Because I’m a parent, people, with the very best of intentions, always feel the need to recommend Trabolgan Holiday Village to me, as if I look like the sort of dad who needs to have a disc inserted where my imagination should be. I mean, yes, we are all aware of the difficulties in coping with the stupidly short attention span most modern children seem to have, and how it’s actually quite nice for parents to occasionally hand over the responsibility for entertaining them to jolly creche staff, terrifying clowns or social inadequates dressed as purple dinosaurs. In fact, it’s essential, otherwise life ends up being a succession of daydreams about downing a bottle of wine between putting them to bed and the start of Newsnight.
However, I really do draw the line at holiday camp entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as nostalgic for Hi De Hi as the next decrepit old couch potato, but the notion of trapping kids in a twilight zone of half-arsed amusements and tragic day-release grotesques is beyond terrifying. How any parent can consider punishing their children for simply being children by forcing them to witness the stubborn, baked-on dregs of the entertainment industry is a matter that has me seriously considering a call to Childline.
So I was at first amused and then shocked to see the competition pictured above in a national newspaper yesterday, promising a ‘poptastic weekend’ of professional fakery and pale imitation. They seriously want children to be amused or, at least, distracted by the likes of the lugubrious Girls Alouder and their ilk, thereby engendering a lifelong tolerance of institutionalised mediocrity that will scar them and their fledgling discernment for life. This rubbish, this obsession with look-alikes, sound-alikes and abysmal, hopeless, talentless wannabes charging actual money for doing their level blandest to appear to be someone else, just has to stop. In fact, where children are concerned, it really should not be started in the first place.
Parents, for crying out loud, there are undreamt of worlds of entertainment and fascination out there. Children should be thrilled and amazed by this planet and its landscapes and its creatures, and what those landscapes and creatures can do – if all they ever see is pathetic recreations of stuff they witness at home, in the Haribo-fuelled, garish netherworld of Nickelodeon, every day, they become the sort of imaginative vegetables who assume The All-Ireland Talent Show is the limit of human ingenuity. And oh yes, by God, we’ve seen more than enough to know those people really do exist.
More on this later, I’m off to research the cult of Jeff Buckley tribute acts. Now there’s a dead-end line of work if ever there was one.
A family enjoying Girls Alouder in Trabolgan, yesterday