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For the last few weeks we have been undergoing intensive training for a Little Mix concert for daughter three’s birthday. That means we have been interspersing the usual One Direction selection in the car with Little Mix on our school pick-up run. “Electriciteeeee”, sings only son from the back of the car as we make our way through the back roads. Daughter three is a confirmed Little Mix fan. We went two years ago to see them at 02. We were sitting in the top of the back. You almost needed mountaineering tools to get to the seats. This time around we were making our way to Wembley Arena.
“I’ve done a four-page guide to how to get there,” daughter three announced around three weeks before the concert date, handing me a bound transport report entitled “Little Mix transport options”. Daughter three is a planning expert. She had opted for going by car and had found several nearby bargain car parks. I explained her that rush hour traffic meant the tube was a far better bet. She set to work.
She had researched all known restaurants in the Wembley area. The trouble was that she didn’t research how close they were to Wembley Arena. We got there in the pouring rain and the only nearby place to eat seemed to be Starbucks and a Sainsbury’s Local.
Since we were very wet and queues were forming fast, we decided we had better get inside and try our luck there. I knew it was the expensive option, but daughter three had, of course, come armed with snacks so she wasn’t too hungry. Every other person queueing seemed to be around five or six years old, although there were some teenagers and the odd couple without any kids. We queued for a programme. I handed over a tenner, anticipating change. “It’s £15,” said the man. You what? I obviously don’t get out much. We spotted some food. “Let’s just get a hot dog,” I said, thinking this would be the cheaper option. Each hot dog cost £5. I was expecting some mega-hot dog to appear. It was just the basic sausage from a packet and roll. That must be some profit they’re making. We went into the Arena. Like at 02, we were right at the top at the back, though it seemed a bit less steep than last time round. Daughter three started snapchatting her friends.
Some warm-up acts came on. And then the lights went down and “Who runs the world? Girls” came on the speakers. People started screaming. Daughter three gripped my arm hard. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah”, she screamed. Little Mix appeared floating above the stage.
All I can say is that it was one long session of ‘girl power’. There were songs against bullying, songs about being yourself [Get Weird, although being weird seemed to be mainly making funny faces], songs about ‘representing all the women’ and general chit chat about the importance of friendship. It was all met by a wall of enthusiastic screaming. At one point the men [mainly dads] were pitched in a light-hearted competition with the females in the audience. The dads did their best, but the girls, of course, won hands down. Unfortunately, the same is not the case in the real world, but it can’t be bad to encourage young girls to feel it shouldn’t be so.
It was fun and great entertainment, but it was also more than that – not political, but definitely positive. We emerged several hours later. Daughter three was exhausted from screaming and dancing. The tube was temporarily suspended on the way home after a person decided to run down the tracks so we were home after midnight. Only son was up at 7. We are still in recovery.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.