Monday, 26 November 2012

Sutton Christmas Lights go on!

On Saturday myself and the younger Brinksters went in search of Christmas cheer in Sutton, which will seem to some of you to be an unlikely prospect I know, but buoyed up by the promise of Christmas lights and entertainment we bussed our way into town with bags full of expectation. The Brinksters were expecting an awesome Christmas evening while I....well..... wasn't, but was willing to be convinced.

With the Christmas lights due to be switched on at 6pm we got there in plenty of time to rumble through a couple of shops before heading up the hill to where the stage was set up as the youngest Brinkster was keen to claim a spot to so that he was sure of a good view.

This was the scene at 5pm as a male acapella quartet soldiered on against both the elements and  waves of apathy to put out some of the nicest tunes that hardly anyone took the time to hear.

We listened to the end of their set and we headed off for dinner, being convinced that bagging a spot wasn't going to be necessary and also harbouring a strong desire to retain as much body heat as possible. After some nice food a in a warm restaurant we headed back with 10 minutes to spare. As we got towards the stage we could hear a loud noise from the crowd
"10, 9, 8". 
Wait? What? I checked my watch. It said 17.54. 
"7, 6, 5"
Is this some kind of practice?!?! We hustled towards the gathered crowd 
"4, 3, 2, 1"
... and the Christmas tree lit up.... 6 minutes early by my estimation. I don't know if it was a misplaced attempt to alleviate the suffering of the cold and soggy crowd but I would feel sorry if anyone turned up with their kids on the dot of 6 for the lighting ceremony...

Anyway. The Mayor beamed, an extremely Christmassy looking Santa came and shook hands with the children from the safety of the other side of the barrier and Pudsey did likewise, also posing for photos to the delight of the Brinksters.
Sutton Santa
Many of the crowd left at this point so missed "The Chain" who put on a great show in the cold and increasing rain with some superb vocal harmonies and catchy tunes. Brinkster Minor in particular was completely taken with them and we stayed until the end of their set, happily bantering with them in between songs in/about the foul conditions. As their set came to an end the rain, which I can only describe in a family blog as being "persistent", had become "extremely persistent" so we bailed out and headed for the bus home
The Chain performing in Sutton

VERDICT: Did we have fun? Yes. The Brinksters more than me I suspect as they thought Santa and Pudsey were superb plus Brinkster Minor always loves live music so was in his element.I suspect kids don't always notice the weather in the same way that adults do.

I didn't think much of the underlying organisation though. While Radio Marsden did a great job on sound and it's nice to know that Sutton Council aren't spending unnecessarily in this time of economic uncertainty there were some things that weren't great, such as starting 6 minutes early (I rechecked my watch when I got home and it was right) as well as using that almost entirely useless staging area on Sutton High Street. It doesn't take a genius to work out that if you have a flat stage and the public viewing area slopes down away from it then only the first couple of  rows will be able to see what's happening...

We can consider ourselves lucky though. If you want to see how to do it really badly apparently Canterbury Council wins the prize for that as they've spent £83,000 on its decorations and had Toyah Wilcox and Gareth Gates to turn on a tree in Herne Bay since described in the Daily Mail as "Britain's Worst", which was booed by the assembled crowd. Measured against that Sutton's evening was a raging success.

And finally a big "Well done" to the 4th Worcester Park scouts who put on a great Christmas fair on Saturday which provided me with my first mulled wine of the season. Much appreciated!

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