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Headmaster's Blog: Monday 8th May
I was reminded, this weekend, by a parent (not my own) of the overwhelmingly popular fads which are currently trawling amongst our children. Bottle-flipping (irritatingly engaging in spite of oneself), dabbing (how incredibly irritating and arguably inappropriate in its origins), fidget spinners (initially impressive and now, well, irritating), and the least said about Jo-Jo bows the better. Have you seen them? I can't help but marvel at the business ingenuity of such a scam - it's not even a unique product - it's a hair bow enlarged to elephantine proportions and promulgated by one the most precocious - and yes irritating - girls to be found on YouTube (I'm sure her mother loves her).
Of course my own childhood - without the impact of YouTube, social media and worldwide trending - was something of a calmer affair with sensible toys and fads that we all loved and cherished. Hours of fun were spent in the garden and playground with a well-worn and much-loved hacky sack, and when it came to the Rubik's Cube, you were either one of the brilliant elite - or you pulled off all the stickers and reapplied them. Muscle memory is quite remarkable as I discovered just recently. In an "oh I'll just add that to the Amazon order" moment, I purchased a Rubik's snake. I took it from its box and, without thinking, turned it from snake to ball in a matter of seconds. In the field of electronics it was Donkey Kong (I thought I was brilliant at it!), Pac-Man (what an iconic image) and the tennis game with the green blips. Cabbage Patch dolls and Care Bears (neither of which I had) adorned many a bedroom, and drawers overflowed with global hyper-colour t-shirts that changed colour with heat. How particularly disgusting was that invention that demonstrably evidenced the fact that you were sweating! I'm quite certain other trends when it came to clothing passed me by; I didn't discover Converse until the mid 90s!
Some fads have come full circle, so good to see Lego making such a spectacular return. Space Dust may be a thing of the past but Play-Do still smells as fantastic as it always did. Crocodile Dundee, ET and Ferris Bueller are replaced by endless superhero flicks and yet more Star Wars (has any of the 'new brand' really bettered The Empire Strikes Back?). And how much of Back To The Future actually came true?
And so, as the nostalgia of Noel Edmonds' Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, The Muppet Show and Sunday nights with Spitting Image continue to flood over me, maybe our bottle-flipping, football-dabbing, fidget-spinning youngsters can be forgiven. At least when they are engaged in these wonderfully pointless activities they are not glued to an increasingly-concerning world of social media. As for the bows? Well I wouldn't wear one myself....
Mr J D Allen