Jim Kayes’ Blog: “Here we go again”

Jim Kayes sings along with Ed Sheeran but draws the line at Mamma Mia.

The girls were going to Ed Sheeran which meant I was going too.
That wasn’t a terrible thing. I like a few of his songs but it wasn’t top of my lists of concerts. I wasn’t meant to go but we had friends up from Wellington for the concert and, with rain forecast, I was pressed into going with the other dad while the mums stayed dry.
The eldest daughter was down the front with her mates. You’d call it a mosh pit at most concerts but that seems a bit too much for Ed. The youngest, who is still on crutches, was up the back with me, sitting in the stands.

She had a blast. She belted out the songs and though we got sprinkled with a little bit of rain, she never stopped smiling. It was worth the price of admission alone to see the look on her face.
My first concert was The Police in 1984 at Western Springs. I didn’t have a ticket but was happy to listen outside with my mate, Mike. The venue had a reputation for fans jumping the fence so we were also hopeful we’d get in for free. We did when a group of teenagers threw a friend over the chain fence that faced out to the rugby fields – a decoy for the one security guard on the other side.
The guard took off after the interloper and the lads produced bolt cutters to bring down about 10 metres of the chain fence and we walked in. It was a remarkable series of events that, for this then 14 year-old, was almost as entertaining as the concert. The hypocrite in me knows that, as a parent, I never want my children to do what I did that day.
The Ed Sheeran concert was a long way from the nadir of my parental entertainment experiences. That was when the eldest had asked if she could go to Mamma Mia, the movie based on Abba’s music. My wife ducked for cover so I sat through it. All 109 minutes of Pierce Brosnan’s terrible singing of dreadful songs added to his poor acting.
Just when I was about to poke my eyes out, I turned and looked at my then seven year-old girl. Her smile lit up the movie theatre and stopped me from standing and screaming, “Please, make it stop”.
Most kids’ movies are pretty good but I’ve suffered through some awful stuff all in the name of being a half decent parent. The Lorax, based on the Dr Seuss book, is by far the worst kids’ movie I’ve seen.
There’s also been plenty of the two-hour kids’ dance performances that need to be endured just so you can say you were there watching when your daughter was on stage for 90 seconds.
Talk about a mamma mia moment. The girls are old enough to go the movies themselves now which is a relief, though to be fair, because they are older they’re watching movies I’m often interested in anyway. What hasn’t changed though is that I still pay!
And not every spectating moment is a punishment. It’s now enjoyable watching them play netball after those early years of poor passing and virtually non-existent catching.
And I loved the summer of watching the girls in surf life saving even if it was minutes of distant action punctuated by hours of waiting for the next few minutes of distant action. At least it was at a beach, the weather was generally superb and I could disappear beneath the waves when I needed respite. But then a post on the club’s Facebook page put me in a cold sweat… a fundraising night featuring the second installment of Mamma Mia – with the appropriate tagline “Here we go again”. How could the pleasure of surf be infected by the torture that is Abba?
But then I read further. It’s a ladies’ night event. Oh thank you for small mercies.

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