Talent Rant

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


I never use my Brown Betty teapot for tea. I do love it though so I thought it might earn its keep as a flower receptacle.






This Friday I have to attend an event which I am absolutely dreading.
My daughter's school talent show. 

I cannot begin to describe how much I loathe Britain's Got Talent and the like. 
I avoid them like the plague.
Dross, dross and more dross is my overriding impression of them, closely followed by superficial, superficial and superficial.
 They are banned from our television.

For the last couple of weeks I have been hoping my daughter will return home from school and say she has decided not to enter the talent competition. 
This is looking less and less likely.

So on Friday evening I will paste a smile on my face and watch her parade around with two of her friends wearing make-up (of which I strongly disapprove) and a hideous t-shirt from Primark (rabbits wearing top hats).

 I haven't seen their dance routine yet but I have made it clear that there will be no suggestive or otherwise inappropriate moves. Actually, I haven't made this at all clear as it is rather difficult to explain exactly what I mean by inappropriate to a very young eleven year old. I'm just hoping and praying. No doubt there will be other performances that will involve small girls gyrating their hips suggestively and singing lyrics intended for grown women.

Ah well, it's all in a good cause.
 It will raise money for the school.
 A school which my daughter is leaving in a few weeks.

Whatever happened to school choirs?
 I'd love to go and hear my children sing in a properly rehearsed choir, or perform some choral poetry or do some country dancing. 
I remember doing all of those things at my primary school, we even had a maypole that screwed into the hall floor and we learnt how to dance round that.

Maybe my  primary school was an exception, but we put on very polished productions at least twice a year; Toad of Toad Hall, The Wizard of Oz, A Midsummer's Night's Dream and spectacular nativity plays each Christmas. My daughter's school doesn't even run to a carol concert at Christmas these days. 
Instead we have this talent crap.

I asked her how long it would be;
'Oh just a few hours'
Pass me the gin someone.





57 comments:

  1. I so agree with you about the "talent" shows, both those on tv and in school. I was a teacher and though the music teacher who organized it tried there were too many little girls singing and dancing to songs that should not have been in an elementary school.
    Love your roses in the brown betty.

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  2. Oh you brave lady. I went to a talent night at my youngests school last year. Of course his brass band were wonderful - however there were some truly dreadful singers/dancers who really should not have been allowed to inflict themselves on us long suffering parents!!

    I suggest earplugs and taking some crochet/knitting to while the time away!!

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  3. Those travelling 'coffee' mugs are brilliant for occasions such as these.

    No one can see into them!!

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  4. Anonymous2:59 pm BST

    Love the teapot flowers. I loathe those programmes too.

    Initial thought: why not encourage her to do something different for the talent show as she's so keen to join in? Something that involves actual talent, like a magic trick. Those shows are so isolating, I hate them. I can't sing or dance or anything, so when my form ran one I joined in with some other girls on a dance thing... it was hell, I completely embarrassed myself. The trouble was, there was nothing I could do on stage that could be considered a talent. Sigh. It was all the popular girls singing and playing piano and the popular boys doing keepy uppy with a football.

    We used to do proper plays too, and they were great. We did one based on Greek Tragedy once, it was awesome. And I'm only 20 something, so we're not talking a long time ago! You should definitely write to the school about it.

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  5. Anonymous2:59 pm BST

    Love the teapot flowers. I loathe those programmes too.

    Initial thought: why not encourage her to do something different for the talent show as she's so keen to join in? Something that involves actual talent, like a magic trick. Those shows are so isolating, I hate them. I can't sing or dance or anything, so when my form ran one I joined in with some other girls on a dance thing... it was hell, I completely embarrassed myself. The trouble was, there was nothing I could do on stage that could be considered a talent. Sigh. It was all the popular girls singing and playing piano and the popular boys doing keepy uppy with a football.

    We used to do proper plays too, and they were great. We did one based on Greek Tragedy once, it was awesome. And I'm only 20 something, so we're not talking a long time ago! You should definitely write to the school about it.

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  6. Anonymous3:03 pm BST

    Not sure why that posted twice, apols!

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  7. Anon, thanks for both your comments! Apparently there will be a lad doing magic tricks but I hope I don't have to watch boys doing keepy uppy!

    Jackie that coffee mug idea is a very good one indeed.

