This year I helped out with the Steiner school kids Parade,
the theme for the parade was ‘Childrens games’ and the Steiners were doing ‘Capture the Castle’, on the very sensible premise, that this would allow the kids to run hooligan wise up and down the streets shrieking. high spirits and anarchic exuberance. hurrah!
The main prop was a wicker work and papier mache replica of the Brighton Pavilion, to act as the central castle.The blooming thing ended up being huge. Life size! Well, possibly not, but pretty gawdamm big anyway. Suzie, Paul and Gus did most of the work.
Once the wicker had been bent into shape and fixed, it came to the wonderfully mucky process of adding the white tisue paper. A quick squelch slop of glue, drag it up, carefully peeling the piece off the table, then drape daintly over the structure.
A skilled artisans job, the gist, somewhere twixt putting up wallpaper and hanging out the washing.
Demanding both great deliberation and also a knack for daydreaming.
Halfway through got distracted by helping put up the maypole for the next days may dance, Finns class was one of the 3 classes performing the dance, but he was gloomy about the outcome ‘stupid, we haven’t practiced’. Erecting the maypole was basically lugging upright a large treetrunk and whittling away at the bottom until it fitted snugly into the base, then attaching the crown, with all the beautiful strewn coloured ribbons. Something of prayer flags and party streamers.
I got to do sawing!
Back with the pavilion, finally the paper was all dried to ridgid brittleness. as strong as a poppadom!
The moment of truth, we hauled it up from it’s prone position and stood back to admire the work.
Titter, crumbs… surely not. Gradually we all began to guffaw.
A large central tower, topped off with a curved onion dome, flanked on either side with 2 smaller domes. COCK!
The whole thing looked like an enormous knob and a pair of balls. Even to the detail that the coloured streamer flying from the toppest turret, looked like a wisp of a whiff of jism.
It was quite unintentionally hilarious, even the kids could see what it looked like.
Oh the calumny, the shame, to bring disgrace upon the name of the school, by hauling an enormous cock through the streets of Brighton, surrounded by herds of jubilant, happy children!
Once the laughter had subsided, it became obvious that a drastic case of knob surgery was necessary.
Down it came, out with the saw, a quick castration, saw off three quarters of the appendage, gaffer tape it back on, then hoik the thing upright, erect again .
Much better, barely Penis shaped at all! The emminence was ready, now all we had to do was to hope for no overnight rain, else it would just melt to a soggy mess.
Sherbailey was in the parade, class 1, her first proper year, she had elected to be a damsel, so pam was busy putting the last touches to her costume, as usual it hung together with an excess of safety pins, but the damsel was damson! a colour somewhere between plum and maroon and brown. Lovely.
Next morning was bright, but a little breezy, i crossed the road to be there for 8:00 and to be part of the dragging into town posse. it was on a trailer base and the plan was to brute force, by hand, tow it to town.
A few kids were there, so they all sat in the castle and us 4 adults, went into halter and horse hauled it along. Blooming hippies. we all definitely looked the part and the whole ensemble resembled a gipsy caravan, complete with new age travellers… oh and part some enchanted fairytale day dream.
it was good fun stopping the traffic and slowly drifting along Edwards street, we just needed the half coconuts, to set up a clip clop, rag and bone mans rhythm. Cue Steptoe and son theme music.
Everybody was very friendly, all the cars hoot beeping as they overtook, a carnival atmosphere.
Fortuneately the wind was behind, so we breezed along. Coming down the main hill, it was more a matter of pushing back to apply the brakes and halt the monstrosity.
Outside the proper pavilion, we stopped for photos, the resemblance was uncanny.
You had to watch out for the thing, wide, tall load. brute of a big and burly, twice we snagged a turret on the elm trees
We’d arrived, squarely on Sydney street a few tares but, remarkably, mostly in one piece!
The Steiners were right up the front of the parade. Number 4.
An hours hanging around as gradually the children arrived, all attired in an array of varied costumes, It’s such a sweet event, all the little ones, some dressed a s playing cards, others as ladybirds.
I always love having a scoot around, watching everyone getting ready for the off, the sense of expectancy. The tingle thrill.
The samba bands all warming up, the rattle of pans and the solid boom of a drum
such a lot of work goes into the day, some of the models, there was a giant bucking bronco, a full set of monopoly playing pieces, a cardboard cut out scaletrix car.
I had no costume, so wasn’t expecting to be in the parade, Simon was there, as energetic as ever, so far as i can surmise, his day job is organising rave parades and events. just another day at the office for him, he had a couple of spare trumpets, so i had a go at producing a note.
Blubber your lips and blow a big raspberry? Sounds easy, but in truth, the strain, the near rupture, frequently results in nowt more than a strangled squelch of a fart.
Hannibals elephants? hardly. tan tarra. tan tarra, down tumble the walls of Jericho!
who smelt it dealt it
Somebody produced a medieval looking helmet and plonked it on my head.
A little camp? well a lot camp! but cinderella would go to the ball. I would be in the parade!
Finally we were up and off, the conga of schools was away…. err almost …slight snag. The immensity of the pavilion, it’s tippest top, got caught on the wires down Sydney street. You know wires which, in season, hold the christmas decorations, but the rest of the year students tie there shoes together and hoopla them till they get stuck. cobblers.
The whole cavalcade parade was halted, almost before it had begun.
Luckily somebody found a long bamboo pole, the wire was eased up and, with a backdrop of samba pandemonium, the pavilion limbo danced beneath. Away again!
The gist of the Steiner procession was that the knights in cardboard armour surged ahead, they turned, then on the pounding of a drumbeat charged!
Whooping and a hurly burly hollering towards the damsels and the castle. Then, to save the day, from behind the castle a chinese style dragon weaved out, the knights took fright!
A rabble in rabbit retreat. They were in turn chased back by the dragon and Sherbaileys gang of maidens, hot foot pursuit!
Next regroup and repeat. The tableau ebbing and flowing along the road.
Finn and his class 5 made up the head and body of the dragon and took to their part with gusto, forgetting that the parade was kids stuff and mostly beneath them.
Sherbailey and her friends linked arms and alternated between singing and taunting the knights.
A hoot and a holler!
By coincidence, curiously, I found a finger puppet of a dragon in my pocket, so used this as my chief prop. a green wiggly worm of a thing on my finger, off set by the noble plumage of my helmet. Sir Prance-a-lot.
On we went, raucous through the crowds and the streets, weaving, battling, dancing, surging all the way to the sea! A triumph!
The kids loved it, I loved it. A giggle.
Afterwards we had to get the Pavilion back to the school, against the wind that a way, so a real toil. My motto for getting home when i used to drink, was always, hit the sea front, then turn left. easy!
We should have yacht tacked. Uphill up Dukes mound was the worst. The calluses on hands, the backs bent, heave ho.
The Pavilion stood for a further week in the playground. Then the order came from reception to destroy it.
the kids pounced with great glee. Savages. Blood lust.
A frenzy of ripping of paper, the splintering of wood, within 10 minutes the Pavilion was a mound of rubbish, Tatters and scraps, waiting to be swept up and binned.
Some of the school were disappointed, mostly with the gusto with which it was destroyed by the kids, but me, well i agree with the suggestion that we should have burnt it on the beach, let it go with a flame and a flare. With dignity.
Failing that i think gratuitous destructive urges are incredibly healthy. I’m very much in favour of jumping on your own sandcastle, else bashing over your own snowman, i think the people who put the effort in to build something, should have the joy of trashing it!
So, in my opinion the kids mullering it was just perfect!
The Kids parade. Brilliant!