when i was about 7-years-old i got sent to the johnny young talent school. this doesn't mean i was on the tv show... although all the kids who went to the school had that little carrot dangled in front of their noses so the stage mums and dads kept forking out the cash for weekly singing and dancing lessons.
instead we got to sing at MOOMBA and do annual concerts at DALLAS BROOKS HALL which scarred me for life. i'll come back to this in a sec.
each class was divided into two parts. first was the singing. here the teacher hit notes on an electric keyboard and we got to sing them back at her. now don't get me wrong... i loved to sing. i still do. and i can still remember the words to nearly all the songs we learnt... like this one:
and even this
(unfortunately we didn't get to do guns'n'roses):
but i hated the dancing... which was the second part of the lesson. i just felt un-co. and for a kid who lived in dirt covered tracksuits and bubblegummers i hated having to wear a leotard. and i didn't like the other girls at the school who were bossy cos their mums had told them they were gonna be famous... even though my mum liked to tell me that i was gonna be famous... when really, if anyone was gonna be famous it'd be her:
johnny young was every sunday in richmond. and on weekends i liked to play with my cousins down blackburn creek exploring storm water drains and making rope swings. so i resented having to leave the creek early to get back in time for johnny young.
occasionally we were paid a visit by johnny himself... or some of the kids from the tv show. this was special and i liked it. johnny never touched any of us up in case you were wondering. well not that i know of anyways.
i went to johnny young for about 4-5 years. i'd had a gut full of it by grade 5 and decided to play basketball instead which didn't involve sequins.
ah yeah... the scarring. as i mentioned, each year we had a major concert where you could invite anyone who cared. sooo mums, dads and grandparents... and my auntie 'nin' liked to come too. for these occasions we'd learn a big group number and dress up in special coloured leotards with extra sequins and tassels. the singing was pre-recorded at a studio and we'd mime to ourselves while galavanting across the stage.
we were also encouraged to wear make up because our faces would be washed out by the lights... and this was my mum's favourite part... because it meant she got to spend ages colouring in my face with eyeliner, eye shadow, lip stick and blusher transforming me into a star. unfortunately, compared to the other kids... this (sub)urban tomboy ended up looking like a clown... or more accurately, like someone had punched me in the eyes. and the other girly girls used to tell me i had too much make up on which made me feel even more retarded.
i'm the freak standing up on the far right.
here you go... you can see better now:
i come from a loving, supportive, yet eccentric family, but i do believe this is child abuse.