So long and thanks for all the Hot Potatoes

Allison Tait blog
Posted on April 4, 2011

On Sunday I did something I’ll probably never, ever do again in my lifetime. I attended a Wiggles concert. My fourth Wiggles concert to be precise. That’s the thing with having your kids three years apart, you get to Rock A Bye Your Bear lots and lots and lots of times.

I remember my first Wiggles gig. It was at a club local to where we lived in the Big Smoke. They did three shows there, back to back. We got the 10.30am show, the difficult show.

Difficult because it’s key mid-morning sleep time for about three quarters of the audience.

Mr7, who I hasten to point out was two at the time, sat on my lap, unmoving for the entire show. I bought him a t-shirt – his first-ever Gig T – and we went home.

I had more fun than he did. No really, I loved it. Bare stage, four guys in t-shirts, no back-up dancers, no dog, no dinosaur. They brought the house down. Oh, how the mums screamed and sang along.

By the time we went back the following year, Mr7 (then two) was a devoted groupie. He took his guitar to play along with Murray. He’d worked on the actions. He was ready.

We sat on the floor with Maxabella and her crew, not far from the front. Murray and Jeff ran through the crowd and, I confess, I screamed. I am a Murray girl. Go figure. In my defense, I saw him on Spicks and Specks – he’s musically very knowledgeable. It’s kind of an intellectual crush… I’m not making this better am I?

Mr4 attended his first Wiggles event at the dreaded Christmas concert. Mr7 was, by this stage, at school and heavily into Star Wars. Gran, Mr4 (then two) and I took the limousine service (aka Pops) to the front door of the Wollongong Entertainment Centre, sat somewhere in the nosebleed seats and watched the Circus extravaganza. He was mildly interested. He liked The Big Red Car. I didn’t scream. Too far away.

Which brings me to Sunday. Five rows back, up the road. Perfect. The four of us went – we dragged Mr7 along for old times sake and he was noted to be singing along despite his best efforts to appear above it all. He did confess to enjoying seeing Sam live for the first time – it had been Greg all the way in his day.

Mr4 had a little dance, played his ukelele, wiggled a bit. The Builder got his first eyeful of the fab-to-the-under-fours but enjoyed Mr4’s performance more. And me? I loved it. I sang along, clapped in all the right spots, laughed at the dumb jokes and fully appreciated the spectacle of an Australian entertainment icon in full flight. They even played Shimmy Shake, my favourite Wiggles song. (Even as I write that I appreciate that not everyone will understand the fact that I even have a favourite Wiggles song.)

One of the best things about the way the Wiggles work? They constantly watch the audience – you can see them doing it, gauging what’s working, taking sheer enjoyment in the kids’ enjoyment.

And so that’s that. My last Wiggles concert. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Murray, Jeff, Anthony, Sam, Greg, Captain Feathersword and crew for many, many sanity saving moments over the years. I would not have survived the first years of motherhood without your DVDs and I truly appreciate the broad range of musical styles and instruments to which you have introduced my children.

I admit that I never really understood the rose-eating dinosaur, nor why you would choose an octopus as one of your characters, but you write a fine song (some finer than others) and for that reason I will forgive you some of your dicier moments – including that nursery rhyme DVD, and even Cold Spaghetti Western. I will even forgive your onward, ever onward, merchandising steamroller – though possibly not the small voice that repeats ‘Hot Potatoes’ over and over again in the swirly light thing that Mr4 simply had to have on Sunday.

If nothing else, we’ll always have the Shimmy Shake.

[image: courtesy of Mr7 (then 4)]


  1. InkPaperPen

    I don’t mind the Wiggles, lucky as the boys adore them. Never been to a concert – not sure they will get down to Margaret River!

    But as A Farmers Wife I saw them on Spicks and Specks – one of my favorite shows so that gave them a bit of extra credit in my eyes

    Gill xo

  2. MultipleMum

    We still Wiggle at our place. 6 years of Wiggles – I could sing every song they ever wrote in my sleep! They are great musicians (you introduced me to the Cockroaches – remember?) and can pen a fine tune. I rate them. If you get a bit toey – you could always accompany your niece and nephew to a concert next year? Dewie’s dance moves are well worth a look 😉

  3. Francesca

    Oh I love Shimmy Shake. That and ‘You make me feel like dancing’ are the only reasons the Wiggles even get a play on the iPod anymore. I had my first Wiggles concert last year and it was better than I expected. But no, I’m not rushing to book more tickets. Something tells me, they’re not exactly desperate for more sales.

