Description: E:\Data\Web\Elkfest\Elkweb2011\lrelk.gifElkfest 2001Description: E:\Data\Web\Elkfest\Elkweb2011\rlelk.gif

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 Summer ElkFest 2001

Bob kayak boB
in Widdington


Safely reinstalled as the Widdington Mooses rotating reporter, after that unfortunate tie-pin error, I arrived at the Lodge for the ElkFest Press Preview on Friday evening.  After the ceremonial opening ceremony of the tapping of the barrel , performed with the usual aplomb by none other than Doctor Philip Bayleaf and his trusty mullet, I was delighted to witness the rare sight of the Lodge Porter opening his wallet, accompanied by gasps of incredulity from the assembled thong (another masterpiece of Doctor Phils, assembled in just two minutes using only one hand and seven varieties of moss) and the sound of moths.  Alas Lodge was merely clearing out his old credit card receipts, so we still had to buy our own beer. 

Later I was to discover that earlier in the day the Lodge had experienced some problems with his plumbing.  Old age can be terrible thing, I thought, but then I learned that the blockage (not a leek as some had presumed) was in the water tank and not the Lodges undercarriage. 


The main event kicked off with the Lodge Porter laying down the usual ground rules.  Unfortunately as the Lodges diary has been choc-a-bloc with After-Elevenses speeches for the last two weeks, it took him a few moments to compose himself and find the relevant script.  Having said that, it did give us an insight into this mans undoubted versatility and I was not alone in the disappointment when we discovered that an impromptu display of footballing prowess was not to be revealed by Pucklechurch Academicals as the opening cabaret act.  Next year perhaps. 

Description: E:\Data\Web\Elkfest\Elkweb2011\cab0004.jpgRutting rules firmly and fairly thrust upon us, the proceedings proceeded to proceed with our familiar MC, Pulled Mitchell, regaling us with flights of fancy (courtesy of Easy Jet) and a whole range of childrens book titles designed to scare the living highlights out of anyones recent trip to the hairdresser most notably Pop goes the hamster and other micro-wave tales.  In between this hamster banter, there were rather a lot of interesting acts.

Description: A little recitationFirst to tread the decking was Clive of India.  Sheer poetry in lack of motion.  For someone with such a military history it was comforting to hear that he has a human side and he shared with us his trepidation of producing a cabaret act on time and to budget.

Description: I can't believe how young I look!No such qualms for act number two.  Hayden strutted onto the decking and delivered a blinder.  I can sum up this act in one word Terror.  Lolling gracefully in a comfy chair, he chilled the spines off all but the invertebrates among us.  His Australian Fairy Tales were fit to scare the shrimp off an Ozzie Osbourne barbie doll.  The character of Talla Gripta gripped me somewhat, but it was the cravat which spoke volumes or at least I think it did Haydens lips didnt seem to move at the time.


Description: Friends, Romans, Countrymen - lend me you ears, legs, arms, whatever ...Now it was time for the first of the Festal Virgins: Slava, an arms dealer from the Ukranian Lodge recently promoted from dealing hands in the Casino Royale, which I believe comes with cheese.  His introduction was an old Ukranian favourite, but satire and beetroot so rarely combine at the ElkFest the audience didnt seem to mind the repetition.  His follow up was a study of Sherlock Holmes, leaving us with an endearing image of Doctor Watson knowing his place as number two and the health hazards associated with smoking.  It was a triumph, although if it ever turns out hes a beetroot seller from Riga, I will be braver in my next review.

Description: Open wide please ...And then there was Andy (clinically dead, but no-one seemed to notice, least of all Andy).  Another Festal Virgin and another first for the Elk.  Andy was billed to speak for three minutes on a subject to be decided.  However this was obviously a devious ruse to confuse us, as it turned out to be the first gurning act we have ever seen at the Fest.  With panache aplenty and the elan of an eland, Andy managed to stay on his feet long enough to finish his act, rounding off with an exceptional mock turtle soup.

