A few years back – well, about 8 years back- Nathan was having a conversation with our niece Natalie, who was around Roo’s age then. She was telling him all about a friend of hers called Stephanie who would only wear pink. Nathan didn’t think anything was strange about that – Natalie herself had gone through a phase of only wearing red and yellow and only eating red and yellow food. So Stephanie seemed like just the kind of friend Natalie would have. Then she started talking about her other friend Sportacus and that’s when Nathan twigged that something was up. You see Natalie, much like Reuben, often lived in her own head-world and that particular week her world was that of Lazy Town.
Flash forward and we’re in a room at Kings Place, Kings Cross awaiting the arrival of Sportacus himself. Kings Place is a bit of a find, actually. I thought it was just a conference venue (and Nathan and I know a lot about those), but it has a couple of cafes, an exhibition and some big open spaces. If you’re ever in need of somewhere to hang out in that area, you could buy a coffee there and stay for a while. It’s right by the canal, so kids have fun looking at the boats too. There’s not a lot else in the area – the old Kings Cross station was terrible for toddler-wrangling and I’ve only been to the new bit briefly when I thought we were meeting some BLWers in the old bit. The hoardings were promising the arrival of “Kings Cross Square”, but I’m not sure exactly what that will be, and whether it’ll be far enough from the traffic to let toddlers run about in. But Kings Place seems nice, maybe even too nice for kids. Plus, as Roo said there were “hundreds
Anyway, back to Lazy Town. We were there for the launch of the new season, featuring either a new Stephanie or a cryogenically-frozen one. It was introduced by the head of Cartoonito, who had the job of getting the right answers out of a crowd of 3-7-year-olds. Tough gig. I was hoping they didn’t ask Roo, because he can a bit unpredictable in these situations. Thankfully, he didn’t ask him, but Roo did take part in a straw poll. He put his hand up for “Who watches Cartoonito?” Which is true, cause he does. But he didn’t raise his hand for “Is Cartoonito your favourite?” Which again is true, because he’ll always be a Beebies boy at heart. But really, he’ll watch anything. And he was happy to lounge on a cushion, munching an apple and watching the new episode, while Nathan, Eva and I sat back with some nice munchables.
The new episode was pretty well-received. There was plenty of action, some impressive stunts and a classic “hare vs tortoise” storyline. Obviously, Nathan and I picked a few plot holes (how did no-one work out that Roboticus was a robot? It’s in the name!) But the 3-7-year-olds enjoyed it.
And the real action was still to come. The cushions were cleared away (and Roo lost his apple in the process) and the children were asked if they liked Sportacus. “Yes!” They all cried. All except one. You can probably guess which child was shouting “No! I like Fireman Sam!”. I’ll give you a clue – it was one of mine.
Luckily, the sporty one didn’t hear Reuben’s cussing. In he bounded, in skintight lycra and straight away, he did a backflip and stood on one hand. This guy was the real deal. No intern sweating inside a Sportacus costume. Just an Icelandic man sweating as he did acrobatic aerobics to the delight of small kids.
What happened next is hard for even a semi-professional writer to explain. But there was a lot of kids jumping around, some adults pulled out from the audience to jump around too and dancing to some europop. We didn’t even get decent photos because everyone was moving around so fast.
Roo was loving it. He couldn’t stop dancing, even when he was meant to be standing and “looking cool” (he tried that, with folded arms and sticking-out tongue but it didn’t quite look right). It was a lot of fun and very energetic. The only objection I had is that when they divided girls and boys and gave them each activities to do, the girls had girly ones to do (rope skipping and rock ‘n’ roll dancing) while the boys were football kicking and basketball shooting. When the boys had to do a ballet dance, everyone laughed and groaned but Roo just looked bemused at that reaction. He’d seen Sid being a ballet dancer in “Let’s Play” and he knew that boys could do ballet too. He was also watching “The Ugly Duckling” ballet just before we left, so he didn’t see the problem. He even told me off the other day when I was telling Eva that her babygro was super girly because it featured princess-ballet-rabbits. “No Mummy, ballet is for boys too!” Yeah, but I was
right Roo. Princess-ballet-rabbits are pretty girly.
So I wasn’t too sure about that bit. It kinda undermined the bit in the episode where they made a point of all-pink Stephanie loving soccer. But that’s a minor issue and the rest was great. We were all particularly wowed at the hand-walk down an avenue of children. How they got the risk assessment for that signed off, I have no idea. Afterwards, we had lunch and Sportacus signed autographs and posed for photos. It was a fab morning out and I reckon our little Cartoonito-convert may be demanding Lazy Town again
Lazy Town series 3 starts today (April 6th) on Cartoonito