  4. Sara Foster

    We’re off to see Dorothy the Dinosaur in a few weeks – best we could do round these parts!

  5. Tracey from Central Coast Seachange

    My nearly 8 year old did have a Wiggles phase but that was taken over by a Dora the Explorer phase and then a Spiderman and Ben 10 phase. Miss 3 is addicted to Dora the Explorer and Grease.

    I wish my kids loved Charlie and Lola but it’s not to be.

    I used to work at Macquarie University, where the Wiggles met, and had lunch one day across from Greg. He was so tall and very cute.

  6. Maxabella

    Long live The Wiggles (and Muzza in particular). He didn’t say much, but he knew what to do. x

  7. Thea

    Oh, I understand! The Shimmy Shake is my favourite too.
    I’ve only been to one Wiggles concert, a local smallish one, not one of the big fandangled ones you see on their DVDs. It was small enough to be up close and personal, just the way I like it.
    How can you not love the Wiggles…

    PS Sam does it for me 😉

  8. Donna

    Ok, now I am going to have Shimmy Shake in my head all afternoon! Though I’ll admit its probably my favourite Wiggles song as well…

  9. Becky

    I went to my first ever Wiggles concert on Saturday – LOVED it. I have wanted to go to one for ever. Now, I can use the kids as an excuse.
    I have always loved Murray, too. And Greg.
    I can’t wait for the next concert… which is a little lame.

  10. Mrs Woog

    Our house is a different place now it is no longer beating to Dorothy Would You Like To Dance With Me! I too choose Murray, I have a thing for redheads xx

  11. alliecat

    How very nostaligic. Did you have a tear in your eye as you left, after all it signals a shift in your family dynamic.

    I am a veteran of 2 concerts now, and predicting more before we’ll be leaving them behind. They truly look like they just have so much fun with it on stage, no fakeness at all which I sensed with Hi5.

    I’m with you. Love the Shimmy Shake….

  12. Sarah

    See this is what puts me off having another child. I don’t think I could go through the Wiggles again. While I love the fact they were great entertainment for the offspring, I just know it would drive me crazy to go through hot potato etc etc all over again.

  13. ANB

    E is too little (or I am too mean) to let her watch tv yet, but she has a Wiggles guitar courtesy of the MIL which alternatively keeps me sane/drives me nuts as it is her car bribery toy. It occupies her for a good 15 minutes at a time, and I have decided that listening to short snatches of random Wiggles songs, repeated ad nauseum, is better than listening to grizzling. Most of the time anyway.

  14. Brenda @ Mira Narnie

    oh this is really cute Allison! I must admit, i’ve never been to a wiggles concert – my kids just aren;t that big on tv watching, so it’s been hard to gauge whether it’s worth it!! I do love how they started from busking, and have made it BIG, and i mean really BIG! i still can’t believe their still going – i mean they could give up and live a life of luxury and glory and no one could really be-grudge them that!!
    i love the shimmy shake, although the song they do with Leo Sayer is a bit addictive too! And Anthony will always be my favourite xx

  15. Linda

    We pretty much missed The Wiggles as they toured HK before my kids were old enough, and again after we left. And now, I fear, Mr 6 would think it was for ‘little kids’ but Miss 4 might like it.

    Anyway, love your post!

  16. Michelle 'Bumparella' Barraclough

    Quite simply, the Wiggles rock. Love them to bits, and not only for their sanity-saving DVDs. They are musically quite brilliant when you think about all the songs they’ve written, nearly everyone an addictive toe-tapper.

    I thought my Wiggles days were over too as Jack is now 7 and it’s all Transformers and Luke Skywalker around here. But my little IVF miracle Francesca has now arrived and I’m happy to announce we’ll be Rock a Bying those bears for a bit longer at Chez Bumparella!

  17. Kelloggsville

    I sooo miss doing all that stuff 🙂 Never seen the Wiggles but have seen Hi5 twice 🙂 great fun.

  18. Emma

    The first time I saw The Wiggles (on DVD, they haven’t been to Cyprus!) I was bemused but was assured by many people they would grow on me – love them now!

