Wednesday, 23 October 2013

One Direction, Brisbane

I'm either mad, indulgent or just best mamma this week. I can't quite decide myself...

In my last post I wrote about taking my girl away for the weekend and going to see the One Direction concert in Auckland. We had a blast, an absolute blast! Stuff that I hope will stay in the memory bank for ever.

A few days after we returned, I had one of those 'right place, right time' moments....and some Brisbane tickets!

My brain flickered between - "How fantastic, she'll be thrilled" to "I really shouldn't as I don't want to over indulge..."

I mentioned it to Neil, fully expecting him to do the sensible father speech, but uncharacteristically he just said "go for it!"

...So we did!

ear plugs at the ready!

I thought the Auckland fans were loud - but the Brisbane crowd was something else. Boy, those girls can scream!

They jumped, danced and sang their hearts outs. They hung on every word that their idols spoke. (Well, those words that they could actually hear over the screams!)

I spent some time people watching.

*There were a few bored parents. One mother in the row behind me sat all night with her arms crossed, she didn't see a thing apart from the back of the girl in front of her!
*There were groups of girls clutching each other who just uttered "Oh my God" over and over again.
*There were so many people watching the concert through the screen of their phones or iPods trying to capture any images they could. What a waste! Come on girls, enjoy the moment.
*There were some tiny tots trying to sleep...
*There were many many parents loitering outside just waiting. I saw lots of novel reading mums and dads and even a few knitters. Brisbane Entertainment Centre is a little bit in the middle of no-where so I guess it was just easier to hang around.
*There were some 1D mums living their youth again through their children - matching their t-shirts and various band merchandise with their daughters. Some cute, others not so...
*There were tears, happy tears.

Overwhelmingly though there were smiles. Lots and lots of happy people having a great time.
That was a joy to see.

Here's a few of my shots of the Sunday night performance.
One Direction Brisbane Oct 2013

Almost anyone can sound good blasting from the CD in the car, but to their credit these boys can really sing. Yes there were a few forgivable hoarse notes - they had been belting out those songs through 125 shows by the time they got to Brisbane. They didn't give you slick choreography but they made sure that they covered every part of that stage.  Add some fancy laser lighting, crowd interaction, lots of colourful graphics and a few video clips to give the boys a few minutes to change. Well all apart from Harry who appeared to have the same clothes on throughout. On the subject of clothes...what was it with the ultra tight trousers Mr Styles?! 
They looked a lot edgier and a bit more rock and roll than I expected. I'm sure the images on the water bottle/pencil case/backpack etc etc  at home has them looking quite different!
The show was safely predictable with songs about summer romance, unrequited love, fancying the person you can't have, secret love, jealousy...all the stuff that the teenage population of the audience lapped up.

Everyone under the age of about 25 seem to know every word to every song and happily shared this knowledge. It created an interesting sound....

I was warned asked by my 11 year old not to dance or sing....which I duly obliged, but I did find myself toe tapping and the odd line from an often heard track would sometimes escape my lips. (I don't think she noticed.) I have to say that I can't get the "I can't compete with your boyfriend - he's got 27 tattoos" line out of my head. 
I actually think that a couple of them have taken that one to heart and would give any boyfriend with 27 tattoos a good challenge!

One Direction Brisbane Oct 2013

Although mostly rehearsed and scripted (yes I can say say that, having heard it twice), the banter between the band members and the crowd was fun. They seemed to enjoy themselves, and they made many female swoon with the occasional wave or thumbs up or a special blow kiss....cue extra loud screams - one right in my left ear!

They were gracious in their thanks to each and every person in the venue and acknowledged that without their loyal fans they would not be enjoying this phenomenal success. There was quite a bit of charm going on here with praise to the parents for bringing their kids and "thanks for deciding to spend your money evening with us" speeches.

Before you knew it we were into the encore and every parent was beginning to think about the inevitable queue out of the car park....well everyone apart from the cross armed mother behind me who had made an early hasty exit with her daughter.

Shame, because she missed the chest booming loud "Best song ever" and the chance to sing along to "That's what makes you beautiful"....

Well...and....truly living those moments!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Treasured moments - from Swan Lake to One Direction.

Back in 2009 I took my girl to the city to watch the ballet Swan Lake. I remember at the time that I felt like it was a lot of money to spend on taking a just turned seven year old to the theatre and to expect her to sit still through three and a half hours of ballet.

I needn't have been concerned as she sat completely mesmerised, mouth slightly open, eyes transfixed.  I watched her almost as much as I watched the ballet! I think at one point I considered checking that she was still breathing.

That was the start of our regular mother daughter theatre outings.

