Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sugar'd Babes, shoul'd it matter?

This afternoon I co-hosted Girlguiding Sussex East's Thinking Day Centenary celebrations at the Brighton Centre. Four thousand girls sang and danced their hearts out in a spectacular show with everything from belly dancing and salsa to African drumming and singing. The grand finale was a performance by the Sugar Babes tribute band: The Sugar'd Babes. When they sang "Here Come The Girls" the rainbows, brownies and guides went nuts! And many of the younger girls thought they were watching, screaming at and singing along to the real Sugar Babes. At the end of the show I heard one brownie ask her leader: "Brown Owl, are they the real Sugar Babes?"
"Does it matter?" the kind voice said back.
And it got me thinking...

Does it matter whether we just watched the Sugar'd Babes or the Sugar Babes? The Sugar'd Babes were excellent, they sang and danced just like the real thing. And when the real thing have had so many different incarnations that the current band contains no-one from the original line up, what's the different between the two?

Both are singing songs made famous by someone else?
Both are dancing to songs originally performed by someone else?

I think Brown Owl might be right... in my experience they often are.

Related links:

Were you at the centenary celebrations at the Brighton Centre? What did you think?

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Stan Won't Dance - Babel

A couple of Fridays ago I went to see my father's Godson (does that make him my Godbrother)? dance. Or at least that's what I thought I was going to do. In actual fact, Hugh (Godson/Godbrother) is a member of a company called Stan Won't Dance and what they do is much more than dance. Stan Won't Dance is a company who produce "theatre pieces that fully intergrate movement, design, music and text." Their latest production is: Babel, which has been touring the UK since late January 2010.

I loved it. I enjoyed it so much I wondered whether this incredible performance was written with my enjoyment in mind? Specifically to resonate with me? Of course it wasn't. But if you see it you'll understand why I might have been mistaken for thinking that was the case. Babel is so good, so relevant, so relatable, and rather amazingly it seems to be all those things to all people. My parents in their sixties loved it, a huge groups of teenage girls infront of me also loved it.

Using incredibly clever speech and movement Stan Won't Dance tackled everything from the horrors of the war in Afghanistan, the audience sat glassy eyed as the performers read out the names of some of the young soldiers who have died, to our obsession with Facebook, Strictly Come Dancing and brands like L'oreal: ("Because we're worth it"... "of course we're worth a f*cking shampoo")!

There is nothing I hate more than reading a review for something I can't go to see anymore.. and I've just gone and done exactly that! Sorry, Babel has finished now... Though Hugh tells me it might be back at Christmas. I hope so because I really want you to go, you'll love it.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The relaunch of Guiding magazine

Girlguiding UK has relaunched it's members magazine as a quarterly publication, rather than monthly, and it's also now smaller - dare I say handbag size. Both these moves are yet more positive evidence of Girlguiding UK's continuing modernisation.

Why has the Girlguiding UK magazine changed?

Because the way rainbow, brownie and guide leaders communicate and need to be communicated with has changed. Whereas in the past information was disseminated through a channel of commissioners and leaders, now a Girlguiding UK leader can logon to a secure membership area and access information instantly. Like many other newspapers and magazines, Guiding magazine used to break news, but it doesn't do that now leaders can obtain and share information online. Guiding magazine has become a quarterly round-up of events, a glossy look back on what we've all been up to, and having just leafed through the first new look edition, I think it works really well.

So how has the way Girlguiding leaders communicate changed?

Well, Girlguiding is like any other organisation or company and so over recent years communication has moved from a top down system of information dissemination, to a much more open two-way conversation. Many local brownie, guide and rainbow groups now have websites. My own division Girlguiding Hove was quite late with this, we didn't set up our website until 2008. I now communicate with my young leaders (girls aged 14-18 years old) primarily using email and our Facebook page. None of them have taken to Twitter yet, I'll have to write my next post on my thoughts as to why.

Recommended Girlguiding UK Facebook pages


Girlguiding UK Twitter accounts

What do you think of the new look Guiding magazine? Are there any twitter or facebook pages relating to Girlguiding which you'd recommend? Please post your comments below.