Home Truths: Industry games

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Lesson #3: Musical chairs, and other industry games

Picture this. You are in a perfectly ordinary back garden. Innocent children’s laughter fills the air, a warm spring breeze on your bare arms, the low sun is in your eyes and you can almost taste lemonade in the air.

In front of you is a multicoloured tornado of screaming youngsters sprinting around a circle of assorted chairs, stools and beanbags. Above the commotion, or a part of it depending on your musical tastes, is track four, disc one, on The Greatest Children’s Party Album In The World Ever. ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight.’

Then the music stops. There is a brief moment of suspended animation, like when Wiley Coyote runs out of cliff but hasn’t noticed yet. And then he does. The laughter stops dead too.

This is life or death. Now you spot the streetwise tacticians; the cowardly chair hoverer who never takes the slightest risk that may expose them, the little bully who cunningly chooses to run beside the smallest and weakest child still or the miniature Marilyn Monroe who seduces soft Nigel into giving up his chair in exchange for a jammy dodger and the promise of a kiss.

Ah, the innocence of youth. It’s like watching a CBeebies version of The Apprentice but with more talent.

My particular favourite is the two kids rolling around on the grass knocking lumps out of each other “‘cos one cheek doesn’t count” As dads scream encouragement from the sidelines a third kid calmly walks unnoticed over to the vacant chair and secures survival until next time.

This article originally appeared in Mobile News issue 437 (April 20, 2009).

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