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  8. Pati from London3:17 pm BST

    HDear Sue, how are you? I have to admit that I do like the X factor but only the auditions as I usually have a laugh. I don't like when people start taking themselves too seriously, though! I use to love my primary school productions, they were of a very high standard also and we used to spend weeks rehearsing and preparing for them. Things have now changed.... I have only had a little glimpse of what they do in my daughter's school and it is not the same... (there's more people in the school so I guess that it is more difficult to manage...). You may go to your daughter's show and might be pleasantly surprise... Come on..., give her a chance! Vintage Vicky's idea of taking some crocheting along is a very good one and you can always camouflage a bit of gin inside a bottle of evian in case you feel desperate :-). Have fun and tell us all about it!! x Pati

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  9. Pati, she will enjoy herself, she loves dancing and I'm fairly confident it will be alright and probably I will enjoy the whole thing. I usually do.

    Of course the reason schools don't spend time on performances anymore is that they simply don't have any time.

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  10. What a good rant, couldn't agree more with your sentiments about the "talent" dross. When I was little (oh so many years ago) all the primary schools in the area performed country dancing on the racecourse, we had great fun gallumping about.
    Teapot flowers - simply wonderful.
    Carol xx

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  11. I do sympathise, Sue. I can't stand those sort of performances either. Husband used to be a drama teacher and did at least do Shakespeare and the Classics - Wind in the Willows, Alice, The phoenix and the carpet - with the younger ones, but he was always at odds with the rest of the staff and some parents because his productions weren't 'relevant'?! The children, fortunately, thought otherwise and signed up in droves to take part. He used to spend hours rewriting so that every single one had a speaking part however small - but no gratuitous popsongs or dancing.
    Hope your daughter enjoys it - but doesn't get a taste for it!

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  12. I used to do Maypole dancing at school - never in the hall though, always on local village greens and in the fields! I work at the school I attended and we still have a box of all the Maypole outfits in storage - the same ones I used to wear!

    We always did a christmas concert and still do and now we do summer concerts too - all based on stories and such as we're a first school.

    I loathe talent shows and reality TV too and, if I'm honest, I'm not big on TV full stop and don't watch a lot of it!

    Good luck on Friday :)

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  14. Caroline4:08 pm BST

    Oh I did laugh when I read this but I agree with you entirely. My 8 year old daughter and her friends were planning to sing Rude Boy by Rhianna at their (church) school talent show but thankfully I managed to talk them out of it. Look up the lyrics on Google. Can you imagine singing that in front of a vicar?!

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  15. Oh, Sue, I so feel for you!You'd think that teachers would know better than to replicate all the TV craps at school...
    As for the flowers, I love using pots or other containers for arrangements.Pretty roses!

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  16. I'm with you a 100% on this one!

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  17. I was once treated to a entire evening of a talent? show video - straight from hosts school. My wine glasses were emptying quicker and quicker.

    Good luck with the gin! - perhaps you could use a hip flask and pop to the loo.

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  18. Oh dear, oh dear. Grin and bear it springs to mind!

    But at least you have roses and they are perfection in your teapot..

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  19. What a perfect rant Sue, thispost really made me smile and I couldn't agree with you more. I was quite pleased when my 10 1/2 year old told me she was "choreographing" a couple of her friends dance routines in her year's talent show wheen they go away fpr a week to York next week. I'm hoping she won't be coerced into doing something xox Thanks for the amusing post, I love your sense of humour.

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  20. Can I make a prediction?
    There'll be a girl who has been doing ballet since babyhood, and performs with such a look of serious concentration you'll laugh.
    There'll be a girl doing tap, who should really have spent her time on something more suited.
    There'll be 3 boys dressed seemingly randomly who'll attempt to sing along to a medley and you'll see that each costume relates to one of the songs (the one wrapped in toilet paper will Walk Like an Egyptian)
    There will be several girl bands, drowned out by their backing tracks.
    The head teacher will stand up and tell you how talented the whole school is, and how proud they are that they're helping each child to reach their full potential.
    At the point you try to take a photo, they'll turn the lights off.
    Everyone will still quite enjoy it.
    Have fun!

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  21. Oh you have my sympathy!
    And I am afraid I have a dreadful confession - I really don't like any of the school plays (my nine year old's recently was nearly an hour and half long!With no intermission ). And Sports day! What happened to an hour or so of races? It is literally ALL day at my children's school. Sorry Rant over.

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  22. You are so right! Those types of shows are soooo painful and long! Good luck and hopefully it won't be as bad as you anticipate.

    Lovely roses, but couldn't do that myself as my brown betty is always full of tea! lol

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  23. Mmmm. SmallBean's school has a choir, orchestra, KS1 nativity play, other year group plays which are performed throughout the year, ballroom dancing, country dancing and more of which I am not really aware as he is a bit too young. This sort of thing was the norm when I was at school, when I taught and at SmallBean's school. And I thought that it was the same everywhere. Now I realise quite how lucky he is.

