A DOT IN THE SHARK
I arrived on Friday evening, just in time for the main feature film. Sitting alone in the dark is nothing out of the ordinary for me, but when it should be the must see Friday evening entertainment, it did feel a little odd. Two hours later, however, the ElkFest was teeming with Festers, all buoyed up and anchored down by an excellent Fleur de Lys menu, and relishing the prospect of the support film. I thought it was going to be one of the classic Lively Stafford shorts, but proved to be something even stranger than the aforementioned oxymoron.
I rather lost the plot after the four seasons had come and gone, but there were some interesting cinematic references. I particularly liked the nod to The Shining, when the mad axeman appeared, but felt a little alarmed when Jemma shouted Daddys home!
And then, before you could shake a snake at a mongoose, Saturday arrived; as did the marquee, swiftly followed by the rain, and quickly followed by the cabaret.
Lodge opened with his lively welcome speech and his usual aplomb, until the MC disappeared. When Mister Mitchell (the MC and well-known spoonerism) finally showed up, he displayed his usual 鬡n, until the first act didnt appear.
After two false starts, three false tarts arrived; in a blaze of thigh length boots and boob tubes. I didnt know where to look, so I stared straight ahead and thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle. I believe they may have sung as well, but I dont think anyone noticed.
Colin and Anne gamely attempted to follow that!, with an interesting harmonic arrangement of Theyll be combing round the mountain when she combs. Alas, the audience were having a bad hair day and most of the combs fell on deaf elks.
Then Hayden bode stroldly onto the stage and had an identity crisis. After briefly dabbling with the idea that he was Dave, he settled on being Elvis, although in a bleaker moment he really did look and sound like Tony Blair.
Phil was next to entertain the assembled throng, with his revealing account of the Daleks the inside story. With sink plunger, whisk and swivel chair, he turned heads, followed quickly with his body and explained the meaning of life, the universe and thespianing. I felt sorry for the fireplace, but if you werent there, it would be as lost on you as it was on me.
Continuing the Doctor Who theme, Rapping Granny (aka the librarian) treated us to another Tardis experience by emptying the contents of her handbag. As ever, what she was looking for was the last to emerge from the depths of that mystery to men, but she did find it she found her Rap. She raps like a granny, itll get her a Grammy she aint old, shes gold, Im sold, this part of the stories told Im outta here, cause Im outta beer too late oh dear not deer, but elk cause this is Elk Fest its the best and were blessed to witness this mess to the Fest, to the Fest, and machine gun the rest. (I think she finished by eating some Eminems or was it cress?)
By this time, the proceedings seemed to be all rapped up, but less than once and more in name, the 5 Go Tease shuffled onto the scene. With two guitars and three go-tease, we witnessed what I could only describe as a master class of tuneless rap, but I may have omitted a leading C.
In amongst this surreal melange of cheerful chaos, we experienced the Elk Factor auditions. The search for the new Sludge had begun. With Doctor Philip Bailey continuing his world tour of Where and still confused as to his whereabouts, the ElkPlay has been sadly lacking in the Yes Mistress area for some years. This year, the producer decided to put things right and discover a new Sludge. There were cries of Rigid from the audience when Moo was declared the winner, although when I heard the unofficial bootlegs of the proceedings, I do believe they were shouting Rigged, which seemed appropriate, when the nautical nature of the ElkPlay was revealed.
Having forgotten what happened in Fishfinger Part I, mostly as I didnt realise it was part I when it happened, I was pleased to hear a recap of the story so far. It didnt really help, but I was pleased to hear it anyway.
As I understand it, Cat played the Mistress, who became an ant (very Kafkaesque) and mated with Doc, as Hayden, who didnt know what was going on. Meanwhile Captain Birds Eye, played by George W, and understudied by Phil, had an affair with the new Sludge, who doubled as a mousse (flavour unspecified but the phrase just desserts springs to mind not sure why, but my sugar levels are running low). Sue intervened as M and Jem as Miss Punny Many saved the day with a sound effect (played by Sam the Mitchell). Lodge, played by a railway porter, did his best to keep it all on track, but, alas, there were leaves on the line and then my agent phoned
The rest is a mystery.
AT THE END OF THE PLAY
I missed the end of the play and the whole of the Crimson Shadow sets, as my agent rang to have a long debate about my Olympics application. Shed been speaking to Seb about the 1,000 metres kayak, which was a surprise to me, as a) Id applied to join the Bob Sleigh team, and b) I didnt realise that kayaks could be that long. Fortunately Old Widders (ex TSOM agony uncle, but now freelance) was on hand to witness and review the climax of the show. Over to you Old (as we call him).
Well I have to say that I feel really privileged to be able to review this mega band. To come off the bench for the indisposed Bob kayak boB is the highlight of my career.
The set opened with a fantastic crashing sound as the lighting rig plummeted from the marquee roof, narrowly missing half of the audience - great, smashing, stupendous. This was followed somewhat tamely by the opening number "In The Midnight Hour" which was at least 45 mins early. However, the band then realised they had been playing the wrong instruments and after a quick swap round performed something new to Elkfest, "The Road's My Middle Name" which is amazing as I am often referred to as "Old Road Widders" - great, smashing, stupendous.
The rest of the set was a blur (I'm possibly confusing 2 bands here) of Elkfest favourites, such as "Almost Perfect", "Essex Dreaming" (with marvellous fluting by Jane - great, smashing, stupendous), Sweet Home Obamma and Beige Sugar.
The crowd seemed to appreciate the upbeat performance dancing the night away, although strangely, this was not included in the set. I shall keep a close eye (or possibly 2 closed eyes) on Crimson Shadow - most enjoyable - great, smashing, stupendous.
IS THIS A BACON SANDWICH I SEE BEFORE ME?
Its me again good old Bob KayaK boB. Sorted it out with Seb Im going to represent the UK at the 2012 Olympics in the three legged race just need to grow that extra leg. And so, as a good friend said recently Id rather have Big Brother watching me than be watching Big Brother. See you at ElkFest 2009 and may your ears be behind the queue or something like that
This report of Elkfest 2008 has been reproduced from the Widdington Evening Moose using recycled cardboard and waste packaging from Tesco Value baked beans