The playground circuit is a novelty, when you tour it with child number one. At sing-song time, there’s a certain appeal in witnessing a sea of little ones, sitting amidst grown-ups clad mostly in Boden-inspired outfits, all singing along to Wind the Bobbin Up.
By the time child number two comes along, the ever-present whiff of dirty nappies, and the dreariness of Old Macdonald sung for the millionth time takes the pleasurable edge off what used to be a wholly charming experience.
Which is why I loved Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall, when we went along to London’s South Bank this weekend.
Given that Gwen and I had such a good time at Monski’s set last year, I knew that we’d enjoy the musical environment. It’s different enough to the standard playgroup fare to please us grown-ups; but friendly and perky, perfectly pitched to get the under-fives jiggling on the dance floor.
And jiggle, they did.
In fact, as well as bopping and grooving, Austin and Gwen spent a lot of time racing around the sprung dancefloor of the South Bank’s Spiegeltent. Just like all youngsters, in the discos I remember from days of yore.
The pace was set by Monski’s spirited dancers, who greeted us at the door and bopped their way through everything from Sleeping Bunnies snooze to high-octane Charleston.
Monski, aka Monica, an Australian DJ with a mouse-ear barnet and polka-dot frock, kept the energy levels high with plenty of new(ish) and old tunes. She somehow made it seem normal for a load of under-fives to body-pop along to Beyonce’s Put a Ring on It; and for the adults in the room to crawl around on all fours to Love Cats by the Cure.
I’m sure my self-conscious 17-year-old self would have been mortified by such behaviour (and, back then, I was far too cool to do anything other than slink around the room when the Cure was spinning on the decks). But it felt like a bonding moment: Austin and Gwen (who said Love Cats was her favourite part of the set), taking it in turns to ride on my back, while I flung off my inhibitions to shuffle on all fours around the floor.
If you want 45 minutes of entertainment for the whole family, Monski Mouse’s gig is a good choice. At £8, it’s pricier than your average children’s singalong session, but it stands head and shoulders above any local playgroup. You can even buy grown-up drinks at the bar outside, and sup them at the booths lining the edges of the dance floor.
Austin and I left the disco beaming after a rousing finale, complete with pogo-ing, of Toy Dolls’ Nelly the Elephant (Gwen, buoyed up by the conga, had already done a runner into the forecourt of the Spiegeltent). On our way out, we caught a glimpse of some of the other offerings for this summer’s festival at the Southbank – always an alluring place.
I’m sure it won’t be long before we’re back.
Disclosure: we were given tickets to the Monski Mouse Baby Disco for the purpose of this review, but all views expressed are my own.