Description: This is not Juex en Frontier you know!It is not often that the subtle tones of the cello combine with the rasp of a French nursery rhyme at the Elk, but on this occasion they went hand in sock and to great effect it must be said.  Enter more Festal Virgins, Veronique and Tom and no Jemma (retired hurt).  Inspired by a ruse to induce the eating of their offspring (evidently), we were entertained by a truly Elkian turn.  I particularly appreciated the inclusion of sign language for those of us who are Gallicly challenged and the adagio movement was quite stunning, with Tom miming Cello player in high wind, before turning up his volume to notch 11 for the finale.  Stunning, as Spock might have said.  (Perhaps he did, but the wind direction did not favour shouting from Edinburgh).


And so, with only minutes remaining before full-time, it looked as if the Festal Virgins were going to steal a valuable away win, but . Hang on, Im starting to sound like Chris Dawdle Ill try that again.  With only minutes remaining, the Festal Virgins seemed to have the three points in the bag (3) no, theres something wrong here.

Description: Stop laughing - balaclavas are a sreious subjectWith injury time Beckhaming oh what the hell it was down to a late substitution to save the day.  Doctor Philip Bayleaf replaced Pulled Mitchell at the lectern and delivered a masterpiece.  His Elk lecture this year took the theme of Law and Order.  And what a tour de force it proved to be.  We had balaclavas, balaclavas, balaclavas, balaclavas and well, balaclavas.  Each with an assortment of orifices in unusual places and rather a neat take on why the several hundred were slaughtered by Slavas guns in the Valley of Deaf.  Having freed the balaclava 5, Dr Bayleaf whipped the assembled thong into a complete frenzy and had us all believing we were extras in a Kubrik film.  It was 1966 and all that all over again.  Feeling totally overwhelmed, I too declared I was Spartacus, until someone tried to crucify me.  At this point I revealed myself to be Bob kayak boB, whereupon the mob descended and attempted to nail me to the pear tree.  Just as well I was wearing my trainers and my brown corduroys. 

Which just left the final charity appeal.  Clive of India once again took control of Hannibal the Lectern and appealed to the thong to allay the savage act of kayak-bating.  All donations should be forwarded to the Lodge Porter, who promises to spend it wisely on himself.


Description: Crimson Shadow

Much has been said of Crimson Shadow over the past few moths.  When theres only three of them, it makes you wonder what the other one did Mrs. Trellis, North Wales.  Why is the cardboard one always in tune? Mrs. Trellis, North Wales.  Crimson Shadow?  Who? all the other people who replied to the questionnaire, except the Tenby Mail-Voice Quire (ex-GPO), who said Och, dioch, cwm shdow, ech da.

Description: Upstaged by the stage?Needless to say, such diet-tribes were left eating their words after this years performance and with the newly installed stage pointing at the Scandinavian behind the hedge, a very warm soundDescription: Now the first finger goes here ... was conjured, somewhere between the frozen audience and the hot dancers.  But who was the new bass player?  He looked like a late signing from Fleetwood Anorak.  Whatever, he and the rest of the band produced a set fit for self-assembly; and the assembled Description: Spock looks on ....thong set about the task with gusto or did the prevailing wind have some influence here?

With the usual preliminaries out of the way, such as Must ang Sally and Cant Bite Me Lobes,  we were treated to such classics as One Thyme, a herbal remedy concocted by the original Crimson, Here with me by Dye Dough and the old favourite Starless, bubble-wrapped especially for the occasion.


Quite when or why the spider arrived is a mystery to me, but it attacked the lead vocalist somewhere mid-set, or more precisely mid-wings.  Fortunately, the Southampton Lodge came to the rescue, as the guitarist was too busy locating a footpedal program and (if the truth be known) too busy being petrified at the time. 

Description: Out of bass experienceThen there was the supernatural to contend with.  With only a few numbers of the set remaining, the bass player embarked on an out-of-body experience.  Quickly to be followed by being possessed by demonsDescription: Demon bass player taking full advantage of his vulnerability.  One can only hope he will recover in time for the next Elk.

So, with the spider content to depart with signed Crimson Shadow photographs and the assembled thong in severe danger of freezing to the spot, the encore was directed at the dancers, who strangely multiplied at an astonishing rate.  (See Page 2: Radiator leek blamed for man with two maracas).  This came after some considerable debate as to which number would have the best effect in reducing numbness.  And so, with dancers denumbed and the late arrival of the percussion section suitably silenced, the thong decamped for the lodge and the beckoning warmth (but sensibly avoiding leeking radiators).


