I feel rather well disposed towards the Wiggles, the more so after taking Grandson 1 to the Powerhouse exhibition in their honour. They had some competition from Harry Potter today, but acquitted themselves well.
For 20 years now, the Wiggles have been playing live to packed houses of adoring rugrats, selling squillions of dollars’ worth of CDs, DVDs and other merchandise and leading the charts as Australia’s top-earning entertainers. I once met Captain Feathersword at a party and he said they were nice guys too. Good luck to them.
At the height of Wigglemania I was commissioned to write three Wiggle books myself. I make no great claims for the literary merit of The Wiggles’ Picnic, Dorothy’s Garden and Henry’s Big Band, but I did my best and was paid adequately and promptly.
The Wiggles took a while to grow on me. Too cheesy, too unbelievably happy. What were the flaws that would make them interesting characters for fiction? Where was the conflict and dramatic tension going to come from?
The style-guide character notes for Wiggles writers were not very helpful: ‘Anthony loves singing and having fun. He wears a blue skivvy.’ ‘Jeff loves singing and having fun and wears a purple skivvy. He sometimes falls asleep.’
There is no doubting the Wiggles’ energy, enthusiasm and commitment, however. They’ve had plenty of imitators, none of whom have matched their ability to write and sing a catchy song, and they put the time, money and skill into producing it well.
The exhibition is fun for young and old. While the younger fans rode in the Big Red Car and danced along to the music, we could smile at the memorabilia from the Wiggles’ beginnings as a moderately successful band The Cockroaches. The tiny skivvy of Pink Wiggle Kylie Minogue is on display, along with a host of award trophies and acknowledgement of the Wiggles’ extensive charity work.
Nobody is better at what they do than the Wiggles, they don’t take themselves too seriously and you have to admire them.
It was a busy day at the Powerhouse. A big exhibition of Harry Potteralia opens tomorrow, and an excited crowd of wizards and witches was queuing around the block to get a sneak preview.
There has been some controversy about the opening up of the Powerhouse, supposedly Sydney’s premier technology, science and design museum to such trivia as the Wiggles and Harry Potter.
The exhibitions are bound to be enormously popular and will no doubt earn some much needed money that can later be invested in building up and maintaining the Powerhouse collection. However, does this suggest a ‘dumbing down’ of the Powerhouse?
Entry to the Powerhouse Museum costs $10 for adults, $5 for children (four and over).
The Wiggles Exhibition runs until 2012.
The Harry Potter exhibition runs until March 2012.