Today Margaret and I commandeered the boardroom at work, and undertook the very serious and important task of judging the hotly contested (105 entries!) Very Hungry Caterpillar colouring competition. Believe me, I felt a massive responsibility in this role, as all the kids had put in such a lot of effort, and the prize was two suitably awesome mutant plush VHCs almost two metres in length.
Margaret, our arts and design buyer, thankfully has extensive experience in judging school art competitions, and quite early on stated her possibly controversial theory that she preferred entries with a `creative approach' rather than ones that strictly coloured within the lines. I entered many colouring competitions in my yoof, and I never won a single one, and now I know why. I was one of those kids that thought it was all about colouring perfectly within each section. Silly me. But really, it was quite uncanny to see the varieties of approaches the kids took. I think you can tell a lot about a kids personality by their predilection for colouring within, or with blatant disregard for, the lines. We had to engineer a complex six-stage judging process, with some built-in safeguards to combat our natural predilection for all things, random, scribbly and `creative.'
Housemate Andrew kindly Twittered about our judging, complete with photos of favourite entries and our comments. Now, I am a bit of a Twitter virgin - I don't understand it, I don't pretend to understand it - but I was amazed to see how many people were viewing and commenting on our colouring competition. Maybe they were at work and maybe they were bored, but it was like people had been waiting all their life to talk about colouring in! I must admit organising this competition has been one of the most fun things I've done in my 2 1/2 years of bookshop work. Why does a colouring competition cause people to get so excited? Is it nostalgia? Does it connect us to our younger, scribblier and more individualistic creative selves?
To this end I am going to hold my very own colouring competition. Tash and Andrew, as the only regular readers of this blog, you can just post your entries under my bedroom door. I expect you to enter. And because no one else reads my blog, I am going to email my friends that I consider to be Friends That Like Fun, and insist they enter. If you are one of these friends and you are subsequently reading this post, and you do not enter my colouring competition, please understand that I will now consider you to be a Friend That Does Not Like Fun.
But first I have to draw the picture for you all to colour in.
Standby for further details.