My grandson reintroduced me to the noisy spirits of the children’s entertainment netherworld. His favourites — the very bouncy members of Bounce Patrol — adroitly market at preschoolers and have racked up billions of views. Being 18 months old, he’s liable to unfriend them any moment, and that would be a shame because it’s taken me 18 months to learn all the fucking words. I go to bed humming the slightly-inappropriate yet earwormish “Finger Family Song” and wake up from nightmares that I’m drowing in multicoloured plastic balls. And I can’t get “Baby Shark” out of my head, for some reason…
But slipping into the margin of his playful little world is the strangely creepy Caitie’s Classroom. My first impressions is that Caitie is the harbinger of a new cult. Her songs induce an autonomous sensory meridian response, especially the auto-tuned “I Like to Ride My Bicycle” which is not to be confused with the Skylar Grey/Eminem 2012 collaboration, or the classic Queen banger. They wake you up, not lull you into a hypnotic coma.
Remember that in the original, dark version of the Pied Piper fairytale, when the piper was cheated by the Mayor of Hamelin he waited until all the parents were distracted at church then snuck back into town dressed as a hunter in green and lured all of the children to a cave, and THEY WERE NEVER SEEN AGAIN. What colours do those who hunt children wear nowadays? That’s right, bright “harmless” children’s entertainer colours!
I would be more concerned if Caitie had appeared out of nowhere, perhaps riding merrily out of Belanglo State Forest with her perfect childrens entertainer teeth, hypnotically chanting “pe-dal, pe-dal, pe-dal, pe-dal” while all the adults are busy ignoring their children. But it appears she is Canadian, so, phew. She’s also on record flaunting her immoderate bust to self-promote her next gig, so that’s a double-phew.
But if you wanted to start a cult, what better place than the preschool audience? If Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo had been born a hundred years later, I know where he’d be hunting. Luckily for the little elf, he has a sharp-eyed, world-weary, ever-cynical and always-satirical Pa to keep him safe. Others may slip into an ASMR trance whenever kids entertainers appear on YouTube, but it won’t happen on my watch!