Last year Heather Wastie asked me to be a team captain for the New Year/3rd Birthday/ Anniversary Mouth & Music in January. Mike Alma was the other team captain, but unfortunately he couldn’t make it.
<Mike, sorry you couldn’t make it, if we had been head to head I think the room would have been full of SPARKS! Bright ones!>
Pete Williams kindly stepped up – although Pete and I discovered we are the least competitive people and far too ‘nice’ to Spark Off. However, that said Pete <I may not be competitive, I am certainly a sore loser though!> There were many reasons that our team was pipped to the post* in a very close and entertaining evening…
Pete Williams -Team Leader
* promising the MC Ian Passey/Humdrum Express a pint, not wearing Humdrum t-shirts or promotional goods, not having John Langford or Pete Williams playing guitar, perhaps playing a joker without it being clear that it was and the odd occasion where a promised theme turned out to be something else! I had been pictured in the paper and they hadn’t – something Heather has balanced on Social Media.
It was all for fun, no actual winning trophy has been lost or anything and I wouldn’t have missed it or turned down my part in proceedings for anything – including a shiny trophy!
Heather Wastie worked hard organising us team leaders and we scouted the land for talented poets and regulars at M&M who would have poems suitable to fit the themes. The themes were 11 M&M themes from 2014. From these teams of 6 we were then allocated Open Mic-ers as they arrived. I had no idea how it would pan out and the first emails of rules I was sent caused mild panic, until Heather reminded me rules are there to be broken – and I think our team had more than a hint of anarchy about us! I thought Heather and Sarah Tamar were extremely brave to hand the whole evening over to us three, it was smashing!
By Tuesday evening I had worked 2 full days, survived on 4 hours sleep and curled up to watch teatime TV, unable to set an alarm as my phone stopped working. I woke up at 6:40ish with barely enough time to arrive! I managed with minutes to spare and gathered the team to figure out who had poems to fit what (leading) – Pete took the mickey that I had a list and had organised a set list order. Maybe we should have faked surprise, as he may have got extra excitement points for swinging by the edge…
Ian Passey did an amazing MC role – having seen him in action at Worcester Music Festival – I knew he would make the night memorable – not helped by Tim Scarborough and I hitting the stage first for ‘Dualogue’ theme and then needing to set up – I offered to pad, tell the crowd it had been over 6 months since Tim and I had performed together etc. I think we were worth the wait – it was great to perform together again. My team certainly provided the MUSIC element in the first half, although Pete wowed us with childhood TV themes on his harmonica in the 2nd half (maybe that is what swung it)!
In addition to two incredibly entertaining teams of performers we had sweets, chocolate cake (with sparklers on it), balloons and the RAFFLE. It was a great 3rd Birthday!
I would like to say a HUGE thank you to all performers on my team, you’re all winners in my eyes!
& Open Mic-ers Roy Sadler and Martin Jones
^ What a team!
Pete’s team: Jan Ashton, Maggie Doyle, Rob Francis, Andrew Owens, Io Osborn, Sarah Tamar, John Langford, Ian Ward & Pete Williams (yes, they had an extra members)!
Thanks to Mary Davis for shooting the event in glorious colour (the venue is a difficult one due to lighting) & Heather & Sarah for arranging such a great night!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY M & M
Link to Heather’s blog where you will find a less biased post about SPARK OFF.