Alex James: The Great Escape

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The Independent Online

I got a call from Matt Rowe, the pop song mastermind behind the Spice Girls when they were brilliant, and numerous others since. He was quite excited because he had tickets to see The Wiggles at Hammersmith. The Wiggles are my favourite band, and I think his and quite possibly Sophie Ellis-Bextor's. In fact probably anyone with a child between the ages of two and five would rather see The Wiggles than anyone else. The Wiggles are the best in high-quality entertainment for the under-fives.

I told him I had tickets for the Oxford gig. I'd offered a couple to Mariella Frostrup, but she already had tickets for the London show. I've got a feeling The Wiggles' guest lists must have read far more impressively than any of the Hyde Park concerts, or even possibly the Serpentine Summer Party.

Once I hit 30 I realised I had started to listen to pop music as I watch films: with a kind of suspension of disbelief. I still think pop is the most powerful, omniscient, wonderful, super-calorific instant high on the brain-food market, but I react to it much more rationally now than when I was 18. Where I once worshipped, now I merely appreciate.

Apart from The Wiggles. They are brilliant. I love them. Especially Jeff. Jeff is always falling asleep. We had to wake him up if we ever saw him drop off. The Wiggles are an Australian all-singing, all-dancing, all-strumming four-piece outfit, who with their friends Henry the Octopus, Dorothy the Dinosaur and Captain Feathersword the friendly pirate, hold a benign and mesmerising spell over all the world's toddlers. The toddlers, who were outnumbered by their grinning parents, don't scream at all. They stare and concentrate. A dumbstruck "they came out the telly" was all Geronimo said.

The unique thing about the band, whose canon comprises of bright, short and instantly hummable classics such as "Fruit Salad, Yummy, Yummy"; "Mashed Potato, Mashed Potato"; and "Quack Quack", is that they're all having such a good time on stage. I've never, ever seen a band have so much fun. I think that's what's so infectious about it. At one point, Jeff, who was supposed to be asleep, was overcome by such a fit of the giggles it stopped the show briefly. "He must be having a very funny dream," said Greg Wiggle. They ad-libbed, extemporised, giggled and wiggled their way through the songs and brought the house down.

It's far more exhilarating to find your inner two-year-old thanyour inner teenager and it's so much easier to have your disbelief suspended when you're with your two-year-old. The band performed with such unselfconscious glee that you really wished you were in the group. The Wiggles have bought me an extra hour in bed every morning for 18 months, and if you're wondering what to buy for anyone who's just had a baby, just think "Toot Toot, Yummy Yummy". You'll have to be ready to listen to them gushing about how brilliant The Wiggles are forever, though. Whatever did happen to the Arctic Monkeys?

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