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High School Musical

As an alternative to the panto, the NEC hosted a Disneyfest unlikely to appeal to anyone over the age of 18. Richard Nevin (who’s at least 19) sneaked in anyway.

When it comes to the United States of America, it would be an understatement to say that I’m not particularly enamoured by their politics or culture. Furthermore, the absorption of the latter in this country is always a hot topic in Nevin Towers, no more so than when the TV is tuned to the Disney Channel.

And for those who think I’m being a misery guts when it comes to Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, you obviously haven’t seen its output lately.

In the new millennium The Disney Corporation have moved on from the world of fairy tales and talking animals to the teen market. Their latest success is the “High School Musical” genre of which two films (or movies) have been made thus far, and depressingly, to this defender of the English language, they have been a roaring success with our children.

The kids at this particular school don’t qualify, they “major”, they don’t go on holiday, they go on “vacation” and they make calls on “cell phones” rather than mobiles. They play Basketball during semesters, which is really, like, cool. And Baseball. Let’s face facts, the only time you see a baseball bat in England is when it held up as Exhibit A. Nobody asks if they can have a cup of tea, they ask if they can get a coffee. As you can probably work out, I’m not impressed.

So it was with much trepidation that I joined the family trip to the NEC to see “High School Musical on Ice”, armed with one hundred amusing anti-American quips and a nasty sneer. As I suspected the show, although well performed, was dreadful.

Enthusiastic American teenagers can be very wearisome, especially on a Sunday night straight after Christmas, forgettable songs and a paper thin plot that made Mary Poppins look like Wuthering Heights didn’t help either. Nor did the scandalous cost of food, merchandise and car parking.

But it took one moment for my cynicism to disappear, almost as quickly as the money in my pocket. During the show I spied a girl of no more than ten years old, eyes fixed on the action, mimicking every move as best she could in her seat, singing along to the songs, word perfect throughout.

She was the very epitome of someone having a bloody good time. It would be the hardest of hearts to deny this pleasure to a child and I walked out of the arena rather like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning, although it is unlikely that I will embrace U.S. culture like a long lost friend in the near future.

Afterwards I recalled that the most popular film when I was the same age as the girl in the arena was Grease, so it would seem that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

And I still have a crush on Olivia Newton John.

Olivia Newton John

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