Frantically fleeing about on the 19th of December I spotted the gift of all gifts.  The Holy Grail of gifts…. A Karaoke Machine which plays CD’s.  It’s a belter!  Flashing lights. Microphone. The echo effect. It’s the perfect gift from Santa.

Now, we only have about 20 CD’S in this house.  CD’s have since been outlawed. It’s all USB’s and spotify these days.  (Yes I sound like a mom).  But these CD’s we own are all absolute classics from my personal ‘90‘s collection!  From the Spice Girls to the Love Album featuring Dina Carroll.  To set the scene a little more,  there is one rogue CD in our collection and it’s the 2015 party album, (which I bought, for the children of course).

I’m impressed with myself as I have one over on these two wise beings. I fling it in the cupboard in an attempt to hide it. I haughtily think ‘what a surprise these two are in for!’  Allas, I was rumbled by my daughter. She proudly informed me on Christmas day at 11:15 that she saw it in the cupboard two days before Christmas and it confirmed her belief that Santa is not real! But true to her own  style, she harboured this secret, this piece of one-upmanship gold until she triumphantly whispered in my ear, giggling, “I saw that in the cupboard!”

Flash back to Christmas Eve and we are sprinkling glittery infused porridge oats outside in our new Christmas jammies whilst signing Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. Apparently this is super power fuel for the reindeers.  My two kids are galloping to the dulcet beats of my out of tune voice.  It fills my heart knowing that their imagination can out weigh the truth.  Perhaps it’s a whimsical notion, I don’t know?  But what I do know is their imaginations are so powerful that they don’t even need to believe to believe….

Now this Karaoke Machine is a hit.  I have an antique opium table which has now been transformed into a stage for dancing on and for launching off.  There’s a massive mirror in which the kids can practice their ‘street moves’. Gazing at their reflections.  Scenes of the Italia Conti spring to mind.

Then these words sting me.  They sting me from the core.  I feel I need to grab the CD, snap it and replace it with the Fairport Convention or such folky delights…

‘The bigger they are, the harder they fall

This biggity boy’s a diggity dog

I have ’em like Miley Cyrus, clothes off

Twerking in their bras and thongs, timber

Face down, booty up, timber

That’s the way we like the what, timber

I’m slicker than an oil spill

She say she won’t, but I bet she will, timber’

(Pitbull by Timber)

Thankfully neither of them really pick up on the vulgarity and the lurid representation and exploitation of girls and women. They certainly don’t understand what this lunatic Timber is feeding them.  It’s repulsive, repugnant and disgusting. But the beat is catchy and I witness my son performing what can only be described as the ‘hoedown’ on the opium table. Innocently dancing in his Star Wars housecoat, hood up  with minion jammies on!

This creative use of the imagination that my kids demonstrated is one in which I want to nurture and harness in them.  Imagination is a powerful tool.  It enables all 5 senses.  The imagination can take you to beautiful places.  It can open gateways to new and exciting dimensions.  You can alter your own reality through the power of your mind. (Even if you don’t believe in Santa you can still believe.)

It’s more than daydreaming…

What has been most striking during the meetings with the women in Inside Outside is how they describe their use of imagination to take them into a different reality when they are with punters.  They describe how they can switch off from what is actually happening and alter their reality.  Often they will describe how they use alcohol or substances to help them forget or to remove themselves mentally from the situation.

I met Levi just before Christmas.  I hugged her when I saw her. She arrived crying.  She was exhausted.  I struggled not to cry too.  So I cried.  Linda was a powerhouse through this whole meeting.  And with her expertise, knowledge and genius wit she turned quite a highly charged and emotional meeting into a therapeutic session. Levi was given a safe place to talk.  To reflect.  To tell us what happened and how she ended up in prostitution. She was 15 when she was ‘picked up’  and  groomed by a much older, dangerous and violent pimp.

One of the striking things for me was that Levi has tried  to get off of drugs for many years. She recalled a situation when she arrived at one of her usual punters house and was ‘straight’.  Basically, she couldn’t go through with it.  She ran out of the house. At that point she realised that  in order for her to cope with prostitution, she has to be in an alternative reality – a drug induced reality or fantasy, however you want to put it. And so the cycle begins again and again.  In my heart I thought.  I agree.  I would have to be out my mind in order to cope with this too. 

Face down, booty up, timber’ these words are  more sinister than you can ever really imagine. Little ears are listening to this. Little hearts are being affected.  Little minds are being programmed.  Whether or not they actually understand at this stage is irrelevant.  For me, it suggests the first stage of young and influential minds being groomed and poisoned by the machine.  It is the start of the desensitisation process.  It is the early sexualisation of our children. And a desperate message compounding the grim reality of young female exploitation.

So, the crux of this rambling anecdote is that I’m going snap that CD in half. (And so should you) and swap it for the beautiful lullabies of the Fairport Convention.

Finally, Karaoke has never sounded so sweet…..

Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving

But how can they know it’s time for them to go?

Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming

I have no thought of time

For who knows where the time goes?

(Who knows where the time goes, Fairport Convention)