My Mummy told me never to break a promise, so here is the second part of my drunken ramblings about great speeches I have made. I did one at my brother’s sixtieth, God bless him, which was a great success. I did it all as a poem, and I can’t remember much about it, but I do recollect a memorable stanza about him first meeting his wife. “It was warm. It was soft. It was free…”
Many of his discerning friends appreciated that one.
And when I announced that he was involved in the world’s oldest profession, estate agency, you would have thought Tommy Cooper had been hired for the gig.
So, several other fast and funny, long and boring speeches have followed, memorably the one on the day I married my lovely Cathy. They needed one of those hook things to get me off that time…
So, to last Friday, when a printers society had agreed to actually pay me for talking about my dubious career as a cartoonist, as long as I drew them a Christmas card while I was there.
About a hundred jeering wine filled printing types greeted me when I got up, and appreciated my comments on the chairman’s suit. Being Black Friday (whatever the hell that is) I said his heavily striped apparel was still too expensive, so he bought the barcode instead. Much amusement. I was in.
Cut to ten minutes later, when I had probably bored everyone in the room with my tales of London trendiness in the sixties, and dropping cider all over my first attempt at animating the Jumblies (see my award winning recent attempt by clicking this link: http://goo.gl/yqq5RV ) and had my Cluedo play touring round the country, I decided enough was enough, so I made a few tasteless jokes and got off before the pud arrived – which the printing glitterati were obviously more interested in.
I made my excuses and left, feeling thoroughly fed up that my unique blend of wit and wisdom had failed to ignite these exponents of the classic print world one-liner.
I had to stand up on the train back to my home patch, realising that my ‘sure to succeed’ speech system may just not be what my next one, opening the Thame Art Show, were looking for.
I shouldn’t have worried. The art show went like a dream – love and laughter abounded, and some of my legendary confidence (which is a myth) came slowly draining back.
Thinking about the whole thing, I remembered that, in the early seventies, I had an interest in a printing company, and whenever I made an off colour remark to my first wife she would ask “Have you been with the printers again?”
Give me the art show lot any time…