Wednesday, 6 May 2009

What's in a monster?

We've been monsterised.

It all started with a press photo shoot for the First Mini Monster Marathon, which is a fundraiser for Save the Children and a publicity stunt for First Group, Save the Children's main funder. Cubling is already a face of the Mini Monster Marathon as one of the youngest participants last year (check out the Glasgow page and you can just about spot her in her buggy). The photo shoot was one of these mad ideas and involved a Nessie figure being dragged down the Clyde by boat (what! I hear you say, Nessie can't swim by herself?!) and the sourcing of cute kids to go with it. If you've ever been part of any media training for charities, you'll know that photos of kids have an easier time making it into local papers and if you're charity is about children, well certainly kids must be got.
Just that First staff don't seem to procreate and couldn't come up with any. So it was up to us to bring along our kids. I quite fancied the idea, seeing my colleagues kids for the first time, getting together during work time for a bit of fun at the Clyde. Above all, a welcome opportunity to spend some fun time with Cubling during work hours.

On the way to the photoshoot, I explained all about the monster and that it was called Nessie. As we arrived, Cubling asked "monster?", which soon became a loud shout for "monster!!!" which surely you would have been able to hear in the BBC buildings on the other side of the river. You know that shout? Like she's asking impatiently "monster, where the heck are you, it's about time to got here, I'm peed off waiting for you!" All in one word and it's intonation. Her excitement knew no end when Nessie finally arrived. Including a few attempts to dash right into the water. Unfortunately, the photo shoot took another hour to happen, by which time Cubling was both tired, exhausted from excitement and rather hungry which all made her slightly uncooperative for the photoshoot itself. She never made it in the papers (someone must have failed to realise that she was indeed the cutest child present) which was quite alright in my view. (Oh and I need to add that the Metro didn't even go for any Nessie with cute child photo at all, they just wanted Nessie in front of a Glasgow landmark. How boring.)

Since that day, her world is full of monsters. There's the picture book about the monster from the blue planet, where a (monster) boy named Gobo from a distant planet sets out to catch himself a monster pet (i.e. a little girl) from planet earth, who in turn calls Gobo a monster. If a girl can be a monster, and a funny blue extraterrestial, this opens up a lot of monster opportunities.

So mummy's Mexican t-shirt gets monsterised next. It depicts a lizard which is now suitably called a monster. As is any lizard depicted in books. Or a gecko who usually listens to the name of Eddie. For the last couple of days, our daily trip to the childminder is strewn with monsters of all varieties, usually positioned on billboards.

And really, what is a monster other than something we haven't got a name for yet? And once it's got a name, is it no longer a monster? There I was, concerned that Cubling might develop a fear monsters, when clearly to her monsters are nothing scary at all, rather something amusing, not an incarnation of fear but of one of a sense of discovery. A catch all for beings she identifies and recognises but doesn't yet have a proper name for.

Roll on the monsters!

You can sign up for the Mini Monster Marathon now at a location hopefully near to you and raise money for Save the Children.
(photo credit: James Galloway, Evening Times)


Metropolitan Mum said...

I LOVE monsters - and I am currently writing and illustrating a monster childrens book. My monster is a female monster (yes, girls can be monsters!), and of course she only looks a bit scary, but has a heart of gold. Once the book is finished, I would love you & Cubling to review it. It might only take me another two years (with little L and all), but I am still determined to finish it :-)
I left you an award at mine:

cartside said...

MM, I've got quite an infatuation with monsters too, as long as they're not too scary. I love the creativity they instill. Ooh, a monster book that you're making, how exciting! Many thanks for the award!



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