What?: Call me superficial, but I am much more likely to turn up to something if the poster advertising it is really cool. I mean, if the organisers have taken the time to have a really cool poster made then they probably took the time to put together a really cool event, right? Case in point: Punk Me Up Ceramics had my absolute favourite illustrator and ceramicist Fredde Lanke make the flyers for their Little Punks under-5s sessions and they were incredible. The session itself? Incredible. It’s a thing; you should totally judge a book by its cover. So when I saw the brilliant poster for Adrenalin’s Romp and Roll class for 2-4s with its cute and colourful little characters clambering all over each other; kids balanced on parents’ feet and knees and the occasional monkey and robot dotted around, I knew we had to give it a go.
We arrived 15 minutes late, as we often do when things start before midday, and I was immediately perturbed by the 10 or so stairs leading up to the venue and the parked buggies spilling out the door. Up a flight of stairs and overcrowded – had the awesome poster conned me? I made a huge deal about lumbering up the steps with the buggy before petulantly throwing it into a corner so that it basically blocked the entrance, since there was NOWHERE ELSE TO BLOODY PARK IT. I was sweaty and irritable and knew straight away that the jumper under the baby carrier containing the perpetually napping baby was a mistake. How was I going to romp and roll wearing wool? Or a baby for that matter.
Obviously it was fine. No one cared or even noticed that we were late. The whole class was pretty much just skipping merrily around the room at this point, transfixed by the amazing and hilarious teacher Andrew, who’s the kind of guy you immediately want to adopt as your dad, even though he’s probably a similar age to you. People were still arriving and throwing their buggies at the three-storey buggy pile outside. There was some kind of honesty-box system operating with the admission fee, with people just sort of tossing notes on a plate and sorting out their own change. I needn’t have worried even a bit; this was all extremely chill.
The actual romping and rolling was loosely structured, with Andrew shouting out instructions like “you’re a tortoise” and “ride your adult like a horse”, which we were free to follow or ignore as we pleased (it’s challenging to truly become a horse with a mewling infant strapped to your chest, and obviously Babu and her mate had to stop and piss about on a bench at the side of the room for a bit). I did really enjoy the way the adults were utilised, be it as horses or glorified skateboards for the kids to glide around on while we bum-shuffled across the room (again, challenging but not impossible to perform with a baby wedged between you and your toddler). I usually hate really loud, thumpy music because I’m basically 96 but in this scenario it was great, with a really joyful, positive retro soundtrack to bop along to (see, I even sound 96).
The class ended with a good old-fashioned parachute session, but somehow it felt a million miles away from every other toddler dance class we’ve been to that ends with a parachute session. Unlike other run-of-the-mill movement sessions, Romp & Roll is 45 minutes of unadulterated, silly fun that appeals to all ages and refuses to take itself at all seriously. It’s also, at its most basic level, a pretty good workout, so even if you spend the rest of the week lying beached in soft-play ball pits, you’ll still be absolutely ripped, probably.
Where and When?: Romp & Roll takes place on Fridays 10-10.45 at The Old School Rooms, 2 Powerscroft Road, Clapton E5 0PU, which is a 12-minute walk from Hackney Central Overground station.
Best Bits: We loved every minute – pure joy.
Worst Bits: So early.
Facilities: Toilets. No step-free access. Buggy parking is a bit of a find-a-space-to-shove-yours-in-and-hope-for-the-best scenario.
Would We Do it Again?: I so want to do this again. The 10am start is a bit of a killer when you don’t really live anywhere near Clapton, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Babu romps at Romp & Roll, Clapton.