    Remember to have a gin before you go. Just a small one. It will help enormously. Chin up old girl, Ax

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  24. Forgot to say that the flowers are fabby. Ax

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  25. Hear hear!!!
    I was left with 2 small children and living in Leics and I took a huge decision and moved us down to Cornwall, that was in the early 80's.I remember the first week when my daughter came home and explained excitedly that they had spent the afternoon picking hedgerow blackcurrants, then made made a crumble..they loved the simple life and had a wonderful education, both going to uni afterwards.Things could have been the same in the Midlands but I don't thinks o..we would have been a single parent family ...in Cornwall we were part of a wonderful village community.

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  26. I remember that Maypole. In fact I mentioned to Sue just the other day as the local news showed some children in Cornwall dancing around a Maypole

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  27. There was always one kid who'd end up lashed to the pole by the end of the dance.

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  28. Anonymous7:22 pm BST

    I used to love country dancing, and remember the maypole. Really upset to hear that they dont do these things at schools any more.

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  29. Oh Sue, your last comment, what a hoot. I can just see it. I'd hit the sauce early with that one. I bet she's ace and you end up loving it (her performance not the rest) Chin up, do you have a hipflask?

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  30. I've actually suggested Charlie buy me an engraved hipflask for my birthday this year for taking to rugby matches in the winter. I was going to fill it with damson gin or quince vodka :o)

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  31. My daughter is in year 1 and the class assembly this year is 'year 1's got talent'. I really do wonder why the teacher couldn't think up something better/more appropriate. My daughter has never seen 'Britain's got talent' (nor have I) so it's all lost on her anyway.

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  32. I'm with you on this one, I had to go to something similar that my God daughter was in - it was the most painful night of my life......

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  33. Oh you poor thing, that is just awful! On the pleasant side of things though, your flowers are gorgeous. My roses are nowhere near opening.

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  34. My I feel so lucky now . My sons school does a very professional Christmas preformace every year , they are stunning and one of my fave things about Christmas.
    They do do a talent show too but it's over a few weeks and done to the school in assembly . The teachers decide who goes through to the next round and only parents of the finalists are invited to the last week. My boys have never taken part.
    Hope it doesn't drag too much and I'm sure you will enjoy your daughters slot .
    Jacquie x

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  35. Oh gawd Sue! I shall raise a glass to you in empathy on friday night.

    Poor Woody has to review the dreadful city version here, Stoke's Top Talent, compered by a so called local lad made good who's only claim to fame is being Robbie Williams' mate. Its truly appalling, 1000+ people baying in the theatre. Can't tell you how relieved I am to have stay at home with my boys!

    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger if you can look at it like that I suppose.
    Stephx

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  36. Oh help! I feel your pain! Wear some sunglasses so you can doze behind them, with iPod playing quietly! Cx

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  37. I always remember an 11 year old boy singing "Living the vida loca" with the raunchy "come onnnn" bit at a school May Fair, with his mother ( a music teacher) smiling and looking very proud. I cannot hear that song now without cringing. It was awful for such a young boy to sing such a suggestive song.

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  38. Hi Sue, I just love your teapot full of flowers! Our roses are still in the green shoot stage, not a bud to be seen. But we're in Lilac heaven here on the farm.. I'd like to invite you to pop over and see some fun pictures I just posted. I love Spring!! -- Teresa in Oregon USA

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  39. Gosh I can almost smell those roses. I completely sympathise with you about the shcool talent contest. I dream of going to a school concert where solmeone plays an instrument with some skill or the Nativity play involves Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and some sheep. And as for little girls wearing make-up and gyrating - I'm so glad I have boys.

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  40. Ooh-er, times have changed that's for sure. Expect gyrating, there's bound to be some in fact my 8 year old swings her hips about and she hasn't got it from me, I can tell you. Grin and bear it ... and enjoy that gin!

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  41. Oh Sue,
    I`m with you on talent &/or reality shows. Poor you, i`ll be thinking about you on friday evening.
    I love the gorgeous flower photos.
    Good luck on friday.
    Love Carole from Rossendale xxx

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  42. Poor you - it's hard work watching young children (from 5 years up here) grating around the stage thinking they are Madonna or Ga Ga.
    At our school we have a talent show that has trials at lunchtime and the winners perform at our fortnightly assembly. We don't teach the dancing or the songs many of them choose, so I am guessing they come from the television kids watch at home. We do veto music as not acceptable for school.
    Pop a slug of whiskey in your your bottle Sue and cringe with the best of them

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  43. Sorry, Sue - your water bottle that is.
    It seems no-one in Ozland can go without carrying a water bottle these days, is it the same there?

