SUSIE O’BRIEN

Why I like wine with my Wig­gles

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - susie o’brien

Fancy a pint and a hot potato? Or maybe a coldie and some cold spaghetti? A mar­garita and some mashed ba­nana?

Wake up Jeff and rev up The Big Red Car, be­cause The Wig­gles are back to play a few gigs in pubs around the coun­try.

This time it won’t be tod­dlers in the au­di­ence, but adults in their 20s who loved The Wig­gles as chil­dren, and also mums and dads, like me, whose early par­ent­ing years were dom­i­nated by the skivvied fab four.

I’m be­yond ex­cited. I can’t think of any­thing bet­ter than sit­ting around lis­ten­ing to The Wig­gles while sink­ing a white wine or three. It’s pretty much how I spent the first five years of my kids’ lives, come to think of it.

The fact that The Wig­gles are go­ing to bring back the orig­i­nal line-up of Jeff Fatt (pur­ple), Mur­ray Cook (red), Greg Page (yel­low) and An­thony Field (blue) clinches the deal for me. A girl Wig­gle and new songs such as Do the Pro­pel­lor don’t have quite the same magic as the old stuff.

Like many other par­ents with tod­dlers in the mid 1990s to late 2000s, The Wig­gles were a huge part of my kids’ early years.

But back then Wig­gles DVDs were on high ro­ta­tion on ev­ery TV in the house and we’d lis­ten to end­less Wig­gles CDs in the car. Cute blokes, catchy tunes and whole­some fun sucked in as many par­ents as kids.

Mums and dads of­ten found them­selves tap­ping along to Toot Toot Chugga Chugga well af­ter the kids got out of the car.

Any par­ent who’s ever walked a con­sid­er­able dis­tance out of their way at a shop­ping cen­tre just to avoid a Big Red Car ride might re­mem­ber what Wig­gle­ma­nia was like.

In fact my old­est son was such a huge Wig­gles fan that for years he called the colour yel­low “Greg”.

“I’ll have the Greg one,” he’d say, reach­ing for a yel­low cup.

Smart boy. I al­ways wanted the Greg one, too, and af­ter one par­tic­u­larly in­tense Wig­gles marathon­watch­ing ses­sion, I even had an adult dream about the yel­low fel­low.

For five years The Wig­gles dom­i­nated my son’s liv­ing mo­ments. He’d sit there in front of his favourite Wig­gles DVD dressed in his Wig­gles sin­glet and un­der­pants, bang­ing a Wig­gles drum, draw­ing with Wig­gles crayons, while play­ing his Wig­gles gui­tar and eat­ing Wig­gles bis­cuits.

It’s no won­der The Wig­gles earnt $50 mil­lion a year at the top of their pop­u­lar­ity and have sold 28 mil­lion albums world­wide. It feels like half of that came from my own pocket.

So I am not sur­prised the Twit­ter­verse went into melt­down when the idea of the re­union pub gig was floated by An­thony Field last week.

One fan, Hicky, noted that he “ac­tu­ally con­sid­ered go­ing to a show a few years ago but I thought that might be a bit weird if I went with­out a kid”. Yes, th­ese days he’d prob­a­bly be ar­rested.

There is a well-worn path for well-past-their-prime rock­ers to re­form to play out­dated hits for their own age­ing au­di­ences. But it’s more un­usual for kids’ en­ter­tain­ers to re­form in or­der to play for kid fans who have grown up.

Per­haps the man best known for do­ing this is Ade­laide-born singer Peter Combe. Re­mem­ber him?

The man re­spon­si­ble for such chil­dren’s clas­sics as Tof­fee Ap­ple, Juicy Juicy Green Grass and Wash your Face in Or­ange Juice, dis­cov­ered he had a sec­ond ca­reer 20 years later play­ing for the same au­di­ence as adults. He’s play­ing tonight in Fos­sils (Folkies of the Six­ties Sing Iconic Leg­endary Songs), at Con­cor­dia Col­lege. That says it all, really.

It’s all about re­liv­ing favourite child­hood mem­o­ries. As the world be­comes a scarier place day by day, it’s about tak­ing us back to a time when we felt safe and happy.

The Wig­gles are re­mem­bered by many with great af­fec­tion; they got us and our kids singing, danc­ing and even eat­ing fruit salad.

This time around The Wig­gles will no doubt be a bit slower, a bit greyer and a lot older. But that’s OK. For once they’ll look just like their au­di­ence. Blog with Susie at susieo­brien.com.au, fol­low her on Twit­ter @susieob and Face­book.com/ Newswith­Suse

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