Help! I Have Thirty Children at The Party & The Entertainer can’t make It…..

It is a nightmare thought for many parents….the hall has been booked, the entertainer hired, party bags organised and the games sorted out.  Then disaster… the entertainer or his wife calls to say the he is ill and cannot make the party. 

Professional entertainers will have a very good reason if they cannot make a function because their living is heavily dependent on their reliability.  If they simply have a cold or even the flu, they will still arrive if they are capable of doing so.

However, contrary to what some people may think, entertainers are only human.  They do become ill, they do have accidents and they are as susceptible as all of us to getting stuck in traffic jams.

 I remember a few years ago an entertainer in my area slipped and broke his hip, at his busiest time of the year.  It was obvious he could not work for several weeks and his wife quickly let all his clients know that he was out of action.  Was there any sympathy  for the performer in his plight?  After all. the poor man didn’t cancel his bookings because he wanted to, he simply had no choice.  No there wasn’t, the clients his wife contacted were rude and downright nasty when she called.  They virtually accused them of deliberately breaking his hip so that he would not have to do the show.  How ridiculous can you get?  Other entertainers did their best to help out, but since it was a very busy period, most of them were fully booked as well.

 On the other side of the coin, it has to be said, there are some (not all) semi-pros out there, who have no problem at all about cancelling a booking because they don’t feel like doing it.

I had one lady call me a few years back who had booked an entertainer.  He called her on the morning of the party to say he could not make it because…..wait for it….HE HAD TO TAKE HIS WIFE SHOPPING.  I sincerely hope that particular ‘entertainer’ did not last for long. 

I know it is tempting, especially if the budget is tight, to book a cheap entertainer. For your own peace of mind though, do check that the performer is reliable.  A cheap entertainer is very expensive if they don’t turn up on the day, leaving you with twenty or thirty children to entertain and and you have nothing prepared.

To be truthful, you are much safer hiring an entertainer who costs a bit more and is professional than going for the cheaper and possibly not reliable, alternative.

In my next blog, I will give you some practical tips to deal with a party on your own if your entertainer is going to be late or cannot make it.

 Bye 4 now

BB

www.BillyBanana.com

Please Dont Ask Entertainers To Recommend Anyone!

When an entertainer cannot accept a possible engagement because he is already booked, some people ask him to recommend someone else, seemingly overlooking the fact that they are asking him (or her) to give work to a competitor.  Many entertainers are, quite understandably, are reluctant to do that.

 There are several reasons why an entertainer will not recommend another.

 Besides commercial considerations, the main one is this…suppose an entertainer recommends a competitor and that competitor goes out and has a bad day, resulting in a poor quality performance, the booker will blame the entertainer that suggested him.

 Conversely, if the new entertainer does a brilliant job, the booker will hire him again instead of the original.  Either way the original entertainer loses out.

 I had a personal experience of this during a recent Christmas Season.  A lady rang in desperate need of a performer for the busiest day of the year, the last day of term for many schools and playgroups.  I don’t know why she was booking so late, only a week before the booking.

Unfortunately I could not help her because I had been fully booked for months.  Shortly after speaking to her, another entertainer called to say a booking had been cancelled at the last minute.  Thinking I was doing two people a good turn, I called the lady back to let her know that the other person was now available.

I did not recommend the other performer because I had never seen his show, I just let her know that he was available.   He got the booking.  About ten minutes after the end time of the engagement, my mobile rang and it was the booker, furious with me because, as she put it, I had recommended a rubbish entertainer.  I pointed out to her that I had not said he was a good entertainer; simply that he had become available.  Unfortunately she did not accept that and so my good deed had backfired big time putting my own reputation on the line!

 When I spoke to the entertainer to find out what had gone wrong, he blamed the venue, the people at it and just about anything else he could think of to try and clear his own name.

 Needless to say, I will never ever give that so-called entertainers telephone number to anyone ever again!

 So please, don’t ever ask an entertainer to recommend one of his rivals!

 Best wishes

BB

 www.BillyBanana.com

Happy New Year

May I wish all my clients past, present and future a wonderful and prosperous  New Year.

