The Late Late Toy Show is taking place tonight and this IMAGE writer is lamenting over long lost dreams and camcorders
I have recently returned from a trip to New York.
I did all the touristy things: I drank the cocktails and I ate the overpriced brunch.
I also sang.
I sang in Irish bars and subway cars and finished my holidays singing 'Landslide' completely out of tune in a pub called Skinny Denis. My friends and I couldn't quite understand why I had taken to performance during my short few days in the Big Apple but upon my return to Irish soil, I had a realisation.
I find this time of year quite difficult. It's the intoxicating mix of Ryan Tubridy and Christmas songs and toy demonstrations going wrong.
It's the Late Late Toy Show.
I sing so forcefully around this time because it was always my dream to be a Late Late Toy Show child – but that dream never materialised.
Even now, at the age of 24, I was bowled over by how much I wanted to send in an audition video this year. Just to see if I was good enough. You see, I never got the chance as a child because we didn't have access to a camcorder. This was the late nineties/early noughties and the 'it' phone of the time was similar to a concrete block. Not many had a camcorder and if they did, they didn't know how to work it. My family didn't know anyone who had technology other than Aertel.
Every year, I wished for the same thing but a camcorder could never be found.
I wanted to be a Billie Barry kid because the Late Late Toy Show always had a spot for the Billie Barry kids. I begged my parents to move to Dublin but they always refused. I cursed my country living and the distance between me and my dreams. I was one phone call away from ringing Liveline and offloading to Joe Duffy about the injustice of it all.
I'd sit and watch in awe of my peers who had access to camcorders and got the chance to be on the Late Late Toy Show.
They were a certain type of celebrity.
You didn't know their name but you were aware of them. In primary school, someone's third cousin once removed was always in one of the dance troupes. Life must have been different for them. I would sit and ponder about what it felt like to be on the front of the local newspaper and have people at mass marvel over the achievement. It can only be compared to the instant fame those who take part in Love Island get after leaving the villa. Yes, you may have Instagram and paparazzi, but having the congregation bombard you after holy communion is a whole other story.
The children who got to take part as the toy reviewers were a certain type of legend. No one in primary school ever had a cousin who played with the toys. This only helped to make these creatures more of a mystery.
Tonight, a new gaggle of children will take to the Late Late Toy Show stage and I will look at them with a tinge of envy. As a grown woman, this is hard to admit but it's a confession I must make. We should have looked harder for a camcorder because now the Late Late Toy Show is the one that got away.
However, I'll watch with that indescribable glee that only the Irish get as we watch the legendary broadcast. Those kids will never forget their moment in the spotlight, and neither will we.
But first, pass me a bottle of white wine and a microphone.
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