Since then we have been lucky enough to catch some pretty amazing productions in Brisbane, but to date nothing had ever really come close to the enjoyment experienced watching Swan Lake. There have been quite a few musicals like Mary Poppins, Annie, Grease and Mama Mia. Then the Nutcracker ballet and more recently The Bright Stream performed by The Bolshoi Ballet. Some of these theatre visits have been large scale international productions but we also love to support the smaller amateur performances too.

Last week the dance studio that Sibs is part of had their annual dance concert at Queensland Performing Arts Centre. This performance is one of the highlights of her year. She loves the routine of rehearsals and back stage antics. Behind allowed inside the theatre is a real thrill.  Imagine having to tell her that she wasn't going to experience it this year?

When I first found out the dates for her dance concert, I knew that it clashed with something else. I also knew that the 'something else' was huge. Something that Sibs had been looking forward to for the whole of 2013.

It was time to break the news about the clash.

There were a few silent tears and a wobbly bottom lip. Then a big hug and a promise that we would go and watch the first night of the dance concert.

She still wanted  to attend the rehearsals and her lovely dance teachers who knew how disappointed she was and not being able to perform always made sure that she helped out in some way.

So what prevented her from being part of the show......?

We were having a long planned girls weekend watch One Direction!

My eleven year old is a beautiful mix of interests. She adores her ballet, looks forward to rugby season, loves to listen to a real mix of music and over the last year or so like millions of other tweenage girls has discovered 'One Direction'. (Thank you for the introduction goes to cool Aunty T!)

So last Friday, I picked her up from her afternoon school rugby game and instead of the usual ballet lesson it was a quick shower and change and off we went  to the airport. We shopped a little, bought a book each and arrived in New Zealand on a cold and wet Friday night.

We were originally booked into the same hotel as the band but in my wisdom(?) I changed this to be closer to the city.
At the risk of sounding fuddy duddy - One Direction fans can be a little crazy....
There were hoards of young girls camped out at 1am in front of the hotel screaming. They screamed for almost three days! The groupie mentality was almost a little disturbing and whilst I have no problem with Sibs being a fan of the band, I think that I have a parental responsibility to ensure her safety and to allow her to be eleven...

So we enjoyed a slightly quieter time. We walked, chatted, shopped, giggled and did the tourist things like the museums and the Sky Tower. We lazed over hotel breakfasts - such a treat. We ordered room service in our bath robes and watched TV whilst painting our toenails. It was pure luxury having that time away from home with my girl.

Of course the absolute highlight of the weekend was the One Direction concert.

"I think this is a dream"

I once again watched my girl completely awe struck at the spectacle in front of her eyes.

It was the Swan Lake experience four years later (but with screaming!)

Five minutes after arriving in our seats she turned to me - "I think this is a dream!"

Her quiet contemplation lasted about 10 seconds and then she jumped, sang and screamed with the best of them. Oh my goodness the screaming again.....the ear plugs came in very handy!

One Direction - Auckland 2013

One Direction - Auckland 2013

Sibs beamed all the way through the concert, then all the way back to the hotel and then all the next day and more!
This was loving and living the moment big time!

from Swan Lake 2009 to One Direction 2013
We made a pact last weekend that we would find the time to get away together maybe once a year. 
Just a night or two, just the two of us.
...Already planning the next trip!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

snippets of the school holiday

Back to normal pace today - school is back after a two week break. I'm just home from my Tuesday morning yoga lesson and I've spent far too long downloading and browsing through photos. Before I dash back out to do the grocery shopping then school pick up and then netball,  I thought I would take a moment to capture a bit of the last week.

father, daughter moment

* We headed to the beach when Neil squeezed a couple of days away from work. The sea breezes were just what we needed to cool us down from the 30 plus Spring! I think it's going to be a scorcher of a Summer.

...almost Paris

* We breakfasted around the corner at a little French coffee shop one morning and pretended to be in Paris. Then on the way home I held us up by taking photos of the Jacaranda trees every few metres.

Springtime means purple trees!

* We had our own wildlife zoo in the garden and watched a cockatoo munch his way through supper and drop his scraps on our heads!

yellow crested cockatoo

Then a possum did some acrobatics in the trees at the front of the house.

bush tailed possum

* We took a trip to the hinterland and almost believed that we were in the English Lake District...except it was a little flatter and 35 degrees!

lake Baroon

Sunshine Coast hinterland

* We wandered around the little towns and dreamt a little of all the properties that we loved.

Of course, one must support local businesses...

We packed our fortnight with lots of activities. I know I keep saying it but the climate here is just so perfect for getting out and about.

Right, the cupboards are almost bare and I will have a hungry child home from school before I know it with the "I'm starving" cry. Yes, we are definitely back to the real world today.