    Would be so cool to see them live 🙂

  19. Ms Styling You

    Like Yvette, the spread of my children has seen my Wiggles “period” extend from a old community hall (my eldest was two and I have a photo of him with Murray I can email you!) to my youngest seeing them at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, which was so full-on he just stood their staring with his thumb in the whole time. The youngest has officially “banned” the Wiggles but I’ll always have a soft spot for Anthony and Captain Feathersword that goes back to the 80s and their band, The Cockroaches … seen in a dodgy pub after too many beers.

  20. Deer Baby

    Nope – don’t get the Wiggles. Never did. We literally don’t get them here anymore.

    But we do have Peppa Pig World – just opened! Surely worth a plane trip over?

    My little one is now into Yo Gabba Gabba – she attempts to twirl round on her head and says ‘cool tricks, cool tricks.’

  21. Mama of 2 boys

    Ah, this is a beautiful post. What is wrong with us?? We have never been into The Wiggles. I almost feel a little ashamed to say that, given how extremely popular they are… and Aussies to boot!
    But there’s time, it may dawn on us a little later than the norm, or maybe we’ll skip our first born altogether and try it on child number 2.
    This post paints a most enticing picture of the whole experience.

  22. Marion Williams-Bennett

    I am sharing Jodie’s sense of nostalgia!

    I remember when my daughter was in her Wiggles Phase, and we got a copy of Wiggly Bay – where the Wiggles end of on deserted island. It was at Wiggly Bay where I first developed a huge crush on Anthony.

    I too question the whole Dorothy thing, but am willing to overlook it for way the perform barbie on the beach!

  23. Yvette Vignando

    So nostalgic for me – I too have seen the Wiggles perform in a dingy local club and then many years later in the Entertainment Centre – a amazing rise to fame by 4 skivvied men and their animal and pirate friends. But I am grateful – some of those songs are so annoying but they are part of the folklore of our family now.

  24. Cate

    btw – love the hitchhiker’s reference in the title 🙂

  25. Cate

    The end of an era!! I swore I wouldn’t do the wiggles thing again this time around…but apparently it’s not up to me – the wiggles is just part of their psyche from before birth.
    So we’re doing the wiggles thing again (or ‘woo woos’ as she so appealingly calls them).
    And my fav wiggles song is ‘Baby Beluga’. Meerkat’s is ‘Pop Corn’ (with ‘Rock-a-bye your bear’ a close second) 🙂

  26. Jodie at Mummy Mayhem

    A to the men.

    We have loved The Wiggles in this house. The 4yo still loves, but hasn’t seen them live. When I took the 9yo & 7yo a number of years ago, the 9yo – about 3 at the time – just sat there unable to move or speak. He was in such awe, I think, that they were *there* on stage.

    BTW – saw Greg at my local Westfield a few months or so ago. He looked really good. Very healthy.

    Oh, now I’m feeling all nostalgic. Didn’t expect that. x

  27. Salamander

    We have two concerts under our belts now – and last year’s kicked butt!! We got high-fived Sam, waved to Murray, and even patted Dorothy on the bum when Anthony carried her right past us!! I am as bad as my kids when it comes to a Wiggly danceathon. And if I had to pick a favorite song? You know what? I couldn’t!! Because I am a hopeless groupie. And completely in debt to the skivvied ones for keeping me sane during many long afternoons!

  28. Fussy Eater's Mum

    I will be eternally grateful for the Wiggles getting me out of what would have been a very hefty speeding fine. Long story, but let just say I love them.

  29. Leah

    I’m sad we won’t be seeing them again… our highlight was front row seats at the Canberra Christmas show 🙂 And now the pressing question is where I can guide my children’s musical taste along to next.

  30. Kevin

    Our favorite song is “Captain Feather Sword fell asleep on a Pirate ship.” I think that’s the title. I must admit that I love dancing to that song. We have not seen the Wiggles in concert. I would take the kids in a heartbeat.

  31. A Farmer's Wife

    If it helps, I saw an episode of Spicks and Specks on which Murray appeared, and wound up with a crush on him too. He is really intelligent (obviously I suppose given his business success..!) and he sang an Elvis song I think.

    I had days, when my kids were young, that I only got through knowing that at 5.30pm I would put on the Wiggles and pour myself a glass of wine.

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