Cards on the table, when Mum said she was taking me to see Disney on Ice, my blood ran as cold as the stuff those guys were going to be sliding about on.
Last year, aged two, I was taken along to see Mickey and his mates on skates... and lasted exactly two minutes and 27 secs.
No sooner had the happy gang arrived to say hello than I made it known to anyone in a 20-row radius that I was ready to say goodbye. It was a meltdown of meteoric proportions - ironic you might say, given the icy nature of the spectacle we were there to see.
Regardless, I was out of there before the first triple toe loop was but a twinkle in Goofy's eye.
Ever since, I must admit I’ve wondered whether I had been a bit hasty in the chill of the moment. Big Bro Fred and all his friends, who wrung every last drop of fun out of the show, couldn’t have been more complimentary about it... and were beyond excited to hear the guys were back in town this week.
Having built a reputation for being a determined little pre-schooler in recent months (and having enjoyed a thoroughly lovely three days in Eurodisney this summer) the news that I had a chance to rewrite my Disney history on my home turf had me in pigtails and a Frozen t-shirt as quick as you could say “meltdown... moi?”
And boy was I happy I’d opted to give it another whirl. It turns out a year is a long time when it comes to recognising the difference between being scared from being overwhelmed at the wonderfulness of an on-ice spectacle.
The show, which is at the Metro Radio Arena until Sunday (another ticket wouldn’t go to waste, Mum), is a bona fide celebration of 100 years of Disney magic.
We were treated to a collection of iconic moments from Disney’s catalogue of classics, which were all played out beautifully on the slippiest of surfaces (high fives to all involved for staying mostly upright throughout, by the way) ... and I was utterly blown away.
First we had Aladdin, featuring a cloned troupe of Genies to mesmerise the assembled masses. Then we had the drama of Marlin’s search for his little boy Nemo (I was particularly proud of my stiff upper lip when the sharks came into play here).
Then it was the love story of Beauty and the Beast - a lesson in not judging a book by its cover (or more acurately, not judging a Beast by its temper or jawline), which was followed seamlessly by a fairytale ending megamix which offered Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Snow White (and their respective other handsome halves) an equal share of the rink-roving spotlight.
Sterling tributes to Toy Story (Fred’s favourite bit) and the legendary It’s A Small World ride, which everyone goes on at Disney (you get more ride for your queuing time) brought the first act to a close, and left me wanting loads more.
The second half couldn’t come quick enough and offered a similarly lovely parade of skated stories including Mulan (with which I wasn’t familiar, but will be searching out asap), Lilo and Stitch and Pinocchio. The latter led me to make a silent vow never to tell another fib. I love my diddy conk just the way it is, thanks.
Proceedings were brought to wow-factor close with a roaring routine from The Lion King before the entire cast assembled back on the ice to bid us goodnight. Safe to say I was reluctant to wave goodbye, and only agreed to leave once I had it in writing that we would be coming back next time they’re in town.
My two-year-old self would have been so proud.
A Gold Star for... Wang Zhengyang
Every week I award a gold star to a child of my choosing. The child in question may be real or fictional, historic or current, and the award may be for a specific act or a wider body of work. Basically they are my stars and I’ll give them to whoever I choose, assuming I don’t stick them all to the lounge telly first.
I’ve come to realise that a lot of what happens in our lives depends on what a computer tells us. They tell us whether we can sit next to the window on a plane, which episodes of Octonauts we can watch on iPlayer on any given day and when H&M will have their Frozen long-sleeved tops back in stock, which seems to be basically never.
This would be fine if computers were susceptible to the usual methods of control that work so well with adults - smiling sweetly, batting your eyelids or even, with some more pliable grown-ups, screaming and stamping your feet. Computers are, in my experience, impervious to all of the above. Fortunately there isn’t a challenge on this earth that a child somewhere can’t conquer, and this week’s Gold Star winner has the computers of this world eating out of his hand.
Twelve-year-old Wang Zhengyang from China is a hacker, which means he can break into computers and websites and tell them what to do. Thankfully Wang is a goodie hacker, or a white hat, as they’re known in the wired world.
Recently Wang hacked an online shopping site and changed the price of an item from 2,500 yuan to only one - and then rather than buy a load of them he told the website about the weakness he’d found.
He has also gained access to the computer systems at his school, and again ‘fessed up straight away so that the software could be improved in all the schools that use it.
“I meant to help fix the websites,” he told the Chinese Internet Security Conference in Beijing last month. “It is interesting to look for website risks and I am overwhelmed when I find one, but I will not use my talent for something illegal.”
I’m totally with you, Wang, but I’m pretty certain that making sure the Vegimals Christmas episode of Octonauts is always on the iPlayer would be mischievous rather than illegal...?
I Now Know...
Not everything in Poundworld costs what it says on the tin. This week the Advertising Standards Agency ruled that the company can no longer use the slogan ‘Everything £1’ after an eagle-eyed bargain hunter spotted a couple of ‘special offer’ items which were priced at £3 and £8.99. Hard to argue with the ruling really.
A recently-transferred UKIPPER has won a seat under Big Ben. Dougie Carswell recently decided to change the colour of the rosette he sports on his lapel, but the people in the area he spoke for decided he was their first choice regardless. Reports that David Caterpillar and Ed Millipede have put respective orders in for an election supply of Pampers are as yet unconfirmed.
Just because something is possible, doesn’t make it probable. This week there has been an explosion of inverted comma-laden headlines relating to the possibilty that the nasty Ebola virus “could become airborne” . And so it could... however when you read past the headline, it becomes clear that the likelihood of this happening is equal to me trying avocado anytime soon.
The logo and brand used by fruit and computer company Apple is the most valuable in the world... and is increasing all the time. The current price put on the company is $591bn (that’s BILLION). Imagine the fizzy cola bottle mountain you could build.
Although the Pope was reportedly the bookies’ favourite, it was Malala Yousafzai, the inspiring Pakistani teenage education campaigner, who was shot on a school bus in 2012 by a Taliban gunman, who won the 2014 Nobel peace prize alongside Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Well done judges.