May I also take this opportunity to thank all those of you who have used my services over the past year and especially over this Christmas Season.

Special thanks to those of you who have already booked my Christmas Show for 2009.

If any one has any helpful suggestions, I will be collating the new show in February and I would love to have your feedback and ideas.

I have at long last gotten rid of the horrible cold I had to endure during the recent season, it seems to have really done the rounds, with so many people suffering for weeks.  Hope you are now all recovered.

I always use Pholcodine Linctus for coughs and clearing the throat. You can get this from chemists, it tastes ok and is just as effective as many of those expensive branded products.

Because I am not old enough for a free flu jab (contrary to how I may look!), for the last 10 or 12 years I have always invested in one.  I think paying out the twenty pounds or so for the jab is a very worthwhile investment.

I have loads of stuff for these blogs in the New Year, but that’s all for this one.

best wishes

BB.

www.BillyBanana.com

Christmas Entertainment For You
Children’s Entertainers all over the country are getting their Christmas Show props out of cupboards and practising favourite routines and songs.  I can’t sing so I don’t inflict my voice on anyone, I do use musical routines in my shows, but rely on others to provide the soundtrack.
 
Most professional entertainers have a special show for the Christmas Season; it might be a little more expensive than the standard show but is well worth it for the extra bit of Christmas sparkle.  It just adds that extra bit of oomph (!)
 
In my own show I have new routine for the infamous Celia the Seal.  She helps to get all the children singing Jingle Bells, but still manages to create mayhem in the show.
Another favourite is Frostie the Snowman. For the past couple of seasons I have had to drop this routine from the shows because of the time factor. 
Basically, a cartoon snowman  I draw with the help of the children suddenly becomes animated and starts talking and singing! 
As you can imagine, this part of the show is very popular with both children and adults.
 
I have slightly different balloon modelling routine this year, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer is still made but I have a comedy routine that precedes it, involving an adult member of the audience.
 
Most good children’s entertainers get booked early for the season, so if you need an entertainer for anytime in December, get your skates on!  It will be much easier to get someone for a weekday party than a weekend one.  If I was booking an entertainer at this time of the year and a performer still had weekend slots free, I would be asking myself why.  Good entertainers get booked from year to year and it’s common for my own clients to re-book me in January for December.   Try to hold your party on a weekday if you can, the weekend slots will almost certainly be very difficult to get.
 
Good Luck!
 
BB
 
www.BillyBanana.com
Children Hate Surprise Parties!

    If you love planning a surprise party, here’s something that may surprise you:

Children don’t really like surprises.

     Before you turn the page, think for a moment about what you, as an adult, like about surprises and compare that to the experience of a young child.  By and large our days are comprised of routine.  We get up at the same time, get to work, park in the same place, talk to the same people (often about the same things), and then come home taking the exact same route day after day like we have for years.  We look forward to any break in the routine, even if it’s just “casual Friday”.
Children on the other hand wake up and each day is new.  They learn as many as 5-10 new words every day (can you imagine learning that many new words every day?!), and they are constantly learning about what is and is not appropriate.  They are learning all the nuances of body language and struggle to interpret different accents and translate words they don’t understand using context clues.  They struggle for some sort of understanding so that they can have a reasonable chance at guessing what comes next.


    Why do you think they like watching the same video over and over again?  It provides them with the power that comes from being able to predict what comes next.  It is something they understand and feel comfortable with.


    So children are trying to learn to predict their world while adults are far too adept at predicting theirs.  We appreciate a break from the everyday, but children relish the familiar.  Adults have almost complete control over the activities and actions of their day, while children have others make most or all of their decisions.
Young children are also coming to terms with the fact that they are not the centre of the universe as they once thought.  The older they get, the less ego-centric they realize the world is (ego-centric in this sense meaning the child as the centre of all that happens).  This can be troubling for a child and emotionally traumatic. 

 

 Pretending to forget a major day like a birthday, can be horribly destructive to a child’s self esteem, even if the deceit is later rectified by the actual surprise party.

