December 2011

Sunday 4 December – TBFWW

It was indeed a Wobbly Wedding.  On Thursday night the Wobbly Williams team took another step further away from mainstream charity events with the Big Fat Wobbly Wedding in The Arches in Glasgow.  The Arches are the tunnels which support the railway lines at Glasgow Central station.  They are eerie, atmospheric, and perfect for the rather surreal events which unfolded.

I was very apprehensive about this event, ticket sales had not gone well for a variety of reasons, not least of which we have asked Glaswegians for just too much money over the last few years.  But, we had 150 in the pews at 7:15 PM when Mr Jelly, Bob the best man and the Very Reverential Mr Wonky emerged from the vestry.  They paced about nervously waiting for the beautiful Nicole to arrive.  She looked gorgeous as a she, her bridesmaid and her father came dancing down the aisle to D.I.S.C.O.

The Very Reverential Mr Wonky was brought in from the deep South of the USA to join the couple in unholy matrimony.  The Lord’s Prayer was said through the eyes of the bride, and was extremely touching;

“Our Marks who art in Spencers,

hallowed be thy food hall”

There were twists and turns through the ceremony, but tell you much more would spoil the surprise when it comes to a town near you.

After the service, and the lineup, we sat down for a meal, followed by the speeches.  My role, as Mr Jelly’s Uncle Bryn, was to read the telegrams.  My favourite was “Ian Kilpatrick offers a word of advice to the groom; if your credit card gets stolen do not be too quick to report it to the police.  When the mind was nicked, the thief spend less than a month than Sarah does in a week.”

The auction was a tremendous success.  Some extremely silly money was paid.  Indeed, when Brinsley was modelling the Wobbly tartan trousers, one of his guests put up £1000 for him to take them off there and then.  Which he duly did.  A striptease like no other.

We were stunned at the end of the auction when one of the guests matched the amount raised over the whole evening.  In total, the event raised approximately £30,000.  Truly amazing.

The wedding band struck up, the hugely impressive Big Tuna and we danced the night away.

As ever, Ian and I stood shaking our heads in disbelief at the success of the event, but then, as he said, we always do that.

Thanks to Lynda from InMotion Events for pulling off a spectacular, the team at The Arches and for all the guests who came and entered into the spirit of things

9 December 2011 – The Darts Again
I had a cracking weekend at the darts with John Bundy in Wolverhampton. I can get great tickets as perk of my subscription to PDC.tv, the Internet tv channel of the organisers. And boy did we get great seats. Right at the front, just to the left of the board and right on the flight path of the boom camera that glides over the heads of the dartists (my imaginatively invented term for a darts fan. The infidels amongst you might suggest it would be a better term for a highly skilled darts player. This is an ill-thought out argument for two reasons. The first reason, a highly skilled darts player is a dartisan (again my own invention, there is no end to my creativity) and the second reason is that given the dartisans only drink water on stage these days and the crowd most definitely doesn’t, the term “pissed dartist” is the exclusive preserve of the audience member.)

We were there for two sessions of the Grand Slam of Darts, the session with the better seats was the Sunday afternoon, the semi finals. I was in seat 3 on table B; seat 1 being the closest seat to the stage. The table is like a banquet table and Johnners sat opposite, on seat 4. On my left, seat 1 was occupied by an older gentleman with lank, straggly hair sprouting radially from a bald patch, who niffed. He looked a bit like Doctor Emmett Brown from the Back To The Future films. Particularly, the bedraggled Emmett, just after he had formed the human link between the broken ends of the cable which was transferring the required number of gigawatts, created by the lightening strike, to the DeLorean’s flux capacitor.

This particular dartist was wearing grey, fleecy track suit bottoms which hung low from his waste such that the crotch of the garment was closer to the knobbles of his knees than his meat and two veg. He would periodically stand up, turn his back to the stage so as not to distract the dartisans on the stage, and lift his track suit crotch closer to it’s intended position. He achieved this short-lived improvement by dismantling the elaborate double knotted drawstring and repositioning his track suit through an exaggerated left, right, left, right rotation combined with an upward pull.

