What are you up to today? It’s a Sunday so I’m hoping for your sake it’s not much.
Perhaps you’re still in bed, reading this propped up against a few pillows with the mid-morning sun pouring through the window.
Christ I hate your guts.
Today I’m being Spider-Man. Twice. Wokingham then Windlesham.
I don’t even know where those places are really. They’re just destination points on my sat-nav screen as I wind through the back roads of the Home Counties in my bruised SEAT Ibiza.
Disbelief is the traditional response when I first tell people what I do at the weekends.
“You do what?”
This is usually followed by a brief explanation.
I entertain children.
I turn up, dressed as their favourite fictional character, and play party games with them and their friends for up to two hours, usually on their birthday.
This is almost always followed by an incredulous eyebrow and a barely concealed look of disbelief.
“How did you get into that?” – you ask, perhaps thinking that I turned up to the wrong interview on the first day and was simply too awkward to ever point out that I just wanted to do the filing.
Through a friend, I shrug – It’s really well paid though, I add as a caveat, as if I need to justify my unusual choice of weekend employment.
I mean, I suppose some sort of justification is needed. It is a weird job. Really weird. By all accounts I should be stacking shelves, serving pints or waiting tables. Not teaching five-year-olds how to use their spidey senses.
I think I’ve always been pretty good at my job, but being in an industry where an hour’s entertainment costs upward of £150, good doesn’t always cut it.
Recently though, I’ve got better. I’ve been getting more tips, more good reviews from Mums after the parties and, as a result, more bonuses.
I don’t believe this is a coincidence. Going to SCA, it’s inevitable that what we learn begins to seep into other parts of your life.
I think that I’ve got better at my job because I’ve managed to make Spider-Man even stickier.
I’ve started telling stories.
Pass the parcel is, legitimately, one of the worst party games ever conceived.
More than anything it’s just plain dulI. You pass it around. There is some music on. You might get a prize, but you probably won’t. And kids aren’t particularly mad on waiting around to see if they’re the chosen one.
There’s no reason for them to want that parcel. They’d rather get back to hitting each other with light sabres.
So I tell them a story.
This isn’t just a parcel anymore; this is something precious, and it was taken from somewhere important.
I didn’t just find it either, Batman and I saved it from two of the baddest guys imaginable before kicking their asses to the curb.
But these bad guys were smart; they wanted to look after their bounty so they wrapped it up in loads of layers to keep it safe.
So today we’re going to play a game. We’re going to pass this parcel carefully around the circle, and if you get it when music stops you can unwrap one layer and see what’s underneath.
There might be something special.
And if you get the very last layer, well, you’ll get to keep whatever it was that those villains so desperately wanted.
Shall we find out what’s inside?