had a baby. They looked very good – all jewelled corsets, hot pants or short skirts and high high heels, perfectly made-up and coiffed.
I didn’t know any of their songs, but that hadn’t really made a difference with the first two acts. They really weren’t my kind of thing obviously, but personally, I don’t really think that they ‘brought it’. They seemed very much to be going through the motions, with no real stage presence, chemistry or character. I guess all I have in my mind to compare them to is Girls Aloud or The Spice Girls, and although I’ve not seen either of them live, I have seen clips of shows etc, and The Saturdays were nowhere near the same league.
In fact, well before the end of their set, The Girl said she should probably go to the loo as we knew Unity UK were going to be on at some stage, and she was worried they would be straight after The Saturdays and we’d miss them!
She was right too – even though they only did a short piece, local dance group Unity UK were definitely the highlight for me. The Girl had wanted them to win Got To Dance – but they got pretty close! Do check out their audition if you haven’t seen them before.
Alexandra Burke was up next – and I at least recognised a couple of her songs, and The Girl was happily singing along, and dancing – as were a few of her friends that we bumped into…they had dance routines and everything (oh to be that age again!). She certainly seemed to have a LOT more stage presence than The Saturdays, and a pretty impressive voice too, which I wasn’t really expecting. She also had two VERY hot dancers, that got a whoop out of The Girl when they took their tops off. A whoops off of lots of women and girls actually (and a fair number of men).
Then was the longest wait of the day (which to be completely honest wasn’t that long a wait at all!) and then Scouting For Girls came on stage. At this point, I had managed to convince the steward that seeing as many people had just left (probably to get younger kids home and miss the rush), that there should be no problem with letting us onto the pitch where we managed to join one of my friends.
I have to say, I always thought Roy was quite cute, and the songs were always proper pop sing-a-longy type creations. Good for what they were meant to be, and as it was the end of a pretty nice day with The Girl behaving herself, and the band were obviously well up for it, it was quite easy to give into the pop-pressure and sing along to songs which I didn’t realise I knew the words to!
They were a good finale to a very nice free day.
I have just asked The Girl for a quick review: The highlight for her was also Scouting For Girls as it really made her want to dance around, low point was not being allowed onto the pitch until right near the end. She also loved singing along to Halleluljah and other songs with Alexandra Burke.
Now, I am especially looking forward to Urban Classic which I have managed to get tickets for. Far more my kind of thing!
Just for balance, I bumped into the infamous Walthamstow Scene whilst there, and you should read his writeup too, as I think he has very different opinions to my own
After an extremely trying weekend (I had to go to Middlesbrough to see The Man’s mother – more about that another time when I have calmed down…), it was rather a nice ‘break’ to get up on Bank Holiday Monday and go along with my friend Madeleine to one of the Baby Sensory groups that she runs.
As I went back to work about 2 months after The Girl was born, and had never been to an antenatal class or ANY kind of baby class before OR after I had her, this was brand new territory for me. But anyway, Baby Sensory classes have only been around for about 5 years, so it’s not like I’d have had the opportunity anyway!
Mads used to go to a class after she had her little boy, and was so impressed that when they moved back to Walthamstow, and there wasn’t a class in the area, she decided to run one herself.
There are 100+ classes run across the UK with structured ‘lesson plans’ designed to stimulate babies up to 13 months old with songs, lights, signing and puppet shows etc. You can read more about it on their official website.
There were two classes (held at Shern Hall Methodist Church Hall) – 10.30 – 11.30 every Monday for 7-13 months and 12.00-1.00 for up to 6 months. Being a Bank Holiday Monday, there were quite a lot less babies than there would normally have been – but there were plenty that I felt I wanted to steal and take home because they were just so adorable!
I think the thing that most amazed me about it was how much the babies seemed to concentrate. The ‘lesson’ that I went to was based around Old McDonald’s Farm. They start every lesson with a song ‘Say Hello To The Sun’ where there are very definite signs for sun, rain, friends, stars, moon.
We then had a ‘pond’ made of a green sheet, complete with seawood, underwater creatures and three little fishes that had their own song. The songs are all pre-recorded to accompany the lesson plans – and it’s obvious that the babies love them!
Everything is bright, colourful and really designed to stimulate all of their senses. There are parts of the lessons where you manipulate your baby’s legs, or tickle them, or massage them, and Mads was great, explaining why certain exercises were particularly good for them, or why certain parts of the lesson are included, due to research results and even what the parents can do at home.
There was plenty more singing – itsy-bitsy spider (when did it stop being incy wincy that I sang as a kid?), this little piggie, a puppet show for who’s afraid of the big bad wolf and then a ‘Goodbye’ song which is also sang at the end of every session. The change in the babies during this was amazing – any of them that had been making any noise quietened down and seemed to really relax during the song.
I was talking to some of the parents in the ‘play time’ interval within the session. Some of them had been going for a couple of months, others were on just their second visit but all of them said that their babies loved it. A couple of them pointed out that their babies just really love Madeleine – and I have to admit, she was absolutely fabulous! It was like having your own CBeebies presenter there in real life, right in the room with you – I could see why the babies couldn’t take their eyes off of her, she was so vibrant – almost hypnotic.
So – if you have a baby up to 13 months old I think you should at least give one of the classes a try (anyone can come along for a free taster lesson). Madeleine runs classes in Walthamstow and Tottenham and has a new one in Leyton starting on Friday. I know that she is currently looking for another location within Walthamstow.
If you would like to know more about Madeleine’s Baby Sensory classes in Waltham Forest – just check her details. She is even doing a special Father’s Day session on Saturday 18th June which is filling up quickly!
Unfortunately, I came away with no baby, just a severe bout of broodiness…but a brilliant session in Le Delice with many of the Walthamstow Twitterati managed to cheer me up.