The name says it all really… A little shop in the south Laines where a woman, who may well have been a good-witch, ran an agency for fairies. The shop was stuffed full with fairy bits and bobs, everything from notebooks to wands, fairy dresses, storybooks and hundreds of tiny fairy statues. I got the impression this shop was not just aimed at those young enough to loose some milk teeth and do business with the tooth fairy – but real life delusional/obsessive grown ups with a screw loose, too.
Nevertheless, in I went and was immediately offered a job as a children’s entertainer. The catch was I had to provide my own costume and fairy kit, make up the activities and travel to the location, but, basically, she’d take the booking – like a madam in a particularly sparkly brothel.
This was quite a nice set up and on Friday nights, while my flatmates and I would be watching Spaced for the millionth time, I’d sit on the living room floor and cut out mask shapes and stick glitter to “Pin the Wings On The Fairy’. The parties themselves were fine: the kids were great, the East Sussex parents, with their cream carpets, were a nightmare… How do you expect to have 30 children in your house and for your shagpile not to get covered in chocolate, glitter and often, because of all the E numbers and running around, kiddy puke? Huh?
One of my friends suggested putting the loudest possible toys in the party bags of the most stuck-up parents… just a little parting gift… ‘Here you go. Thor and Antigone have eaten their own bodyweight in Haribo and are vibrating. Here’s a whistle and a shaker for them to take home… byeeee!’
I did start to notice that the little boys weren’t quite so into the glitteriness of it all, but my fairy, Trixabell, was quite egalitarian, and due to my not overly girly hand-made fairy outfit (well it was still pink and puffy but think forest elf over sugarplum fairy) I could still engage with the 4 and 5 year olds boys. I did lots of making masks and wings and facilitating the covering of parent’s living rooms in tiny glitter glue handprints and all in all enjoyed the process.
Getting on the bus dressed as a fairy in Brighton on a Saturday morning was hilarious, as no one blinked en eyelid! In fact one guy came and asked me for change and didn’t skip a beat when I told him fairies don’t carry cash, ‘Oh right you’re a fairy. ‘Course, I should have known,’ and wandered away completely unfazed.
The problem was that, as a student, weekends mean parties and parties mean, with all the best intentions of going to bed early and getting up for work, you don’t. You just don’t. After one attempt at conducting a party for a dozen 3 year-olds after an all nighter that ended up with a sunrise jaunt to the park, I hung up Trixabell’s floral garland and relegated her to occasional fancydress.
This was not the end of my fairy career path, though; Oh no! Five years later, the worst was yet to come…