      Children also thrive on anticipation.  Getting excited about the approaching birthday is often more rewarding even than the party itself.  Don’t you remember as a child counting down the days to your party?  Even if your child insists that they want a surprise party I would contemplate refusing, and instead offer to throw a great party with a very special surprise at the party which you won’t reveal until the big day.
Now you get all the anticipation and more!  Plus, they still get the surprise they wanted.  The surprise could be a character appearance (a super hero, a favourite cartoon character, a magician, etc.). 

 It could even be a very major present.  But the child knows that he or she will be having a party and that there will be something exciting there. 

This is far better than not letting the child know that you are even planning a party.

Best wishes

BB

www.BillyBanana.com

Super Parkin Cake For Children (or adults)

Nice and soft, will not pull your fillings out and will keep for up to three weeks!

Ingredients

100g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon mixed spice
75g medium oatmeal
175g dark syrup (or 100g golden syrup and 50g black treacle) 100g butter 100g soft brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 dessertspoons milk

Preparation

1. This parkin mix will need a 20 cm (8 in) square cake tin.

 Pre-heat the oven to  140 oC/275oF/Gas Mark 1.
Sift together the self-raising flour, salt, ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice.
 Mix in the oatmeal.2. The dark syrup (or golden syrup and black treacle), butter and sugar will now have to all be melted in a saucepan together. This can be made easier by first sitting the pan on the scales and weighing it. Now add the dark syrup or golden syrup and treacle. This saves a lot of sticky transferring. Now just add the weighed sugar and butter. Heat together, only allowing all to melt and not simmer or boil.
3. Stir the syrup mix into the dry mix and blend together.
Add in the egg and milk to create a soft, almost pouring consistency.
Pour the mixture into the greased tin.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 1 ¼ hours until firm in the centre.

4. Once cooked, leave to stand in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out.
Once cooled, the parkin can be served straight away. However, if kept in an airtight tine the cake will, like a good wine, mature with age. It should be left for a minimum of 2 weeks, when a whole new texture will have been created; for best flavour, leave for 3 weeks.

5. Spicy ginger cake enjoyed on Bonfire night.
 

 

 Enjoy

BB

www.BillyBanana.com

 

Whats it all About?

Hello everyone,

Here is another one of my ramblings about keeping your children amused and happy.

I have been an entertainer for very many years now and over the course of time have picked up on a few ideas, not only for entertaining my own children, but also other peoples as well. Some of this has been on a professional level and some on a personal one.  I have thought many times about writing a book about some of the odd things that have happened to me during the course of my professional career.  With the ever increasing awareness of the internet and my own personal interest in computers and web publishing, this webblog is possibly a start on that project.

There will be no arty stuff here, it is meant to be purely practical help, there will be no need to consult a dictionary or buy expensive cookery books.  It will all be here!

The idea is to impart as much practical and common sense advice as possible. These experiences are gleaned from a lifetime of performing in venues in diverse as holiday centres catering for hundreds of children to a small party with only one child (and yes, I have had that experience!)

Running a birthday party can be a very daunting idea for many parents.  The thought of twenty or so little people running around your carefully cleaned home can fill you with horror!

I will start later this week with some hints and tips for holiday amusements for the children.  A bit too late for this half term but hopefully you can refer back during the Christmas Holidays which will soon be upon us!

I will appreciate your feedback and please do let me know of any areas you would like me to cover.

Bye for now

BB

www.BillyBanana.com

Hello and Welcome to the BILLYBANANA BLOG !

Hello everyone,
In response to many requests from busy mums, I have just taken delivery of a huge box of PARTY BAGS,
Since I like my clients to have the absolute minimum amount of hassle for their childs party, I will supply these as an extra service.
I already supply balloon animals to give away with a piece of birthday cake at the end of the party or Magic Show.
Hopefully this extra service will benefit my clients.
Billy Banana

www.BillyBanana.com

Advertising Space Available

In an effort to keep this blog running and useful, I have four advertising slots free at the top of the side panel.  If you would like to advertise here to support the blog, (very reasonable rates!) please get in touch!

BB

www.BillyBanana.com

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