Once satisfied that the other inhabitants of table 3 could see which side he dressed to, he would drop his head and and concentrate on retying the drawstring, the concentration on his face rivaling that of a boy scout trying to achieve his first badge.

Seat 5, on my immediate right, was occupied by your more stereotypical dartist. An overweight, affable 40something, with a very short haircut, check shirt and at least one badly applied tattoo. He was outraged that Emmett had nailed the best seats in the dartitorium. He couldn’t accept that Emmett might also be a subscriber.

The seats for both sessions were on the flight path of the boom camera which swept over the heads of the audience like a camera on the end of a boom. I watched the camera as it carved its way through through the air, capturing the semi-contorted faces of the dartists as it passed them by. They were not semi-contorted for any particular reason. The dartist generally wears a semi-contorted look, it means they are halfway to the fully contorted look which is required to greet the throaty bellow of “one hunnndred and eighhhhty” rasped out by the chain smoking referee. 180 is such a common score in modern darts, the dartist has not got the time to completely discontort during a match. Relief only arriving with a commercial break.

Anyway, back to the camera. As I watched it scan, I pondered (this pondering was caught on camera, I looked like Rodin’s “The Drinker”) how could this flying camera be used to raise awareness. My solution came rapidly. I scribbled on the blank card conveniently provided for the dartists to write messages on. And on the next fly past the world was treated to the sight of me leaping (as best as I could, but appearing more like an unambitious salmon) up from my seat, sending my message to the world. Imaginatively I wrote “Wobbly Williams” and it was seen across the globe by 265 million viewers (according to the sponsors).

I leapt a second time and achieved the same result. The next time the boom camera took a diversion around me. The operator had spotted my ploy. It then became a battle of wills and ingenuity. I scurried around the audience, seeking a vantage point where I could spring from like a tightly coiled string of overcooked spaghetti. By the end of the session I was knackered, had no idea of the score and had a new game to play. Get placards on tele. Raise awareness using guerrilla tactics.

Watch this space.

22 December 2011 – TryAthletes

On Sunday past another chapter was written.  Alan Kennedy put together the first Wobbly TryAthletes half marathon and 10k.  Fifty half marathon runners wearing the fuchsia tops of the TryAthletes ran, walked and hobbled their way from Dumbarton to Lock 27 along the Forth & Clyde canal.  The genius of the event was that when they got to their half way point, having exhausted their chat about the debacle of David Attenbrough’s filming in a zoo or the merits of David Cameron’s position on the EU treaty renegotiation, they were greeted by the 10k runners who ran the last six miles with them, discussing the X-Factor final and the latest scandal in Desperate Scousewives.  10k runners have a different type of chat. They can afford to be animated and discuss things which get the adrenalin surging.  Half marathon runners have to be more controlled, less able to let the blood boil.

10k runners also have less time available to sum up the week’s events so they use shorter sentences. Text speak almost.  When Karen and I run a 13 plus mile run we tell stories to the minutest detail, use big words, ask open questions. Anything to stretch it out.  A 10k chat is much tabloid.

I ran with Karen, as always.  We set off with the pack, as always. Then we drifted to the back of the field, hampered by my foot from Dystonia and her inability to pass a loo, as always.  It was nice to be running again.

The canal is beautiful.  It winds through Drumchapel, Clydebank and Westerton to Anniesland. Alan had arranged stewards (Ian managed the road crossing at Bowling; he was knocked over by a cyclist), mile markers, goodie bags and a beautiful medal.

It was a great day, however it left me feeling like a failed con-artist.  I manage to extract thousands of calories from people on the ridiculous premise that it is good for you! Calories are of no use to me. If I had, instead, chosen door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales, I would be rolling in people’s life savings

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