As the insanely proud father of a not-quite-three-year-old boy, I've had to become familiar with many new concepts I hadn't dreamed existed only 5 years ago.
No, not just how Chernobylly toxic a nappy can be. Nor just how many ways there are to break what I'd always considered reliable electronic equipment. VCRs (Plural). TVs (plural). Phones (Plural). A DVD.
I'm talking about things like the Teletubbies. And the Wiggles.
Today, at 12:30, we poled up at the Theatre Royal, in Canberra. Which is part of the same building complex as the Canberra Casino by the way, and also where I'd helped give a paper on xtUML in Agile Development for the National Simulation and Modelling Conference SimTecT 2004 last week, but I digress.
No, today we came to watch Andrew's first Rock Concert, starring The a-four-mentioned Wiggles. Plus Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, and Henry the Octopus. (Details are important when you'll be three in July).
When I finally rejoined the rest of the Family, having spent a frustrating time trying to get a parking place - and repeatedly giving it up when someone with a desperate look on their face and two toddlers in the back looked at me pleadingly - I was confronted with a 2500-seat theatre absolutely packed with harried parents and toddlers at warp factor 6. I looked around me and one word crossed my mind ; 'Pandemonium'. But despite my being 20 minutes late, the curtains were still closed, and ten minutes later the din had dropped to a dull roar. The event organisers knew the vagaries of Toddler Scheduling, and had allowed a good half-hour for latecomers like me.
Then the curtains opened....
About 20 minutes through the show, Carmel and I looked at Andrew, looked at each other, and shared a single thought : "It doesn't get any better than this."
All the parents knew all the words to such numbers as 'Big Red Car', 'Hot Potato', and a score of others. I include myself. That's scary.
The show was (obviously) for kids. But there was a short piece, when Captain Feathersword did a snatch of a musical number in the style of the Teletubbies, then in the style of Johnny Farnham, then Cold Chisel, and finally and hilariously, Brittney Spears. These people have talent - and their Finale rendition of the Classic Daddy Cool hit 'Eagle Rock' was as good as you'd find anywhere.
Production values, and for that matter the vocals were at least as good as the last show I can remember : 'Jesus Christ, Superstar', with Jon English and Marcia Hines in starring roles (and BOY that dates me).
If you happen to be the owner and operator of a child between 2 and 6, I can only say 'Highly Recommended'. They'll be touring the USA in August.