ElkFesters can be a wimpy bunch sometimes.  The prospect of leaving the lodge to venture forth into the grounds at such a late hour and with such a wind-chill factor proved too much, so the 30 Minute Moose Company were forced to abandon their planned pyrotechnical extravaganza and the Doctor Who-Dun-It was played down with an indoor performance, last seen at the Shower-Must-Go-On Fest, all those Elks ago.  

Description: Dead - I do not believe it!I wouldnt even attempt to describe the plot of this years play, but if you thought Hamlet wasnt quite as messy at the end as you would have liked, then you should really try to catch a performance of Murder at the Lodge.  More corpses than extras in the I am Spartacus scene.

One of the highlights was undoubtedly an exchange between Lord and Lady Gowan, where Doctor Philip Bailey attempted the world record for turning each sentence into a paragraph and each phrase into a sentence a life sentence.  Lady Gowan attempted some subterfuge, by pointing out the point in the script where all but the Lord was poised, but to little avail.  The Goodness! Book of records have now ratified Doctor Philips attempt and unless their watches were tampered with between lines, the record will stand.

Description: Tardis consoleDescription: Yesh M'LadyThen there was the pink steering wheel, skilfully manned by Hayden; Lady Penelopes beard, skilfully mastered by Carol; Svens picture frame, Description: I was framed!donated by the West Midlands Fraud Squad; the three leeks (Shabby, Droopy and Slappy); not forgetting the real star of the show the Tardis console: a work of art, conceived by Dave and Phil and brought to fruition by Phil and Clive what a show-stopper almost on a par with Haydens Blobby, last years show stealer. Description: Jerry the sound effects man

Description: Prepare to be poked ...So it was as much a triumph for the props as it was a victory for the volunteers.  They stuck to their seats with admirable stickiness.  Lodges dim determination finding himself holding the wrong-end of a pointed stick was truly admiral Nelson, but the Hardiest of them all was Jerry.  His timing of the exploding crisp packets was second to none and the ad libbed BOOM to accompany the silver leek laying waste to Haydens Daley was an unexpected bonus.


Description: Phil floats around at the back of the stageHaving savoured the cabaret, slavered over the music and shivered to the play, there was only one final act to endure: the late film.  Although Edinburgh Phil could not attend this year (for tax reasons having attended the Winter Fest, another Elk so soon was just too much for the poor fellow) he did send a goodwill message in the form of a Doctor Who story.  And so we were treated to The Dalelk Moose Turd Plan.

Description: The Dalelks ReturnHave Dalelks ever been so frightening?  I think not therefore I am not.  I will never see those Kaleld evolutionaries in the same light again, or from the same angle (I hope).  With subtle cutting from Technicolor to monochrome, The Dalelk Mustard Plant laid bare the dichotomy we have all borne witness to.  Both a cutting social comment on life in the late twentieth century and an incisive incision into the carbuncle of 21st century architecture, this masterpiece of menace, this comedy of terrors, this (dare I be so bald as the Lodge) this delicate insight into a sight not seen, but merely eluded to, this illusion of unseen sights or those scenes which were so seemly cut, this seam of coal which stands before me, this column of steam which emanates from my kettle, this film must be seam, or scene, or screened and indeed it was screened.  Full marks to the Lodge for being so daring in his choice of phlegm.  No I will never be so moved until my next round of antibiotics.  Five stars . Miss it at your puerile.

And so, with Dalelks in skirts rearranging their underwear and dawn beckoning, the Elk came to a close.  One of the finest Elks in living memory.


Description: OctoblobDescription: Time for a leekHaving been denied a decent nights sleep by the exploits of the girls dormitory (next door), I emerged weary and exhausted to partake of the traditional surreal breakfast.  (That couldve been better phrased Ed; so could your intrusion BoB).  When all but the Lodges closest friends had departed to the four corners of the hearth, I settled down with a welcome mug of leek soup and quizzed the man himself on his thoughts of the ElkFest.  Eloquent as ever, he summed it up in a single word: Octoblob, he said.  Even the leeks nodded in approval


This report of Elkfest 2001 was reproduced in full from the Widdington Evening Moose (late edition) by cutting and pasting using scissors, flour and water


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