Tag Archives: jeremy vine

Review: Sing & Learn

20 Feb

I reviewed Vicky Arlidge’s Tunes 4 Toddler Tantrums CD in 2010 and thought it was excellent. It was full of original songs (this Vicky is one clever lady!) and there was no exaggeration in the title — it did what it said on the tin. So when I saw that Vicky had two new CDs out I was very excited. But then I saw the CDs — two collections of already well-known songs. Hmm. I’ve done my share of Rhyme Time at the library. I’ve struggled to sing along at baby music classes where the teacher has insisted on singing at a pitch only dogs can hear. There’s nothing more I could possibly need to know about the health of the sleeping bunnies or Miss Polly’s Dolly. What then, I asked myself, could Sing & Learn Volumes 1 & 2 possibly bring to my musical table?

My initial doubts were (happily) proved wrong.

The songs may be old favourites (eg Incy Wincy Spider, Old MacDonald, Wheels on the Bus) but they have been arranged to breathe new life into them. Vicky has the voice you wish you had for blowing those other parents out of the water! And — most importantly for parents of children who adore repetition — it’s a voice that doesn’t have you running for the off switch even after having the CDs on loop for days. Children’s music that doesn’t drive you slowly mad, now there’s a rarity.

I discovered that I’m not as clever as I thought — you can teach an old dog new tricks. There are songs on Sing & Learn that I remember from my childhood but had forgotten the words to (Horsey Horsey, Polly Put the Kettle On). After a few listens I no longer had to fill gaps with awkward “la, la, las” and can now keep up with the never-ending stream of songs that my 3-year-old returns home from nursery singing. Much cred to Mummy.

Usefully, Vicky has divided Sing & Learn into two volumes — the first CD consists of nursery rhymes (eg Humpty Dumpty, Three Blind Mice, Hickory Dickory Dock), whilst the second is songs that have accompanying actions (eg If You’re Happy and You Know It, Dingle Dangle Scarecrow, Sleeping Bunnies). This makes the CDs suitable across a range of ages from baby to toddler to … well, whatever age it is before they discover Britney, Bieber and Beyoncé.

I’ve subjected my children to the Jeremy Vine radio show on a daily basis for far too long. All of us are unwilling participants. Now I can flick the switch and fill the room with happiness and silliness. What more could a stressed and tired parent ask for?! (Well, that doesn’t require a prescription.)

Sing & Learn Vol 1: A Collection of Traditional Nursery Rhymes to Help Little Ones Learn & Develop and Sing & Learn Vol 2: A Collection of Action Songs to Help Little Ones Learn & Develop. By Vicky Arlidge. Both volumes RRP £5.99. Available from Amazon (or Cuthbert’s toy shop if you’re lucky enough to live in St Albans!!).

Vicky is also a comic songwriter – see her on YouTube being very funny and very clever: Mum, Can You Wipe My Bum?

Wanted: new knickers

26 Nov

I received a tweet today from the lovely Mammasaurus asking where the nelly I’ve been and whether I’ve lost my ‘mojo’. I feel like my bra strap has been twanged. Rightly so – my blog has been sadly neglected for a couple of months. At the moment I don’t even feel entitled to call myself a ‘blogger’. I’m more like a ‘blogged’. As for my mojo, well I’ve had a peek and I think it’s still there (unfortunately only in the blogging sense). I’ve felt a couple of twinges anyhow.

Trouble is, I’m a lazy little blogger. I sit and wait for inspiration for strike. This approach is probably quite effective unless, like me, you’re so knackered that inspiration would have to knock several times with a sledgehammer before any brain cells flickered into life. Much of my inspiration comes from people I know or have met and, when I wasn’t on maternity leave, office life. The problem is, this has enormous potential to offend. There’s been many a time when I’ve been itching to put fingers to keyboard but concluded that the likelihood of offence far outweighed the amusement value. I live in a small city where seven degrees of separation is six degrees too many – I rarely speak without checking over my shoulder and certainly never venture an opinion on someone as more often than not it will turn out I’m talking to their closest friend.

Looking back at topics that have inspired me in the past, I could blame the below for my silence (although somewhere in there should be demanding children and Twitter addiction):

  • I’ve accepted that the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2 is an insufferable mix of high and low brow, I can’t do anything about it and I’m tired of ranting about it (lest I should turn into the type of ranty person who calls into his show – god forbid).
  • I’ve accepted that keeping pink and princesses out of my 3-year-old’s life is a losing battle. Bring on the sparkles, I can handle it.
  • The weather’s turned cold and women have stopped getting their boobies out in the name of women’s rights. Shame.

Is my blogger’s block therefore because I’m too accepting? Perhaps I need to go back to what I do best – getting my knickers in a twist. And if I want to go from ‘blogged’ to ‘blogger’ then I’d better find a big pair.

It’s Vine Time

16 Mar

Midday on Radio 2 and it’s time for the Jeremy Vine show. Those of you with too much time on your hands will have seen my recent Facebook updates and anticipated that a Vine blog post was brewing.  My posts are normally inspired by something that raises my temperature a little and Jeremy Vine (or the format of his show at least) does this on a daily basis without fail.

The format is described on the BBC website as “Jeremy Vine and guests discuss the news headlines and talk to the people making them”. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, the stories are even (on occasion) interesting. The BBC site then goes on to say: “Jeremy loves music. But he’s also a journalist. There aren’t that many shows that do music and news. In fact there’s only one.” Thank the lord for that. And there’s the nub of what I object to – the juxtaposition of ‘serious news’ (Japan earthquake/tsunami) and banal local news (today – whether it’s right to pick daffodils in parks) and jolly pop songs. Hold on folks, we’ll have to leave our Japan correspondent now as here comes some Sister Sledge … Is it just me or is this just plain silliness?

For those who think Jeremy doesn’t do enough damage on his own, the show is not short of ‘experts’ seeking airtime to make their point (as quickly as they can before the intro to Billy Jean takes over). Oh but really Jeremy, drafting in the Daily Mail science correspondent does not add to your show’s credibility in any way. What tipped me over the edge today was a pre-recorded snippet from an expert we all associate with hard-hitting news and serious journalism – Madonna. If I want to hear serious news and great music I listen to Jeremy Vine blah blah blah. Thanks Madge, there’s a Pulitzer on the way.

Jeremy Kyle – sorry Vine – is a serious journalist having presented Newsnight and been a political correspondent at Westminster. Okay, so there’s no harm in wanting to branch out and seek the attention of the broader public but as a clever man can he not see how pop-peppered news leaves it devoid of any seriousness?

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