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The Proles are watching “Dougal and the Blue Cat”

There is a reason for this.
First off I want to dispel any ideas that I might be any good at this parenting thing.
My house is a mess, things are unwashed, untidy and falling apart.
I am also not blessed with completely unlimited patience.
Some days I find it hard to find any patience at all.
Today when I had tidied breakfast things up and got the cuddly toys out of the kitchen, then tidied yesterdays toys out of the living room, then gone back into the kitchen and tidied it again from the lego session that had happened because the living room was out of bounds, then gone back into the living room and tidied up the cars that had been brought out whilst I was tidying the kitchen, I started through the door and I trod on a small plastic wrestler.
With bare feet.
Me not the wrestler.

It was Seamus from the WWE, in case you are interested in the details.

Now Seamus has extended arms and a ‘flicking’ action that can propel his plastic foes across the ring, table or in this case hallway.

I tried to do the ‘light-step-not-putting-all-your-weight-on-it’ move that you learn when the first piece of lego is placed on the floor and you have bare feet.
(Why does lego hurt so much by the way? It is totally disproportionate to any other toy stepped on in bare feet, surely?)

Seamus did a good job though, his outstretched arms digging into my exposed instep and I began to drop the cars I was carrying and I tried to do the ‘move-your-bare-feet-out-of-the-way-whilst-still-standing’ move that I learned from carrying large ungainly handfuls of toe smashing toys.

This meant I fell sideways and banged my head on the wall and I hissed with pain.

The Proles froze half way through the marble run they were constructing on the kitchen floor.

The net result of this was that I was SO ANGRY and ENRAGED that I put myself on the naughty step to calm down and sent them into the living room to watch a film.

Putting myself on the naughty step was a brilliant discovery by the way, they are not allowed to talk to me and I am not allowed to talk to them.
Sometimes it is the most peaceful place in the house.
And I get 43 minutes if I want.

Anyway it got me thinking.

I like watching the wrestling.
This is a bit of a hangover from my childhood and the ‘Golden Years’ of TV wrestling in Britain.
We did not watch it often at home, it was not actually banned but it was on on Saturday afternoons and watching the telly on a Saturday was limited to mornings only.
Sometimes, on rare visits to other family members, I would be allowed to watch.
I stopped watching at all when I got into my teens because it was so very clearly a pantomime.

A long time later  I found that they would repeat shows from the bigger American wrestling shows on British TV.
These were the days when I was working in London and the perfect unwind might be the most mindless telly in the world.
Robot Wars and the World Wrestling Federation were top of my list.

Before you judge me I would have to point out that during the summer months my days were taken up discussing Shakespeare, renaissance culture, authentic theatrical practices of the sixteenth century and complex rehearsal schedules.
I spent most days bluffing my way through with some of the keenest historical and theatrical minds in Britain.

By the end of the day the last thing I wanted to do was indulge in anything cerebral.

Robot Wars was just weird, geeks from all over the country bringing their dreams, time and spare money together and creating a mechanical machine that would get smashed to pieces on National TV.
It was simultaneously brilliant and awful.
Mostly awful though and never quite as exciting as you thought it might be.

The Wrestling was different.
On the face of it big men (and sometimes women) get into a ring in improbable clothing and pretend to beat each other up.
This is interspersed with universally badly improvised speeches over the microphone.
After you watch it for a while something else starts to shine through.
Week after week those people train hard and rehearse incredibly complicated series of moves.
A bout can go on for fifteen minutes or more.
They have spent time working these out and have to remember them in front of  live audience.

I know professional dancers that would have a problem with that schedule week on week.

Added to that the moves themselves are all fairly dangerous.
Some of the jumps are huge, falls onto concrete floors, catches and somersaults.
I once witnessed an actor dislocate their whole foot. All the were doing was running across the stage.
The risk to professional wrestlers is incredible.

Added to that a different partner to play off most weeks, sometimes multiple players to be rehearsed in.
The setting is brutal, scaff planks with a foam layer covered in canvas, steel frame with some robust padding.

Week after week you can watch the same people get into the ring.

There are plots to watch if you can be bothered, feuds, villains turned saints and faces turned heels.
The plots are usually awful and unsurprising, just a means to getting people fighting really.

There is often some sort of fictitious competition for the championship belt, this is just a reason for bad improvised speech it appears.

The real drama is played out as you watch the talented and not so talented try to hang on to their fans, try to hang on to their contracts, try not to pick up too many injuries.
Some of them have been doing it for years and you just know a large part of their wages goes on surgery to keep them in the game.

Even before the film “The Wrestler” came out I was trying to read that story behind the glossy TV shows.
Men in their late thirties, forties and in some cases fifties stepping into the ring and being hurled around in tendon snapping back bending ways.
Most of my more physical theatre friends have all sorts of problems with knees, arms, necks and backs.
Heaven knows what the list of injuries must be in the professional wrestling scene.

I would lie on the sofa and watch the ‘show’ each week.

It is like they have no pain and no fear.

Which brings me to the toy Seamus the Wrestler.

The thing is, when the real Seamus the Wrestler goes home does he hurt himself when he steps on lego?

I bloody hope so…..

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