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  44. Oh my, I truly sympathise with you ! I hate those talents show too, and we have some of them in France too. My daughters watch the equivalent of "Britain's got talent" - which is a lesser evil, compared to others where it's only about contestants living together for weeks and being constantly criticised by the jury and their little flirts and (fake ?) love stories and tears are thrown at the public in the worst reality-TV manner... Well, I'm with you on the inappropriate thing - nightmarish !

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  45. Oh and lovely flowers and teapot by the way.

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  46. So with you on that Sue!!!! I let my 12 year old DD read this and she rolled her eyes and said "that sounds just like you!" I had her wanting to sing Lily Allen's It's Not Fair for a school talent show!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was her friends idea but the friends Mother downloaded the lyrics for them. It ended with tears when I put my foot down BUT I stand by my syayement "believe me you'll thank me for this when your older"
    Loving the flowers in the tea-pot.
    Love Tickety-boo x

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  47. There are worse Lily Allen songs.

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  48. The worst part of all this is the underlying message is that demonstrating these talents is what you need to do for recognition and validation. And you really have to 'beat' others in order to gain this recognition. I'm not anti-competition per se. I think the wonderful thing about the school productions of musicals and plays was that euphoric community feeling of 'Wow! We did something amazing altogether.' From my experience of producing some of these they generated a lot of mutual respect amongst the children. As for videoing school concerts, is that allowed now?

    The roses are gorgeous. We have some that have responded to the weather and bloomed early and some of the others seem to be sticking to the usual schedule.

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  49. As having survived both, I prefer a root canal to having to suffer through a (lack of) talent show! The tooth might hurt for a while, but the cringeful images will fester in your memory for a life time (as I unfortunately well know after surviving various 'talent' events of my kids)... *shudder*

    I think what the lady said about the talent things pitting children against each other while the plays/productions means the children work together to present a good production is true. Just indicative of our culture- competition to promote one's self above all others instead of co-operation to improve the whole. At the end of the talent show, there will be broken hearts, instead of a communal pride in a job well done to cement the group together with a production.

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  50. Yes indeed HebeBee and Mrs T-W, you both put it very well. I well remember the sense of elation after a communal performance even though I would only ever take a background role in the chorus.

    My daughter will be in an end of term production but these are never very good. They are cobbled together at the last minute with minimal effort put into costume and staging and for some reason they never opt to put on a 'real' play or musical but instead use one of these 'written for teachers' efforts. Last year's was absolutely dire. I'm sure a production of Joseph wouldn't be too hard. My daughter already knows all the words!

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  51. Gosh Sue, what an amazing number of comments, and I agree talent shows are a nightmare. My sons school did a (stricly vetted) talent show, but only for the other children (and long suffering teachers) to endure.

    My little girl's school is delightfully old fashioned, and despite being tiny they manage super productions , Alice and My Fair Lady, as well as Christmas Nativities and concerts. I am lucky. Jude x

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  52. Three Cheers of Agreeance!

    Talents Shows should be banned, they are offensive and damaging- not only to developing young women - but to all humans, everywhere.

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  53. I think these school talent events play right into the hands of our cheap celebrity culture. It's all about "look at me", not, as you suggest, performing as an ensemble.They are cringeworthy and awful, with each child expecting acclaim for something that is unlikely to be appreciated by anyone but his/her parents.

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  54. I so agree about all these hideous talent shows on TV...nasty. My little son's school has something called Shine Week where the children are encouraged to show off their skills. My boy read out a dinosaur poem (sweet) and another boy played the drums. Yet another boy did some spectacular break dancing. I was very saddened though that all the the girls who took part did girl band dance routines....all of them. Horrid and I have to say, some of the moves and costumes made me uncomfortable.

    By the way, I love the flowers in the tea pot....inspirational! xxx

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  55. Ah, but maypoles werev dodgy in their own way.

    I'm completely with you. I don't know where they pick these things up. Littlest is 6 but dances unselfconsciously in an alarming fashion, and we don't watch talent shows or anything remotely musical or young in this house.

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  56. Hi Sue,
    What a truely splendid rant! I hope you felt better for it and for the comments in agreement!
    (I'm a "talent show" hater too - gah! Nasty!)
    But - bless her soul - at least your little girl has got the balls to give it a go, get up there on stage and put herself out there - I know I couldn't do that!
    I'm sure, despite everything, you will feel a bit proud of her amongst all the other emotions and feelings!!!
    Good luck!

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  57. Just had to come back again after reading the Tickety-Boo's comments to add that ironically, my English and Drama teacher husband actually taught Lily Allen when she was about 12 and cast her as one of the witches in Macbeth - definitely no pop songs in the production....

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