Friday, March 23, 2012

Bursting Balloons!

‘The world is a book and those that do not travel read only one page

There are a lot of books out there and even the most avid reader sometimes misses out on a real tale. In an effort to cover the classics we may miss out on potential best-sellers…

Page turner #4

I love Winnie-the-Pooh. Not the horrid fat American Disney Pooh, I love the E. H. Shepard pencil drawn English Pooh. Piglet is my favourite but always felt some sort of affinity with Pooh. We share the same name. In what I can only define as an act of cruelty my sister called me Pooh when I was a child. When asked why, she would tell them it was because I smelled. This was bad enough in the confines of our home, but it stuck and all her friends called me Pooh too (some still do!). She is three-ish years older than me. By the time I reached 16 it became unbearable when one of her peers, who I really fancied, came over to speak to me at a party. I thought I’d pulled until he opened his mouth and said ‘You’re Pooh!’ Even though it turned out he had come over to chat me up I couldn’t get over the initial disappointment. I felt utterly deflated, just like Eeyore’s birthday balloon that piglet had accidentally burst before he got to Eeyore! It ruined the moment!
I felt a little bit like that today when I realised I had missed out on a real opportunity. I recently went to Dallas and covered the classics. I stood where JFK was shot. I stood where JR Ewing was shot. I walked the tourist tracks. In doing so I missed something off the beaten track… a possible life changing opportunity…held in Dallas this week… The World Balloon Convention. When I first learned of this extravaganza I thought it was all about hot air balloons. We had a neighbour in the UK with more money than sense who had his own hot air balloon shaped like a huge lemon. He tried to land it outside his house and managed to land it in everyone else’s, removing the roof tiles from most neighbouring houses. I don’t like hot air balloons.
It wasn’t big balloons, it was little balloons… a week long world convention devoted to the magic of balloon art! Not world as in ‘World series’ this really was global, even prompting some discussion on the radio in Britain about the shortage of helium. There is a world shortage of helium but never fear, I have discovered through my interest in this event that you can mix helium with nitrogen to save money when inflating your balloons. Don’t try this at home! I suspect such heady mixes could be explosive for a balloon beginner. I'm not sure you should still breath in the helium from balloons at parties to do a funny voice anymore!
I knew I was really missing out when I ‘liked’ them on Facebook! There were comments like ‘had a great time at the balloon jam last night’. After watching a few clips of the opening ceremony and seeing all those funky guys wildly waving those long balloons you can make poodles out of, I can only begin to imagine the fun to be had in the ‘hands on Deco-twisting Jam room at night! There were photos of all sorts of wacky things made out of…yeah you’ve guessed it…balloons. In a quirky twist there was even a hot air balloon made from little balloons- not a lemon shaped one, a fish shaped one! They made a full size car and motorbike, complete with balloon people. Amazing and fun! They made hats and dresses! I don't think you could wear the dresses for fear of a strategically important balloon getting burst. There would always be one prick to burst that balloon! I think my personal favourite was a (non-functioning – for fear of explosions) table lamp. At least I think it was a table lamp. Maybe it was that participant’s first trip to the convention. Imagine that as your table centre piece instead of a real table lamp! I feel really crap now for only having a little party pack of balloons for my kids’ birthdays in the past!
I’m not sure I would be an ideal delegate. I discovered today I am not always able to concentrate in group learning environments and it says on the balloon convention web site that as well as being in retail you have to want to develop a stronger professional balloon offering beyond the ‘3 balloons on a string’ concept. I’m still wondering why the f**k anyone would make a table lamp balloon sculpture so I guess I’m not ready for balloon advancement.
I really should stick to the tourist beaten track after all! I thought I might still get something out of the balloon convention even if I wasn’t going to get there and had no business going! I thought about Eeyore’s disappointment and Piglet’s sadness at bursting Eeyore’s balloon. Could a certain balloon have survived piglet landing on it after a fall down a rabbit hole? Professionals at the World Balloon Convention would surely know! I posted the following on the balloon convention’s facebook wall ‘What are the best balloons to withstand a boisterous party and not burst so easily?’ I didn’t want to bias the responses by telling them a pig and a donkey were involved. As yet, no one has responded! I guess what they say in their website must be true: the event is so ‘phenomenal’ and ‘mind-blowingly awesome’, that they are too busy in the Deco-twisting Jam room to give any sound advice to Pooh!


  1. Do I get a royalty for this one?

  2. :) Of course... If only I got paid! I hold you completely responsible for most of this one, so if I get sued....

  3. The English drawn Pooh definately has more character. Even though Master Pooh was named for my city, the stories sigh still bore the pooh out of me. Maybe because they are the most tedious to read out loud to a young child. I might take another crack at them one day. I do enjoy looking at the drawings though. As for the balloon convention, neat to see for sure. I too however, would be waiting for that other balloon to pop. A shortage of helium? really?