Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Chapter 32: The reality of BBC1's Tumble

It's Sunday morning, an ungodly hour, and I've just joined a group of beginners for my first ever windsurfing lesson.  The wind whips up blinding sand and we overhear the club owner wonder how safe conditions are to take us out that morning.  Secretly I'm willing them to call the whole thing off. But they don't, and we're committed. Once in, we all take to it like a duck... to snowboarding.  Our instructor's radio bleeps.  "How's it going?" crackles the radio.  "Wobbly" was the deflated response. I've never heard weather described as wobbly.

But we had one thing in our favour. Determination. Three out of four of us were Mums (the fourth was the teenage son), carving out this precious space for ourselves. Our instructor later confessed that as soon as she saw us in the water, she decided to call it quits after 20 minutes, but we lasted the full two hours, and we're incredibly grateful to her for bearing with us.  We got up on the board, and we managed a few turns into the bargain.  And even more tumbles.

And as these things do, probably because I'm in the zone right now learning aerial at Circus Space (National Centre for Circus Arts), talk turned to Tumble, the night before, the reality show in Strictly Dancing format on primetime BBC1 where celebrities try their hands at gymnastics and circus skills.   It turned out that my windsurfing buddy is a former gymnast, and as we are both London Mums who love a bit of Strictly, we swapped notes.  She felt it didn't have enough of the sport of pure gymnastics, and I was disappointed not to see more of the art of circus.  Would either of us have tuned in if we didn't have some background connection? Probably not.  

Will we stay tuned in?  Well, I will because it's billed as family entertainment and I'm certainly enjoying watching it with my kids.  Going by their reactions ("A.w.e.s.o.m.e.!!! ... Can you do that Mum?!" Er, no, Strictly speaking!), and those of their friends, the programme encourages the next generation to roll up and sign up. Especially when they include stunningly impressive and aspirational acts like Beth Tweddle's with her stars of the future, in a routine that was a beautiful balancing act of gymnastics with a touch of Cirque. My son's friend, another Beth, aged 8, said:

"I think it's amazing how people can do acrobatics like that when I really want to do them myself".

And it would be great if there were performances from groups like the London Youth Circus in the line-up:

The BBC have cottoned onto the fact is that circus is a zeitgeist and it's catching. After their summer workshop at Airborne Circus, the kids can now spot a mermaid on a hoop, turn swings into trapezes, and quickly made new friends swapping juggling tricks at family-friendly Camp Bestival.  And only this afternoon, my husband, who allegedly doesn't "do" circus, has been caught red-handed at the bottom of the garden practicing with their diabolo... in reality, I want to see more of that.

And funnily enough, there is an abandoned fortress for sale on the Thames.  Fort Boyard on silks? Now there's an idea ...

Source: The Independent

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