Sunday, July 08, 2007
The School Summer Fete is a tradition long established in our seasonal cultural heritage, along with Tim Henman losing gallantly at Wimbledon, Glastonbury festival goers being caked in mud and Big Brother contestants being branded the most brainless, moronic, selfish, egotistical contestants - ever!
With school fetes the class divide is always evident, some of them are organised in a balmy, idyllic village setting with cream teas on the lawn and expensive stalls like – ‘Guess the Weight of the Champagne Bottle’, ‘Find the X and Win a Holiday in St Tropez’ and the raffle for the Fortnum and Mason’s Hamper.
Our school fete is sandwiched in at the end of the school day, our hall is stuffy, cramped and heaving with humanity. We usually have a problem involving parents, in anything. A high proportion of them never come to parents’ evenings, don’t read with their children or ensure homework is completed. The same old faithfuls keep our PTA going.
We make a huge effort with the fete for a return of a few hundred pounds. Our parents just don’t have the money, most of the children wander around the stalls eking out the £1 or £2 they have to spend.
As a way of keeping the parents around for the past couple of years we’ve organised a Children’s Talent Contest. This year the standard was incredible and we even had two boys participating.
After the seven acts had finished we had an interval while the judges conferred. We were promised two ‘guest appearances’. The first was one of the performer’s mum’s (now I know why he is such a shy, retiring violet – not). We got a teeth jangling version of that old Gloria Gaynor standard, ‘I Will Survive’. If that wasn’t bad enough the volume was cranked up and we had ‘Simply The Best’.
Next up was ‘Club Singer Dad’, the volume ratcheted up even more for ‘Amarillo’. By this time it was 5.15 pm and after a hard day’s work, an hour of the fete and the talent contest, thoughts were of home. No chance of that. As an encore we were treated to ‘Live and Let Die’ – the extended twelve minute version. All the hall marks of the hackneyed club singer were evident – greasing up the audience, getting everyone to clap along, involving the children and embarrassing selected members of the audience.
Even as people began to vote with their feet, he couldn’t take the hint. Now I love a sing-a-long, but in the right place at the right time and preferably with a few cans of lager down my neck to blot it all out.
If there’s a Parents’ or Teachers’ Talent Contest then it ‘Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin’. Our old Deputy Head was a bit of a stickler on most things but one thing that I did agree with her on was, ‘the children always come first’.
The Children’s Talent Contest? Somehow we’ve got to get the genie back in the bottle in time for next year.
We don't know each other, but we have the exact same name! My name is Tracey Dunn, and I live in Windsor Ontario Canada. I googled my name this morning (boredom) and it looks like there are at least 10 others who all share the same name! Pretty cool, huh? Anywho, if you get a chance, take a look at my family's blog, and feel free to leave a comment if you'd like too!