Memories of getting it wrong at the school fete. If only mum had picked a different song for me..

There was a nasty incident at the Tea Cup.

One hell of a mess. That’s what happens when you go on rides with a mix of fairy floss and pineapple slushie.

It was this year’s school fete. Where kids have licence to run even wilder than usual. And parents secretly wish the committee had approved one of those terrible beer stalls. Or was that just me?

Daughter Two was breathless as she relayed the gory tale to us. Her friend had lost her lunch over a young man she’d been trying to impress. Mid-ride. The poor bloke couldn’t escape. He just sat there in the spinning yellow Cup, covered in a fair portion of the day’s meal deal.

That’s the fun of fetes. Reputations can be made with an impressive display on the scariest ride. And lost just as quickly with an ill-timed puke.

I can’t recall us having fancy rides at our school fetes. It was more about stalls, and games, and chasing girls.

There was one particular young lass who was a favourite of mine. We were great mates. In the old world, she may have been described as a Tomboy. And she could run like the wind.

Back then I had a fair turn of foot myself. Difficult to imagine now, I know. But I could gallop. Just not fast enough to catch her.

I would set off in pursuit across the school oval, and she would evade me with ease. Not too different to how my football career would pan out.

Our parents would laugh at their kids having such harmless fun. Her mum and dad thought I was a safe bet. They were right. There was no plan for what I’d actually do if I caught her.

Performances are also a major part of fete day. High-energy routines on the big stage. This year, the girls had to do dance routines. In front of boys. How embarrassing.

Even worse, it was all caught on cameras. About a thousand of them. No-one actually watches anything anymore. They just point their fancy phones, and watch later. So much easier than enjoying it on the day.

Thank God there were none around forty years ago. I endured several troubling school shows. But one stands out, for anyone unfortunate enough to experience it.

It was a concert, that all the kids were invited to participate in. Of course, very few did. But Mum, God bless her, thought it was a marvellous idea.

To make things worse, my dear mother selected the song for me. Rolling Stones? Beatles? Daddy Cool? Nope. It was a dreary track from her favourite act of the time. The Carpenters.

With any luck you’re too young to remember the brother and sister duo. The rest of you, enough of the thigh slapping.

The song was called “Close to You”. One of the sappiest tunes of the century. With the greatest respect to the late Karen Carpenter. Feel free to check it out on this YouTube link, that I may or may not have included. If it does work, I defy anyone to last more than 30 seconds.

With me at the microphone, it was way worse. Pure pain. Three minutes of vocal torture. Luckily the laughs drowned out most of my off-key screeching.

I’m not sure how I survived that episode. Maybe the audience thought they were watching the show’s comedy section.

I’ll check our video camera later, but I’m pretty sure there were no comparable efforts over the weekend.

Except for the girl who threw up. Nasty business that. She has two choices for next year. Either run fast or sing. My tip? Pick your own song.

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